Yacht Seller’s Guide to Maximize Your Selling Price

Yacht Seller’s Guide to Maximize Your Selling Price

By HMY Contributor   April 13, 2020

To improve the resale value of your boat, follow these time-tested steps


First impressions are critical — any yacht broker will tell you that the first few minutes a buyer spends aboard your boat are the most important. Hire a professional detailer and have them transform the exterior to pristine condition. Make sure the decks are washed and free of unused lines and deck equipment. A fresh wax job will take years off the boat’s real age and make it appear much newer. This is also the time to pay close attention to the stained decks commonly seen on sportfish vessels.

Look at your boat through the eyes of the buyer and try to notice the small details. Polish all stainless and aluminum, clean the teak, examine caulking, and remove dirt and grime from the engine room. The goal is to make your boat appear to be very lightly used even though it may have been well-loved for years.

A modest time investment in pre-sale maintenance can return thousands in resale value.


An extremely important step you can take in preparing your boat for sale is to put all mechanical systems in good working order. Make sure the engines start easily, the batteries are serviceable, the engine oil is clean, and the electronics are in good working order. Because the boat will be hauled for an inspection, have the bottom painted and zinks replaced in advance.

Buyers can be expected to notice problems with your boat and the small fixes you make prior to an inspection and sea trial can have a big impact on the closing price. If your diesel engines are nearing the 1000-hour service schedule have the work done before you put the boat on the market. Yes, it’s costly but buyers don't want to have to face this expense on a newly purchased boat. If there are repair or maintenance issues left unresolved you can bet the surveyor will find them.


Remove all personal belongings including family pictures, wall hangings, tools, galley appliances, etc. Make sure that dressers, pantries, cabinets, hanging lockers, live wells, and storage compartments are empty and cleaned, and that sinks, showers and counters are spotless. Carpet should be cleaned or replaced if worn out. Curtains and upholstery need cleaning as well, especially if you have pets or smokers aboard. When walls are covered with pictures, storage areas crammed with junk, and books and magazines are left scattered about it makes the interior of any boat seem smaller. Make sure any unpleasant odors are removed before showing.

Finally, before showing your boat remove everything that is not included in the sale. More than a few high-dollar sales have been scuttled at the last minute by a disagreement over who gets the $100 binoculars you left lying on the saloon table.


It’s a good idea to put a notebook together showing all the details of your boat’s history: upgrades, spare parts inventory, warranty information, etc. Organize and make sure the factory supplied systems and equipment manuals and plumbing and wiring schematics are available. Also, keep the title and registration nearby to avoid any delays when it’s time to close the sale.

Maintenance and service records are great sales tools — the more information you can provide about your boat’s service history, the better. A well-maintained boat may sell on its own, but a full set of maintenance records will give a buyer the extra level confidence he needs to make an offer on your boat. 


When the boat has been cleaned and polished, all repairs completed, and the interior cleared of your personal belongings, it’s time to consider location. No matter what preparations you’ve made to insure a great first impression, putting your boat in a run-down marina to save a few dollars on slip rental may render all of your hard work meaningless.

Locating your boat in a full-service marina with luxury amenities and top-shelf facilities will go a long way toward creating the best possible selling environment. Hiding you boat in some backwater marina in a hard-to-reach area may also dramatically reduce the traffic you need to get the boat sold.

Boats are a wonderful place to enjoy friends and family and the peace of mind being on the water brings.

But, when it’s time to sell, don’t start your clean-up efforts then, take advantage of these tips and more so you will be able to get maximum value upon resale.

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