Southwest Florida Yachts


Boat Buying/Selling Tips: Part 1
By Barb Hansen
January 2013

If 2013 means a boat acquisition or sale for you, I would like to share some tips that we have found helpful and useful for our brokerage clients over the years. We’ll look at this transaction from the both the seller and buyers’ sides.

Many people do not realize that in addition to our Yacht Charter Company, Sailing School and Power Boating School, Vic and I are also licensed Yacht Brokers. In nearly 30 years of assisting customers with buying and selling boats, we have seen almost everything.

If you plan to sell your boat, here are some suggestions for you:

  • Recognize there are three prices – the seller’s price, the buyer’s and the real price or fair market value. Circumstances may dictate other factors, but these three are always present to be sure.

  • Be sure to maintain the vessel while it is for sale. It should be clean and inviting. Just because you want to sell the boat does not mean you should forget about it. Consider hiring a professional detailer to get the boat in “show” condition.

  • Vessels in service are better to show and survey. Boats that are hauled out in the boat yard or shrink-wrapped will be more difficult to show. Therefore, they will be slow to sell. Having the boat in the water and “ready to go” makes a good impression.

  • Personal items and equipment not being sold with the boat must be removed from the vessel. Also, remove all clutter from the boat.

  • Non-working equipment is a liability. Fix it or have it removed from the vessel. Be honest with your Broker about anything that is not working properly.

  • All safety equipment should be serviceable, updated and certified as required. (Be sure to check those flares in the back of the locker!)

  • A competent captain is a must for sea trials. While the Seller is responsible for providing the Captain, the Seller should not be the Skipper. An independent and professional Captain is your best option.

  • The vessel’s bilge should be clean. A nicely painted bilge is not necessary, but is certainly a plus. A clean bilge will go a long way toward making the boat smell clean. Be sure to treat all mildew, oil and head smells properly. A good-smelling boat will be much more welcoming to a potential buyer.

  • Don’t paint over everything, especially in the engine room. Even new paint will not cover up problems with the boat. Address the problem at the source.

  • If the engine (s) is/are claimed to be re-built, it must be logged and certified.

  • The Seller should not be involved in the process, especially if he or she is personally attached to the vessel. Have a professional Broker handle the sale.

If your plans for the year include a vessel purchase, here are some questions we ask prospective buyers who engage our services:

  • What is your budget range for your vessel?

  • What type of sailing or power yacht are you looking for?

  • What boating experience do you have?

  • What are your mechanical and maintenance abilities?

  • Where do you plan to use your boat?

  • Are you planning to go offshore? If so, where?

  • Do you prefer single or twin engine power? Gas or diesel?

  • What length or range of length are you seeking in your vessel?

  • How about accommodations: number of cabins and berths?

  • What are “must have” features on your vessel?

  • Do you have a design preference?

  • Is your financing in order or do you wish the assistance of your broker?

  • By the way, there is no such thing as a “real deal” on a boat. You get what you pay for! Either you pay the money up front for a nice, clean vessel or you buy one that “needs work” and you write checks for the repairs later.

In Part II of our series, next month we will discuss the benefits of using a Yacht Broker. We highly recommend a broker for sales and purchases of boats 30 feet or larger. Whether you are buying or selling a vessel, a good broker can be a life saver and can actually save you both money and headaches.

We will wrap up our series in March. Part III will walk you through the actual buying or selling process, including how to make the “paper shuffle” go smoothly. Forgetting one small detail can delay a closing by days or even weeks. Be prepared.

Over the years we have had the opportunity to work closely with many yacht buyers and sellers. We have found that the tips listed here have been very helpful in keeping the waters calm during a process that can become “stormy.”

Click here to visit out Sailing School website!

Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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