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Pricing Your Yacht to Sell

Almost 100% of all boats for sale on YachtWorld are overpriced. Everyone knows this, including the seller, the brokers, and the buyers. The rational for this strategy is that you have to leave negotiating room when a buyer finally comes around to look at it and possibly ask for more information. In fact, this approach is so well known that brokers often joke with their clients and tell them, “there are two prices you can set to sell your boat: one to sell it and the other to keep it.”

Psychologically, when we sell something, we tend to place more value on the object we are selling than what it is really worth. We all do this. We rationalize this behavior with statements like, “I babied this boat or I have so much time and money invested in this boat or this boat brings back so many fond memories, etc. Forget about it. You need to change your mind set to, “I am selling tons of fiberglass and stainless steel that will eventually end up in a marine salvage yard where what doesn’t sell for a penny on the dollar will end up in a land fill.” How’s that for an image to set your pricing?

Not too long ago, one of my clients bought a 12 year old Azimut for about a million dollars which was a fair market price. However, he then proceeded to add $800,000 worth of new options including two seakeepers, underwater lights, Catelupe deck and flybridge lights synced with music, new teak, new interior, new paint… you get the idea. Three months after he was done he decided to buy a new 120 footer and told me to sell his “old” boat for $1,800,000. I told him that his one million dollar Azimut was now worth maybe 1.1 million for a quick sale and he looked at me as if I were crazy. I told him that somewhere in the world there might be someone who likes this particular Azimut model and also wants a boat that looks more like a discothèque at night, but to find that needle in a hay stack it might take another ten years and by that time his boat will only be worth $500,000. Okay, so maybe I exaggerated but, I was trying to make a point. He flipped out and went to pout on his 120 footer.

All jokes aside, if you really want to sell your boat, you should set the price BELOW the market value by a few percent. Somewhere in your description it should say, “Based on the sold database, we priced this yacht 5% below the market value for a quick sale. We would be please to send you a copy of this market analysis.” The objective of such a strategy is to get people to look at your boat and make real offers. If you have not sold your boat 90 days after you listed it, it is priced too high and now has 3 more months depreciation on it, and additionally you are still paying the carrying costs which is the cost for pricing the boat too high.

The bottom line is that if you want to sell your boat, price it right. It does not matter how much you paid for it, how many add on’s you paid for, or how much you loved her. It’s like divorce. Once you have made the decision to separate, get it done quickly with no tears or gnashing of teeth because your next love or nautical adventure awaits you and you have no time to lose… life’s too short.


Josh Mango

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