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Old 05-27-2020, 03:10 PM   #1
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Questions before listing a boat

Thinking about listing our boat - we've lived aboard 3 years and might be ready to move into a house. I have some questions related to listing. This is a 42 Grand Banks from 1985 that's been fully refurbished.

We're open to working through a broker, but because nobody knows more about the boat than me - and we're working from home anyway - I was toying with the idea of sale by owner because I'd like to show it myself. Any thoughts? Is it hard (or impossible) to do the paperwork? Maybe it makes sense to strike a deal with a broker where we show it and they list and field calls?

One of the main things we'd have difficulty with in a sale-by-owner is pricing - we have no insight into 'Sold Boats'. Any ideas on how to overcome that?

Finally, we're thinking about getting a survey done to be able to show potential buyers. I've read around a bit and most people are really wary of a seller-initiated survey. Is this useful to anybody or better to just skip it?

Is there anything else anyone can think of that we should do before we list (aside from getting her all cleaned up)?

Oh yeah, can anyone recommend a Boston-area surveyor?

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Old 05-27-2020, 03:41 PM   #2
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Don't know about the survey this close to listing it. My buddy had his surveyed 5 months before, claiming for insurance, and the buyer used his survey which missed a few things.

Any broker worth using will tell you to move off the boat, remove all your stuff, and clean from top to bottom. Showing a perspective buyer how small closets and cabinets are (with your stuff packed in) can kill a deal.


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Old 05-27-2020, 04:16 PM   #3
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It is doable to sell the boat yourself. I sold 2 boats that way in the last few years. I used Boat Trader to list them. Like said before, remove everything that isnít part of the sale and clean, clean the boat. Take tons of photos that are high quality and well lit. Take photos of everything and every angle possible. Buyers like to see that you are not trying to hide anything. You can have a documentation service handle the paperwork if the boat is documented or you can do it yourself. I have done it both ways. Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post

Any broker worth using will tell you to move off the boat, remove all your stuff, and clean from top to bottom. Showing a perspective buyer how small closets and cabinets are (with your stuff packed in) can kill a deal.

Agreed. We refuse to survey liveaboards (no prejudice, we are liveaboards).
email me at and I'll respond with the soldboats data later tonight.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:15 PM   #5
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It is next to impossible to sell a boat that is being lived on. That said, I bought my present boat at a deep discount because it was being lived on and no one would look at the boat for more than 5 minutes. I made a very low offer and after 6 months of no interest we did a deal.
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:05 AM   #6
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Surveying the boat will give you a good idea of what will get flagged when the prospective buyer has the boat surveyed. Better to have a chance to fix it, than scare someone away or get beat up on price. As a buyer, I would look at a survey, then verify the items were fixed, but I would get my own survey anyway.

I would absolutely move off of the boat AND move all personal possessions off of the boat. You need to "Stage It". When looking at a boat, if it looks like it's been a live-aboard, dock queen in the pictures, I won't even book a viewing. If it looks like a live-aboard dock queen IRL, I will typically assume significant deferred maintenance. (I'm not at all saying yours does).

You're likely to get more viewings through a broker. A broker is also a professional salesperson and might be more apt to get a prospective buyer to "Yes". No offense, but FSBO tend to give more free rides, while Brokers tend to get a P&S and deposit.

FSBO tend to talk from pride and unknowingly undermine their own sales. Believe it or not "I do all my own maintenance" is not a selling point.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:23 PM   #7
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What Shrew said times 10. Also a reminder of one reason why one gets a survey is to get an objective opinion. Something very very few people can ever do for themselves. If you think you can, good chance you are wrong.

Boats are more like houses than cars. They are all unique. There is no such thing as a pricing book with any kind of statistical accuracy on specific models. What you need are comps. Fresh ones, both better and worse. Not just of your year, make, model, but of other nearby boats most likely to compete in your market. Most likely to compete based on the buyers eyes, not the learned seller.

Stage it, just like you would a house. Try to remove your presence from the showing, that includes most of your helpful advice that tells a buyer that itís your boat, not theirs. They have to form the question well before it gets answered, then internalize how ďtheyĒ would deal with the concern. This is even true for newbies, who are asking for a whole lot of help. You simply must separate that discussion for a time ideally after the purchase decision has been made. Up front, the goal is to simply remove barriers to purchase, not to demonstrate how easy something is in depth.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:08 PM   #8
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If you can swing it, a a pre-purchase survey can go a long way toward expanding your reach with buyers. I might consider a boat far away if I had an independent survey in hand. Additionally, it gives you an idea of what to expect for needed maintenance and market value.

Agree with others, move off the boat, empty it out, clean everything and stage it. Photograph everything well and include machinery spaces.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:26 PM   #9
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If it is your intent to market the boat to out-of-town or out-of-state buyers, then a survey cannot possibly hurt (unless it says you are about to sink). I would not expect it to replace a buyers survey, but when included in any response to a request for information, would be far more complete than the usual fuzzy broker's pictures.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:57 PM   #10
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Are you sure you want to sell the boat? The first paragraph of your post says "thinking about listing our boat" and "might be ready to move into a house". Like everyone is saying, you really need to remove all of your "stuff" and get the boat staged to sell.

You go on to say "we're open to working though a broker but because nobody knows more about the boat than me I was toying with the idea of sale by owner"
The only reason I would consider selling it myself would save on the brokers commission (usually about 10%). It does not sound like you are concerned about this so why scare away a prospective buyer? Plus they will advertise it all over the world for you. They may even have buyers waiting for a boat like this to come on the market.

If you do it yourself just hand over the paper work to a marine escrow company and they will walk you thru the whole process. That's what a broker will do anyway.

I would not bother to get a survey done as almost any buyer will want to have their own guy do it. You can use that money to pay the escrow company. Good luck..

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