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How to Sell Your Boat for the Best Price: Setting & Negotiating Cost

How to Set and Negotiate Pricing When Selling Your Used Boat

Selling a used boat can be unfamiliar territory for many boat owners, so it’s a good idea to research the market and make sure your boat’s in its best condition for potential buyers. To make a profit, you may choose to list your boat on our marketplace. And if you want to maximize your profit, it’s essential to understand the art of setting and negotiating prices. To help guide you through this process, Boatline is sharing more on how to set and negotiate pricing when selling your used boat.


Conduct extensive research beforehand to determine the market value of your boat. There are multiple resources to help guide you as the seller. Compare listings and see the pricing on similar boats, or look up estimated values via the NADA Used Boat Guide or BUCValu, a boating valuation very similar to Kelley Blue Book.

Review Your Boat

Once you have scouted other listings using various resources, it’s time for you to review and inspect your boat, staying aware of everything you need to know about boat depreciation. There are five factors to consider while examining:

  • Mechanical Condition: This is essential since most buyers will want a functioning, fully operable boat. You should have all the necessary repairs completed before listing your boat on the market.
  • Cosmetic Condition: Depending on the customer, the cosmetics might outweigh the overall performance of the vessel. So it’s important to fix any physical damage to your boat. If you have maintained your boat well, you can list it above the NADA value when determining the price.
  • Location: It’s also important to consider where you’ve used your boat. Inland boats tend to value about 10% higher than those that resided in saltwater areas due to corrosion and salt damage, including some used saltwater fishing boats for sale. Also, keep in mind where your boat is currently located. If you live in a less populated area, you may want to lower your price to incentivize the buyer to travel.
  • Electronics: This component does not bear as much weight on the final listing price since electronics are not always a make-or-break factor; however, make sure everything is functioning correctly.
  • Accessory Gear: Other than mechanical and cosmetic conditions, accessories can substantially increase your boat’s value. Accessories such as windlass, kicker motors, and air conditioning all add value, and you can add about half to two-thirds of each component’s retail price to your overall boat price.

Being aware of these factors will help you understand the value of your boat, and it will help you be transparent about your listing if a buyer is interested in inspecting the boat. 

Market Your Boat

Following tips for selling your boat online, start by listing your watercraft on Boatline. Also, consider selling your boat during peak boating seasons, such as spring or summer. More buyers are looking for boats during this time of year, and you will have more success when it comes to selling your boat at a higher price rather than during the off-season. Market your boat to your intended audience and make yourself available if you receive any inquiries.

Establish a Minimum Price

Before starting your negotiation, it’s important to set your price range for selling and establish how low you’re willing to go. If you have determined a price and the buyer can’t agree, don’t be afraid to tell them no. However, keep in mind that your asking price will affect the number of prospective buyers. If you have set your asking price too high, there will be limited interest. Likewise, if you have set your asking price too low, you will have more interest in your listing, yet you may not get the full value of the boat.

Initial Offer

Typically, the buyer will make a lower offer than your asking price. For that, set the price of your boat slightly higher to offset the lower offer. This will give you more flexibility in the price, which will show the buyer that you are willing to compromise. In turn, it will make them feel more valued versus you seeming too firm with your price.

Prepare for a Counteroffer and Finalize

Plan to reduce your price by about 10% of your initial offer. You can also compromise with the buyer and meet halfway between their price and your asking price. Also, consider other factors that may play a role in the negotiation process, such as owner financing, the date of the sale, and how the boat will be transported. For instance, you may be able to settle at a higher price with a used power boat for sale if delivery costs are factored into this price.

If you have multiple offers on the table, pursue the buyer who is most interested in your boat. If they are set on your boat, you will have a better chance of selling at a higher price than another potential buyer that is exploring other options. Take the offer once you are satisfied with the price the buyer is willing to pay.

Research the market and learn how to negotiate to get the most value for your used boat. After you have sold your boat, consider it a success! If you’re ready to sell your used boat on Boatline, you can now list your for-sale watercraft FREE for the first 30 days, available now through the end of September.


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Alex Hoyes
Alex Hoyes

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