How to Negotiate In a Seller’s Boat Market

Selling a boat in the current, unprecedented marketplace is exciting! To sell a boat online used to take up to 12 weeks, and now it’s happening in days. Would-be boat owners, upgraders and dealers are all competing to buy. And while that puts you in a unique position, you are empowered to take your time and wait for the best offer. We believe in a seller’s boat market you should still stage, upgrade and present your boat with its best face forward. You should also allow the buyers to fall in love with your boat, without reserve, so that you get multiple offers and can choose the one that is the cleanest transaction and of course, ideally, the highest dollar.                                                                                                                     

Lake Fishing
Just like with house buying, buyers try not to make emotional decisions. But it’s hard not to when they can imagine themselves on your boat

Know your goal price and your bottom price

While you want to strike while the iron is hot, trust us, the iron isn’t cooling off anytime soon.

One of the first things to learn how to sell your boat is the market value. Your lowest price should be elevated from its normal depreciation, based on research you’ve done with the NADA Guide and local marketplace listings, as well as other regions (some buyers are willing to buy and ship your boat where inventory is even lower!). Check out this article on how to price your boat, with the caveat that the prices are likely getting higher until there is some sign that boat production and inventory are improving. 

But don’t list it at top dollar

The buyer has to feel like they have some say in the deal in order for them to come to the table with their highest and best offer.

Even in a seller’s market, the buyer wants to feel like they have wiggle room to make an appealing offer, and compete with other buyers. The price of your boat listing should be at or below competitive boats in your area. This way, if you’ve also posted a killer listing with tons of effort, plus set a fair price, buyers will flock to your listing and then the competition begins. Despite buyer knowledge that the market is competitive, they still want to feel like they negotiated in some way to justify the price and/or have some power in the transaction.

Don’t just jump at the highest offer

Work with the most urgent buyer(s), and be sure they have solid terms you agree upon.

While it’s a seller’s market, you want to ensure a speedy, safe and secure transaction. Be sure the seller’s offer has payment type and terms and timing you agree with and has outlined transportation from the boat’s location to their location. It’s also okay to negotiate with several potential buyers at once, just let them know this is the case. If anything, it will reinforce how serious the market is and encourage them to make their best offer in a timely fashion. And don’t forget to consider letting us make you a cash offer. Since we solicit these offers come from dealers near you and the market is hot, it might be the best offer you receive. For more tips on how to sell a boat, check out all sell my boat articles in the Seller Resources section of Boats For Sale. 

A Regal Boat owner enjoying an outing sitting with wife and kids jumping in water
Work with several buyers at once, but be transparent. The result? An honest bidding war and a good-faith final transaction.