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How to Price Your Boat for Sale?

It’s time to sell your beloved boat. With a growing family, improving sailing skills, or plans to retire and sail around the world you might be looking to upgrade and buy something bigger or more fit for purpose. You’ve done everything to prepare your boat for sale, ensuring maintenance schedules are up to date, it is sparkling clean and tidy and you’ve taken some beautiful photos to showcase it to its fullest. The next step however is the most crucial, and the one that will make or break the sale of your boat: setting the sale price.

Whether you decide to sell your boat by yourself using boat selling platforms such as Rightboat.com which reach tens of thousands of prospective buyers, or whether you choose to use a broker to list it for you, you will actively be involved in pricing your boat. Getting that right starting price is a difficult balance to find; ask too much and you will put people off enquiring for further information or wanting to view it, ask too little, and not only are you doing yourself out of money, but prospective buyers will wonder what’s wrong with it. Ultimately, when pricing your boat for sale, there is one golden rule to remember: you can ask as much as you want for your boat, but it is only worth what the current market supports i.e. what others have paid for similar yachts. 

Here we’ll take a look at how much should you sell your boat for:

Do Your Research on the Competition

This is your first and most important step to pricing your boat for sale. While you might have an idea of what you would like to get for your boat, the market dictates the real price someone will pay, and as we’ve seen, that is determined by what people have paid for similar boats. So start researching and doing objective comparisons. Websites such as Rightboat.com and others are the best places to find hundreds of similar boats for sale. 

Sometimes it is easy to compare, with many of the same model and year of manufacture available. If so, then focus on the maintenance and see how your boat stands up alongside the competition. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you try and shoe-horn your boat into categories where it doesn’t fit so try to stay dispassionate and unemotional, as hard as that can be. Bear in mind too that how the boat was used will affect the price, for example, was it used in salt or freshwater? Make a list of everything your boat has, from equipment to maintenance, and check things off against other boats listed for sale. 

The boat’s location too is an important and often forgotten factor. If it is in an inaccessible harbour, or in a more remote region with fewer prospective buyers, your price will need to take that into account. Locations, where demand is higher, will have a more positive effect on your price, so you might want to consider moving your boat before selling. 

Once you’ve narrowed down several similar boats, then you’ll start to get a rough sale price based on what they’re on the market for. But here’s the catch: How long have they been on the market? While you might be tempted to use the boats you see listed as a guide for pricing yours, consider that those which sell quickly (that you aren’t necessarily seeing) might have been priced much lower. The ones which are over-priced could be up for sale for a long time. While this isn’t always the case, the advice here is not to use the highest priced similar boat to base your guide price on. 


Know What the Minimum Price you would accept is

While we’ve said that the market dictates the price your boat will sell for, there is also a value under which it is not viable or desirable to sell your boat for and that’s a figure you have to factor in. Consider how much of your marine mortgage you still need to pay off, how much you need as a down payment for your next boat, and any other costs involved. This will give you a rock bottom price you’re willing to sell your boat for. 


Leave the Emotions Behind and be Objective 

You have loved and cared for your boat for years, creating unforgettable memories and spending good money to keep it in tip-top condition. It is understandable that emotions will play a role in pricing your boat – after all, there must be someone out there who will fall in love with it as much as you – but try your best to remain objective. 

Of course, keeping your boat in good condition and spending money on the maintenance does affect the selling price, and will put your boat in the higher bracket of similar models. Expecting the price to rise however is unrealistic and will set you up for a long and difficult sale process. Boats fall somewhere in between houses that appreciate in value, and cars that drastically depreciate in value. Boats tend to depreciate, but not at the same rates as cars, making that sale price even more tricky to find. Add high-value items such as bow thrusters, stabilizers, low engine hours, or generators into the mix however and you could easily add value to your boat. 

Be Open Accept Offers

Every buyer wants to think they got a bargain, and so to make a quick and successful sale you must be willing to negotiate (check out our guide to negotiating to ensure you’re one step ahead). Adding ‘Or Best Offers’ or ‘Offers in the Region of’ to your boat listing invites more prospective buyers who will see you’re willing to discuss the final purchase price. Having said that, you don’t want to put yourself on the back foot and look desperate to sell, so set your price competitively (but not sky-high) and be willing to find some wiggle room. 


Listen to your Broker

There are many excellent platforms that allow private boat owners to sell their own boats, without the services of a yacht broker. With simple, easy-to-use software which allows you to upload information, photographs, and contact information, it has never been easier to reach thousands of prospective buyers. Having said that, brokers do know their industry like the backs of their hands and are extremely well-poised to help you value your boat correctly. 

Brokers also have another asset up their sleeve, and that’s access to databases that show exactly what boats have sold for and how quickly. So instead of using boats that are currently on the market, and therefore haven’t actually sold yet, they can tell you precisely what people are paying for a boat similar to yours. It’s always worth talking to a couple of brokers before choosing one, and while it’s tempting to go with the one which offers the highest price, consider other aspects such as their marketing plan, reach, and sales record. 

Selling your boat doesn’t have to be a long and stressful experience. With websites such as Rightboat.com and others offering intuitive platforms and a global audience, it has never been easier. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we are always at the end of the phone and happy to guide you, whether you’re buying a boat or selling a boat

You May Also Like...

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2. Why brokers should use boat-selling websites?

3. How to click and shoot to sell your boat fast?

4. How to help professional brokers to sell or list boats for sale and charter?

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

More from: Samantha Wilson

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