5 Ways to Take Advantage of the Boat Seller’s Market

It’s all over the news. Or maybe you have been skipping the news, but then you’ve probably heard from your friends trying to get on the water for the first time, or even upgrade their boat, that boat inventory is the lowest it’s been in decades. The supply chain is slow and boats are up in demand, making for the perfect seller’s market. Dealers are trolling For Sale By Owner listings (FSBO) to snag your boat and spruce it up for a profit, and private buyers are willing to offer top dollar. To truly take advantage of the seller’s market to sell a boat, you should be doing all the things we usually recommend, because there is an even higher ROI on this visual appeal in a hot market than in a regular one—offering up the best looking, well-maintained boat of the limited options available will drive the price customers are willing to pay to the highest in its class. So here are some additional tips to truly get the highest value for your boat in today’s white-hot used boat marketplace. Be sure to read before you list your boat for sale.

Shopping for a Used Boat
Buyers are desperate to get their hands on a boat right now. Make yours the most desirable to get the highest profit imaginable.

Do your pricing homework

Don’t list your boat at baseline value just yet…

While the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Guide provides a fairly accurate baseline value in normal times, and is updated fairly regularly to reflect real-time values, the times we are living in are unprecedented. Local factors including supply, number of new boat buyers, age range of residents are pushing values even higher than “book value.” For a true starting value, you have to look at boat and general marketplaces. Look at dealer used inventory prices. Use our boat buyer listings to identify boats like yours, even in other areas, because buyers are willing to ship your boat to where they are. Price it high. The timeframe for buying has been shortened to days as opposed to weeks a couple years ago, for the best-condition, most desirable used boat types. Test your price for a few days to see what kind of interest you get, then drop it.

Stage your boat

In a seller’s market, people still optimize curb appeal and the interior of their home to make the biggest profit.

The same rules apply to your boat. Let the best-qualified buyers seeking a used boat for sale compete over the best boat—yours. One of the best tips on how to sell a boat? Keep the space as open-looking as possible. Declutter, depersonalize, sparkle and shine that interior so they can imagine their family using the space as their own. Have your ownership and maintenance paperwork neat, clean and organized. Give them zero reasons they shouldn’t jump on making an offer before someone else does.

Include a video walkthrough

Boats For Sale has the best-looking listings in the business. But what beats a listing is one with a video walkthrough.

You know how hard it is to take photos of small(ish) spaces. And this makes it difficult to imagine the flow of the space below deck, too. Buyers are on the hunt. They might even decide to put a deposit down or even make an offer sight unseen in this market. But that’s unlikely without a video walkthrough. Shoot your video landscape (tilt that phone 90 degrees) and be sure not to have it at too high of a setting. Walk around the exterior of the boat, pausing to zoom on details like the bow, the engine(s), and other details unique to your boat type. Then board the boat and walk through it as if you were giving an in-person tour. Uploading the video to our site is easy. You can even offer on the listing to send videos upon request directly to serious buyers. 

Shopping for a Used Boat
Providing would-be buyers a picture of the experience aboard will make them eager to buy your boat, and not the other one.

Write a killer description

Just like the video, paint a true picture of your boat. Walk the seller through it. Share every relevant detail.

A good way to write a description is by recording yourself doing a mock walkthrough. Yes, of course the engine hours and the fact that it has a head, or a mechanical swim platform are all essential details. But the things you notice beyond the basics—the creature comforts, the way your three kids used to all fit in the cabin for afternoon naps, how easy the marine wood flooring was to clean up after fishing, the way the wind whips through your hair from the second console—these are all things that provide personality to the boat. Adding some flare to your boat listing provides color and context to the experience aboard that boat. And sellers will pick up on it and add your boat to the top of a short list.

Get a cash offer

Dealers are the hungriest buyers right now. And they’re paying higher than private buyers in some cases.

Normally we tell you that a cash offer is an incredible, no-hassle way to get cash in hand when you want to sell your boat ASAP. In normal times, a dealer will offer a lower price than a private seller. But in these times, dealers are so low on inventory. That’s not set to improve for months. And the profit they can make off a used boat is always much higher than one they can make off a new one. They used to get to offer lower prices because if you were bringing it to them, it was a price you were paying for convenience. Now that the tables are turned, a dealer may even beat the price a private seller could be willing to pay. You have nothing to lose by filling out our quick form to get a cash offer in a couple of days. We’ll connect with dealers in your area to quickly negotiate on your behalf. Simply accept or reject the offer. It’s that easy.