Skip to main content

How to Price Your Boat to Sell

Every boat listed on — or anywhere else — has an asking price. And for each boat, that’s something that the seller sets, hopefully with the wise counsel of his broker. The $64,000 question (or it could be even more, if you think about it) is this: How do you know you’ve got her priced right?

I’ve been thinking about boat pricing quite a bit lately. It’s an interesting subject, particularly as the market begins to firm up, inventory levels drop, and the remaining boats in each segment get a close eye-balling by the serious buyers searching that segment. The boats that are priced right are going to get the most traffic, the closest looks, and the serious offers.

“We list yachts that are prepared properly and ready for market,” says Barry Lipoff, president and owner of Crown International Yacht Sales. “And we price our vessels to be sold instead of to be ‘for sale.’ There’s a big difference when you price a yacht to be sold.”

Barry Lipoff, Crown International Yacht Sales

What does Lipoff mean? “Knowing your product and knowing what your competition is doing, it’s very easy to compare your listing against what the competition has listed,” he says. “And price the vessels where they need to be.”

I think the idea of pricing a boat “to be sold” also means the seller has considered what he has invested in her over his ownership period, yet also takes into account what he’s gotten out of her. A seller that warms up to this idea will also understand that it costs money to keep a boat. To go one step further: He also sees that every day he’s got her listed is another day spent with a boat for sale. It’s a sort of limbo, a purgatory he goes into when he’s made a decision—he’s decided to sell his boat—but hasn’t really decided. He’s missing part of the equation: What’s it worth to him to have her sold?

I’m not recommending you lose your shirt on the deal or give the store away. But when your boat is priced at double every other boat of comparable make, model, and year on the market—and we know she’s the nicest one out there—there’s a problem. Get your head in the game. Either you’re selling her, or you’re listing her to be ‘for sale.’ And when the listing hits 184 weeks, no one will want to hear about it.

After all, everyone in the market benefits when boaters have that other “happiest day” — the day they sell their boats.