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Selling Your Boat Privately? Don't Forget...

There are many positives of selling your boat in this way. Firstly, no one knows the boat better than the owner, so you can give a realistic and honest overview of the vessel. Secondly, by selling privately, there are far fewer costs involved. It's free to post an ad on Vivaboats and there are no middle men involved that need paying. Thirdly, and most importantly to some, the turn around time of advertising the boat and actually selling, is generally a lot quicker, providing that the price is right for your buyers.
 
If you're keen to sell your boat privately, ensure you follow these easy steps:
 
PLACE AN AD
 
With the rise of the internet in the last 20 years, online classified sites such as Vivaboats are often a first call for potential boat buyers. 70% of boat buying is now said to start with an internet search, so it's a great place to get exposure to your boat.
We advertise over 35,000 boats for sale and users can easily search by boat type, location and price which makes finding your ideal boat an easy and intuitive process.
 
These may seem like obvious tips, but spend time writing a high quality advert and taking well lit, clear resolution photographs. It's worth borrowing or hiring a decent camera if you don't have one yourself or even paying a friend or professional to help you take some snaps if you don't have a steady hand. Photos are the potential buyers first impression of the boat and badly taken photos can quickly encourage loss of interest.
Remember that the aim of an online ad is to encourage the reader to call you and ask for more information and a potential viewing. We always say that the best way of doing this is to paint a picture of a day on the water. Try and get the buyer to imagine themselves spending a day on the boat and this will spark their interest.
 
After writing your ad text and uploading photos, you will be prompted to set an asking price. It's important you research what you can expect as a realistic price for your boat. This knowledge comes easily from spending a little time educating yourself on the boat market. Browse all of the classified sites on the internet and maybe even buy a few publications or magazines.
Check out our own boat listings and see what other vessels are going for within the same bracket. Every boat has a guide price dependant on make, model and age. Variables that come into play that can alter the text include condition and extra features etc.
Remember, there are also other factors that could make your boat slightly less valuable to nearby customers, such as which season it is, the location you are based in and of course, the other similar boats in your area.
 
Some of our top tips are to sell at the start of the boating season. Boats that are listed in late March or early April will get a lot more interest in boats that are advertised in December.
Also consider adding 'Or best offer' after the asking price to demonstrate to buyers that you are slightly flexible on price. Research shows that people are more drawn to ads where they feel they could be getting a bargain and where the price is slightly negotiable. 
 
Many complaints of selling privately that we've heard over the years is that you often run into 'time wasters'.  This unfortunately is inevitable and brokers get this a lot more than you can expect to.
All you can do here is remember that the selling of a boat is a two way process and you can ask the potential buyer questions too to gage their integrity:
 
  •  What's their budget? 
  •  If they require finance, have they looked into a marine mortgage yet?
  •  Have they considered insurance and possibly a marine survey?
  •  What is their boating experience and previous boat ownership history?
SHOW THE BOAT OFF
 
Once you've placed a great ad, with fantastic photos and you've spoken to a keen buyer on the phone, you will need to invite them to view the boat.
It goes without saying that you should certainly ensure that the boat is clean before the viewer meets you and get rid of any unnecessary clutter that won't be included in the sale of the boat.
 
Have all of the relevant paperwork ready to prove that you own the boat, such as the original bill of sale, the registration certificate you received when you bought it and the transcript of the registry.
 
Unless you are selling a very low value boat, it's common practise for the potential buyer to take the boat out on water to test it before buying, commonly known as a sea trial.
The owner of the vessel should always be present on the boat during a sea trial and is conducted so that the buyer can see for themselves the seaworthiness of the item they're buying.
If you haven't used your boat for a while, perhaps after winterization, we suggest you take it out before hand too to check for yourself that everything is working.
During the sea trial be sure to keep additional passengers to a minimum and also offer the potential buyer the opportunity to steer.
 
SEAL THE DEAL
 
Assuming that the viewing of the boat and optional sea trial has gone well, you would hope that the buyer makes you an offer.
Firstly, don't be embarrassed to barter over the price. As we mentioned earlier, you should have set the price slightly higher than the rock bottom price you will accept, so you have a little leeway to play with. It's important you don't agree to sell for a price too low, but likewise don't risk losing the sale over a small sum of money and be stubborn in the process. 
 
Once you have agreed upon a price, ensure the necessary paperwork is exchanged to seal the deal. Also remember to cancel your insurance once you've sold the boat.
 
It goes without saying but remain vigilant of internet scams and never sell to anyone over the internet that you haven't yet met. Don't let anyone take the boat away until you've been paid in full and be sure to let cheques clear before they take the boat away.
 
So that you have a smooth transaction when you sell the next boat that you buy:
  •  Cover your new boat up when you're not using it
  •  Follow the proper manufacturers instructions on winterization
  •  Rinse appropriate items that have been in contact with salt water
  •  Safely store away maintenance paperwork
  •  Wash the boat regularly and wax if necessary

Advertise my boat on Vivaboats for free today

photo credit: Oct 22/10 Hamburg boat in Flensburg via photopin (license)