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post #1 of 4 Old 01-17-2002 Thread Starter
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Selling a boat-what worked for me

I went back and looked at what worked in selling my boat.A little history: I originally had my boat under contract via word of mouth in March of last year.

That deal fell through because the Buyer''s wife wanted a bigger, heavier ocean
cruiser. I put my boat on the market in March of 2001 on SailNet Boat Search. I had quite a few hits and had the boat once again under contract in a few weeks. This deal fell through when the buyer''s Dotcom job was transferred to California.

At that point the deal that I had going on a new boat fell through and I went through some surgery and pulled the boat off of the market.

I put the boat back on the market on May 15 when a new deal was in the works. I listed the boat on SailNet Boatsearch, Soundings Online, with bernie on YachtWorld, and on the Laser 28 website. I also began an aggressive word of mouth campaign. I never ran an ad in the newspaper or magazines.

I recieved about equal hits from the word of mouth campaign, and the ads on Sailnet and from bernie Jakits RougueWave YachtWorld listing. I recieved a lot of hits from the Laser 28 site and the ultimate sale came from both that site and Sailnet. I recieved only one enquiry from Soundings Online. I also had a very good lead from a local broker who referred a contact directly to me. He does not sell boats like the Laser or in the low price range so simply passed the lead on as a favor. (Similar to what bernie did as well.)

One of bernie''s hits went to contract and fell through for a variety of reasons that had little if anything to do with the specifics of the boat. The rest came from word of mouth, Sailnet or the Laser 28. All told I had 5 serious offers and 4 that I would call, ''what ifs'' and not serious offers.

In the eight months (I am sorry I had previously misreported this as seven months before looking up the actual date) that the boat was listed I had an offer approximately once every four to six weeks. Most of these deals fell through for reasons that did not relate to the boat perse. For example one offer was nearly a full price offer but the buyer wanted me to take back a financing which after some thought did not work for me.

I had set the asking price at what I considered a ''fair price'' that matched the sales price that had been agreed to in the original ''word of mouth'' contract. Most of the offers recieved were within $500 of the $18,900 asking price with the highest offers coming from people who had seen the boat before they made their offer. There were two low ball ''what if'' probes that were approximately 2/3 or less of the asking price. I do not consider these serious offers. The lowest serious offer was approximately 7.5% below my asking price. I actually accepted all of prices in the serious offers (but turned down the offer with long term owner financing). The 7.5% lowest offer was actually below my mental "bottom ceiling" and was a strictly ''as is''/ ''where is'', you can survey the boat but no matter what came out in survey it is up to the buyer to take it as is or leave it because the price won''t change. I felt comfortable doing this because I had watched the market and had done my own mini-survey in September and knew what might come up in survey.

In hindsight, I think bernie''s listing (or a listing with any good broker) would have been more effective with a more mainstream cruising boat. As anyone who has followed all of this probably recognizes, Laser 28''s are not mainstream boats. They are not ''your father''s Oldsmobile'' type cruisers. Nor are they leading edge race boats. For bernie and most brokers for that matter, a boat like the Laser 28 is so far from their naturally preferred type of boat to market, that they have a difficult time figuring out how to sell one. In bernie''s case, bernie simply referred the inquiries directly to me and that actually seemed to work best. I appreciated bernie''s assistance a lot.

So that''s about it.

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post #2 of 4 Old 01-17-2002
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Selling a boat-what worked for me

Thanks for the minutia, we were all waiting to hear your story, would you like a cookie?
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-17-2002 Thread Starter
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Selling a boat-what worked for me

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post #4 of 4 Old 01-21-2002
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Selling a boat-what worked for me

This is an interesting topic that I recently learned something about. I have sold 2 boats in the past 7-8 years. Both boats were very clean and well kept. The important point that I learned was - what worked before, may not be appropriate all the time. My first sale was a boat selling in the $10-12,000 price range. I attemped to sell it privately while also brokering it through the marina where I had kept it for 10 years. The marina did a nice job, qualifying and bringing me 2 buyers within 2 months. The first buyer fell through, the second one bought the boat for a net of what I wanted out of it. Good experience!

The second boat, sold a little more than 1 year ago, was a $35-40,000 boat. Since I had a good experience the last time selling through the marina, I again decided to let them broker it and I would also try to sell it privately. Here are the two lessons:
1. Know what the marina (broker''s) traffic will support from a price range standpoint. In my case, they sold many boats in that $10- 12,000 and under price range. But not many, or none in the $35-40,000 price range. They had much of the same type of traffic that I produced - tire kickers and people looking for a steal.
2. There are many people out there who want to "steal" a boat. As a private seller, it is difficult to weed them out. Brokers do a very good job here. Privately, you can spend a lot of time talking to and meeting them, showing the boat, having them not show up, and making "offers" that are not realistic or bonafide. Certainly there are also those that want to go sailing. Of course, we''re personnally connected.
In the latter case, eventually, I went with a well known broker in the area, the same one I bought my current boat through (I should have done this earlier). I think this ended up being a win/win situation. I was not hasselled and the boat was sold for my price within about 3 months after I finally engaged them. The broker got their commission. That''s good for the industry. The price of the boat was kept fair and not undervalued by my possibly letting it go at a firesale price, since I had spent the best part of the season getting frustrated. That result might drag down the "blue book" or "buc" price for that year and model boat, something that is not good for the industry.
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