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A Complete Guide to Getting the Right Price for Your Boat

27th May 2019

When it comes to getting the best price for your boat in a second-hand market, there are some obvious things that can help. From simple tips and tricks to make your classified ad stand out to making everything ship-shape for a viewing, we know from experience that this guide can help improve the resale value of your vessel.

First Impressions Matter

It goes without saying but the first place to start to get the best price for your boat is with the advert you place online. If the photographs of your boat are blurry and out of focus or don’t show the vessel off in the best light then fewer people will view the details. Fact.

Likewise, if your crystal clear, high-resolution images show a boat that is neglected and looking like it needs a serious overhaul (and this isn’t advertised) then you will equally find yourself failing to attract interest.

Time spent preparing your boat for sale will pay dividends in the long run. It also means that the vessel should be all ready if you get a fast response to your listing.

The saying, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is true and it is recommended that before you take your photos you spend some time sprucing up your boat.

Focus on the aesthetics as well as making sure everything is in working order so that your listing will stand out from the crowd. Which leads us on quite nicely to the next piece of advice…

High Quality Photos

If a picture paints a thousand words then it must also be true that a badly taken photo can say a lot of negative things about your boat!

Most smartphones and tablet devices have some great cameras incorporated into their specification and there really is no excuse in this day and age for poor quality photos.

First of all, try and pick a good day when the weather is reasonable and the lighting is of a sufficiently good quality. Too early in the morning or late at night when daylight is poor and your photos will be quite flat.

Try and get some shots of your boat in the water as well as out of the water. This may not be easy to achieve in one shoot so look back over your own archives and dig out those action shots . You should take as many shots as you need to in order to fully depict your boat to your buyers. As long as these are within the limits of the kind of advert you are listing then it pays to be thorough. Here at FAFB, our standard boat ads include unlimited photos and up to five videos; smaller boats can be listed with up to ten photos.

A good selection of shots can give buyers a sense of the overall condition of the boat and prevent timewasters at a later stage.

Set The Right Price

One of the biggest reasons we see here on FAFB for listings languishing on the market for long periods is an unrealistic selling price.

If you want to sell your boat, and certainly if you want to sell your boat fast, then you need to make sure that the asking price is competitive with other listings and that it reflects the age and condition of the vessel.

Other considerations for the value of your boat, include:

  • Upgrades
  • Maintenance Record
  • History
  • Location
  • Season

Some boat owners up the asking price because they will be including extra kit and equipment, maybe some trawl gear or GPS devices. Whatever it is, it is strongly recommended that you price these up separately to the boat itself and include this information in your listing detail instead.

The reason for doing this is so that potential buyers can browse listings on a like-for-like basis.

It is worth remembering that, on classified sites like FAFB, most buyers will use a search facility to set a maximum price of those boats they wish to view.

If you are struggling to come up with a price for selling your boat then you can always research what prices are being asked for across other listings. If in doubt, many sellers will use the ubiquitous term ‘POA’, or Price on Application. Whilst this means you can negotiate directly with any interested parties to determine your price, it can mean fewer enquiries.

List Your Boat For Sale

Listing your boat for sale on FAFB is pretty straightforward but does require you to have all of the following information to hand before you start:

  • Details of your boat
  • Pictures of your boat
  • Location of your boat
  • A method of payment for your advertisement

Though you can always go back to your advert once it has been placed to edit the details, it is worth spending time on the wording of your listing to give it the best chance of securing you a sale.

Complete as much detail requested via the online forms as you can including those important additional details such as:

  • Hull type
  • Length
  • Beam
  • Draft
  • License
  • Engine
  • Hydraulics
  • Electronics

Then comes the main body of your advertisement in which you can add any other information to entice potential buyers in.

Whilst some advertisers prefer to leave this section blank, the more detail you can add does seem to help boost your chances of a sale.

Common information to add here is the detail of any additional equipment included within the sale price of being offered separately for sale, reasons for sale and contact details.

Finally, accentuate the positive and important features of your boat first; try to remember why you bought the vessel in the first place and make your buyers see it through those eyes.

The Art of Promotion

Although sites like FAFB can reach a huge audience (currently achieving between five and six million page views each month), the world of social networking means that promoting your listing has never been easier.

Advertising your boat for sale as widely as possible gives you the best chance of reaching the right buyers who are prepared to meet your asking price.

Use any social media groups you are part of to share links to your FAFB listing.

Prepare Your Boat For a Quick Sale

If you have priced your boat competitively for a fast sale then you need to make sure you are ready for interested parties to view it.

As with your advertising listing, you need to make sure that the vessel will make a positive first impression. It is surprising just how many sellers take buyers around their boats without first tidying up. You may be selling a working boat but a general air of ‘abandonment’ above deck can raise the question of what hasn’t been maintained below deck.

Make sure that the engine and gear (where applicable) are all in good working order and that the boat is running well.

Have all the relevant paperwork to hand so you can answer any questions and show your buyer the evidence of warranties, licenses, maintenance records and any recent surveys.

Speaking of which, high ticket vessels can sell a lot quicker and for higher prices if you can produce a recent engine and structural survey report. This is not necessary in order to sell your boat but can certainly do a lot to give your buyers confidence.

Prepare Yourself

If your boat is priced well and your listing is enticing then you will get responses to your ad. Make sure you are disposed to handle enquiries and that you have answers ready for some of the most common questions and requests.

The most common thing that buyers ask is for more information about the condition of a boat. You should be honest and advise of any defects but try to be as positive as possible and certainly don’t bring these up first. You do need to disclose all the facts about your vessel but minor issues can seem much larger and can put people off if you rush in with this information first.

Despite how detailed your listing may be, you can always expect some buyers to ask questions that could be answered via your ad. Be patient, sometimes this is just to clarify or even to test sellers on the facts but can also be a result of someone not having the ad in front of them when they call. If they are serious about buying a boat like yours then you may be one of a number of sellers they are contacting that day.

Many potential buyers will ask for more photos…particularly if you have not included very many in your original listing. This is quite normal and allows them to really get a feel for the boat’s overall condition before taking the time to arrange a viewing.make sure you include plenty of pictures in your advert

Lastly, whether you have provided an email address or mobile number for contact, check that you have not made a typo here ,and make sure you check regularly for contact from buyers. Respond quickly to enquiries and try to be flexible when it comes to arranging a viewing; often people will have to travel quite long distances to reach you so it is easier if you can be accommodating rather than the other way around.

Selling Your Boat: Viewings, Negotiations & Making a Deal

Once you spoken to a potential buyer and arranged a viewing you should make sure that the boat is still looking it’s best (see ‘First Impressions Matter’, above).

When you conduct viewings with potential buyers and someone shows sufficient interest to make you an offer then it is common practice to take a cash deposit to secure the deal. When doing this, you should be prepared to take a banker’s draft, bank transfer or cash payment and be able to issue a receipt to confirm you have taken the sum as deposit.

Agree with your buyer when the balance is to be paid and arrange either delivery or collection of the vessel as per any agreements.

It is worth confirming these arrangements in writing, either via an email or via a signed document of sale. Certainly, if you are not including certain items of equipment or there are conditions attached to the sale then these should be documented.

Lastly, be prepared to negotiate with a buyer but always have a price in mind that you do not want to sell for less than. Some people are pretty shrewd at haggling and will be determined to make a saving against the asking price.

Advertising Your Boat with Find A Fishing Boat

FAFB is one of the largest classified directories for selling a fishing boat in the UK and Ireland . We received around five to six million page views per month with thousands of classifieds in dozens of categories. From commercial trawlers and netters and leisure boats, marine supplies and fishing gear we serve the community with a one-stop shop for all your new and used boats, equipment and services.


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