Amidst the uncertainty of selling your boat in 2020, here are 3 game-changers to the way boats will be sold going forward. Of these changes, some have been apparent in the market for a while, but some may not have been noticeable.
An advance warning — If you’re a boat owner, one or two of them may be in the ‘but that’s not how boat sales are done’ category or ‘that’s going to cost me money, I don’t want a bar of it’ department. Do read on to find out more.
Back in the ‘Good Old Days’
A few years ago, buying a boat included visiting a marina or a broker’s office and viewing the listings in their window. When you were thinking about buying a boat it was typically a localised activity and you looked for boats with a broker in the marina or a location near where you lived and worked. The boat shows were typically a once-a-year event for the city or region.
These days it’s quite different and boat buying can easily be a cross-border and international affair, especially in Asia as there are so many countries within a 5-hour flight, so boat searching becomes international quite fast with countries in close proximity of one another in a relatively small geographical area. In addition to this, in Asia the boat market is very small compared to Australia, Europe or USA, so your search inevitably becomes an international or cross-border one.
Escaping Reality with Boat Addictions
We have the internet to thank for this change and access to boat shopping, and if you talk to those who are looking, boat searching via the internet can be very addictive! It is an escape from the day to day realities into the world of possibility when you’re searching online. You can start to imagine life on the water and fun times aboard with family and friends on a boat like “this one or that one”. Dreams soar! And these days such escapism can be such a welcome retreat.
Internationalisation of the Boat Sale Market
So, while online boat searching isn’t a game-changer as it’s been around for a long time now, it’s the internationalisation of the boat market, that can certainly change the outlook of a buyer. Boat shopping across borders creates additional demands and information requirements of boat sellers and this is an important point to understand if you are selling your boat.
If you are a boat owner who wants to sell, the first game-changer is well and truly upon us and while not directly resultant from the Covid-19 crisis, this game-changer is now more evident and therefore more easily understandable to boat sellers.
Game Changer #1 Buying a Boat Without Seeing It
We have been promoting Online Boat Shows with our BOBBAS platform, which allows buyers and sellers to buy and sell boats online, for some time now. Prior to this we also worked with buyers and sellers and Online Boat Auctions.
Over this time, it certainly came as a surprise to us, the number of high quality, expensive boats that changed hands internationally without the buyer ever seeing the boat in person prior to purchase. Two examples include a 5-year old Lagoon 450 sailing catamaran and a 6-year old 60-foot luxury trawler motor yacht. Neither of these two buyers saw the boat in person before signing on the dotted line and paying for these high-quality, well-maintained vessels.
Many boat owners say to us ‘I would never buy a boat without seeing it’ and we do understand this sentiment. The point here is like apartments in Europe, where many people are buying them online sight unseen, this will happen more and more with boats from now on. The pace of this trend will only continue to increase.
Therefore it is a good idea when selling your boat, to put in the place the systems and the team to easily provide all the information to increase confidence in your boat, in the representatives helping you to sell it, as well as supportive responses to enquirers to increase their own confidence of being able to successfully negotiate a remote or international purchase.
Helping the buyer achieve their goals of getting a lovely boat at a fair price, while mitigating the risk as much as possible is a sure way to achieve a sale.
Game Changer # 2 Commissioning a Survey
In the good old days, the commissioning of the survey and all the associated costs (not insignificant) were on the account of the buyer. Typically, the buyer would approach the seller, view the boat agree on a price and then do a sea trial and survey, at the buyer’s cost.
Game-changer # 2 shows this is changing. As the boat market becomes more and more international, freight and goods including boats move about more readily, whether shipped or delivered. Commissioning a survey (like the one you may have paid for when you bought your boat) for prospective buyers is a seriously good move these days.
Why would I want to pay for a survey twice on my boat?
Providing a level of comfort and confidence to potential purchasers is key and often a survey is required to fully achieve this, particularly for overseas buyers.
Potential purchasers wish to gauge the quality of a boat from the comfort of their computers and unless you can send them a survey in advance of their decision to proceed further, they may not be able to assess the quality.
It is important to understand that offers obtained may typically reflect a lower level of buyer confidence if you cannot provide all the information including a recent survey, to inspire confidence in not only your boat, but you as a trusted seller.
We receive hundreds of enquiries from all over the world for boats for sale every month. Many people are relocating to different parts of the world and make enquiries in advance of that. Many people want to start their sailing and boating dreams and experiences from Asia, and many people are comfortable with shipping and delivery to their home country. Providing a recent survey is key to securing a sale for your boat in these situations.
A Boat Owner’s Perspective on Commissioning a Survey
While here at BASCO, we’ve always recommended a boat seller commission an in-water condition report, I was delighted to receive this email from Philip Schoeffel, an experienced boat owner which explains the benefit to you as a boat owner in selling your boat faster and at the highest price possible by commissioning a survey:
“What has helped me in the sale of the last three yachts, (Hunter 38 and the Farr 37 and an Adams 10 before that in the last six years), yes I have a boating problem, was commissioning a recent survey when the boat is put on the market which gives potential buyers a lot of confidence. I sold my Farr quite easily in the end for very nearly the amount I was chasing so managed to move it on quite cleanly. Quite a game changer actually.”
Thanks, Philip, for sharing your successful experiences here.
Game Changer # 3 Online Boat Shows and Focused Marketing Reduce Transaction Costs
Ten percent of boats sell quickly, and ninety percent of boats do not. Traditional brokers may list 50–100 boats for sale (it’s a list as many as you can business model for traditional boat brokers) and they make their easiest money focusing on the 10% of boats that sell quickly.
For the other 90% of boat owners, the experience can be quite demoralising and unsatisfactory and for example, after one year of limited enquiries and no offers, any trip to the brokers office to discuss progress is usually met by one key recommendation “ I think you should reduce the price”.
More and more people are buying and selling online via Online Boat Shows.
Then it’s back to the drawing board to further understand your boat’s market value, pricing it correctly and then digging in and investing in digital and social marketing to generate enquiries and leads and raising awareness that your boat is for sale via platforms and forums is key these days.
As more and more boats are being bought and sold by Online Boat Show, this provides an opportunity for reduced transaction and commission costs. By separating the marketing and lead generation activities from the traditional listing activities (taking photos, writing a description, doing viewings and the change of registration etc.) many owners who prefer to do some of these activities themselves, save thousands of dollars in the process.
Why pay 10% commission when you can cut it in half by undertaking some sale activities yourself? Then invest in focused marketing for your boat to generate three times the enquiries in 90-days compared to traditional methods and also get four offers or price feedback, so you can make your move without worry of how long it will take to get an offer.
Online Boat Shows and focused marketing allows this kind of results for boat owners with YouTube, Instagram and Facebook now the new ‘Yachtworld’.
3 Things You Should Be Doing Right Now If You’re Planning on Selling Your Boat
So, what this means to you in your boat selling life is that Covid-19 has forever changed the world in so many ways, including boat sales. The transition from the old to the new boat sales methods is being turbocharged as a result.
If you’re looking to sell your boat and want to know the exact 3 things that you should be doing right now to get completely clear on selling your boat in these uncertain times, contact us now for a chat.
We’d be delighted to share these insights with you and especially if you’re planning on selling your boat this year or next.
[Note: Struggling to Sell Your Boat? Get it in front of 20,000 people at the Asia Online Boat Show & Expo. Click here to get a FREE Boat Show spot at this virtual event.]