You are ready to sell your yacht and you want to do it right, quickly with the least hassle possible. 

The best way to avoid a bumpy path fraught with difficulties is to be clearly informed and advised. 

What are the main steps prior to putting your boat for sale ?

Example of Ivanka‘s living room for sale

1- Prepare your boat: deep cleaning; repairing of minor cosmetic problems; fixing of defective/broken equipment; removing of all your gear and equipment that does not come with the yacht, prepare all the documentation relating to the boat (boat service records, technical specifications, any invoices and guarantees to pass on to the next owner etc.). 

2- Make high-quality photos and videos shoot : image is the first act of communication

3- Set the right price : How much is your boat worth? determining your boat’s value depends on several factors and not just the size, age, and model. It requires a sophisticated knowledge of the nautical market and  an extensive experience. 

4- Last but not least: if you don’t have the time and the knowledge to sell a yacht on your own, we strongly advise you to get the expertise of a yacht broker. More information in this regard, further down. 

How long does it take to sell a yacht? 

There is no standard answer to this question. It all depends on the trend of the market at a specific moment and how efficient and active you, or your yacht broker, will be to find a potential buyer. However, if we look at the statistics,  it varies from around eight months for boats 26’ to 35’  to almost 12 months for a boat 46’ to 55’, it can be several years for yachts over 60ft and much less for popular models.

Thus, what to do to sell a boat quickly ?  Among the major answers to this question,  listed in the previous section above, the top one is undoubtedly  the price or more precisely: fixing the right price.

For indeed, setting the right price,  the one that reflects the current market rates and the actual value of your boat itself, makes a significant difference to how long your yacht will take to sell.

Plus, “time is money” has never been so true. If your boat sits on the marketplace for several months, it will need regular cleanings, some unavoidable mechanical maintenance, not mentioning the costs of moorings, insurance etc.

READ ALSO : Buying a Yacht : The Frequently Asked Question

Sell your yacht at the right time 

Some may say that the beginning of the boating season would be the best time to try to sell a yacht. Others would claim that spring is the best, as it gets warmer. 

Some statistics show that from February to April, you have many boat buyers looking for a vessel for the spring and summer seasons. To be noted also that fall could be a good season from a financial perspective to avoid a full winter of expenses. Plus, there are some other factors to consider: your boat is based in an area with a year-round boating season ? You are planning to move your yacht to a warmer climate to sell it ? Or maybe you are in the process of purchasing another yacht and you do not want to pay carrying fees for both ? 

5 important steps to get your boat ready for sale

Make a complete and detailed listing of your boat

To sell your boat you must prepare a complete description as detailed as possible as well as a listing of the available options that you are selling with her. Gather documentation and pictures and get them ready for your potential buyer. 

Your broker can also help you make a complete listing and make sure to communicate it to the right customer.

Make sure technical maintenance is well documented

There are a few basic points to check to help in the sale process among which :

  • Boat’s key systems
  • Mechanical, electrical, and navigation systems
  • Cabin lights, navigation lights, window latches, water taps, etc
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration systems 
  • Engine
  • Sails
  • Belts, Cables & Hoses
  • Fluid Levels
  • Propellers & Hulls
  • Safety Gear

Get the boat ready for buyer visit  

Visitors-buyers need to be able to envision themselves as the owner of the boat, thus showing your yacht at her best will be a good selling point.

Remove all your personal belongings and any gear which are not for sale. Taking off your personal items does not mean turning the boat into an empty shell. Staging is one golden rule! Add fruit baskets, bouquet of flowers, decorative pillows, fresh bedding, and towels etc. Making a good first impression can make a difference and staging has become an integral part of the selling process.

You obviously will have to remove any options you don’t want to sell (extra sail, the brand-new dinghy etc..) to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding with the future buyer. 

Get the paperwork ready for the yacht sale

First things first when you are selling your boat: get the paperwork in order and get everything ready ahead of time so that the final sale is not held up. 

What are the usual required documents ? 

  • Bill of Sale: it is a document that outlines the terms of a transaction between a private seller and a buyer and legally transfers the ownership. It should include a description and hull identification number, purchase date, price, and the signature of both the buyer and the seller. 
  • Warranty Documentation, a proof that there are no outstanding claims against the boat. 
  • Maintenance papers: the detailed records of your annual maintenance.
  • Proof of Compliance with The RCD (Recreational Craft Directive): check if your boat needs to be RCD compliant. RCD is a European directive which certifies your boat’s eligibility for sale and use in Europe. It may take some research to set a clear line of action on the matter, so it could be a good idea to talk to a consultant.
  • VAT Invoice Receipt
  • Guarantees: important guarantees that you should prepare and pass on to the next owner
  • Boat Registration document
  • Technical specifications.
  • Insurance certificate

After the sale: don’t forget to cancel your insurance but do it once funds have cleared and the deal is completed.

Pre-purchase yacht inspection

A boat pre-purchase inspection by a professional marine surveyor is a must. Not only will it inform you of the overall condition of your boat, but it will also help to establish its value and avoid any potential conflicts with the boat buyer.

You will be given a written report that includes descriptions of the boat and the onboard systems along with conditions of the vessel and current operational state of the equipment. Last but not least, many buyers are ready to make an offer exclusively if the boat went through this inspection.

Get ready to negotiate 

Negotiation is a part of normal everyday life. In fact, experts on the subject even say that life, itself, is just one continuous negotiation. One thing is sure, negotiation is an inseparable part of a boat buying and selling process !

4 main points boat buyers usually negotiate:

-The global price when comparing the boat to cheaper units on the market. 

-The cost of repairs to be done, highlighted in the pre-purchase survey.

– Accessories included in the price the buyer does not want and ask to have them removed to lower the price accordingly.

– Free-of-charge extras  like, for example,  hard standing storage if the seller has paid for winter storage in advance, transport (bring the boat to where the buyer would like it kept) etc. To be noted that these “extras” are a subject usually consigned at the end of the negotiation when the seller does not want to drop the price any further.

Register the sale of your yacht

Make sure you have done all the necessary paperwork to register the sale with the appropriate authorities.

Simplify the process and work with a professional 

You can try and sell your yacht by yourself if you have an excellent working knowledge of the nautical market, communications skills including the latest trends in this field, potential clients’ networks,  negotiation and sale process expertise, financial transactions management experience and, last but not least, plenty of time!

None of these skills should be lacking. In this sale process chain,  the weakest link determines the strength of the whole!

If you want it done right use a professional 

As we have seen, selling a boat can be a daunting and time-consuming process. WI yachts has over 23 years of yachting industry experience and will manage for you the whole process from beginning to end while keeping your best interests in mind. 

  • Advise you of the little investment to do to make sure your yacht  is appealing to buyers
  • Set a fair market price 
  • Develop an advertising strategy tailored to your boat 
  • Advertise : thanks to our connections, networks and expertise WI delivers a large and relevant audience of potential buyers. Targeted exposure is our biggest strength.
  • prescreen the responses 
  • show your boat to prospective buyers / arrange sea trials.
  • negotiate the selling price 
  • arrange pre-purchase inspection survey
  • prepare all the necessary paperwork and legality : sales agreements, certificate of Ownership, registration, title transfer etc.
  • coordinate the closing process and transfer the funds to the seller.
  • arrange boat delivery
  • Last but not least: we remove emotion from the transaction, the one the seller usually has when trying to sell his boat by himself! We go straight to the point with just one single goal: find the best buyer. 

And now you sold your yacht, you are ready to start looking at your future yacht …

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