As an over-the-top boat owner, I’ve used the Internet to buy and sell canoes, kayaks, boats, boat trailers, and related items. Here are my top tips to sell a boat online.
1. ASSURE A SMOOTH AND QUICK TRANSACTION
To sell a boat online remember that someone is ultimately going to see it, inspect it, perhaps test it, and then buy it, so have your act together to make it a smooth and quick transaction.
2. RESEARCH THE BEST PRICE
Pricing is tough to deal with. Check the NADA Boats Guide, ask a local boat dealer or marine service center for an estimate, and make online comparisons.
3. WHAT WILL BE INCLUDED ON THE BOAT?
Decide and list what comes with the boat. Anchors? PFDs? Paddles? Sometimes these are helpful inducements.
4. REPAIR WHAT NEEDS ATTENTION
Get your item in presentable condition and fix those things that are reasonable.
5. COMPILE ALL THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK
Make sure you have the title, if your state issues such. As a buyer, no title, no sale is my mantra, not only because you don’t want to purchase something that may have been stolen, but also because it’s a major hassle in some states to newly register a trailer without a title. When selling, having a clear title without a lien is essential.
6. DO YOUR RESEARCH TO KNOW WHAT PLATFORM IS BEST FOR YOU
There is not necessarily one best place to sell a boat online. Or to buy one. Until recently, my go-to online site was Craigslist, which is a no-fee, no-account-required resource. A plethora of scammers and locality-restricted listings have made this less desirable.
Facebook Marketplace may work better. There’s no fee and buyers can search by any locality, which gives you a wider audience. You need a Facebook account to post a listing, make an offer, or communicate with sellers.
Since I once bought a boat at auction on eBay, I’d be remiss not to mention this as a contender for being the best way to sell a boat online. I’ve never sold one on this platform, however, as there is a significant transaction fee. Like FM, eBay buyers can refine their searches by locality.
Another option is OfferUp, an app that works well with a smartphone but poorly on a computer.
Still another option to sell a boat online is using the various boat-for-sale web sites that exist. You pay for a listing on most, but if your boat is worth a lot of money, you probably should consider going this route.
7. MAKE YOUR LISTING AS DESCRIPTIVE AS POSSIBLE
When you sell a boat online, your listing should be as descriptive as space will allow. The more info you provide, the less questions you’ll get and the better it will get positioned.
8. GET GOOD PICTURES
The more photos you show the better. Take clear, focused, relatively close photos from every angle, and of every important feature.
9. CASH IS ALWAYS BEST
Accept only cash, no gift cards. For large transactions, as for big and expensive boats, you might accept a cashier’s check with delivery subject to the check clearing.
10. BE READY FOR SETBACKS
Expect hiccups. No-shows, no-followups, and no-responses are common. Make it clear that your offer is first-come, first-served.
11. BE SAFE
For your protection:
- Don’t provide any personal information.
- Communicate only through the listing service.
- Beware of scammers who ask to communicate directly and bypass the listing service.
- It’s always best to deal locally and in person with a buyer.
- Meet buyers and deliver the boat away from your home and somewhere open and crowded. Bring a friend along. Some sellers like to meet buyers near a police station, which is a reminder that you’re dealing with strangers and that not everyone has the best intentions.
To learn more about the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, visit www.takemefishing.org.