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How to sell a boat

Selling a boat can seem difficult if you’ve not done it before - you want to be sure you’ve got the best deal for a boat that you love! Whether you have a boat that you no longer use, or just don’t want to be on the water anymore, selling is the way forward.

At Aquavista, we want to equip you with all the relevant info. Read our guide on the best way to make the sale.

How to Sell a Boat: Step by Step

Before you put your boat on the market, it’s best to answer some important questions first. For example, where are you going to sell? What is your minimum and maximum price? Are there any faults with your boat that you need to flag with potential buyers? 

In general, there are four stages to selling a boat. These include deciding on how to sell it, setting the right price, preparing the boat for sale and sorting out the paperwork!

Step 1: How do I Sell my Boat?

Should I use a brokerage to sell my boat?

While selling your boat privately or online may be cheaper (no brokerage fees), it can be more time-consuming and complex. Additionally, boats sold through a marina brokerage tend to sell more quickly because there are more customers actively looking to view and buy.

A good brokerage company is also likely to have customers wanting to get their hands on a boat like yours. Not only will they have an onsite presence (meaning your boat will be seen by lots of people) but they will have perks such as good social media and email marketing to get the word out there.

A boat broker can also manage viewings and negotiate the paperwork that is required to get a boat sold quickly and at the right price. If your time is precious, they’re worth every penny.

Typically a brokerage will charge a sales commission of between 6% and 10% (plus VAT) of your boat's final selling price. 

The percentage charged mainly depends on your boat's value; the lower the value, the higher the percentage charged, and vice versa. As a guide, for every £1,000 that your boat sells for, you can expect to pay between £70 and £120 in brokerage fees.

Is the boat you're selling in an Aquavista Marina?

If you're selling a boat in an Aquavista Marina but as a private sale, you will be liable for paying a sale on berth fee. This is a percentage based fee which is incurred when a boat is sold within any of our marinas. Alternatively, contact our brokerage team who will be glad to help you with the sale, offering free valuations and a fully-supported, stress-free experience. 

What is the best time of year to sell a boat?

Although sunny spring weather is traditionally a good time to sell a lot of things, there is no ‘best’ season when it comes to selling a boat. Most buyers are influenced by factors such as their financial position or a lifestyle change such as retirement.

How long does it take to sell a boat?

The average deal normally takes three weeks from when the deposit is received. This allows potential buyers to assess the boat and make their decision. 

Step 2: Setting the Right Price

How do I set the right price when selling my boat?

Problems can quickly arise when boats on sale are either overpriced or undervalued. The secret to getting the price right is to research!

A great way to do this is by getting valuable market information. For example, you can browse boat marketplace websites, look through classified magazines and local papers. Then note what prices Brokers, Dealers and private advertisers are selling similar boats for.

Step 3: Preparing the Boat for Sale

How can you make it look more appealing to buyers?

To reach your boat’s full potential, make sure it is clean and decluttered and fix any maintenance issues. A good quality paint job can also make an enormous difference! 

This ensures your boat achieves the best possible price. Remember, you’re not just selling a boat, you’re selling the lifestyle.

Set aside a budget, but only do work that will help the boat to sell - a good broker can advise you on what will bring a good return on your investment.

Do I have to declare all of my boat’s faults?

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to selling your boat. While it falls on the buyer to do their own investigations to ensure they’re happy with it, you still need to be transparent and accurate when asked any questions.

It’s best to make sure you don’t misrepresent the facts and prepare yourself to be asked about the boat’s service history, any upgrades installed, as well as its current condition.

Step 4: Selling a Boat Paperwork

What paperwork do I need to sell my boat?

The main documents you need when getting to the paperwork stage are: 

  • A Builders Certificate (not essential but helpful) and Bills of Sale 
  • Evidence the boat is VAT paid such as the original invoice
  • Registration documentation, evidence of RCD compliance, where applicable 
  • Service information for the engine, generator, sails, water heater
  • Owner’s Manual and further manuals for all the equipment on the boat and financial records and receipts of any large repair bills
  • Proof that your boat is free of encumbrances, meaning there’s no mortgage or loans taken out against it

Getting your paperwork together before your boat is even sold will help speed up the process.

How do I protect myself when selling a boat?

Make sure that your boat is still adequately insured. Even if you’re selling it from a berth at a brokerage, it is still your property and not the brokers’.

You should also have the boat surveyed before you sell, which will protect you from any nasty surprises later on. 

Get in touch with our brokerage team for more guidance on how to get the best price for your beloved boat and get started with your stress-free sale. 

discover the life

If you have a boat to sell, contact the Aquavista brokerage team to find out more about our service.