What If You Can’t Sell Your Boat?

What Can You Do with a Boat That Won’t Sell?

If you have a boat you no longer want, you can try to sell it. In an optimistic scenario, you could make back most of what you initially spent on the vessel and walk away without a care; from there, you can either pocket the money or use it to buy an even better boat.

But what happens if you can't sell it on your first attempt?

Why Boats Don’t Sell

Let's start by exploring some of the main reasons why boats don't sell. If your vessel hasn't attracted much attention, one or more of the following reasons probably applies:

  • Overpricing. In the property market, houses don’t move if they’re overpriced. Houses are massive investments, and people want to make sure they get a fair value for what they're spending. If similar houses in the neighbourhood are going for £300,000, but this one's going for £350,000, only the most desperate buyers would consider moving forward. This principle applies to the boat world as well; people aren't going to spend more money than necessary on a vessel, especially when there are so many other options available. If a new yacht like yours is going for £50,000, and you're trying to sell a used one for £48,000, consider the perspective of a prospective buyer; wouldn't you rather just pay an extra £2,000 and get a vessel that's brand new? In most cases of boats that don't sell right away, pricing is the biggest factor. If you reduce the price to low enough, we can practically guarantee that someone is going to buy.
  • A bad exterior appearance. Some buyers are turned off by a poor exterior appearance. Even if your boat is perfectly functional and provably reliable, damage, stains, and other unsightly marks can give people a bad first impression. Just as curb appeal is important when selling a home, dock appeal is important when selling a boat. This is about setting the right tone for the sale and demonstrating that you've been a competent and responsible boat owner – even though it’s a somewhat superficial factor.
  • Lacklustre photos/videos. These days, most people buy and sell boats online. Long before they ever set foot on the vessel, they want to see photos and videos of the vessel to justify a physical inspection. If your photos and videos aren't flattering, or if they don't show all of your boat inside and out, you're not going to be able to sell your boat quickly or effectively. One solution to this problem is hiring a professional photographer, though you may or may not be willing to spend that extra money. At the very least, you should research photography basics and try to improve the images and videos you capture. Check out our article for tips on photographing your boat for sale.
  • An uncompelling description. Similarly, you may have a marketing problem when it comes to your description of the vessel. Your goal is to accurately describe the nature and condition of the boat to new audiences and do so in a way that entices them to buy the boat, or at least press for more details. If your description is too vague, people will be concerned that you're hiding something. If it's too flowery or superficial, you'll turn people away. Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer when describing your boat and try to be as accurate as possible.
  • Listing/reach problems. How many people is your listing reaching? If all you have is a single flyer hanging up at a local marina, you're probably not going to get much visibility or traction from buyers. You'll be much more successful if you market to a wider audience. There are many ways you can accomplish this, such as by tapping into the power of a global broker, selling your vessel across many different outlets, or advertising your boat for sale on an online boat marketplace such as TheYachtMarket.com.
  • Inaccessibility. Sometimes, boat owners have difficulty selling because their vessel is difficult to access. If you live in a remote location, and you're unable to deliver the vessel, your potential buying audience is instantly crippled. Many people aren't willing to travel to very remote locations to pick up a boat, especially if it's not a great deal.
  • Excessive use. Nobody likes to deal with the hassle of boat maintenance, so if your boat has been used for many years, or if it has countless hours of accumulated damage, your buying audience will be relatively small.
  • Component availability. Under normal circumstances, if you damage a propeller or suffer a tear to the internal upholstery, you can simply replace it. But if the manufacturer no longer supports this type of boat, and they no longer produce or distribute the parts necessary to maintain it, owners are going to have a problem. If components for this vessel aren't available, people won't be eager to buy it.

What to Do If You’re Struggling to Sell Your Boat

So, what can you do if you're still struggling to sell your boat?

These are the main options available to you:

  • Make some improvements and try again. If you're willing to spend some time and money on your boat, you can make some improvements and try again. That could mean replacing broken parts, washing and waxing the exterior of your vessel, or just putting more effort into your photography.
  • Use a different strategy. You can also use a different marketing strategy, such as listing in a different area, changing up the description, or appealing to different buyers.
  • Dramatically lower the price. One of the easiest ways to facilitate a faster sale is to dramatically lower the price. Yes, you'll take a hit financially, but at a certain point, the boat will sell.
  • Scrap/recycle the boat. If you've exhausted all the other options and you're willing to take a loss, consider scrapping or recycling your boat.

if you're having trouble selling your boat, but you haven't tried TheYachtMarket yet, consider listing your vessel with us. You can create a listing in just a few minutes and sell to a wide audience. Create your new or used boat listing today, or check out our directory of boat brokers to help you through the selling process.

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