Boats For Sale by Owner vs. Boats Listed by a Yacht Broker

Listing Your Boat For Sale by Owner vs. Using a Yacht Brokerage

So, you’ve decided that it’s time to sell your boat. Maybe it’s time to move to a bigger boat, downsize to something a little more manageable, get out of boating altogether, make the jump from sail to power, or vise versa. How do you decide whether it’s worth it to enlist the help of a Yacht Broker?

Listing Your Boat For Sale by Owner

Listing your boat “for sale by owner” can certainly seem tempting at first- why wouldn’t you want to keep the 10% that brokers charge for handling the sale!? Over the years, we have had many clients who have tried to sell their boat themselves, whether through signs on the boat, on craigslist, or other sites free and paid that allow you to post boats for sale by owner. These clients typically come to us after frustrations stemming from a few issues including:

  • Boat for Sale by Owner tend to attract a plethora of Spam messages, scams, unqualified leads
  • Lack of leads altogether
  • Time-consuming showings
  • Awkward or negative negotiation-based interactions
  • Risky agreements that leave the seller and buyer open to potential fraud or lawsuits
  • Mishandling of funds
  • Lack of thorough documentation of the transaction, resulting in potential issues with the Coast Guard, state, etc.
  • Lack of access to YachtWorld, the website of choice for most buyers browsing boats for sale

That 10% may seem worth your efforts to sell your boat yourself, but many times, the headache and issues that come with a for-sale-by-owner deal outweigh the benefits. It’s costs you absolutely nothing to explore the option of listing with a broker- find a broker that you think you’d be interested in working with and give them a call! If it isn’t for you, that’s completely fine, but it’s certainly worth doing your research first.

Listing Your Boat with a Yacht Brokerage

A reputable Yacht Brokerage with experienced brokers will ensure that your sale is as easy as possible. Yacht Brokers’ commissions are 10% across the industry, with minimums varying according to brokerage. Just like choosing friends or a spouse, your broker should be a good fit for your personality and boat. While working with a reputable brokerage ensures that your sale progresses properly, working with the right broker and brokerage firm for you is crucial. Every client, every boat, and every deal is unique- that’s what keeps a broker’s job interesting and fulfilling! When we do hear negative feedback from someone’s past experiences with a brokerage, it typically boils down to one thing: the client (and/or their boat) & broker just weren’t a good fit.

Here are a few tips for those considering using a Yacht Brokerage:
  1. Pick the right brokerage for your boat and personality. There are all types of brokerages: old/new, huge/mom-and-pop, with differing focuses and specialties. Even within a brokerage, there may be a broker that fits your needs more than another. In our office, for example, we have cruisers, trans-Atlantic sailors, racers, wooden boat enthusiasts, and fishers!
  2. Check out their online & print advertising presence. Are they advertising on multiple platforms? Do they have good reviews? Even if the business has been established for decades, do they have local experience in industry? An established brokerage local to your area can provide great insight into local market trends, recommend any marine service-providers based on years of experience, and ensure that your boat is marketed properly based on it’s type, condition, and location. A good yacht brokerages’ brokers bring to the table not only knowledge of the industry in a world-wide sense, but a thorough understanding of your local maritime community, waterways, culture, rules, and regulations.
  3. Even if a boat looks perfect online, it has to show well in person! If a seller keeps a boat tidy and clean, in and out, it can make a huge impact on the amount time it takes to sell the boat.

Look at it From a Buyer’s Perspective

There are many advantages for a buyer when a boat is listed by a brokerage. Many of these are mutual advantages shared by sellers, with benefit to both parties. Some of these include:

  • Proper, up-to-date contracts detailing the terms of the purchase
  • All deposits held in escrow
  • Recommendations for any insurance, financing needs, and documentation/registration needs
  • Orchestration of sea trial, survey, haulout if necessary
  • Proper documentation of the sale (this varies greatly from state to state, country to country, prior registration or documentation type, boat type, and additional items included in the sale such as dinghies and outboards)
  • Smooth closing (all necessary documents complete, funds moved properly from buyer to seller)
  • And last, but not least, after-sale service! After the sale, we’re always happy to help in any way possible, making recommendations for marine services, marinas, captains, or anything else buyers may need.

If you’ve considered putting your boat on the brokerage market, we’re happy to help you determine if our services are right for you. One of our brokers is always available to discuss your needs and how we can help get your boat sold as efficiently as possible.

Contact usLet's talk!

3 Lockwood Drive, Ste. 302B
Charleston, SC 29401