When it comes time to sell your yacht, a little investment of time and energy upfront can make a big difference on your bottom line. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when preparing your yacht for sale.
First impressions are crucial — Remember to look at your yacht through the eyes of a prospective buyer. The first few minutes spent onboard are the ones that tend to make the most lasting impression, remember buyers are likely looking at multiple listings. How can you make yours stand out? Make sure the decks are scrubbed and completely free of unused lines and other deck equipment. A fresh polish and wax job can take years off a boat’s real age and make it shine like new. Paint and varnish touch-ups, polishing the brightwork, and detailing the engine room will go a long way to creating a lasting overall impression. The goal is to make your yacht appear to be very lightly used even though it may have been well-loved for years. A modest amount of time and resources invested in pre-sale maintenance can return thousands in resale value.
One extremely important step you can take in preparing your boat for sale is to ensure that all mechanical systems are in good working order and that all maintenance and service requirements are up to date. Make sure the engines start easily, the batteries are serviceable, the engine oil is clean, and the electronics are in good working order. Because the boat will be hauled for inspection, have the bottom cleaned/painted and zinc anodes replaced in advance.
Buyers, or more accurately, their representative surveyors, will find problems with your boat. That is what they are paid to do. Try to ensure these problems are minor, and the survey deficiency report is short. This will facilitate a quicker more efficient closing and a higher negotiated closing price. You want the buyer to feel assured that he or she is stepping onboard a truly turn-key yacht, where they will not have any need for major work and additional expenses for some time to come. For example, if your diesel engines are nearing the 1000-hour service schedule, have the work done before you put the boat on the market. Yes, it may be costly, but buyers don’t want to have to face this kind of expense on a newly purchased boat.
Again, it’s important to always keep the buyer in mind. A buyer wants a clean slate upon which they can start to envision their own personal touches. Remove all personal belongings including family pictures, wall hangings, galley appliances, etc. Make sure closets, drawers, cabinet spaces, lockers and storage compartments are empty and clean, and that sinks, showers, heads and counters are spotless and sparkling. Carpet and drapery should be cleaned or replaced if worn out and all beds should be made to perfection. Make sure the boat has no unpleasant or strong odors before showing.
Finally, before showing your boat, be sure to remove everything that will not be included in the sale, no matter how small. We’ve seen more than a few deals turn sour in the final stages over debating who gets the piece of art in one of the guest cabins, or who owns the binoculars in the wheelhouse.
Supplying an owner’s operations manual along with documentation of upgrades, inventory of spare parts, warranty information, all factory supplied systems and equipment manuals, and plumbing and wiring schematics in an organized format is vital to give a buyer the confidence in their purchase decision.
Maintenance and service records are a great sales tool — the more information you can provide about your boat’s service history, the better. A well-loved, well-maintained boat may sell on its own, but comprehensive maintenance records will give a buyer the peace of mind he or she needs to feel confident making an offer on your boat.
Also, keeping titles, registrations, and certificates organized in a binder, close at hand, is always a good practice, but especially during a sale will help prevent any delays when it’s time to close.
Once all the hard work and preparations have been done and your yacht is looking as good as the day you bought it, it’s time to decide where to position her. No matter what preparations you’ve completed to ensure she makes a great first impression, having your boat in a location that’s difficult to reach or a marina/shipyard that is run down just to save a few dollars on slip rental may render all your hard work meaningless.
Locating your boat in South Florida at one of the many full-service marinas with luxury amenities and top-shelf facilities will give buyers an experience of what it will be like to board their new yacht in a fabulous destination. It will also facilitate ease of boarding and optimize the flow of traffic through the boat. Making any of these steps more difficult by hiding your boat in a hard-to-reach location will dramatically reduce your base of potential buyers.