In our past blogs we’ve looked at effective and powerful ways of selling a boat privately. From taking the best photos and videos of your boat to choosing the right price, there are many things you need to do to get it shipshape and lure in the buyers. You’ll want to give your boat a facelift (see our guide to increasing your boat’s value) and choose where and how you want to sell it. If you choose to go down the route of selling the boat yourself – as opposed to, or even alongside, using a broker – global selling sites such as Rightboat.com are the best place to sell a boat online, providing you with all the tools and an easy, intuitive and safe platform from which to do so.
Once your listing or local advert is live it’s time to wait for the first enquiries to come in. But it’s important at this stage to know what you’re going to say when they do make contact, and have all the information they might need to hand. After all buying a second hand boat is a big deal for most people and they will come armed with a whole host of enquiries.
Here we take a look at some questions prospective buyers might have and how best to answer them.
Be prepared, on the phone and via email
Even though you have created a thorough and detailed ad spec or listing, with all the facts and figures a buyer might need, you can be sure they will ask you all the same questions again on an initial enquiry. It is important to stay consistent with your advert, and it helps to have printed it out and have it to hand in case you get spur-of-the-moment phone calls. While emails allow you to think about your responses, phone calls can put you on the spot and it’s not always easy to have everything memorized.
It’s worth a quick note on ways your buyer can get in touch here. Both email addresses and phone numbers are good to offer your prospective buyers. Some people prefer phone calls as they get a better vibe about the person selling the boat and can have more of a chat, whilst others prefer to have everything written down so that they can refer back to it. It’s advisable to offer both forms of getting in touch and let your buyer decide. Using a selling site such as Rightboat.com allows for safe contact as all buyers are verified as genuine.
What condition is the boat in?
Hopefully your ad listing and dazzling photos and/or video will have already given a good insight into this, but you can be sure the question will be asked again. Be honest but positive, and begin by highlighting all of the boat’s best features rather than listing all the things that might need work. Talk about new items that you have installed on the boat and which are included in the price – everything from technology to soft furnishings – and how well it’s been looked after. Mention maintenance programmes you have kept to, including overwintering procedures, so the buyer knows you were serious about taking care of your boat.
Is there anything which needs replacing?
Of course your buyer also wants to know about anything which might not be perfect with the boat, and again it’s important to be honest here. They are likely to do a marine survey, so there’s no point hiding anything, as they will find out later down the line anyway. So make a list of anything major that you know needs attention, and if possible do some research so you can give them approximate costs on fixing them. Obviously it’s best if you can deal with issues before putting it for sale, but that’s not always feasible. Mention that the price reflects the works which need to be carried out.
Can I see some more photos?
Your advert or listing should show your boat off to its best with plenty of well-taken, high resolution photos and even a video. However, having a back-up selection to hand means you’ll be able to email them to the prospective client immediately. Take photos of anything which you may have mentioned needs attention too – areas of rust, wiring which requires replacing for example - although don’t post those on your initial listing and wait to be asked for them. Having them prepared means you won’t have to go back to your boat and take them, thus delaying the sale process.
Has the boat been used in fresh or salt water?
This question may be obvious from the listing based on what type of boat it is or where it’s moored. However, there may be instances when it’s not immediately apparent - a towable boat such as a RIB or Jon boat for example – in a region where both coastal and inland boating are possible. If it has been used in both conditions make a fair judgment on where it has been used most.
Are you the original owner?
Prospective buyers want to know a boat’s history and get as much information as they can. Take time to make a folder of selling your boat paperwork which could include warranties, works completed and of course any paperwork pertaining to your purchase of the boat if you weren’t the original owner.
Can you arrange delivery?
If the buyer isn’t local, they may ask about the possibility of delivery options. Do some research beforehand and find out about what opportunities there are for transporting your boat so that you can either offer to arrange delivery for an additional fee, or provide the buyer with the information they would need to arrange it themselves.
Are you flexible on the price?
This is always the tricky question. On the one hand you don’t want to put a buyer off from the start by seeming inflexible, but on the other you don’t want them to think they can drive a hard bargain. In the early stages of enquiry it is perhaps best to say that the price is fair and competitive for the model, age and condition, but that should a marine survey flag up anything that hasn’t been known or disclosed then you would be open to negotiations. See our guide to negotiating the best deal.
Which payment methods will you accept?
Be wary of this question if it comes up very early in an enquiry as it may be a scam. Most discussions about payment will come up after a boat has been viewed, surveyed and a price agreed.
Remember that you too can ask questions of a prospective buyer which might in turn help you sell it to them. If you ask what they hope to use the boat for and discover that they have older children who are particularly into water sports for example, you could then explain how your family used it for water skiing during school holidays and on weekends. This might be something which wasn’t mentioned on the initial advert and makes it more appealing to them. You could even send them photos of you using it in a similar way to how they hope to.
Selling a boat privately
With a little bit of organization and planning, selling a boat privately can be a straightforward and rewarding activity, and save you money in broker commissions. Remember to remain polite and business-like, be patient with repeat questions, and encourage a prospective buyer to come and see the boat for themselves. Rightboat.com is one of the leading boat selling platforms in the world, with thousands of verified buyers actively looking for their next dream boat. Who knows, perhaps it’s yours?
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