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Best foot forward: Seven steps to sell your yacht

by Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding 30 Jun 2019 00:07 PDT
Windsock II © Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding

Eric Roos has spent the past 19 years in and around high-end yacht brokerage and new boat sales. He's managed hundreds of vessels while at Hinkley Yachts, Morris Yachts, and for the past four years as Sales Director at Lyman-Morse. It should be no surprise that Roos spends his days awash in the minute details that matter when it comes to selling a boat.

"What most sellers don't realize is how common it is to lose interest in maintaining a boat, once they have come to grips with their decision to sell," says Roos. "This is unfortunate."

To Roos, some simple maintenance will have a major impact on both the value of, and the time it takes to sell, a boat. Here are seven tangible steps any boat owner can take to pump some fresh value into any vessel, whether it's for sale or not.

1. Be Smart About Your Brightwork: Varnished exterior teak is time-consuming and expensive to maintain. But if your yacht's varnish is peeling and looking "non-yachty," says Roos, you are better off stripping the finish and selling the boat with bare wood. "Peeling varnish is a major red flag to a buyer. Eliminate this barrier by either bringing the varnish up to yachting standards, or strip it off and expose the freshly sanded teak."

2. Invest In Fresh Bottom Paint: While it may seem silly to add a fresh coat of antifouling paint to a yacht you do not intend to launch, perception plays a role in a vessel's value. And a fresh coat of anti-fouling paint dresses up any yacht. The cost is minimal, but the appeal is significant. Roos also recommends replacing old zincs with fresh ones. "A well-maintained bottom sends a positive signal to the potential buyer that this yacht is well cared for," says Roos.

3. Keep Your Stainless Steel, Engines, and Bilge Spotless: It is critical, says Roos, to keep your stainless polished and rust-free. Clean bilges and an oil-free, tidy engine space are also good indicators that the yacht has been well cared for and sends a positive message to potential buyers that your yacht has been owned by a professional and not some weekend warrior.

4. The Less of You Aboard, The Better: Sellers may think that selling their boat as a fully-equipped "turn-key" vessel is a good thing. But they should think again. Buyers want to imagine themselves owning your boat — not owning someone else's stuff. It's important to de-personalize your yacht by removing as much gear as possible and placing it in a storage area for later inspection by a surveyor or a buyer.

5. You Have Nothing to Hide: One of Roos' more passionate arguments is to take the initiative to have your boat professionally surveyed before it goes on the market, and then making that survey available to potential buyers. A transparent survey sends a signal that your boat has nothing to hide. It also prevents buyers from coming to their own — usually wrong- conclusions about your boat.

6. Seek the Magic Scent Of No Scent At All: While the scent of freshly baked cookies seems to do the trick in the real estate world, in the brokerage world it's all about having no smell down below at all. Be sure holding tanks are empty and flushed thoroughly and stowed with a holding tank deodorizer. If odors still exist, invest in professional remediation. "I always open hatches a few hours before showing any boat, to let the fresh air in," says Roos. "Odors matter."

7. Invest in Bright Lights: Adequate lighting down below is important when showing a yacht that is in storage for the winter. Roos says most boats go on the market during the winter months when batteries are disconnected, and interior lighting is often poor. He is therefore careful to have batteries connected and additional lighting installed, if needed. "Fully lit interiors restore that cozy boat-show feeling to any boat," says Roos. "Better yet, invest in heated indoor winter storage in lieu of cold. That way, a prospect and a broker can explore the entire yacht in comfort."

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