7 Steps to Listing Your Sailboat for Sale

1. Price
2. Condition
3. Location
4. Flexibility
5. Preparation
6. Survey Process
7. Finish Line

Listing Price

1. Sailboat List Price

As discussed in depth, the listing price you enter the market at will go a long way to determining your length of time on the market. Buyers of a brokerage sailboat are choosing price as the #1 reason versus buying new so competing on price is a must. Price leads to traffic and clean boats get sold!

Condition Matters

2. Sailboat Condition

Clean boats sell. As you list your sailboat for sale, making sure your sailboat shows to its maximum potential is worth the effort and investment. The topics covered in “condition matters” give you the criteria to check off on your sailboats condition. Making sure your sailboat's exterior, interior and mechanical spaces present as well as possible will be worth the effort and expense. Sailboat detailers and boat management companies can assist or you can do it on your own but Clean Boats, Priced Right, SELL!

Sell Where Sailboat Buyers Are

3. Your Sailboat's Location

If you have a really clean boat listed, and it's price right, all it will take is 1-3 showings to sell. Location can and does absolutely play a role in how much traffic you get and can make a big difference. Locating your sailboat either at a facility amongst other brokerage boats (think CarMax) or at a marina which is located both close to an airport and or close to hubs of dealers/brokers greatly can impact traffic to your sailboat listing and length of time on the market (think why certain roads have 6-8 car dealers all within a mile of each other).

Time and again we see remotely located hard to get too super clean sailboats priced right still struggle to attract buyers. If you have the cleanest boat that nobody see’s it may be a location issue. Compare a sailboat in Alabama to a sailboat in Annapolis for logistics of showings and the boat in Annapolis will see 10x the amount of traffic from casual interest to other brokers showing the boat.

Changing Listing Strategy

4. Flexibility

This can mean a lot of different things in the sales process of a sailboat. If you're using a broker who has educated you on the market and your sailboat listing competes well on condition you stand the best chance. With that said, flexing or changing strategy when not shown or sold 60 days is smart. Many sellers may want to test a higher price point when initially listed but be prepared to flex on price. Listen to feedback from showings as maybe you can have the boat waxed or a cosmetic negative (smell, stains…) improved. Bottom line is, be willing to shift and get noticed instead of sit as others get sold around you.

Fix Any Issues

5. Sailboat Preparation

There is never a bad time to be prepared. Do your boats engine and generator run (not at the slip but to specs at sea), sails look neat, new and orderly, do your electronics work, winches function, water heaters, air conditions cooling properly etc. To many sailboats fail survey with sellers who either know systems don’t work or do not prepare the boat ahead of time. Ignoring these issues will not make them magically go away, “it’s a used boat” does not mean a buyer wants to buy your sailboat and not be able to sail. Preparing service records into a nice concise binder by date or systems is a simple way to show buyers a yacht that has been cared for. All of these things can be done ahead of a contract or just after but BEFORE SURVEY.

Survey & Sea Trial

6. Survey Process

Your sailboat will get surveyed & sea trialed once under contract. If you’ve properly prepared the list of findings will hopefully be short without any deal breakers. There will always be findings that will show up as the surveyor is being paid to observe and report at a very detailed level. Cracked hoses, lifelines with issues, out of date safety/fire equipment, are common. Post survey report the buyer will need to supply a written acceptance of vessel indicating their position. They can accept, reject or accept with conditions. Those conditions can be re-negotiated or agreed to and your broker should explain and advise. Let the process play out and remain flexible: Until an agreed acceptance is in place your sailboat is not heading to closing.

The Closing Process

7. Finish Line

The closing of your sailboat is the goal and finish line. Making sure ahead of time that your documents are in order is smart preparation. The process is similar to a home purchase with lien, tax and registration processes that must be followed. The proper process will be one that may take a few days after acceptance but you can avoid delays by being proactive. Having copies of documentation & titles to your broker ahead of time (tenders as well), loan or lien information, funds in place for negative equity, and banking info to receive your funds ready will lessen the stress and ensure a smooth clean closing. A SAILORS TWO HAPPIEST DAYS - THE DAY YOU BUY YOUR BOAT AND THE DAY YOU SELL YOUR BOAT.

“Your sailboat listing must be priced properly and a broker should tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear…”

My Sailboat's Value

Learn Your Sailboat's Value in Today’s Market

You will receive a report with sold comps, active comps, and become an educated seller on how to best position your sailboat to sell, not sit. 

“The process of selling a sailboat is more like selling a home and less like selling a car.”

LISTINGMYSAILBOAT.COM is dedicated to educating sellers who are thinking about listing or actively selling a sailboat.
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