RATES ARE LOW, THE SHOWS ARE coming up, and you're drooling over that new boat tested by BOATING. The only thing standing in your way? Your old boat. If you can sell it quickly, you'll have more cash and more negotiating power for your next deal. As a former dealership manager, I used to sell some 60 used boats -- trade-in and brokerage models -- per year. Not selling a boat meant not paying my mortgage, so I was motivated, to say the least. Here's a baker's dozen of pro tips to seal the deal...
Advertising Works. Place ads in the local boating press and the daily newspaper. If you have a large boat that was a limited edition model or a more customized yacht that buyers will likely travel far to see, use regional and national publications as well. Ads with photographs of your boat will draw more traffic. Rent space at some highway-side lot where hundreds of passersby can see it -- at least more so than in your driveway. Also try Internet sites such as Craigslist (www.craigslist.org).
Starting Points. Start the engine and warm it up an hour before a prospect comes to see the boat. A dead battery or balky start -- even for an excellent engine -- will turn a buyer off.
Waxing Poetic. Looks are important, so grab a can of Pledge. Spray-on furniture wax can be applied and wiped off quickly and easily. The gleam doesn't last more than a day, but it's perfect for the prospect who calls and says he'll be by in an hour.
Empty Promise. Make sure the stowage areas in your boat are empty. You can then remark how spacious they are. It looks a lot better than having them jammed and overflowing with your gear.
Damage Control. Sure, if your boat is pristine, then you should get it detailed professionally. But if your boat is in just good-to-average condition, forget the fine points and focus on the more glaring blemishes. Remove the rust stains bleeding from fittings with compound, apply new tape over a shredded boot stripe, degrease the engine, and clean the bilge. Is the cabin musty? Place some air fresheners in hidden spots to add a bit more appeal.