How to Prep Your Boat to Sell it Quickly

So, you want to put your boat on the market and sell it in a hurry? You are wondering what’s the easiest way to get cash for my boat? Whether you need cash for your boat now or you’ve simply made the decision to sell it, we’ll explain what you can do to prep your boat for a quick sell. 

Keep reading and you will also discover the secret to a simple, fast and uncomplicated method of selling your boat that you may not have even considered.

Maintenance and Service

Do you hate the feeling of being on the receiving end of a bait and switch tactic? Of course you do, and news flash: your prospective boat buyers feel the same way. If you are selling your boat because you just don’t use it, that’s fine – just don’t allow the boat to look (and run) like it has spent years languishing dockside.

If your boat is advertised as “runs great,” then the boat should in fact run great. How do you keep it that way? Ensure all major (and minor) maintenance is done and all services are up to date.

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No one wants to buy a boat with problems so pay attention to detail. Fix the little things like the sticking shifter and that locker latch that never works right. Most buyers want to buy a turn-key boat. They want to buy knowing they can jump right in and go.

ServiceHow to Prep Your Boat to Sell it Quickly

What’s one of the easiest ways to showcase your meticulous care for the boat? Documented timely oil services. Oil service that was conducted 2-3 months ago will go a lot further than that which was done 2-3 seasons ago. From a prospective buyer’s viewpoint, if you are up to date on the oil service, you are most likely on top of everything else and that makes you someone they would rather buy from.

Keeping a service log is very important. Consider this example:

If you’re selling the boat because you simply don’t have time for recreational boating in this stage of your life, that is a totally respectable reason. In this instance, one of your main selling points may be that your boat has low hours on it.

A low hours boat is a great find. Showcase the low hours by referring potential buyers to the Hobbs hour meter. The Hobbs combined with your service records should reveal a couple things. First, that you don’t have time to use your boat. Second, that although you may not have time for boating, you are on top of the service and maintenance. This you can note and explain by the low time your boat has logged in between its annual services.

First Impressions

This can be a touchy subject, but it really must be addressed. No matter how great you think your boat is, if your potential buyers get a sour first impression, it will be hard to change their opinions.

Be aware that the offending factor may be something you don’t even anticipate, so take a step back and assess which potential offenses you may need to fix prior to showing the boat.

The Marina

If your boat is in a slip, consider moving your boat to a different marina if:

  • The marina you are at will not allow signage
  • The marina you are at does not have much traffic (pedestrian and boat). Who’s going to be able to see it?
  • The marina you are at has a lot of derelict boats or those with the infamous blue polypropylene tarps covering those leaky roofs that owners never get to.

The BoatHow To Sell My Boat Quickly

Walk up to your boat and view it as if for the first time. What do you notice?

  • Are your dock lines flemished? 
  • Is the boat washed and cleaned? Was it recently waxed? Everything should be looking ship-shape (pardon the cliché) for that initial impression.
  • If your garden hose and electrical are attached, do they look new or are they old and ratty? If they are old, replace them or simply stow them away from the boat.
  • Does your bottom need cleaning? Have a diver clean the bottom and check your zincs. Replace them if necessary.
  • Open up the boat and step inside. What do you smell?  If you said it smells of bilge water, wrong answer. Bilgy boats are leaky boats – a big red flag. Fix the leaks and get rid of that smell.
  • Water stains: If your boat shows water stains on the bottom of some of those interior ports, windows and bulkheads, that’s another red flag. Get the leaks dealt with.
  • Remove all your personal effects. Just like an open house, have surfaces and lockers clean of anything that does not go with the boat. This means clothing, photos, and yes, the “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere” sign.

The Boat Trailer

  • If your boat is on a trailer, inflate those tires. Nothing says neglect like half-flat tires (or half-full tires for those optimists out there) paired with last year’s registration sticker on the license plate.

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You (Yes, you.)

  • Don’t smell bilgy. In other words, don’t work on the boat the day you are showing it. You want to be casual, clean and ready to put a deal together. Putting out last minute fires such as mopping up your bilge while breaking out air fresheners from the auto parts store will not exactly be the look (and smell) you are going for. You do not want to come across you’re your boat has maintenance issues.
  • Do not run the boat just prior to the showing. For seasoned boat owners and mechanics alike, touching an engine block that’s already warm screams that the seller was worried it may not have started when the buyer showed up, and if the owner was concerned, the buyer should be too. A cold start is the true sign of a sound engine and represents an owner that is on top of things. Do all your checks the week of or the week before showing it. That way you will have the confidence it will start, and you can own the situation like a pro.

Record Keeping

Have all your documents and service records in an easy-to-view folder, or better yet, have a dedicated binder complete with the boat name and tabbed sections.

One of these tabs should read “Documentation.” Place your USCG Doc and/or registration here. If you do not use a log book, name another tab “Maintenance” and show maintenance performed and the dates. Label another section “Service” and include service dates for oil, winterizations, etc. Have another tab or binder set up for all the how-to and owner’s manuals. This attention to detail says a lot about you as a person.

When all is said and done, who would you rather buy a boat from – the owner who shows you a binder with every service document neatly filed and in its place, or the owner with a crusty shoe box half filled with wadded receipts, service notes on sticky pads, and three folded papers, all of which are supposed to represent the last 10 years of service?

The Asking Price

A good boat that is overpriced won’t sell. Get on sites such as NADA, put your boat details in and see how the numbers line up compared to what you want to get for your boat. Use this as a loose guide only. Then check Yachtworld and see what others are asking for theirs.

Boats that are advertised for a long time are usually the ones that are overpriced and will continue to be advertised well into the next year. The take away here is that if you are ready to sell your boat fast, then price your boat aggressively and price it to sell. This means less cost to you down the road in the form of essentially everything associated with boat ownership.

Holding out for a couple thousand dollars while keeping your boat for another 6-12 months in a slip in addition to making boat and insurance payments may not make a whole lot of sense in the long run.

Advertising and Listings

Another thing you can do to try and sell your boat fast, is advertise everywhere. A quick internet search will net you the top sites. Many sites will charge you a nominal one time or monthly fee for their services.

As far as the most common free online listing sites are concerned, there are a lot of boat owners out there who constantly complain of all the low ballers, no shows and tire-kickers looking to score an absolute steal. This usually leads to a great deal of wasted time and added frustration on the part of the seller.

Here’s the thing – you can take your time and work through the hassles yourself or take advantage of:

The Quicker, Easier Wholesale Option

Does doing the steps above seems like a huge undertaking? Do you simply not have the time to do it correctly?

There is another option – the wholesale option.

At Cash In My Boat, we buy boats and can help take all the headache out of selling yours. We buy boats from all 50 states plus Canada and our 3-step process is simple and fast.

Start now by submitting information on your boat. Then, if we issue you an offer, review and accept the offer. The last step is for us to close the deal fast and pick your boat up for free at its current location. If you’d like to learn more about selling your boat to us or you just have a few questions before getting started, feel free to call us at 1-833-227-4461.

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