How important are looks? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-21-2015 Thread Starter
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How important are looks?

Hi everyone. I have a 1975 Pearson 30 and I'm thinking about putting her up for sale and upgrading. I've been looking at other P30s on yachtworld and other sites and the prices seem to be all over the place on them.

I know that a boat is worth whatever someone is willing to pay (as are most things) but I want to have a reasonable ask.

In 2015 I did A LOT of major work on the boat including but not only:

-new chainplates
-new standing rigging
-new sails (North Sails)
-bottom completely redone
-serviced lectra san
-replaced hot water heater
-New Garmin wind/depth/speed package
-new Raymarine Autohelm ST4000
-new PSS shaft seal
-rebedded windows and 99% of deck hardware (those handrails will have to wait )
-removed and sent martec prop for servicing
-new harken integral hydraulic backstay
-Xantec battery monitor installed
-other small maintenance items

When I bought the boat she already had several upgrades done including a conversion to wheel steering, replacing the old Atomic 4 with a Universal M25 XP, electric head installed with lectra san, pressurized water system added, oak compression post replaced with a metal one and many other items.

She sails great and is FAST! A PO raced her regularly and did several rig upgrades to her.

Here's the rub - The paint over the waterline is way overdue, the stainless has rust stains on it and the canvas is looking ragged. I wouldn't hesitate to run this boat anywhere along the coast. She sails great is very comfortable down below for a boat this size but she needs to be prettied up. That was the plan for next year. This year was all about the systems and making sure she was solid. Next year was going to be cosmetic. Before I put the time and money in to the paint and stuff though I was wondering if it's even worth it since I'm planning to sale her. I had a broker tell me that more people pay attention to cosmetics than systems when buying a boat and recommended I go ahead and do it. I've never been that way. I'd rather have a well maintained, solid, ugly boat than a pretty boat that is unreliable. So, I thought I'd poll you guys and see what you think.

Last edited by kdwilson75; 12-21-2015 at 07:36 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-21-2015
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Re: How important are looks?

How important are looks? A lot.

I was in your situation. I started off with a Coronado 25. It wasn't bad, but the sails were shot and the rigging suspect.
I put a bunch of money into a new main and much better (but lightly used) jib and the standing rigging.
Brand-new 9.9 Honda outboard.
I replaced the halyard sheaves and halyards, mounted a masthead VHF antenna and various other little conveniences.
It wasn't a "major overhaul" but a lot of nice little things that made the boat much safer and more convenient.

No one cared a whit about any of that. I endured a never-ending litany of complaints about the dated cabin cushions, the worn out interior paint, the tired looking wood, etc. I simply didn't put cosmetics high on the list when compared with safety and functionality.

I could have left the boat as an unsafe train wreck and just overhauled up the interior and it would have sold at my asking price within a week.

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
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Re: How important are looks?

I'm afraid the reality may be that you're unlikely to recoup much if any of the money and effort you've expended so far - even if the boat looked like it was fresh out of the factory. These boats have a pretty narrow range of market value.

But if she looks rough now anyone shopping will downgrade her value (or see an opportunity to beat the price down) on first sight. You'll need a knowledgeable buyer with priorities similar to yours to get a deal you'll like if you don't dress her up some.

Ron

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Re: How important are looks?

I don't know if you'll get a price that will justify your effort in cosmetic improvement, but if you don't dress her up enough to make her presentable to sell, she could sit there for a long time unsold, and you'll have to pay slip fees or storage fees in the meanwhile.
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Re: How important are looks?

If the boat is in good shape structurally, but not cosmetically, you need to find a knowledgeable buyer, one that will appreciate such things. You will be competing for buyers with every other boat on the market at the time: some of which will look great, but need structural work; some of which will look bad, but be structurally good, and some of which will be simply awful structurally and cosmetically.

If it were my boat, I would remove anything that is not 90% up to snuff (canvas), and I would polish the stainless and fix the paint...

You might sail it anywhere, but buyers do not want people reacting like this;


There are 16 Pearson 30s for sale right now in Yachtworld, ranging from 1972 to 1984, with ASKING prices ranging from $7500 to $25K. They are your competition.

You'll hate me for this, but here is what I think of your list;
-new chainplates this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. It should have been fixed and will not add to the price. Broken/questionable chainplates would, or should, be called out in a survey, and you would end up paying for them.
-new standing riggingthis is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-new sails (North Sails) If less than a year old, then add 50% of the cost to your price.
-bottom completely redone this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-serviced lectra san this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-replaced hot water heater this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-New Garmin wind/depth/speed package If less than a year old, then add 50% of the cost to your price.
-new Raymarine Autohelm ST4000 If less than a year old, then add 70% of the cost to your price.
-new PSS shaft seal this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-rebedded windows and 99% of deck hardware (those handrails will have to wait ) this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-removed and sent martec prop for servicing this is a MAINTENANCE ITEM. see comment above
-new harken integral hydraulic backstay If less than a year old, then add 50% of the cost to your price.
-Xantec battery monitor installed meh...
-other small maintenance items MAINTENANCE ITEMS. see comment above
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Re: How important are looks?

I disagree with some of your comments that are "maintenance items".

Maybe the bottom didn't *need* to be completely redone.
A Lectra-San is an upgrade over an ordinary holding tank.
A PSS dripless shaft seal is an upgrade over an ordinary packing gland.
On a small 30 footer, a hot water heater is an upgrade.

The rest I agree with.

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
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Re: How important are looks?

I think Eherlihy is pretty much on point. I might be a little bit more generous on some of the upgrades but most of what you have listed are simply routing maintenance items. If I were buying a boat without any of these things I would subtract the cost to repair them plus a little bit. That is assuming I even cared, a water heater for instance I simply wouldn't care about one way or the other if it's working or not.

Greg
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Re: How important are looks?

Looks are extremely important - first impressions donchaknow.

People say they can see past it but they can't in most cases. I had a mostly complete project boat for sale but it was cluttered with tools & materials because I was still working on it. I warned callers about it and they always assured me they could see past it but none of them could - not one.

After I spent a few hours cleaning it up it sold in days.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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Re: How important are looks?

By now, the OP should be able to sense a pattern.

I will say that there are DIY minded people...mostly men...who will appreciate a safe, sound boat that only needs some minor carpentry, varnish and paint to make it really nice. A friend of mine just bought a Tartan 33 with a shiny, new Beta diesel and a complete bottom peel and barrier coat job. The cabin interior is "meh", the DC electrical system is original and the head plumbing is "WTH?"

He understands what he was getting into and has the necessary skills. He's not married and his girlfriend had absolutely no say or influence in his purchase. These people are kind of a rarity. Most of the time you get people who "can't look past the paint" as John says.

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
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Re: How important are looks?

BubbleheadMd;
Quote:
-serviced lectra san
Everything on board should be operable, or it detracts from the value of the boat. Servicing the equipment on board is expected.

While the Lectra San may be an attractive upgrade to some; to many people (me for example) a Lectra San is of absolutely no value. Everywhere that I sail is either a no discharge zone (ex Narragansett Bay) and it cannot be used, or I am free to pump out (ex 3+ miles offshore) without the need for a Lectra San. Furthermore, the amount of power required to run it (50 amps! and don't forget the appropriate gauge wiring to support it - 1.5 amp hours in a 2 minute usage cycle) would seriously limit its appeal.


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Last edited by eherlihy; 12-21-2015 at 09:22 PM. Reason: updated amp usage
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