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News - For Sale Sign

Pre-listing Survey?

Posted Thursday, 21 September 2017

Getting your boat ready to sell? You’ve removed all your personal stuff, tidied up, polished and varnished. It’s looking better than ever, but what else can you do to ensure the fastest, most trouble-free sale?

Firstly, price it realistically. You will not get whatever it owes you, just what someone is prepared to pay. Over-priced boats sit on the market for ages, ultimately selling for less than they would have had they been offered at a sensible price to start with.

Secondly make sure everything works. No dud bits, no jury-rigged fixes, and definitely nothing that is either obsolete or just doesn’t work any more.

Thirdly, fix anything that’s likely to affect either the likelihood of a sale or the price a buyer will offer. It’s bad news for an owner when the buyer’s surveyor finds something wrong. This gives the buyer an opportunity to walk away, or negotiate your price downwards.

The best and most transparent way to achieve the above is to have the boat inspected by a registered marine surveyor before listing. This gives everyone concerned a ‘heads up’ regarding potential problems, and puts the seller a step ahead in the sales process. Potential buyers love to see independent reports up front, for obvious reasons. If issues are identified, proof they have been attended to shows the seller is serious and honest about the condition of the boat.

From the buyer’s viewpoint, the boat with a survey is a known quantity, especially if there are similar boats on the market, and especially if they are considering flying from interstate. The survey is a current, independent report on the condition of the boat. Any faults are listed and the vendor has had the chance to either correct them, or price the boat accordingly. Having a survey available also shows the boat is seriously for sale. This is not a boat that’s been listed because the broker is offering discount berths, or because the owner is hoping someone might be silly enough to pay an inflated price for it. A recent survey also shows the broker you are serious, and your boat is worthy of the considerable time they will put into listing and promoting it.

You may even have a recent insurance survey available. While these are not as thorough as a complete survey, they can still highlight the boat as being worth a look. To prevent any surprises after someone has fallen in love with your boat, you may also consider having an engine survey and a rigging survey. These are not usually part of the marine surveyor’s job because they both require specialised knowledge. A healthy rig survey can often work wonders to reassure a buyer, especially if the rigging is getting on towards that arbitrary age where an insurer might insist on new standing rigging.

Sure, the survey may reveal problems you don’t really want to know about, but you get the chance to correct them before a buyer demands repairs, negotiates the price down, or drops the deal. On the other hand, a glowing survey report goes a long way towards selling the boat on its own.

- by Petrea McCarthy

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