How many times have you seen a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign on a boat? You can find them in the marina. Signs so bleached and faded from the sun that you can no longer read the phone number. Because the owner has been trying to sell their boat themselves for that long. And behind each of those weary signs is an even more disillusioned boat owner.

Troubled by the passage of time because each passing month (or year) makes their boat that much older, ages their electronics, and weathers the overall condition. Needed repairs add value in respect to keeping the boat maintained but don’t add to the bottom line in the resale price.

I can't sell my boat

What’s Next if You Can’t DIY Sell Your Boat

And if the owner already bought their replacement boat? They may be sinking in debt as the holding costs continue to climb. Registration, taxes, insurance, mooring, storage, upkeep, and maintenance to name a few. All while their boat’s resale value continues to slide.

We have all heard of someone who knows a guy that sold his boat at a premium price in a short time frame. And many boat owners start out thinking that they will have this type of quick, profitable turnaround on their sale. However, in reality, these types of sales are as common as spotting a mermaid. They make a fabulous tale and usually give boat owners false hope. Once their optimism fades, they begin to search for other ways to unload their boat without losing the shirt off their back.

So, what is a DIY boat seller like you supposed to do? Well, in this article we are going to explain the resale cycle of boats and what impacts that cycle. Then we will dive deep into some options that most DIY sellers didn’t even know were available to them.

What are the options if you’re thinking “I can’t sell my boat?”

Let’s look at the 3-Stages to a Boat Sale to shine some light on the options. In particular how sellers get from Point A, hopeful and optimistic, to Point B, offers to consider and a check in hand.

The three stages are

I. “OMG That’s Amazing!!!” Boat Sale stage

II. “Sit-In” Stage

III. “Dig-In” Stage

The Three Stages to a Boat Sale

The Three Stages to a Boat Sale

Stage I “OMG, That’s Amazing!!!” Boat Sale

This is when a boat sells in the first 2–3 months of putting a boat on the market! In fact, this is the type of boat sale that everyone wants. A fast, profitable boat sold, at a good price. Perfection and exhilaration all around. The boat owner’s happy and the boat buyer is happy. A win-win and one we all wish for.

Buyer’s Market vs Seller’s Market

Unfortunately, especially in a buyer’s market, less than 10% of boats sell quickly. The remaining 90% of boats take longer to sell even as prices decline. Buyers have the upper hand because there is a large inventory to choose from. Note: it has been a buyer’s market for the last 8–10 years. From the last boating boom, until just recently.

Conversely, in a seller’s market, sellers enjoy both higher prices and quicker sales because there are fewer boats competing for buyer’s attention. The last quarter of 2020 showed such a shift as a result of the global pandemic.

However, even during a seller’s market, there are certain types of boats that remain hard to sell. Factors such as size, age, condition, location of berthing, or country affect salability. Then you also have to consider seasonal demand which ebbs and flows throughout the year. And of course the economy factors into the overall situation which affects lending availability, if needed.

After Many Years of a Buyer’s Market, from 2020 it shifted to a Seller’s Market

After Many Years of a Buyer’s Market, from 2020 it shifted to a Seller’s Market

Stage II The “Sit-In”

The next stage is what we call the “Sit-In” Stage. Because this is the traditional ‘sit, wait, and see what happens’ stage. As a DIY boat seller, you reach this stage when you’ve exhausted your personal network and contacts and no one you know wants to buy your boat. Let’s take a look at the cycle in this stage.

After posting your boat on websites a couple of times you are hopeful because you got a few nibbles. Then after messaging and arranging viewings, the no-shows begin to wear you down. Unqualified buyers start to discourage you. But it’s the ones who simply want to take a spin on the water for fun that is the most annoying, wasting your precious time.

If you find someone who makes an offer then you are suddenly waist-deep in regulations and paperwork. But if you can’t get the deal closed, or if the buyer doesn’t follow through you still don’t have the money in your account.

What are your options now?

As shown above, very patient DIY boat sellers can stay in this stage for months, or years. After waiting a period of months, they lower the price and restart the clock. Hoping against hope that this price point leads to a sale. Lather, rinse, repeat.

At this point you might have decided you want help selling your boat. Asking around you get referrals to traditional listing brokers. However, depending on your situation, these brokers may not be a good fit. If your boat is less than USD100K most traditional brokers won’t list your boat. And if you have one of the hard to sell boats, they may likely turn you away. They cite that there is too much effort for the payoff at the end.

Briefly, there are two business models for traditional brokers. If you sign a regular listing agreement the broker isn’t likely to spend a lot of time or money marketing your boat. Because someone else will most likely sell the boat and the broker won’t get any commission at all.

The exclusive listing means that the traditional broker has to front the money to cover the time and resources for marketing. Then they have to get enough commission to cover the costs already paid out.

The Hybrid Commission Model

We designed the enhanced boat brokerage service to help our boat owner clients solve their most pressing challenges. Payments offset against the eventual sales commission. What this means is that we can help clients dig in, put a plan into place, assemble a project team, allocate resources and get real results. The relationship created in the hybrid model is a win for boat owners who need a hand to sell their boats. And for brokers who are not left high and dry by boat owners who decide not to sell or sells the boat themselves.

Next Step

So, what is your next step if you’re in the “I can’t sell my boat” camp, and a traditional boat broker won’t list your boat for sale?

By reaching out to BASCO, here’s how we could assist.

  1. We’ll invite you to a Boat Sale Strategy Session to identify the exact steps you should be taking to sell your boat fast and at a good price. Then you can move on with your life (or boat upgrade).
  2. The second goal is to decide if we can help you get there faster or if Stage III, the “Dig-In” Stage is right for you.

The third way we could assist you is to simply suggest that you list your boat yourself for free in The Boat Guru™ Marketplace. www.boatguru.appOnce you have done this, we’re able add your boat for sale to our free “Matchmaking” service. Then if we have a buyer in our extensive database it’s an “OMG, That’s Amazing!!!” fast boat sale.

Stage III The “Dig-In”

There are two common reasons why boats don’t sell for DIY sellers. First, you have mismatched the boat’s price to the market. Simply put, sellers often overprice their boat. Second, you don’t know how to find and market to potential buyers. The buyer for your boat just doesn’t know it’s on the market yet!

We address both these issues during the project planning. We start by dialing in the best price. Then develop the marketing strategy plan to Push, Pull, and Promote. This maximizes your exposure.

The “Dig-In” Stage is like having your own project manager on your team to get the job done. You get a project manager, marketing consultant, digital boat broker and a yacht adviser all rolled into one. We slash the brokerage fees to a fraction of the traditional boat brokerage rates. Then you and the team commit to a 9-step plan to sell your boat faster and at a good price.

We call this approach the BASCO With You Boat Sale System. A 3-Stage Blueprint for a Fast Boat Sale at a Good Price. Plan, Price, Promote.

BASCO With You Boat Sale System includes Plan, Price, Promote

BASCO With You Boat Sale System includes Plan, Price, Promote

Do you want to find out more about how we can help you sell your boat?

If you want to find out how to triple your boat enquiries, viewings and offers in just 90 days, click HERE to make a time to Zoom.

About BASCO Boating

BASCO is the most reliable and effective boating platform in Asia-Pacific. We strive to address issues faced by the boating community in the traditional boat brokerage by investing our time to understand our clients and their needs so as to provide accurate information and present our best practices to help them achieve their innermost dreams about life at sea.

BASCO consists of 3 divisions, BASCO Connect, BASCO Advise and BASCO Trade.

Through our “BASCO With You” services we:

  1. Educate boat deciders/searchers about boating and boat buying.
  2. Assist buyers buy boats.
  3. Help boat owners sell and maintain their boats.
  4. Aid boat service providers get more work and grow their businesses.

Come On Board!