How to sell your boat – Quickly and for the right price


Most boat brokers will tell you that they never cease to be amazed at the condition of the some of the vessels they are paid to sell.

All will have tales of dirt encrusted exteriors and grubby interiors along with abandoned personal items which are clearly well-used and unlikely to attract a potential buyer.

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So, if you want your boat to sell quickly and for the right price you need to understand the different responsibilities of you as the owner and the broker as the seller – although there may be some crossover.

The broker’s responsibility is to identify the potential market for your boat and to make sure that those buyers get a chance to learn about your vessel and all the plus points that led you to buy it in the first place.

The broker will take photographs and possibly video to display your boat as well as possible, and will produce a description taking in all the selling points that may attract potential buyers to your boat in particular.

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All of that information and those pictures will be used to target the right audience, through advertising, and social media campaigns.

The broker will probably also provide you with a free mooring for your boat whilst it is being sold and organise viewings of the vessel as interested people get in touch with them. An added benefit is having your boat amongst others for sale as potential buyers may come to look at one vessel but then spot another they like.

What brokers don’t usually do is to make your boat look as good as it can look – although Norbury Wharf can give you a price for internal and external cleaning, all dependent on the condition of your boat.

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Generally, presenting the boat in the best possible way to get the best possible price is up to you – and it is essential that you do that before it goes up for sale.

It’s like selling a house – the estate agent will take the pictures and channel potential buyers to your door – but it is up to you what they see when they arrive.

The outside should look cared for. That means no green algae on the paintwork or last year’s mud splashes. At the very least a good wash is essential and you should probably deal with any rust patches with a clean-up and a few coats of paint. A bit of worn paintwork simply shows a boat has been used – a patch of rust tends to scream that it has been neglected.

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The interior is even more important and it may help if you understand a little about the impulsiveness of some buyers. At Norbury we have seen tens of thousands spent on a boat because a buyer fell in love with a bedspread she could have bought for £30.

That’s not an argument for pretty bedspreads but it does show how even small things can have a big impact on sales.

The first thing is to clear all your personal possessions – and that includes the ones you might be tempted to leave because you bought them to decorate the boat. One person’s whimsical ornament is another person’s horrible tat.

Once you have cleared out anything not directly related to using the boat, the next item on the list is a thorough clean from bow to stern. The bathroom should sparkle and the galley should shine. The woodwork should gleam and there should be no grubby corners, where years of grease have mingled with the dust of the towpaths.

Buyers will look under sinks, in drawers and the bottoms of wardrobes, they will sniff and rub their fingers on the surfaces.

The engine and the engine room will also win or lose sales. Inevitably oil and dust build up with use and many a sale has been lost because the engine room is inches deep in water.

Good advice is to jet-wash the engine, pump out the bilges and ensure the stern gland isn’t refilling them. Even a quick coat of metal paint on engine room will create reassurance that this is an engine which has been cared for.

A boat that looks as if it has been cared for, no matter what its age, will always sell more quickly and for a better price than one which may have more going for it but has been left dirty, rusty and cluttered.

Most boaters keep a file of boat documents covering the original purchase, any surveys, servicing, boat safety certificates and the instructions and guarantees for any equipment installed. This is also an important selling tool as it shows how you have looked after the vessel.

Of course, not every seller is in a position to clear and clean the boat they want to sell, so at Norbury you can pass the work on to our skilled team of cleaners. We will estimate what needs doing and how long it will take and give you a price for the work.

Whether you do it yourself or we help, you will have a much better chance of a quick sale at a good price.

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