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Blog | Selling Your Yacht Fast – The Survey and Inspection

August 29, 2016

Selling Your Yacht Fast – The Survey and Inspection

We are coming down to the last few articles in this series. We have learned how to prepare your motor yacht to sell fast, how to set your price, how to be a good negotiator, and the value of your broker in all of the above!

At this point in the sales cycle, serious buyers are going to want to inspect your yacht. You must be prepared for this. Honesty is the best policy. Do not try to cover-up, or sugar-coat any damage, repairs or problems that could be revealed during the inspection.

The yacht inspection is a critical time in the decision process of buying a luxury motor yacht. If a buyer has requested an inspection tour, you should take that as a clear signal that he is seriously interested in your boat.

The yacht inspection should come before the next, and usually the final step, in the sales process, the sea trial. You should expect that your potential buyer will not be taking just a cursory glance at the boat. The pre-trial inspection can really be one of the most important steps in the buying process. If you are properly prepared for it, it could “seal the deal.” If things go wrong in the inspection, you can expect your boat to remain on the market a lot longer than you would like!

What will your buyers be looking for before they are comfortable making an offer for your yacht, and how can you be best prepared to deal with their expectations?

Be Realistic

One of the keys to passing muster during the inspection is to be honest and realistic about the condition of your boat. Even if you prepare to the hilt it is unrealistic to expect that absolutely nothing will come up during the inspection. Your best approach is to address any of the potential buyer’s concerns, either by promising to make repairs or upgrades he or she requested, or to make them points of negotiation in your selling price.

Even if you are working with a very knowledgeable broker, it is probably a good idea for you, or your captain to be there during inspection, to deal with any issues, or questions that arise.

What Will the Buyer be Looking For?

Obviously, if a potential buyer has requested an inspection visit, he or she has already read up on the yacht’s listing, and has seen many pictures, and probably also a video tour. So, the main things your buyers will be looking for “in real life,” during a yacht inspection will be the things that they cannot see in a picture or video.

Do not be surprised if the buyer brings along a captain, marine engineer, or some other “experienced friend” with him on the inspection tour. You, or your broker should encourage, rather than object to this. Doing so sends a clear signal that you have nothing to hide.

Expect that your potential buyers will have done their homework. They will likely have researched your class, or model of yacht, and looked for any known problems, defects, or recalls. Be sure you have done the same homework, and have an answer for any problems they might have found.

Yacht broker on survey

The Inspection

The very first thing the buyer will look for is the overall “curb appeal,” or cosmetic condition of the yacht. This will include detailed looks at the hull and deck, including gelcoat or paint. Then, they will likely look for any evidence of structural damage, such as chips, or cracks in high stress areas. Next expect them to:

  • Check that all gear described in the listing is actually there, and in proper working order.
  • Look for any signs of water leaks, or water damage below decks
  • If allowed, start and run the engines. An experienced boater can tell from the sound if there are any serious problems, so make sure yours purr!  Also expect them to look for obvious engine problems such as fuel or oil leaks.

During the inspection, expect potential buyers to ask detailed questions about maintenance, and ask to see reports. Again, this is where having had your yacht placed with a reliable yacht management company will come in handy, as all of this data will be readily available.

Also, be sure to let your potential buyer know if you have had your yacht out for charter. This will let him know that your boat has been well maintained, and also, it might strike a chord if you mention places she has been to, that appeal to the buyer!

Should you expect an offer after every inspection? That all depends on what the potential buyer finds. Even if there are not any repair or maintenance issues, you never really know exactly what a buyer is looking for, and if your boat is “IT.”

However, if you get the feeling that the buyer liked what he saw overall, be sure to take into account any issues he may bring up, and factor that into your counter-offer. Again, a skilled yacht broker, can help you in evaluating your next steps after the inspection tour.

 yacht inspection tour


NEXT WEEK: We’ll take a look at getting your paper work in order before closing!


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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