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Discussion Starter #1
Having recently decided to upsize the boat, I have browsed hundreds of pages of boats for sale and contacted a few sellers but everyone so far seems to be in the same boat (pun of course intended). Asking prices have dropped and most people like myself need to sell their old boat first before buying a new one. I have only very recently put mine on the market but I have contacted people who have been up for sale now for well over a year with practically no interest. Their boats look sound enough and not over-priced. I know sailing is classed as a luxury and therefore meant to be one of the first markets to be hit in a so-called recession, but is it really this bad ?
 

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Wind and pie move my boat.
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I think maybe it is . I bought a boat last Oct. & had watched ads for months that never seemed to change . The boat I purchased was on the market for 2 years . I was the second person to look at it .
 

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My boat, a Tartan 33, has been on the market for a year and a half. Fair amount of lookers but no takers. We love the boat and just not going to give it away with all the work we put into it. Seems people want it for nothing.
 

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What about doing a trade with another boat owner? The What Size Your Next Boat poll showed that there are some people out there looking for a smaller boat. This may be even more true in this market.
 

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My boat, a Tartan 33, has been on the market for a year and a half. Fair amount of lookers but no takers. We love the boat and just not going to give it away with all the work we put into it. Seems people want it for nothing.
I believe it is the market that is fueling this attitude. I too have looking for a boat. I have seen some Sellers drop their price by as much as 20% in the last few months.....it's a buyers market.
 

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It seems the sailboat market is always a buyers market. But I don't think slashing your price will necessarily make it sell all that much faster. By the time someone who wants YOUR SPECIFIC BOAT, they've probably been looking for a while and they want it for very particular reasons. One reason might be that there is no other boat quite like yours in the area. So what are they going to do if you don't accept their off of 50% of your asking price? They're going to counter offer... if they don't, they get to spend the next several months driving to marinas looking at boats that don't fit them and/or are in nasty shape. Drop your price a little, and then hold firm...
 

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People are to unsure about the future right now


Even if i had a 100k cash sitting in the boat fund i would NOT want to do anything until i see how things shake out next year as it be fine OR i might need that 100k to weather the storm
 

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Hello,

IMHO, most boat OWNERS seriously over value their own boats. And, most boat BUYERS under value the worth of a good boat. Put those two together, and you have a very slow market.

If you look at places like yachtworld, you find 10 year old boats with asking prices close to what the boat cost new. And those boats have original sails, simple electronics, etc.

In my marina, there is a Beneteau 331 that has been for sale for the last three years. I submit that if you haven't sold the boat in 3 years, you don't really want to sell it.

I'm sure times are hard, after all, no one really needs a sail boat. However, if you are looking to trade, it doesn't really matter. What you lose on your sale you make up on the purchase.

I bought a bigger boat two years ago and sold me then current boat in the spring of 2007. It wasn't THAT hard. Sure, I would like to have sold it for more money, but I had to be realistic. The BUYERS get to set the selling price.

Barry
 

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I am also looking to move up. I have had my 30 foot Cal on the market since the spring - lots of inquiries, but only three that looked at it (with positive comments but realized it wasn't the boat for them). Still waiting for the first offer. Boats that I have been watching as possible replacements are still on the market also. The recent financial collapse is only going to make things tighter. So any buyer with cash and no current boat to sell is really in the driver's seat.
 

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...I would like to have sold it for more money, but I had to be realistic...
And many Sellers are not.

I have viewed nearly identically equipped boats, one owner asking market, the other asking 40% over. I wanna ask the guy, "Did ya ever check the classifieds before you listed this thing???".......DUH?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am in the "higher end" real estate market and that has all but dried up.
There is no credit any where. I have several friends in the car business and they are finding the same thing - no credit so people are not buying. Anyone that had money has lost 40% of it in the markets.
My marina is seeing a 30% increase in late slip fees. There are more and more boats being chained up. Some owners have disappeared.
I am looking at a 1983 Cal 9.2 that has been chained for 2 years. I have asked the marina manager to try and contact the owner but he hasn't had a response in 3 weeks. He is going to auction it for the outstanding slip fees ($5000) soon. I could make the owners a better offer but they are no where to be found.
 

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Funny

People buying always seem to think that most boats are over priced. However many of those boats eventually sell and most of those buyers pay more than they wanted to - eventually.

I think most boat owners do some research to determine typical listing prices of boats and start there. I also think most owners are not as axious to sell as buyers are for those owners to sell. Therefore the owners happily sail their boats while listing for a price that is high enough for them to sell if offered.

Most buyers are owner wanna-bes. You cannot be an owner until you actually fork over the cash.

Offended yet? Please read on....

I find that some owners treat their boat well, maintain it well and continually pour money and time into keeping their boat a great vessel. These are the boats that set the high price.

Some owners are merely users. They buy a boat and add nothing to it or its value. These are the boats that set the low price.

Most buyers want the good boats but want to pay the price the poorly maintained boats usually fetch.

Most sellers that do not take care of a boat tend to ask the same price as the well maintained and continuously upgraded boat.

Most that take care of their boat really like it and are content to keep it if price not met ...


So - the boat belongs to the OWNER ... it does not belong to wanna be owners.

I continuously am amazed at people who complain about the work they must go thru to find a boat they like at a price they feel should be reasonable - and then complain about the price on the boat they like.

If good boats were all at low prices these same people would then complain they are over priced. The reason they are not is because a great many people feel that is what they are worth.

Make an offer. Have a reason for low offers. Don't expect a 30 footer for the price of a 17 footer unless the boat is garbage.....

.. and most importantly - look around and determine the asking prices of the types of boats you want and the actual selling prices of these boats that have sold and with that knowledge go looking. A broker can help with this.

There are tons of owners who have boats for sale who will sell the boat to a buyer who offers the right amount of money and actually pays for it and doesn't then want to wait another 6 months and maybe back out.

It is all very simple. The boat is worth what it's worth and is in the condition it is. Find one you like, get it surveyed in or out of the water and just buy it. You don't have to wait til Spring to know if an engine works or in Summer wait til fall to see the bottom. A competent surveyor can do all that for you after you use your own eyes and comon sense to determine if it is worth pursuing further ...


... and if the asking price is too much - WELL JUST DON"T BOTHER LOOKING AT IT!!!
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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The market seems to be a lot slower than normal, which is to be expected when people don't know what is going to happen to the economy. I have not seen prices drop as much as I expected and it seems that most people are holding pretty firm. My son just bought a 36' Bayfield in NC and paid close to asking price. I have also talked to someone that is close to pulling the trigger on a sailboat and anticipates paying close to asking. I think if people find the boat that they want, they will buy it, it all depends on their circumstances.
 

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Funny

People buying always seem to think that most boats are over priced. However many of those boats eventually sell and most of those buyers pay more than they wanted to - eventually.
... and if the asking price is too much - WELL JUST DON"T BOTHER LOOKING AT IT!!!
Mike you are discussing one of my favorite past times. The physiology of buying and selling. And of course your analysis it just about spot on for the typical sale.

Like most of us I have been on both sides of the buying process too.
You didn't mention the most exciting scenarios.

If you are a seller and you have your boat priced a little high it does happen that the right buyer comes along and wants the boat and buys it. Who knows why it happens but it happens. Likes the color of your cushions. Cleanest boat seen that day. Wife said either buy a boat today or else the deal is off. My favorite are the Canadians who are buying boats in the Northeast US sight unseen for full asking because the US dollar is so weak.

If you are a buyer and make a ridiculous offer as respectfully as possible on an immaculate offer it is often accepted. Again who knows why. Wife said get rid of the boat. Surgery bills. Leaving town. My favorite is the time I got a deal and saved maybe 40g because the seller thought my son was cute.

So Mike I completely agree with you. If you are looking for a deal on the edge of the Market expect to take some time or be very lucky. If however you want a 1980 Catalina 30 for 18,000 is marginal shape, just pick one as their are dozens to choose from.

It seems from what I have learned from similar discussions on sailnet that some folks don't have the patience to wait for the opportunities and take it personal when they don't get what they want when they want it. And yes those people whining is annoying.
But anything is possible so with patience you can sell your over priced boat or buy a beautiful yacht for a song or a red paper clip.
one red paperclip
 

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weak us dollar?

Don't expect any more Canadians paying full price for US boats - at least for now - Canadian dollar is only 81 cents US now.:( :( :(
 

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My favorite are the Canadians who are buying boats in the Northeast US sight unseen for full asking because the US dollar is so weak.

one red paperclip
David

I was one of those Canadians who bought a boat this time last year from Northeast US (Conneticut) without having seen it. There was no need.

I had listed our previous boat for a high price and was perfectly content for it not to sell. Then the right buyer came along who had been looking for a while and wanted the model I had with the equipment and inventory on my boat. He had a budget and I had an already lowered asking price. We split the difference and I was suddenly without a boat. Not something I had anticipated.

I spent the next week or so looking for the category of boat I wanted and came across a listing in Yachtworld that interested me. I called the broker and he was very honest about the state of the boat and that a previous sale had fallen thru based on a viewing with a surveyor.

For the size of the boat I was looking at the cost of airfare, etc... to go look at it represented a large chunk of the cost so I estimated what it would cost me to bring the boat to Canada and to fix up the many areas necessary and then told the broker what I was willing to pay ad that I did not need a survey.

Less than two weeks after selling the previous boat we had an agreement on the current boat. It was 1300 km from home, I had not seen it and did not plan to for another 4 months.

Coincidentally a co worker visited a friend in Conneticut in January, saw the boat and reported that it was pretty much as broker described and also needed to have bottom stripped and refinished (flaking paint - ugh).

So we drove down, dragged it back and it was exactly in the condition that broker had described - actually it was better as he was pretty pessimistic. Total cost on currency exchange on purchase was under $200. Total cost on fuel to go get a boat 1300km from home was $900. If we did this today we would be saving $300 on fuel and pay thousands more for the boat .......

This was a very good experience. I cannot say enough about the honesty of the broker (Sailing Specialties). The only two surprises - the boat (and all boats in the yard) was filthy on the outside and the boat was in far better than advertised condition. The major problem - wet core around 4 stanchions (really wet). So I recored and had a great year sailing.

Mike
 

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Even though it is opinions that are being expressed here, they are some of the more well thought out substantiated quality responses I have read in a while. I am one of those owners that babies his boat and if the day ever comes that I have to sell it I will be asking for fair market value and before I sell it for a song I wil give it to a close relative or charitable organization for free before I give some whiner a killer deal. It is trailerable, so I will not be in a position where I am losing money to slip fees.
I have bought and sold a few toys in my time and have found that there will always be a lowballer and always be a serious buyer and I have been the serious buyer who paid asking or close to it just because I wanted it. I no longer waste my time with lowball offers for anything. You either want it or don't want it, and I am usually not overly motivated to sell in the first place.
On the other side of the equation there is a ball park fair market value and just because I spent X amount of dollars on my boat does not mean a potential buyer should reimburse me for all my investment. I did get a good return on my investment through years of use and some of the equipment could well be out of date so I cannot expect to recover everything. One thing is for sure, if/when I do sell, what ever it is, it will be in very presentable condition because I take pride in ownership of all my possesions and it is usually the first or second looker that buys what I am selling.
 

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We just went through this exercise this past August. The slow market (though it was pre-debt market meltdown) was one of the reasons we decided to buy a new boat. It wasn't the only reason to be sure, but the ability to trade in the old boat certainly was a factor. Then we ended up selling the boat in about 3 weeks. Go figure. It's a bit of a tale. Long and twisted, but interesting I think.

The process for us actually started shortly after we got back from Bermuda in early July. I posted something on the Freedom owners' board on Yahoo, just floating the notion of whether anyone had an interest in a 45 (we wanted something with three cabins, newer and faster, so we had been talking about making a move). We got many emails and calls. Our boat was in very good condition, had state-of-the art equipment, and we just took her to Bermuda and back, so we thought it represented a great opportunity for the right person. I didn't even mention a price by the way.

We had several offers if you can believe it, and ultimately agreed to a price with a guy out in Seattle, sight unseen. He actually was a broker, and was looking for a boat to move onto for himself.

So, having a contract to sell our boat, we were in a different position negotiating with the dealer. Even though we had a contract to sell our boat, things do happen, and we didn't want to get caught having committed to buying a new boat without our old one actually sold and gone. We cut a deal with the dealer to cover this. They agreed to take our boat in trade for the higher of (i) an agreed price or (ii) whatever price I could sell the boat for before closing (which would account for the sale we had pending). Needless to say, the agreed price was substantially lower than the contract price we had, and we certainly didn't want to be trading the boat in at that low value.

So, the Seattle guy flies out for the survey and to sail the boat. We had some negotiations over the contract -- he wanted it subject to a visual inspection, we didn't agree, and we settled on a sea trial to confirm nothing was wrong with the boat. I brought a friend along on the sea trial, just cause. We go out for the sea trial, the wind starts light, then picks up, and we put the boat through her paces. The buyer gets off the boat and says, literally, "well, the boat certainly is as represented, but I need to think about whether I want it." To which I respond, "It's a little late for that. The time for you to decide whether you want the boat was before you signed the contract." We "agree" that he'll think about it and call me, but I advise that my view is we have a binding contract, and if he decides to go through with it, no harm no foul, but if he doesn't, we don't agree to let him out, particularly considering that we let other offers go in favor of this guy.

I'm sure you can guess what happened. He bailed. He wrote me a note the next day stating that the boat didn't have the headroom he thought it would have, and that it didn't sail as close to the wind as he would have liked. Can you believe this guy signed a contract, put down money for a deposit, hired a surveyor, flew all the way to NY from Seattle, all apparently without having decided whether he even wants this kind of boat, and apparently he had never even been on one? I was just dumbfounded that he signed a contract to buy the boat, knowing that I had other buyers, when apparently he had it in his head that he was just a tire kicker. And he's in the business!! There's more to this, but he knew flat out that we were letting other buyers go in favor of him if he was prepared to commit (which is why we didn't agree to the visual inspection).

Anyway, before I get on more of a rant, I went to my other buyers, all of whom of course had gone on to do something else or for whatever reason no longer were interested. So, it looked like I was going to have to fall back on that really low trade-in value. I went back to the list of people who expressed any interest at all on the Freedom site. I was very candid about the situation, and advised that if someone could move quickly, I would sell the boat at an even more discounted value because anything I could get above the agreed trade-in value would be more than I would get without selling it. One of the people who expressed interest wanted to do it, and we sold the boat to them in very short order. It's a great story because the couple who bought the boat did so to retire on and go cruising, and our situation presented them an opportunity to get a boat that they never would have been able to afford otherwise. And it gets even more complicated because part of the deal is that they traded their First 285 in on our Freedom 45, which of course we traded in on our new Beneteau 49. :) I felt like Tom Cruise in Rainman wheeling and dealing boats instead of cars.

In the end, between the selling price, the lack of a broker's fee, the sales tax savings by doing the deal as a trade in, and a portion of the deposit from the original Seattle guy that we were able to keep due to him walking away, we came out very close to what we would have gotten had we simply sold the boat in the traditional way through a broker at a market price. We probably netted $8,000 to $15,000 less (depending on what we ultimately could have sold her for), but being able to move the boat in roughly a month was well worth it.

It was complicated for sure, but from start to finish from when we informally put our boat on the market with that post on the Freedom owners' site to when we took delivery of our new boat and had the old one sold, was only about 6 weeks. It was a whirlwind.
 

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In the end, between the selling price, the lack of a broker's fee, the sales tax savings by doing the deal as a trade in, and a portion of the deposit from the original Seattle guy that we were able to keep due to him walking away, we came out very close to what we would have gotten had we simply sold the boat in the traditional way through a broker at a market price.
It was complicated for sure, but from start to finish from when we informally put our boat on the market with that post on the Freedom owners' site to when we took delivery of our new boat and had the old one sold, was only about 6 weeks. It was a whirlwind.
That was a great post. Thanks for taking the time. It confirms my theory that just about anything goes.
Would you mind some more details about the size of the deposit, how much you kept and why you didn't keep the whole thing.
 

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David

I was one of those Canadians who bought a boat this time last year from Northeast US (Connecticut) without having seen it. There was no need.
Thanks for that in-site. I heard of so many people doing just what you did that I knew the economics must have been compelling. Just didn't know the details.
 
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