How much is your boat worth?

When you're trying to decide the price to sell your boat at, it's always worth doing what the buyers do, research the current market! This means browsing, looking through magazines like Boat Trader and noting at what prices Brokers, Dealers and private advertisers are selling your type of boat for. If time permits, carry out this research until you are happy you can spot the demand for your type of craft and whether they appear to be selling quickly.
Assessing your boat's market value
Trying to estimate a fair price for your boat that reflects the differences between boats you’ve seen advertised and your boat. Your boat may well be worth more than those that you've seen advertised, depending upon several factors.
Tip - See our Price guide to help you assess your boat's value.
Setting the selling price
Once you've carried out your research and made allowances for the items listed previously, you should have a good idea as to what your boat is worth. Then you need to decide the price to advertise your boat for sale.
If you decide to sell through a Broker, then you should make the price that you expect to receive for your boat and the reasons why clear from the beginning. They'll advise you as to whether they feel you're being realistic, optimistic or indeed pessimistic. Based upon their knowledge and experience you can then make an informed decision as to what price to advertise at.
On the other hand, if you are selling privately, you should aim to set your price just below a brokers price for an identical boat, leaving you room to negotiate with a potential buyer. However, if a sale is time sensitive, your price may need to be lowered as to entice buyers faster.
Selling with a Broker or Dealer
When you come to sell your boat, you do have a choice; whether to let a professional do it for you, by using a Boat Builder's Dealer or an independent Broker, or whether to handle the sale yourself. As always, there are upsides and downsides, whichever way you choose, it's more a question of knowing what they are and then deciding what best suits you.
The benefits
The benefit of using either a Dealer of a particular boat brand or an independent Broker is that they make the job of selling your boat comparatively easy and worry-free for you. They will manage the sale from beginning to end.
They'll deal with the advertising, sea or river trials, liaise and assist with surveyors, arrange any rectification work, assist with negotiations and deal with all the paperwork; they're usually insured for fraud, so you won't even have to worry about the credentials of the buyer. In some cases, they'll even berth or store your boat at their yard free of charge to enhance their display of boats for sale and make it easier for them to show potential buyers your boat. This can mean that you can save mooring fees or storage costs, whilst somebody else looks after your boat! It can also mean that once you've handed over your boat to the Broker or Dealer, you'll probably never see your once pride and joy again.
Cost of using a Broker or Dealer
Typically a Broker or Dealer will charge a sales commission of between 6%-10% of your boat's eventual selling price, plus VAT. The percentage charged principally depends upon your boat's value; the lower the boat value, the higher the percentage charged. But as a guide, for every £1,000 that your boat ultimately sells for, you can expect to pay between £70 and £120 per £1,000.
In addition to this, you may incur charges for storage, cleaning, maintenance, a contribution towards advertising, sea or river trials (if only the fuel, but possibly the cost of a skipper) as well as underwrite surveyor costs. All of this, together with the sales commission percentage, needs to be negotiated and agreed in writing with the Broker or Dealer concerned.
They will usually provide you with a standard written Agreement for you to sign. If they do, this Agreement may well include clauses concerning insurance, their 'exclusive' rights to sell your boat during the term of the Agreement and information about how you can cancel the Agreement. Read these clauses carefully as well as the other terms of the Agreement and be sure that you understand and accept the terms stated, before signing. If you don't understand any aspect of the Agreement, seek advice.
Choosing a Broker or Dealer
Throughout this Guide you may have noticed that there has been a deliberate distinction between a 'Broker', that is an independent business, not aligned or tied to any particular boat brand and a 'Dealer', that is a business that represents the brand or brands of differing boat manufacturers but who also sells used boats as well. The reason for this distinction is that there are trading differences between the two types of businesses that can affect you as a seller of a boat and, for that matter, as a buyer.
Choosing a Dealer that represents a boat manufacturer to sell your boat
If you choose to sell your boat with a Dealer who represents the same brand as your own boat, there can be several benefits.
Firstly, potential buyers will tend to be attracted to their adverts first; they're usually the 'glossiest' and there is an assuredness of dealing with a boat builder's representative of the brand that interests a buyer.
Secondly, these Dealers may be in a position, depending on the age of your boat, to offer a warranty to a prospective buyer on your boat. Thirdly, Dealers tend to value used boats higher than Brokers, to preserve the perceived value for money of the new boats that they sell and because they offer a higher level of assuredness to buyers.
Tip - See our list of Broker locator to help find a dealer for a specific make.
Choosing an Independent Broker
The benefit of using an independent Broker is that they only earn money from selling boats like yours and if it doesn't sell, they don't earn. So the success in selling your boat rests upon how much the Broker spends to advertise your boat, whether they're used to selling your kind of boat, the quality of their advertising and how professional they are in dealing with enquiries.
When deciding which Broker to use, do your research and make sure you agree with their terms of business before making a decision.
Our Locate a broker facility will give you the names of many leading brokers. Study their adverts, check out their web sites, form an opinion as to how professional they appear to be and try to estimate how quickly they appear to sell boats. Also, you could telephone as a prospective buyer, maybe about a boat that you really would be interested in, if you're upgrading from your existing boat and see how professionally they deal with you. Finally find out what commission each of them charge and what their other terms are. Then you can make your decision.
Selling Privately
Organising yourself
Whether its a classic boat, fishing boat, catamaran or houseboat you're looking to sell, if you chose to sell your boat privately, you'll get the benefit of saving the costs of a Dealer or Broker, but you'll need to be organised!
If you've followed our Guide up to this point, you'll have already assembled the paperwork that will not only enhance the value of your boat but will also make it easy for you to sell it.
Your advertising campaign
Now you need to design your advertising campaign. Click here to see our advertising options and how much they cost - not just on the internet but in Boat Trader magazine also.
Saving the costs of brokerage can pay for a substantial amount of advertising, probably much more than you'll ever need to sell your boat. So decide on what size of advert and what duration you wish to opt for. If it is your first time placing an advert, then a duration of 2 months would be a good start, but if in doubt, feel free to speak to one of our advisers on 0844 871 6603 or email [email protected]
You will also need to take some good quality photographs. Boat buyers online are proven to buy with their eyes. You can use a good quality digital camera or even a decent camera phone but for the best results, enlisting the help of an experienced photographer will guarantee eye-catching and attractive images to sell with.
In the text of your advert, remember to include all of the items and features that will help set your boat apart from the rest This will help justify your sales price and attract potential buyers. Use our Valuation checklist as a guide to what should be mentioned.
Also be sure to include full contact details and make sure that they're accurate. You do not want to go to the expense and opportunity of advertising your boat, only to be unable to answer enquiries. If possible, supply daytime and evening contact numbers, mobile and landline, as well as an email address.
Dealing with enquiries
You also need to plan how to deal with the enquiries you will receive. If a potential buyer require more information and photographs than is featured in the advert, you should consider creating pre-prepared a 'Specification Sheet' to be able to send at a moment’s notice.
If potential buyers want to view your boat and trial it, you need to be flexible as to when and where they can. Remember the more flexible you are about this, the more likely it is that potential buyers will gravitate toward buying your boat. Do not put your boat up for sale and advertise it until you know that you have the time and availability to be able to deal with the enquiries.
Make a list of potential dates and times that buyers can view and trial your boat, so that when the telephone rings, you have all of the information to hand to deal properly and professionally with the enquiry.
Keep in mind that when you're selling your boat, you are competing in a marketplace for the attention of prospective buyers with Dealers, Brokers and other boat owners. You should therefore try to be as professional as the most experienced seller.
Negotiating the sale
The secret to sales negotiation is to be well prepared, anticipate what potential buyers are likely to say and work out in advance how you're going to react, keeping in the back of your mind what price you'll be prepared to accept.
If you've followed the steps contained in this Guide up to this point and adhered to the advice provided in the section named 'Preparing You Boat for Sale', you will already know how a potential buyer may attempt to drive the price down. You should therefore either plan to counter this (possibly with aspects of your boat that you believe to be unique in the current market place) or how much, if anything, you're prepared to adjust your price for each of the features that may be spotted by a potential buyer.
It is also worthwhile to consider any assets that you can 'trade' with, that have less of a value to you than money off the selling price. For example there may be items of equipment or accessories that you could 'throw in' rather than accept £1,000 off the asking price. This may satisfy the buyer's need to get more of a discount and at the same time be acceptable to you. Work out in advance what options you have in this respect and keep them up your sleeve until you start the serious negotiations.
Often with boats, unless it's from a trader, the first offer you receive is usually the best offer, so think carefully before turning down an offer that falls just short of your asking price or the price that you were originally prepared to accept. It could mean waiting for a long time before you receive another offer.