How do you choose the right broker? Now that you’ve made the decision to sell your boat – the next step will be looking for a broker. Word of mouth is always a good point of reference. Bellhaven brokers are members of CPYB (Certified Professional Yacht Brokers) as well as Northwest Yacht Brokers Association and use various multi-listing services and print ads. Here are some of the reasons to pick Bellhaven:

  1. We go through the boat with you and advise you on how to stage it – similar to staging your house when you sell it!
  2. We research the market and advice on the initial asking price.
  3. We take photos of the boat, write the listing and post it on YACHTWORLD with global exposure.
  4. We work with you on a marketing campaign and write print ads as well as craigslist when appropriate.
  5. We take all the calls and weed through the lookers alleviating all the stress.
  6. We show the boat to only qualified buyers and submit any offers.
  7. We give feedback on the activity and customer reaction.
  8. We negotiate the offer for you.
  9. We manage the survey for you. The buyer pays for the survey.
  10. We manage the sea trial for you.
  11. We use a marine title company to insure the buyer gets a clear title and you get certified funds.
  12. We handle the entire closing for you.
  13. We are local and near the boat assuring easy access for prospective buyers.
  14. We get walk in traffic and are very visible down on the docks.
  15. Highly visible moorage in Bellingham with high volume walk-in traffic.
  16. Northwest Boat Show exposure.
  17. Exposure to sales in the entire San Juan Island area.
  18. Sales staff with 75 years of experience in all aspects of power/sail including cruising, club racing and offshore sailing.

Bottom Line: You should pick a broker you feel you can trust and are comfortable with.

How do you determine price? Once you find your broker you will sit down and discuss the price of the boat taking into consideration what you would like to bank at closing. Price is the most critical element to executing a quick sale assuming the boat is in good condition. We have seen over and over again – when you find the “sweet” price – boats sell quickly.

Sellers often mistakenly assume accessories add value to their boat or yacht. Electronics retain little value after just two seasons. As new computer models become available the value and appeal of older units depreciates rapidly. The same applies to “custom” furnishings and details. Taste is subjective and there’s no basis for assuming others will appreciate yours.

One philosophy regarding pricing is not to list a boat for more than 10 percent above the going rate for your make and model. Our brokers will consult the BUC Valuation book which lists used-boat values, and checking the sold price on comparable models. Bellhaven pays for proprietary subscription services that tells us how long boats were on the market, what the asking price was and they actually sold for. Other brokers can tell you what you want to hear, but our brokers try to be honest about a boat’s value. Otherwise, the boat’s going to sit there for a long time. It’s finding that “sweet spot” that helps sell your boat

It’s not unusual for a seller to think his boat is worth more than anything else out there – my boat is the best, but how many bests’ are there? Choosing the right broker and signing a Exclusive Central Listing assures he will work hard for you. Our brokers will go over the listing agreement and have you take it home so you can read through it thoroughly. There should be no surprises for anyone.

Boat owners who are serious about selling their boat will make sure it is showing her best cosmetic face which means she looks, smells and feels like a buyer’s dream. We all know how a nasty head smell can turn off anyone. Below is a list of things you can do to help put your boat!


Maintenance: Clean, Polish, Repair and Stage:

Boats in bristol condition generally sell faster. There are two main categories a buyer will judge your boat: cosmetics and mechanics. Before listing your boat consider these points:

Cosmetics: All exterior surfaces be clean and shiny. Fiberglass and metal should sparkle. Windows, hatches and especially portlights should all be clean. Mineral deposits on glass make them look dingy.

  • Put a fresh coat of varnish on brightwork and clean and oil the teak.
  • Enclosures and canvas should be in good shape. Damaged goods should be repaired, replaced or removed.
  • Shampoo the carpet and have the drapes and bunk covers cleaned if needed.
  • Replace worn-out accessories. Replacing a worn carpet for less than $100 can be the difference between a sale and losing a sale. Often a few dollars spent can make the difference.
  • Clear out all unnecessary clutter and gear. If it’s not included in the sale, it should be taken off the boat.
  • Clean drawers and stowage bins. Place a scented clothes dryer sheet in lockers to remove stale odors. DAMP-RID bags are great – they have a deodorizer in them as well as collect moisture.
  • The bilge should be clean and spotless. Use oil-absorb pads under the machinery.
  • Clean, prime and paint the engines and generator.
  • Pump out the shower sump to eliminate the sour water smell.
  • Clean out debris in hatch bindings and scuppers.
  • A clean bottom will make the boat perform better during sea trials.

Once the boat has been detailed try to keep it that way until sold.

Mechanical: All systems must be in working order. Your broker will go over all the systems and make sure they are functioning. The last thing you want is to go to survey with something broken or not working properly.

  • Make sure all gauges function properly.
  • Replace worried-looking hoses and clamps.
  • Clean out the raw-water strainers.
  • Change oil and fuel filters.
  • Have the boat fueled and ready for a thorough sea trial on short notice.
  • Gather all paperwork for mechanical systems together and store in a binder.
  • Have maintenance records handy and readable. Prepare a list of spare parts and extra equipment, such as props, shafts and filters.

You’ve found a buyer for your boat and now it’s time for the survey.

Surveys must be considered on an individual basis. If you know the bottom has blisters, for example, the surveyor will make note of the condition on his report. He may get a repair estimate from the yard that does the haulout and write it into his survey. In that case, you can expect the buyer to negotiate the repair amount off the top. Buyers like round off numbers toward the high side. If you are aware of an existing condition, it might be cheaper to have the work done before you go to survey. If you know the engines need work it might make more sense financially to have the work done and offer a clean slate. By getting the work done sooner you might get double your money back. Our brokers can also advise you on these decisions.