Hughes 38 Mark II
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Annapolis, MD
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Listing high dollar items on eBay requires very good savvy and some good old fashioned guts in order to have a successful auction. The trick is to list the item low enough to attract bidders who think are getting a steal of a deal, while at the same time "covering your assets." You have to have the stomach of a gambler.
Though I have never sold a sailboat on eBay, I have sold surplas, used computer items for what you can purchase those items new in a store. The trick is to offer and advertise the item in the auction title and description with a low opening bid and no reserve. Hopefully, you will generate enough bidders that the bid price will get driven up to its market worth or higher.
Also, you can not and should not have your description all encapsulated in a single paragraph of all caps. Be truthful about everything 'negative' about the item and put on your 'Madison Avenue' thinking cap and come up with juicy descriptions about your boat.
If you have a recent survey and can scan the pages of the survey into an electronic format, I would highly suggest putting that on the free web space that almost all ISPs offer and put a link to that in the auction description. Don't just transcribe the survey, bidders will be reassured at the ability to be able to contact the marine survey company for validation. Seeing that company's logo may be enough to reassure them that your boat is the real deal for them.
They want to buy the dream and appreciate frankness about any and all shortcomings. A 3rd party validation gives the bidder added credibility.
The real key to auction success is to get the watchers and bidders to justify the purchase and get caught up in the bidding frenzy.
If the item will sell as a result of no reserve and low opening bid, bidders and watchers are more apt to bid simply because the item WILL sell and they then get into the mental acrobatics of figuring out how high they are willing to bid.
Having said all of that, the problem with attempting to auction a sailboat is that there is a low percentage of the general public who are sailors or want to sail as opposed to the percentage of the general public who are boaters. As a result, there just may not be enough serious bidders to get the bid price up to your satisfaction and you may be obligated to walk away from your boat as the result of an auction that did not attract enough serious bidders.
When determining what you are willing to settle for, keep in mind what a year's worth of operating and maintenance costs will be (insurance, slip fees, etc) and deduct that from what you want for the boat, then think long and hard about being willing to accept 70% of that price. Are you willing to walk away from your boat for that price? How low are you willing to go?