Blog | Selling Your Yacht Fast – Is there a Best Time to Sell?

May 17, 2016

Selling Your Yacht Fast – Is there a Best Time to Sell?

Starting this week, we begin a series of weekly blogs on “How to Sell You Yacht Fast.”

Deciding to sell your beloved yacht can be a long and difficult process. But, once you have made the big decision that it is time to sell your luxury motor yacht, there will be only one thing on your mind – how do I sell her quickly?

No matter the size, style, or model year of your boat, when it comes time to sell, you basically have three choices:

  • Sell it yourself
  • Trade it in
  • Sell it using a qualified yacht broker

Which choice turns out best for you will obviously be swayed by the size and “book value” of your boat. There is an attraction to selling on your own, because of the lack of sales commissions. However, if you have a larger, upscale motor yacht, you are very unlikely to have the time, or the resources to sell her on your own. Besides which, the sale of a luxury yacht will almost always involve serious negotiations and complex documentation, all of which can be made easier by a yacht broker. More on the value of a yacht broker will be covered in subsequent posts.

Trading in your boat may also seem attractive, because it is simple and easy. But you need to understand that you will rarely get what your boat is truly worth on a trade-in.

When it is Time to Sell – an HD Video is a Great Tool!

As far as when to sell, it is best to sell your boat at the beginning of the boating season when you have a pool of interested and motivated buyers. It is rare that you will get as much offered for you boat in an “off-season sale,” as during season.

Of course, this is a bit less true in areas such as South Florida, which pretty much have a boating season all year long!

In my years in the business I have seen both yacht owners, and yacht brokers make the same stupid mistakes that can draw out the sales process. Here, in no particular order, are my “Top Ten” tips for selling your motor yacht as quickly as possible.

1. Prepare your boat – This may seem obvious, but there is a right way, and a wrong way to prepare your boat to sell quickly. If your yacht broker is doing their job right, a lot of people will be coming to see your yacht. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of that first impression. Make sure your boat is waxed, cleaned and detailed to the nines – inside and out. Makes sure all systems work, the engines fire up right away, and sound smooth, check for any oil leaks, water leaks, etc. This is another advantage of signing on with a professional yacht management company when you first purchase your boat. When it comes time to sell, you can be sure she will be “ship-shape.”

2. The right price – Of course you want to price your boat to sell, but how do you find the right listing price?  First up, look on the internet for similar yachts, and see what they are selling for. Call those brokers, tell them you have a similar model, ask them what they would list it at, ask them why they think the boat listed hasn’t sold, is it the price? Then once you have done all your research, take a serious look at how much it is going to cost you every month that your boat does not sell, and come up with the lowest price that you are comfortable with. The big mistake I see a lot of owners make, is they over-price to allow for “haggling.” But, you will not have to negotiate if no one comes to see a boat that is priced too high!

3. Exposure – In selling real estate they say it is “location, location, location.” In yachts, it is “exposure, exposure, exposure.” If you want your yacht to sell quickly, she has to be seen. Beyond advertising, making your yacht available to charter is an excellent way to introduce her to potential buyers.

4. Declutter – Having some of your stuff around to make your boat looked “lived-in” gives a bit of a human touch, but, minimize your personal gear and stuff on board. Empty closets and stowage areas will make the boat look more spacious.

5. Paper work – Of course, have your title, registration, and all other relevant paper work in order. It may sound like a no-brainer, but I have seen missing, or poor paperwork hold up the best deals.

sell your yacht

6. Are you really ready to sell? – Make sure you are emotionally ready to sell your boat. I have seen owners list their boats, and then, do not take the right steps to have it sell. Even worse, I have seen owners intentionally, or even subconsciously, shoot the deal in the foot, because they really aren’t ready to let go of their “baby.”

7. Upgrades – Upgrades are a tricky thing. Upgrading your boat’s interior amenities, and systems to the latest styles or models, may not raise the total value of your boat. Upgrading may not even allow you to recoup the cost of the upgrade in the selling price. However, when you are competing with other boats on the market, upgrades can help your boat sell.

8. Why are you selling? – This question will inevitably come up. Have a good answer. A potential buyer does not want to think that you are only selling for the money. You want to appeal to them emotionally. I suggest  “lifestyle changes” are the best answer, such as “our kids are all on their own now, and we do not take family vacations any more,” or, “I need to do more corporate entertaining for my business, and need a larger vessel,” etc., etc.

9. Have a Professional Marine Survey – A professional marine survey of your boat before you sell will save you a lot of hassles. Any serious buyer is going to have a survey done. It is better you do one first, and find and fix any problems. Repairs that may cost only hundreds, could cost you thousands off of your selling price if they are found later on.

10. Details, details, details – Buyers want to know everything they possibly can about your boat. The more information you can give them the better. Tell them about engine hours, what brand of electronics you have, any recent refit history, etc. Even including things like where you have traveled with her in your listings, will feed the buyer’s hunger for knowledge, and make you seem like an above board seller.

selling your yacht


Ultimately, a buyer takes a lot more than 10 things into consideration before deciding to make an offer on a particular yacht. Whether it’s the layout, condition, location, or price — it really all comes down to one key element, VALUE.

Think back to when you were looking to buy your boat. What affected your decision? What made you choose this boat over the others you looked at? Put yourself in the Buyer’s shoes!

NEXT WEEK: We’ll take a closer look at your online presence, and how video is an important part of your Selling Strategy


It’s not always easy to stay on top of what’s new in motor yachts. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Sales Specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

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