Fall can be a stressful time for boat owners. The weekends get colder as the season winds down, which means less time spent out on the lake and more time worrying about looming winter maintenance and storage costs.
Many owners take advantage of this time to sell their boats to shoppers looking for a deal before the next season starts; owners who want to upgrade to another boat can use the sale for a down payment, and owners who want to join a boat club will be able to put the sale proceeds toward membership.
Clean up your boat for an easier sale
The market often gets flooded with new and used boats for sale at the end of the season, so when choosing to sell then it’s important to make sure your boat is in great shape and be prepared for a quick sale.
A clean boat will always show better to potential buyers. Get every surface as spotless as you can, buff and shine the exterior, treat vinyl and leather seats, and vacuum the floor until all the debris and crumbs are gone. If you have accessories on the boat, take them off so that the boat looks like it just came off a showroom floor. Don’t forget to clean and detail the trailer too!
Keep buyers interested by maintaining your boat
Once the boat is cleaned up, make sure everything works. Charge the battery to ensure the engine starts up on the first try, otherwise potential buyers on a test drive may walk away without looking back. Maintain and clean the engine in case the potential buyer is a gearhead who wants to check it out.
Price your boat to create interest
Once your boat is looking shiny and new, you need to find a good price. It’s important not to price the boat too low or too high. Check out your boat’s value in a blue book, but also look at similar boats in newspaper classified sections, used boat dealers, and online buy/sell sites to get an idea of where yours should be priced to be competitive. Get a great photo of your boat and write some snappy, attention-getting copy to get potential viewers interested. The more of these services you use for listing the more interest your boat is going to have, so place your ad in as many good sources as you can.
Legal issues with boat sales
Once you find a buyer, there are a lot of legal requirements regarding a contract, registration, and insurance you need to get taken care of. A written contract must include any known major problems with the boat, as well as contact information for the buyer/seller and some basic information about the boat. Always make sure to keep receipts for down payments and balances. Requirements for contracts can vary by state, so it would be in your best interest to contact a lawyer who specializes in sales for advice. Check with your state’s DMV to learn more about how to transfer a registration, and check with your insurance company to find out how to cancel your insurance and get reimbursed for the rest of the contract.
Once your boat is sold, you’re free to explore the waters of a newer, bigger boat. If this process was too much of a headache for you, it’s worth pointing out that once you join a boat club you’ll never have to buy or sell a boat again!