How to Sell a Boat Fast – Part 2 | The Ultimate Checklist for Boat Owners

How to Sell a Boat Fast - Part 2 | Ultimate Boat Owner Checklist

In Part 1 how to sell a boat fast, our yachting experts shared with you the ins and outs of how to sell a boat fast. Part 2 delves into every boat lover’s favorite (not!) pastime: Paperwork. Take a few minutes to become familiar with the forms and facts needed to sell your boat quickly – whether you sell your boat or yacht yourself or through a boat dealer or yacht broker. Trust us, it’s not as boring as you may fear. Promised, you’ll learn at least three helpful tips with ease.

What Documents Are Required When Selling A Boat or Yacht?

How to Sell a Boat That is Financed?

Selling a boat that is financed is possible if you and the boat buyer can agree on the terms and conditions.

Much like selling a car you owe money on, the first step to selling a boat that is financed is finding out how much you owe.

  • Contact your boat lender and get the payoff balance.
  • Decide if you want to sell your boat yourself or work with a broker or dealer who sells boats for a living.

How to Sell a Boat With a Lien?

To sell a boat with a lien, you must first pay off the boat loan.

There are typically three ways to pay a boat loan:

  1. The seller pays the boat loan and receives a free and clear vessel title in
    approximately 10 days.
  2. The buyer pays the seller for the boat, and the seller uses part of that money to
    pay off the boat loan balance.
  3. The buyer writes two checks: one to the bank to satisfy the boat loan and one to
    the seller for the balance of the sale price.

Do You Need a Title to Sell a Boat?

You don’t need a title to sell a boat. But without having the boat title in your hands, it’s more difficult to do. That’s because a title proves ownership, and lenders usually require proof of ownership before making a boat loan.

So, unless the buyer is paying cash, not having a title may be a deal-breaker.

If you don’t have a boat title, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles before putting your boat on the market.

a business man typing numbers into a calculator, How to Sell a Boat Fast - Part 2 | Ultimate Boat Owner Checklist

What Paperwork Is Needed to Sell a Boat?

Best case scenario:

  • Boat Title: You have a boat title, which provides proof of ownership and assures the buyer that the vessel has not been stolen.
  • Bill of Sale: You also need a bill of sale stating the terms and conditions under which the boat was purchased.
  • Other Documents helpful to close the boat deal: Really want to seal the deal? Consider providing these documents as well: professional marine survey certifying your boat’s condition and real market value, maintenance records and warranty documentation proving there are no outstanding claims against the boat.

How to Sell a Boat Without a Title?

Regulations regarding boat titles vary by U.S. state. For example, in some states non-motorized boats less than 16 feet long are exempt from titling. Sellers must provide a bill of sale that includes the boat’s date, price, color, make, model, year and hull ID number. Find out if a notary is required and what, if any, taxes are involved. (Check with local DMV.) Both, boat seller and buyer must sign the bill of sale.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a Boat?

How much it costs to sell a boat depends on whether you sell it yourself or you sell the boat through a dealer or broker. To make a true comparison, consider the following:

If you go the DIY route, it’s important to factor in your time and expenses for advertising and marketing your boat, website listing fees of your boat for sale (some as low as $59), photography/videos (hire a pro), following up on leads and meeting with potential buyers. If you turn the task of selling your boat over to a dealer or broker, you’ll pay a 5 to 10 percent commission on the sale price in exchange for experience, national/international exposure and effective internet marketing.

a luxury yacht in a harbor, How to Sell a Boat Fast - Part 2 | Ultimate Boat Owner Checklist

What Is the Best Website to Sell a Boat?

The best website to sell a boat is the one that reaches your target market. Selling a fishing boat? Place an ad on a website that caters to anglers. Have a high-end luxury yacht for sale? Pick a site frequented by cruising enthusiasts. Make sure the website is reputable and easy to navigate. provides the most comprehensive boating and yachting MLS listings to boat lovers worldwide.

What Is the Best Form of Payment When Selling a Boat?

Just like selling a car or a house, the best payment form for your boat sale is cash.

With cash, the seller doesn’t have to wait weeks for the buyer to qualify for a loan and to receive payment. And the buyer can immediately begin enjoying the perks of owning a boat.

Do Boats Hold Their Value?

Certain boats hold their value better than others. Classic, high-end and celebrity-owned boats can actually appreciate over time.

On average, however, boats depreciate between 18 and 22 percent the first year and about 36 percent after 10 years.

It’s important to compare boat manufacturers; just because a boat is expensive doesn’t mean it will hold its value. Regular, routine maintenance is key to preserving your investment.

Do Boats Depreciate Faster Than Cars?

No. Boats typically don’t depreciate faster than cars, mainly because they aren’t used as often. Less wear and tear is the primary reason boats hold their value. However, just like cars, boats depreciate if they aren’t well maintained and if supply outpaces demand.

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