Engine and bottom maintenance is first and foremost. Nothing will sour a deal quicker than a potential buyer thinking, If the owner didn’t spend the time or money to do the 1,000-hour service, what else hasn’t he kept up with? Bottom and engine maintenance go hand in hand, especially during an engine survey, where sea trials reveal proper engine performance and verify the speeds advertised in the listing, both at cruise and top-end. Neglecting these items adds to the bottom line and is not factored in when making an offer to purchase. Basic maintenance is expected to be completed by the seller.
Educating the client on their vessel’s current market value is critical. If you communicate directly from the start, you can set a realistic sale expectation and create a sound level of comfort in your broker-client relationship. Price drives sales traffic, so if an asking price is unrealistic, that traffic is decreased. My goal is to provide the utmost customer service by getting the boat sold as quickly as possible for the most amount of money, so have your clients ask themselves: How much is my boat costing me while it sits at the dock for sale?
Before bringing a boat to market, both the seller and broker should go over all the maintenance records in detail. Clients who are able to produce yard bills and engine service history show a potential buyer two things: They have taken the boat’s safety and maintenance seriously, and they are organized, with nothing to hide. A buyer will request these records be produced prior to moving forward by scheduling a survey. A boat with a well-documented service history will be much easier to move, ultimately making the entire selling and buying experience as smooth and seamless as possible.
While there are many important factors to consider, I’ve found being certain the boat is show-ready prior to listing is the most important factor. There will always be a flurry of excitement and activity when a vessel first hits the market, so having the boat in show condition is imperative. If the broker has to start making excuses right away, the excitement will be dulled — for the prospective buyer and the broker. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that adage certainly applies in this case.