Preparing to sell your boat

Preparing to sell your boat

Chances are, if you have your boat in brokerage or are thinking about placing your boat in brokerage, you want it to sell as soon as possible. While those of us in the business of selling boats don’t have a crystal ball for predicting a speedy sale ,  we know how you can best maximize your part in preparing your boat for showing. Addressing the best pricing for sales action won’t be covered in this post. For the purpose of this blog post, we will cover ways to prepare your boat for sale.



What to do Down Below

 CleaningCleaning your boat

Everyone’s definition of clean is on a different scale, so we tell people to clean the boat as if you are expecting to entertain your in-laws!  Start with the bilges and make sure this area is spotless, not full of nasty water.  From the bilge area, work your way up and do a thorough cleaning of the interior.  A vacuum with a nice soft bristled brush is great for getting sand from the creases in fabric upholstery.  Be sure to do a hearty job cleaning the head, shower, and mirrors.  The galley also needs a lot of attention.  Areas like the refrigeration compartment should be free of old food and mildew. Give the same consideration especially to the oven!

Toss the Trash

During the cleaning process, take advantage of the opportunity to toss stuff that is out of date, deteriorating, or is not necessary. If you have extra equipment the next owner may find attractive, leave it on the boat and make a note of this when signing the brokerage agreement.  You’ll be shocked at the vast amount of non-essential stuff we stock pile.  And in the “oh by the way” category, be careful not to dump old cleaning products, oil, and such in the marina dumpster.  If you don’t know how to discard hazardous waste, please ask the marina owner or dock master how these items are to be properly disposed of.

The Nose Knows the Holding Tank

Nothing will turn prospects away quicker than a stinky holding tank.  Make sure the holding tank is empty. It’s not a bad idea to flush it out with fresh water after emptying.  If your water tanks haven’t been emptied in a while and the water wasn’t treated water to begin with, empty and replenish with fresh water.


What to do Topside

Do a Yeoman’s job cleaning the ports, hatches, and topside deck.  If you notice some dings in the gelcoat, make plans to get these repaired because these areas will be noticed by a potential buyer. Lift all the lazarettes and clean under the lids. Pay careful attention to drains, lips, and waterways. If you have topside storage, thoroughly clean all these compartments as well.  Organize the contents….in other words, properly coil extra lines, extra shore power cords, etc.  Take a look in the anchor locker and make sure it’s clean; untangle anchor rode; clean under the anchor locker lid and  around the waterways.

Canvas & Cockpit CushionsCockpit Cushion Care

The canvas on your boat should be void of dust and sea gull deposits. If your canvas looks like it was used in target practice by Jonathan the Seagull and friends, wash it with gentle soap and water.  Take caution and only use plastic cleaner on the glass.  Is the stitching looking worn and edges fraying?  Visit the local canvas shop and get their recommendation for a spruce up  without replacing the canvas.  If the glass is cracking, depending upon the cost,  you may consider replacing the plastic.

Cockpit cushions get soiled easily and if they were put away wet, chances are they may be a little moldy.  Use a gentle cleaner to wash the cushions, dry them out in the sun,  and store them neatly in one  in a deep locker or down below in the cabin.  An “out of the way” location is preferable to placing them in the main salon.

Teak and Stainless

Clean teak makes any older boat look newer.  The same can be said for the shining stainless.   There are some great stainless cleaner products on the market that will do the job.

StagingStaging a BoatPreparing to sell

Real estate agents tell sellers to “stage” the home to look comfortable, inviting, and spacious.  Weed out excess clutter, nick-knacks, magazines, and trinkets so that the interior space is seen an spacious and open.  The object here is to have the prospective buyer see him or herself inhabiting  the space.  Old floral arrangements, fraying pillows, dirty throw rugs, old bath towels, old blankets, and stuffed animals should be tossed, donated,  re-purposed, or taken  home.  If your decorative pillows aren’t in good shape, purchase a few new ones at Target or your favorite ‘big box’ store and place them in the main salon.  Set the dining table for two in the main salon and put a couple of new matching towels in each head.  If you have an AC lamp, take the light bulb out, gently clean, and return to the socket.  This is an easy thing to do that really makes a difference when the lamp is turned on.


Continue the Maintenance

After completing the preparation for selling your boat, continue the maintenance.  Once your boat is listed and in the hands of the brokerage firm, return to your boat as frequently as it is feasibly possible to  keep the topside clean and make sure everything is looking good.  Nothing impresses a buyer more than a well-maintained, clean vessel.  Clean and well kept boats sell faster than those that aren’t.  When prospective purchasers inspect a messy and unkempt boat, they worry about other aspects of the boat (like systems) that may have been neglected.  So be sure to make time to prepare your boat for brokerage, if you are planning to list it.  Your broker will love you because it will be a pleasure to show your boat!