Whatever your reason for doing so, selling a boat can be tough. Not only do you have to account for depreciation, but you may also have to make repairs and wait for ages before someone approaches you about it. There are also plenty of mistakes you can unknowingly make that cause problems. Some of these issues make your boat less appealing, while others could land you in trouble once the transaction has taken place.
To make life a little easier, here are four mistakes to avoid when selling your boat:
Letting Your Boat Fall To Ruin
One of the first and most grave mistakes is not keeping your boat pristine. The last thing you want is a potential buyer to appear, see the boat, and ask, “When was the last time someone launched this thing?” Do not let the boat get dirty or damaged as it sits. Remove bird droppings from the exterior, as well as any dried foam or barnacles. Polish the deck. Swap out old, frayed lines with new rope. The hull should be buffed and waxed, too.
This isn’t just about the exterior, either. Give the same amount of attention to the interior. While the boat should not look like someone is still living inside it, the cabins and other living areas should be cleaned up. Any odd smells must also be dealt with before bringing potential buyers on board.
Not Pricing The Boat to Sell
If you seriously want to sell your boat, you have to account for depreciation, which happens almost immediately after purchase. Boats are not like Honda Civics, sadly. This means you need to price your boat for what it is going for, not what you think it should go for. Look at brokerage sites and ads. Compare the price of boats of similar make and model then price your boat accordingly. You can also visit the NADA site to calculate the loan value. Keep in mind that, when a boat sits on the market for too long, people start to ask questions.
You should also consider the time of the year when you sell your boat. If possible, wait until the spring or summer, when the boat-buying craze officially begins.
Now let’s move on to some legalities. Did you know you could accidentally give the buyer an unintended warranty? In some states, such as South Carolina, it was recognized as early as 1793 that implied warranties related to the soundness of a product are indeed warranties. In other words, it is not just manufacturer warranties that count. Warranties that are implied do not always have to be written down.
This can be an issue when you inadvertently assert something about the boat, such as the boat coming with a certain feature or that it can attain a certain speed while cruising. Since you, the seller, are telling the buyer that the vessel is in a specific condition, it may become an implied warranty. However, “sales puffing,” such as “the engine is going to run forever,” are not considered factual and therefore do not become express warranties.
So be careful what you promise a buyer and be sure to write everything down that would be covered by a warranty—yours or the manufacturers—down in a contract before selling. The other way around this would be to have a yacht broker handle the sale for you, as they know the ins and outs.
Not Disclosing Information About Defects
This is another situational issue that sometimes occurs when you know things that are wrong with the boat that may be overlooked during an inspection. Some examples include electrical issues, sinking, major collisions, or recurring defects that have been partially covered with repairs. You may think it’s fine to keep this knowledge of the boat’s condition to yourself, but that’s not correct.
As a seller, you are legally obligated to disclose any material defects and damages prior to the sale. Even if you sell the boat “as is” any non disclosed issues could bring about a legal dispute. The best policy for a smooth transaction is to be as transparent as possible. Make sure the buyer knows what they are getting and that all the information about the boat, including the defects, has been listed in writing.
Let Us Help You Sell Your Boat
There you have it—four mistakes that could make selling a boat way more stressful than intended. Make sure you are keeping your boat maintained and to be as transparent as possible about the vessel’s condition. Pricing your boat competitively, too, can attract more potential buyers.
If you have been struggling to get your boat sold, then it may also be time to consider partnering with the Yacht Brokers of Annapolis. Our experienced team has been helping boat owners like you buy and sell their vessels for many years. Give us a call or send us a message to learn more about how we can help.