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Old 01-06-2018, 06:48 PM   #1
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Selling our boat... deposits required

Hi All,

This is a shout out to all those who have sold their own boats in the past.

We have had our sailboat for sale with a broker in Anacortes Washington for 5 months with 1 month to go on the sales contract. We are paying $350 + electricity per month for dock space.

There has been no movement on the boat in 5 months, next month we are going to take it back to our other moorage for less slip fee and will attempt to sell the boat ourselves.

For those of you who have done this, did you require deposits, did you give any or all of it back if the buyer backed out (assuming nothing really wrong at survey)?

Dave
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:19 PM   #2
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Our last 2 boat sales were listed on Boattrader. We took a non-refundable deposit. Neither had a survey so that was not an issue. It depends on how you write the contract if the deposit is refundable or not. The deposits were cash so there wasn’t any chance of the check not clearing. But both sales went through so it didn’t matter anyway.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:32 PM   #3
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I’m not telling you what to do. Just know that if you decide to sell the boat your self you will not be able to list it on Yachtworld. You will have to pay Boattrader to have it listed there. Craig’s list is still free but you will mostly see the low ballers and tire kickers. If you want a boat to sell fast you need to price it right.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:09 PM   #4
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Much of determining how to best sell is a matter of your asking price. Add to that the issues of deposits, surveys, sea trials, and how long you'll give a buyer to complete. If you can get a buyer to give you a deposit, go for it. However, for those who say "no way" be prepared with a proposal for an escrow arrangement, or make it non-refundable.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:43 AM   #5
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Had my last boat listed with a broker for 6 months. I was always being jerked around. Finally the listing expired. Thank goodness! I listed it in a couple of places and someone from Texas bought it. Drove here and retrieved her. I didn’t take a deposit since he was driving all the way from Texas to tow her back with him. I sold the boat within 2 weeks of posting, while all I was getting with a broker was jerked around.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:14 AM   #6
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Don't dismiss Craig's List so quickly. I had advertised my last boat there before I moved it to the broker (mostly because I needed my slip for the new boat.) I sent any serious leads from Craig's List to the broker. I think he got more that way than through his own organization.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:57 AM   #7
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One thing I see mentioned here a couple of times is listing for six months and no luck. I would never give a six month listing to anyone, not to a boat broker, not to a realtor. Three months maximum. They're get a renewal if they earn it.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:31 AM   #8
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Another thing. When we sell a boat, clean it out completely. Just leave necessary boating items onboard. Remove any personalized things. You want the buyer to see it as their boat, not as your boat. Detail the boat. Take good quality photos of every place on the boat. We put 40 to 50 photos of the boats we sold on Boattrader. Both of them sold to the first person to come look at them but they were both in excellent condition. Then do a once over just before anyone is scheduled to look at it and clean up anything that needs it. It is some work, but if it sells the boat it is worth it. There are so many boats out there that are stuffed with lots of crap that your boat will look great if it is clean. I am always amazed when I look at boat porn how many boats look messy and dirty when the photos were taken.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:39 AM   #9
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When we sold our sailboat ourselves, we asked for a $1k non refundable deposit and got it. We looked at another KK42 with a broker before we bought Hobo and they wanted a $10k refundable deposit. We wired money to them and then they wired it back. On Hobo, we gave a $10k refundable deposit to the sellers and bought the boat. I don’t think there’s any set rules. People said we would never get the non-refundable deposit but there was nothing found in the survey that wasn’t disclosed up front.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:52 AM   #10
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Another thing. When we sell a boat, clean it out completely. Just leave necessary boating items onboard. Remove any personalized things. You want the buyer to see it as their boat, not as your boat. Detail the boat. Take good quality photos of every place on the boat. We put 40 to 50 photos of the boats we sold on Boattrader. Both of them sold to the first person to come look at them but they were both in excellent condition. Then do a once over just before anyone is scheduled to look at it and clean up anything that needs it. It is some work, but if it sells the boat it is worth it. There are so many boats out there that are stuffed with lots of crap that your boat will look great if it is clean. I am always amazed when I look at boat porn how many boats look messy and dirty when the photos were taken.
It's amazing the boats that are for sale and when you look at the pictures, they are dirty, unkept or the owners crap is all over the place. Clutter (especially nasty clutter) is a horrible way to advertise anything.

Another problem is just plain bad photos, such as blurry, inserted sideways, or pictures of things like door handles and other non descriptive items.

And then others who won't put a picture of the engine room. A nice clean clutter free engine room says a lot about the boat. I've requested pictures of engine rooms only to have the owner or broker refuse.
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:00 PM   #11
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One thing I see mentioned here a couple of times is listing for six months and no luck. I would never give a six month listing to anyone, not to a boat broker, not to a realtor. Three months maximum. They're get a renewal if they earn it.
Amen.

In my experience boat brokers fall into the same category as realtors, useless.

While there are a few out there that want to do a good job and go the distance, they are vastly out numbered by the idiots and just plain lazy.

Example, I called recently on a boat on yachtworld. The lady answers the phone in a cautious "Hello?". I ask if she is selling the xxxx yacht. "Oh yes", "what would you like to know?"

I ask a few questions, none of which she could answer, she was reading right off of the sales sheet on yachtworld. I asked if there were pictures of the engine room available and got "Uh, I don't know". Long pause, and I asked "So could you ask the owner?"

Another long pause, she says "You're welcome to come see the boat" to which I tell her I'm 8 hours away, and before I spend the time to come see it I need basic information.

She was totally clueless and a waste of time. And she wasn't the only one.

Buy directly from an owner if you can.
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dave_E View Post
Hi All,

This is a shout out to all those who have sold their own boats in the past.

We have had our sailboat for sale with a broker in Anacortes Washington for 5 months with 1 month to go on the sales contract. We are paying $350 + electricity per month for dock space.

There has been no movement on the boat in 5 months, next month we are going to take it back to our other moorage for less slip fee and will attempt to sell the boat ourselves.

For those of you who have done this, did you require deposits, did you give any or all of it back if the buyer backed out (assuming nothing really wrong at survey)?

Dave
Even if the buyer is a close personal friend or relative, the deposit ideally will be a certified check.
In my case, I wrote a personal check and aloud time for it to clear. I think he really wanted t sell the boat so he accepted it.

The boat dose not leave the dock without you and/or the broker.

Any deposit.... refundable or non-refundable your decision, except when it involves your relatives, keep it, they are rich and you dont like them that much anyway. LOLO Okay, I am kidding about the last part.
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Old 01-08-2018, 01:43 PM   #13
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I ended up selling my last boat on craigslist. It was a quick and painless sale. I got jerked around by a broker and was not happy with them. What ever you do keep away from POP yachts.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:45 AM   #14
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I can only speak for myself, but...

As a buyer, I would never (and have never) put down a deposit unless it was fully refundable, subject to survey and sea trial, with acceptance of the survey and sea trial results being entirely at my (the buyer's) discretion.

This is the "usual" way that boats of substantial value are bought/sold here in Florida.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:24 AM   #15
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We bought all three of our boats so far through Craigslist, Minnesota, Texas, and Massachusetts. All the deals worked just fine, no deposits. Maybe we got lucky.

The post about clearing your stuff off a boat prior to listing - right on. On our second boat, the boat arrived on the 18-wheeler in the morning and by evening we had filled the marina's dumpster with all the previous owner's junk. Floaties that wouldn't hold air, old sandals, swimsuits - and some items I just won't describe. We did find a diamond ring and got all excited, but it was fake. I suppose that all that junk lowered the selling price though so we did get a very good deal.

On the other hand our current boat's seller had the boat cleaned and the hull polished for the sale, what a difference that was.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:48 AM   #16
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Would agree what most have said, and would add:

Yes, clean and detail the boat. Ask for a deposit but don't kill the deal because of it. When I sell, I tell them that if they are coming to see the boat, I'll not sell it before they show up and they have first right of refusal, especially if they're traveling a long distance.

And, I'm of the thought that I want to SELL, so I'll give most anyone a ride and promote my boat (or plane or house), aggressively..... and let the boat sell itself. If they like it, it's only a matter of money and they already know the price. And I'm not quibbling over 5 or 10% unless I've got a real one of a kind creampuff that will sell fast. I don't like holding costs or just having it take space when I want it gone.

Over the 20 some boats and planes I've sold over the years, I've never required a deposit, but would take one. I simply explain that the first cash gets it and I won't hold it off the market for very long without a non refundable deposit to cover my expenses and potential loss, should another buyer come by. Never a problem.

And on the buying side, I've never put down a deposit but have offered on a few "sure" deals, but have ALWAYS required a sea trial (which I pay for) before any money changes hands. Never a problem.

I've never used a broker to buy a boat. Use one (actually two for the same boat) to sell and it was hell, took a year and was priced right. Some of the potential buyers paid more for less boat because mind was not marketed well. Never again, but I wasn't in a spot to do it myself at the time.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:51 AM   #17
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Don't dismiss Craig's List so quickly. I had advertised my last boat there before I moved it to the broker (mostly because I needed my slip for the new boat.) I sent any serious leads from Craig's List to the broker. I think he got more that way than through his own organization.
Agree on Craigs List.
I've had excellent experience buying and selling there. Way better than Ebay. I bought my last boat off Craigs list and worked fine.

There are a lot of flakes on Craigs list, but not hard to spot them. And there's a lot of fraud there too, just like Ebay. Don't sell to anyone that wants to pay more than asking, can't come and see it or won't give proper identification. Yes, I've often asked for DLs, SS numbers, address, etc, etc. rarely an issue. And occasionally get a credit and background check.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:07 AM   #18
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Deposit is a good tool in some sales. If sale is complex with haulout, survey, sea trial and/or financing, the seller should get a deposit. This compensates seller for taking it off the market and shooing away other buyers while the the buyer arranges all the steps needed to inspect and close the deal. That can take time.

Contract can state terms where deposit is refundable, such as major survey findings but should not include failure to secure financing. Those terms can be worked out between the parties.

If sale is simple and buyer willing to close right away, not really needed.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:23 AM   #19
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Deposit is a good tool in some sales. If sale is complex with haulout, survey, sea trial and/or financing, the seller should get a deposit. This compensates seller for taking it off the market and shooing away other buyers while the the buyer arranges all the steps needed to inspect and close the deal. That can take time.

Contract can state terms where deposit is refundable, such as major survey findings but should not include failure to secure financing. Those terms can be worked out between the parties.

If sale is simple and buyer willing to close right away, not really needed.
Ski,

The deposit only protects the seller if it's non refundable... like a fee to take the boat off the market (which is applied to the purchase price).

This is especially important if the buyer wants to take the boat off the market for quite awhile. I could argue that it could all be done in a week or so, but sometimes that just isn't possible.

The seller's offer could include subject to survey, financing, having his wife see the boat or anything else.

The buyer can agree or not, or ask for a non refundable deposit.

In a hot market, I might say to the seller, first cash buys it, but might put a clause that say if buyer two shows up with cash, I'd refund the sellers survey costs... depends. I have done similar and just say to seller one, you have first right of refusal but have to make up your mind in a hour.

In a cold market or hard to sell, I might offer incentives for the buyer to help him with the purchase. Like pay for his survey, or give him a car or toy, or whatever.... if he buys. I've done that with houses a number of times, and it's crazy what people will do. I once told a seller that I'd pay off his car loan if he'd sell to me. The deal was put down on a napkin with a personal check.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:29 AM   #20
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I bought my current boat on an estate sale. Everything was onboard including every tool I could possibly need and some I don’t even know what they are for. With that said, it also came with dead cockroaches and horrible smelling curtains bedding etc. my sea trial, engine, generator and big ticket items were clean. Bout the boat, cleaned it out, refitted what I wanted to and bam! I have a beautiful boat. I did not let the fluff stop me.
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