Presenting your Motor Yacht for Sale
Step 1. Next time you are out on your boat, jot down a list all of the reasons why you fell in love with the vessel and made the purchase – was it the price, the size of the rear deck, the galley layout, the number of cabins which suited your family at the time, the overall condition, the way it helps you relax etc etc.
Whatever the reasons, you are going to need to sell the boat (Figuratively) to your boat broker so he can subsequently convey this information throughout his marketing campaign and presentation to potential buyers.
Step 2. The old cliché ‘presentation is everything’ rings true for boats as it does in real estate, cars and planes, particularly when it comes to recreational (White) luxury motor yachts, but is it that easy?
Although it sounds simple enough, after twenty year in boat sales, it still surprises me to see how many sellers can’t grasp this concept! The way you present your boat for sale will not only impact on the buyer, but also the enthusiasm of your broker.
Remember, creating an exceptional first impression is critical but this is just a part of the whole sales process. Give a buyer an initial wow factor and they will mentally be more forgiving of any issues their surveyors may pick up during the pre purchase inspections. Leaving the buyer feeling cold when they first step aboard could see them negotiate harder on price, or simply walk away.
You may have a full mechanical service history and the engines could well be in top shape, but if the buyer pokes his head in the engine room to find the bilge is filthy and the insulation hanging from the ceiling, he will assume the engines have been maintained with the same disregard.
Sometimes you need a third party to come by and advise. Lets face it, I am no different in my own home, after a while you just don’t see things that seem like clutter to others. Fresh eyes offer a great, objective and unemotional perspective and an experienced marine broker is the perfect choice to give advice about the overall presentation of your, potentially beautiful boat.
In short, your motor yacht should present better when going to market than when you purchased it.
The below list represents bullet points to consider before offering your boat for sale:
- Remove exposed clutter from both inside and out, this includes personal items sitting on shelves, benches or decks.
- Clean out cupboards, remove the rancid sponge and rusty flyspray can from under the sink and then destain rust marks
left on shelves.
- Replace warn out or torn clear wind screens or covers, or simply remove them if practical.
- Hopefully you have had your boat polished regularly but regardless, ensure it is polished before it goes to market…and keep it clean with regular detailing while on the market.
- You may love fishing, but the smell of fish onboard and scales in the carpet will be offensive to most. Steam clean the carpets and remove stains. Replace if required.
- Make the interior look fresh and clean, not boring. Use conservative colours that appeal to the majority of people. Display homes and new boats are a good guide as a template for current trends.
- If your motor yacht has teak decks, remove stains, repair split boards and replace corking if required, brighten and seal.
- Clean the waterline to remove any algae.
- As the potential buyer of your boat will undoubtedly engage a surveyor, best you ask your mechanic for a full report prior to going to market so you can have repaired any mechanical issues before the buyer’s surveyor picks them up.
- Run the engines at full power under load for a few minutes to ensure they do not overheat. This is the first thing a mechanical surveyor will do on a pre purchase test run. 80% of vessels I have sold have overheating issues. This will delay and sometimes terminate a sale. Obviously if they do overheat, you will need to remedy the issue.
- Remove any obvious rust from the engines and touch up the paintwork. (This is often referred to as the Dulux rebuild) Rust is common around engine mounts and under raw water pumps. It may be only superficial, but it makes the engine look terrible!
- Ensure there are no toilet smells permeating through the cabins. This will hit your buyers as they enter the cabin and immediately turn them off. Remedy at the source. Often this can be as simple as replacing the vent filter.
- Compile a file with a history of mechanical maintenance. Leave this onboard for buyers and their mechanic to view.
- Maintain the antifouling and keep the hull clean so it will perform at its best and is ready for a test run at short notice.
Step 3: So, what are you selling with your boat?
Creating an inventory of everything you intend selling with your boat is important – the more detailed the better!
Basic safety gear is a given and should reflect the region the vessel is designed to operate within. i.e. EPIRB, PFD’s and offshore flare kit for use in local offshore waters. Anchor, fire extinguishers and working VHF or 27meg marine radio. All should be up to date and within their expiry period. Vessel registration should also be current as you cannot transfer ownership easily if the vessel is not registered.
If there are items onboard which do not operate correctly or at all, note this on the inventory and do not mention them in the advertising as a feature of the vessel. Better to leave them off everything.
Step 4: Proof of ownership
Be prepared to sign a statutory declaration declaring proof of ownership and encumbrances if they exist.
Of course, a positive customer impression doesn’t stop with the presentation of your boat, it’s just one part of the strategy to attract a buyer.
Why Use a Boat Broker?
Selling a luxury boat is a big financial transaction, so it’s worth considering using an expert. Even if you have the experience and the resources to ‘go it alone’, doing so can be expensive and extremely time-consuming, taking you away from your own core business or leisure time.
First and foremost, a boat broker is detached emotionally from the vessel and the transaction, therefore he can be objective throughout the selling/buying process. Imagine a buyer stepping onboard your boat and saying in front of you that they hate your choice of carpet?
Boat brokers sell motor yachts for a living on a daily basis and their wealth of experience can be invaluable. Additionally.
A survey of buyers indicated that they feel more comfortable buying through a broker because the broker is legally bound by the Trade Practises Act and also has a reputation to uphold for further and repeat business. A private buyer does not necessarily have those concerns.
A broker will:
- Often achieve a higher sale price
- Provide a realistic indication of the value of your motor yacht
- Organise, attend and record prospective buyers details and follow up accordingly
- Manage enquiries about your motor yacht and know how to qualify potential buyers
- Provide access to more potential buyers via their own prospect database
- Have an ever increasing bank of repeat buyers who continually looking to upgrade their boat.
- Handle sale negotiations on your behalf and strive to achieve the best possible result
- Advise on and coordinate the marketing of your motor yacht, including preparation of specification brochures and photography
- Prepare a professional advertising schedule designed to generate the most exposure for your motor yacht to attract the most potential buyers
- Prepare a Contract of Sale on Marine Brokers Institute legally prepared documents
- Provide guidance on conveyancing
- Carry out vessel handover orientation and skipper tuition
Selling privately may significantly reduce the number of buyers your motor yacht is exposed to. As an individual private sale, listing websites rarely have enough vessel stock to attract and retain serious buyers.
Choose your broker carefully – You don’t always get what you pay for.
Choosing a boat broker is one of the most important steps towards a successful sale. They’ll be doing all the hard work in your sale, from listing and marketing your boat, to negotiating sales and taking care of the legal aspects – all crucial to the success of your sale.
Think of choosing an broker as entering into a business partnership: because that’s exactly what it is – a partnership where both parties stand to gain from a successful result.
Don’t necessarily go for the broker who offers the lowest selling fee, this may show desperation in the salesperson or company and this also may reflect on how they present themselves to the buyer – desperate!
Experience comes with age and time, not necessarily in that order. A broker who has been in the industry for decades will obviously have more experience in certain areas than one who has only recently started out. Engage a company that looks outside the square, is innovative in their approach and dedicated to the sale of pre-loved motor yachts and not potentially distracted by the sale of new boats.
Pressuring your broker for a low commission rate may also backfire. The pot of gold at the close of the sale generally drives a salesperson. If you offer a success fee well below that being offered by other customers who have their boat listed for sale, then the broker may direct customer enquires to the vessel that will make them the most money, as a result, your vessel may end up sitting on the market forever!
There is a saying in the motor yacht broking industry….
‘List your boat for sale with everyone, list it with no one’.
List your vessel with everyone and you won’t get maximum effort from the broker as he may well have other vessels exclusively listed for sale where he is guaranteed a return and will naturally focus his efforts. Your exclusive broker will always conjunct with another broker if they have a potential buyer, so you are not necessarily going to miss out on capturing others in the market.
Marketing strategy is also critical and by this I don’t just mean the wording of the ad. Marketing strategy extends to the reputation of the broker, their advertising penetration into the market place and their actual success rate. Ask round. Some of the best people to ask are trades people from within the industry.
A large client database means nothing if your broker does not know how to use this to their advantage…and ultimately, your advantage. If you are not regularly receiving valuable communications from your broker, this is generally an indication that they are not communicating with anyone.
For more information about presenting your motor yacht for sale, please call me.
+61 409 620 336
Fremantle Western Australia