First impressions are everything when you’re trying to attract buyers to your used boat for sale. Just as important as when selling a house, proper staging is critical to achieving your desired price. As a seller, you should make sure your boat is in the best possible condition – inside and out – before putting it on the market. A well-maintained boat will be more appealing to buyers and will help you sell your used boat faster.
Here are some tips to consider when preparing your used boat for sale.
Give Engines a Tune-up
Engines are one of the most important and expensive parts of a power boat. Make sure your engine(s) is running well with clean oil and oil filters. Gasoline engines should also have clean carburetors that are set to a proper idle. Be certain to present a clean engine room, bilge and working bilge pump when your used boat is for sale. For more, read Selling Your Boat? 10 Tips for Sprucing Up Your Engine.
Fix any Known Mechanical Issues
Unless you have set a fire-sale price, repairs should be made to any electrical, mechanical or engine issues that currently exist on your boat prior to listing your used boat for sale. Whether you have any specific concerns or not about existing mechanical issues, it’s a good idea to consult a marine technician or hire a surveyor for a pre-sale marine survey. Mechanical issues have a high probability to ruin a sale opportunity if they are discovered by the buyer during a survey.
Clean the Boat Exterior Thoroughly
A clean boat indicates the current owners took good care of the boat. If you weren’t meticulous throughout your ownership of the boat, when preparing your used boat for sale it is critical to thoroughly clean the exterior and set up a maintenance plan for a clean appearance while the boat is on the market. Be sure to put your best waxing and polishing skills to work, so your boat will shine for prospective buyers!
Repair Minor Cosmetic Problems
When you are preparing to sell your boat, consider investing in a few inexpensive cosmetic repairs that will go a long way in making your boat most desirable. Canvas tears, broken canvas zippers, worn deck carpet or tears in seat upholstery can be an easy fix that makes a big difference to a buyer’s perception of your used boat for sale.
Downsize and De-Personalize the Cabin Clutter
Ample storage space is a big selling point for boats with interior cabins. Eliminate unnecessary personal belongings and clutter to make your boat cabin feel more spacious and ready for quick possession. A tidy and neutrally styled boat interior is more inviting for buyers and will help showcase cabin features and amenities. The removal of your personal effects will prevent potential buyers from being distracted by the evidence of your past experiences, and better allow them to imagine their future adventures in your used boat for sale.
Eliminate Mildew Issues on the Boat
Excess moisture getting into a boat cabin is very common and becomes a big problem if neglected. Signs of mildew or musty smells can – and often do – turn off a buyer. Clean up any mildew issues and keep the inside of the cabin smelling fresh and feeling dry with moisture absorbers and fresheners. Even if you think your boat smells and feels fine, preparing for the possibility of increased sensitivity in your buyer is a smart move.
The ultimate goal is to make your boat superior to its competition, and spending the time to thoroughly prepare your boat for sale will demonstrate, without debate, that your boat is well-maintained and free of any issues for potential buyers.
Make a Serious Effort on Photos, Ad Copy, and Ad Placement
Just as important as preparing your boat for sale in the real world is making sure it appeals to potential buyers online. For a complete rundown on what’s involved, read How to Sell Your Used Boat, which includes tips on how Boat Trader can help in your selling efforts, and more advice that will help maximize your efforts in whatever sales forums you might use.
A previous version of this article appeared on Boat Trader in January 2014.