Selling a boat

by Adrian Waters

So the time has come to sell your boat, whatever the reason, with research and a bit of work you can achieve the best price for your boat.

When to sell

When to put your boat up for sale is important as the selling season starts in early spring through till October, so getting the boat ready as early as possible should give you an advantage in the marketplace. This also applies if you're looking to part exchange as it will give the dealer the maximum amount of time to sell it on. This however does mean trying to prepare the boat in the cold wet months of February and March, but it will make your boat stand out from others that are looking a bit grubby and tired.

Setting the price and where to sell your boat

The best way, unless you sell through a broker or trade it in, is to research current market prices, either in specialist magazines and publications or online. There are many sites devoted to advertising boats and some of the online magazines have a classified section. Also try to create a unique selling point for your craft by offering a package of extras that come with the boat within the sales price, this could make the boat more attractive to potential buyers than other similar boats on the market.

Preparing and checking the boat for sale

The most cost effective way to enhance your boats look is to give it a thorough clean and tidy up and should be kept at this standard for the duration that it is up for sale. Checking the operation of equipment, including secondary gear to be sold with the boat is a must; particularly the engine (it could be worth getting it serviced, as documentation will show the engine has been maintained).The next thing to look at is the replacement and refurbishment, within reason, of anything that either won't clean up or work properly, such as lights, lines, fenders and rigging and sails if applicable. Don't go overboard you won't be expected to renovate the whole lot, just make sure that anything that is going to be sold is in good working order and that you've done the best that you can to ensure that it is.

Inspections and boats paperwork

For inspections flexibility is key, the more time you can be available for viewing's and trials the greater chance you have that buyers will see your boat first and be taken with it before they see anything else. Also try to think of any questions and queries that potential buyers may have so that you can be prepared and confident to answer them. Having the appropriate paperwork compiled and to hand will help secure the best price, these should include, Declaration of Conformity (if built after June 16th 1998), the original sales invoice, this will show that the VAT has already been paid and if the buyer needs to raise finance for the purchase then the lender will need to see a copy of this, the boats operating manual, service history with invoices and any relevant licences that are current and not out of date.

Taking payment for your boat

When receiving payment try to limit the risk to yourself to a minimum by taking full contact details for the buyer and if possible checking a form of identification. Do not release your boat to the buyer until the funds have cleared and the money is in your account. Cash and banker's draft are generally accepted as the best along with CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) as forms of payment, again make absolutely sure that the money is safely with your bank or building society before handing over the boat and documentation to the purchaser. When this is done wish the new owner happy sailing and hope they have as much joy and fun as you had.

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