Pre-Sale Boat Prep: A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

Guide to selling your boat

When it comes to selling a used boat, first impressions are essential to attracting potential suitors. Just like selling a house, the boat must be properly “staged” in order to sell for a premium price. Boat owners looking to put their vessel on the market should ensure that their boat is in tip-top condition from bow to stern. A well-cared for boat will not only be more appealing to customers, it will help it sell faster and avoid potential repercussions from aggravated customers claiming they bought a so-called “lemon.” Here are some factors to consider when prepping your boat for sale.

Rev Your Engines

Your boat’s horsepower is one of the most vital—and expensive—features that buyers will surely pay attention to when giving your boat the once-over before making an offer. Likewise, you should thoroughly service your engine beforehand. Ensure that it is in overall good working order and has fresh oil and oil filters. Gas-powered engines should also be outfitted with clean carburetors that are calibrated to a proper idle setting. Meticulously clean your engine room including the bilge and operating bilge pump to give a ship-shape appearance to discerning customers.

Call the Pros

Unless you’re willing to let your boat go for a fire-sale price, you should address any major electrical or mechanical problems currently ailing your vessel. Regardless of whether you have any specific concerns in mind, it’s a good call to consult a trusted, certified marine technician or hire a marine surveyor to check your boat for any problems lurking below the surface. Overlooked mechanical issues can potentially ruin a solid sales opportunity if the buyer discovers them during the closing process.

Give the Exterior a Makeover

A clean exterior not only looks good to would-be buyers, it shows that you as the owner take proper care of the boat in all aspects—an encouraging signal in the marketing process. Give your boat a thorough wax and polish job so it’s at its glistening best when the buyer first lays eyes on it. It’s also worth considering to invest in a few minor inexpensive cosmetic repairs that could go a long way in tipping the scales in your favor when showing the boat to prospective buyers. Refurbishing torn canvases, broken canvas zippers, worn-out interior carpeting and damaged seating upholstery are relatively easy fixes that may make a considerable difference to a buyer’s perception of the overall condition and desirability of your boat. 

Kick Clutter to the Curb

Another significant selling point when it comes to closing boat sales are vessels that feature interior cabins with lots of storage space—and the more cluttered your cabin is, the smaller it looks to buyers. Do your best to eliminate any non-essential personal belongings to give your boat’s interior a more spacious visual effect. A neat and neutrally-styled boat interior provides a more inviting environment for potential customers and helps showcase additional features and amenities that might have otherwise been hidden or overlooked in an over-cluttered setting. Removing your personal effects will lessen possible distractions for buyers and more aptly enable them to imagine their future escapades in their future boat.

Showcase Add-Ons & Extras

Have you made significant improvements to your boat? Then highlight them to the buyer! Let buyers know that the boat is safe by prominently featuring well-kept personal flotation devices, up-to date fire extinguishers and distress signals, and first-aid kits. Show off any state-of-the-art electronics by providing them with a list of operating gear by date, manufacturer, and model. If you have an on-board galley, stage it with well-kept plates, bowls and mugs and make sure all appliances are clean. And last but not least, docking gear is almost always included in the final sale of used boats—if yours is well-maintained, it can make a significant impact on the selling price. New fenders and dock lines can cost hundreds of dollars, so it’s definitely worth at least cleaning them up with detergent and molding the ends of dock lines and then coiling them neatly to give a great appearance to the buyer.

Looking for some other ways to get more bang for your boat? Schedule an appointment with our service department to have our awesome team give your boat a once over! We’ll help you determine what is essential to upgrade before listing your boat for sale. Contact Christina Davidson to schedule your appointment today!

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