Selling your boat is a multi-step process and one that can take time, patience and some knowhow. See our guide to Selling Your Boat to get the low down on brokers, surveys, sea trials, legislation and paperwork. However, before all of this can happen, there is one important first step; your boat needs to be looking its best.
First impressions are crucial to the sale of a boat in the same way they are for cars or houses, so dirt, clutter or signs of neglect can deter serious buyers or cause them to negotiate a lower price than your boat is worth. Put yourself ahead of the competition and spruce up your boat with our step-by-step plan.
Make Sure Everything Works, and Fix Anything That Doesn’t
Give your boat a thorough going over and change anything that is mechanically faulty. Replace broken lightbulbs, ensure the electrics are all in working order, make sure batteries are new or charged, replace rusty screws and make sure the pumps work. Check the sails and rigging, the bilge pumps, winches, taps, heads, generator, heating and lights. If something is loose or leaking, fix it. If something works but is showing signs of wear and tear then consider replacing it now. Not only does this create a more impressive and reassuring overall picture to a prospective buyer but it is cheaper to fix these things now (either yourself or by getting in a professional) than when they’re flagged up on the survey and the price is renegotiated.
Remove all Your Personal Items
While a buyer will be looking at the big picture, sometimes it’s hard to envisage the boat as theirs when it’s full of someone else’s cooking equipment, toiletries, tools and personal knickknacks. Take everything that isn’t going to be included on the inventory off the boat. Not only does it save any confusion down the line with what is and isn’t included in the sale price, but it will make the boat seem much bigger. Empty all interior lockers, on-deck lockers and storage spaces so that they seem spacious when inspected. Help prospective buyers imagine this as their next dream boat. You could even make up the beds to look more inviting.
Clean…Inside and Out
This is the part when you put some serious elbow grease into cleaning your boat inside and out. You are aiming for deep clean perfection here so take your time and pay attention to detail. Whether you get in professionals or do it yourself consider having the gel-coat polished, making sure brass and wood are polished and cleaned (and varnished if necessary), and even putting on a fresh coat of antifoul if the boat is on hard-standing. Ensure all drains are clear and there is no standing water on the decks. To clean thoroughly inside you will want to wash any carpets and upholstery and clean under cushions, scrub the galley, and clean out all the storage lockers and wardrobes. Open up the boat to let the fresh air blow through and get some fragrant air fresheners. Musty or unpleasant odours are a big deterrent to buyers.
Give the Engine Some TLC
Present a nice clean shiny engine or engine room to a prospective buyer. Start by removing any water in the bilge and then clean off any oil from the engine. Consider getting in a professional company who will steam clean the engine compartment and make it sparkle. It is a sound idea to get your engine serviced at this stage. It will be well-received by buyers when you can show a recent tip-top service record.
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