Five DIY Tips To Get Your Boat Ready For Sale


As soon as it's roughly as cliché as ship expressions get, this one certainly has some truth to it"The two happiest days of ship ownership will be the day you get it, and the day you sell it." And if you are getting into the selling sport, then trapping your boat to market as quickly as possible--and for as much money as possible--is the title of the game. When it's polishing and waxing your hull, or cleaning out all your junk-packed stowage lockers, there's work to be done until you formally list your pride and joy for sale.

You're not just trying to eliminate any doubts your purchaser might have about your ship, you are also hoping to give them peace of mind in their possible purchase. With that in mind, here are five relatively simple things you can do to increase your Odds of making the sale:

Set the Period

In the real-estate industry,"staging" refers to the custom of creating a home look as unlived-in as you can by eliminating all the important furniture and basic living essentials. The exact same is true once you go to sell your ship.

As soon as I sold my small 18-foot center-console, I removed everything (and I mean everything) out of it and loaded it to the rear of my vehicle -- fishing rods, tackle boxes, safety kits, two-stroke oil--what. I then scrubbed and washed out every previous stowage compartment and locker on the boat.

As it came time to load my stuff back , I put back just what I intended to market with the ship, such as life jackets and flotation apparatus, a flare kit, two-stroke petroleum, stern flag, etc.. I left everything --my tackle boxes, fishing rods, graph books, cleaning equipment, beverage koozies, and so on--at home. Even when you've got a larger boat to market (with a lot more equipment than a small center-console) consider removing all but the basics. It helps your prospective buyer envision the ship as his or her own, versus one that is piled full of someone else's stuff.

If there's anything that turns off a potential boat buyer, it is a ship that has not been well cared-for, and nothing sends that message more than a foul ship. Yes, this means you, Mr. Spilled a Beer at the Fishbox 2 Years Back.

At a minimum, give the entire boat a good scrub-down from top to bottom, making certain you get into every nook and cranny. The aim here is to eliminate all evidence of past fishing trips, visits by seagulls, or that last sundowner cruise wherever your neighbor spilled wine all over the aft teak decking.

Make sure you polish stainless and metallic fittings; clean up clear vinyl enclosures; eliminate oxidation from Plexiglas ports or hatches; and make certain exterior woodwork is in tip-top form. The outside of your boat should gleam. In case you have faded gelcoat that requires attention, consider polishing and waxing it up yourself, or paying for a pro to do it.

Both inside and out, pay special attention to lockers, bilges, and out-of-the-way areas that you might not normally consider, since prospective buyers will open every single locker, drawer, and cabinet on your boat. If your boat has"that smell," even after you've scrubbed heads, cleaned holding tanks, and beautified your bilges, consider purchasing or renting an ozone-generator to freshen the inside, bear in mind that if you've gasoline-fueled inboard engines, most ozone generators aren't ignition-protected.

Service With a Smile

Hopefully you've done the essential maintenance and maintenance on your boat's power-plant to keep it running in prime condition. Better still, perhaps you've kept all of the receipts and records for this perform in a binder. But even if you have not, you'll want to make an effort to get your engine(s) current with the recommended service schedule. Why? Since every potential buyer will inquire about what's been done about engine maintenance.

This is sort of what you are trying for, in a nutshell:"Hello, Mr. Potential Buyer. The engines have been flushed after each use, and here is a bottle of the fuel stabilizer I like to use. Oh, and below are a few spare water/fuel separator filters.

Same is true for inboard diesel or gasoline engines. Even if it's been ages since a factory service was performed, it's well worth the investment to have a technician come to your boat, give it a really fantastic once-over, and bring this up to date service-wise. That way you can inform your potential buyer,"Yep, John's Marine Engines was just out and what is in good shape." Or, you can demonstrate that whatever broken was repaired.

You might also do some work, you're feeling comfortable on your own. In any event, the very last thing you need a buyer to do is pull the dipstick out of your inboard and have it develop filthy oil.

Pimp Your Ride

If your ship is a trailerable one, making sure your trailer is in tip-top shape before listing it available is crucial. Consider it: No one will need to buy your boat in the event the trailer beneath it's peppered with rust spots, rests on dry-rotted tires, and has lights that don't function.

You can do simple things to spiff up a trailer which has over a couple miles on it without breaking the bank. Rust removal and refinishing are not as hard as they might appear --all you often need is a wire brush, some metal primer, and spray paint to touch bad spots on the frame and wheel wells. Rusty emergency chains and hooks can be readily replaced with new ones, as can be cracked and worn guides and loops. You'll want to make certain that each the lights are functioning properly, and also tidy up any loose or cluttered wiring--neatness counts.

A sparkly clean boat in perfect working order will not impress buyers in the event the trailer it's sitting there's a mess. Make sure that yours looks as great as this one until you put it up available.

Also ensure your trailer winch is well-lubed and the cable or webbing wound about it isn't frayed. Cracked or worn tires ought to be substituted; it is unlikely you'll get past having to do this. Oh, and you've recently serviced the wheel bearings? Because,"Yes, I only serviced and repacked the wheel bearings" sounds good to a potential buyer.

End Your To-Do List

OK, nobody enjoys a nag, but remember that listing of little odds and ends you have been meaning to correct on your boat as... forever? Well, you are going to want to take care them before you place your boat on the market. Whether it is a loose hinge or a rusty gas-assist strut in your livewell lid, fixing all of the little annoyance items will go a long way toward catalyzing a prosperous boat sale.

A good deal of things that fall into this category are things that have been broken so long you might not even notice them any more. Perhaps it's that hatch that sticks when you open it, or the VHF antenna mount that is jury-rigged using a pair of Vise Grips. But matters that need fixing may also be as small as a lost knob on your VHF radio, a cracked lens in your bow lighting , or leaky hatch up beneath the V-berth.

If the record is in mind, get it . Next, walk around the boat and use everything. Turn in your VHF radio; reduced and boost your VHF antenna; open and shut all of your hatches and vents; flush the head; and assess every light bulb and light fixture. To put it differently, assess everything. When it isn't ideal, fix it. Since if you don't, a prospective purchaser will probably spot whatever isn't working well, and use these defects as bargaining chips in reducing your asking price.