Sold! Yacht broker Diego Gomez of WORTH AVENUE YACHTS shares tried-and-true tips for listing your boat with ease, efficiency, and expertise.
By Diego Gomez / Photos Courtesy of Worth Avenue Yachts
Is there a time of year or a particular season, that you find is best to list a vessel for resale?
Seasonality plays a factor in some markets more than others. While most Pacific Northwest boaters spend their time boating late spring through early fall, buyers for your boat may be located in Southern California, or even potentially the East Coast. Spring is a great time to go to market, but buyers are also hunting in the summer and fall to give themselves time to do maintenance or upgrades in the offseason, however, the period between Thanksgiving and the New Year is typically the slowest time. Since 2020, we’ve seen a strong seller’s market, with incredibly tight inventory supply for both new and used boats, coupled with increased demand, it’s taken most of the seasonality out of the market nationally. It’s important to consider both the actual cost and opportunity cost of holding onto or selling a boat. Remembering that, like the housing market or stock market, it’s impossible to time the peaks; it’s best to sell a boat when you’re ready to sell and when the boat is properly prepared to go to market.
Are there any upgrades or maintenance items you recommend sellers consider making before putting a vessel on the market?
As a seller, you have three main objectives in selling your boat: One, sell the boat for as much money as possible. Two, sell the boat as quickly as possible. And three, avoid any surprises that could derail the deal during survey inspections. You only get one chance to make a first impression. You can have all of the beautiful marketing collateral, but when a buyer steps on your boat for the first time, if there’s an odor, clutter, lightbulbs out, or flaking paint or chalky gelcoat, they immediately start to think; “If the seller didn’t address these items, they probably didn’t take care of the more important systems.” It’s hard to change someone’s first impression.
Buyers are already competing for inventory and paying more for boats these days. They’re also faced with long lead times for parts and service after they purchase. If you can think of ways to make their life easier, they’ll make yours easier in return. Doing an engine service and bottom job before going on the market allows the buyer immediate use of the boat, resulting in a higher price and have a more willing buyer through the deal.
A boat that shows well will help encourage higher offers and spend less time on the market, but avoiding surprises during survey is what will ensure the deal will close without having to renegotiate or fall out of contract and go back on the market. In this market, I suggest getting a pre-listing survey done. Especially on later model boats, many buyers are willing to potentially forego their own survey, which will greatly reduce the contingencies and closing timelines, and even if they do have their own survey performed, there should not be any need to re-negotiate.
Let’s talk visuals: In your experience, just how important is it to get a boat photographed professionally? When do you also recommend videography or other multimedia assets?
It is absolutely necessary, and not all professionals are equal. While smartphones these days can take great photos, the angles, lighting, framing, and color grading that a professional photographer can bring will make an incredible difference. In yacht sales, the photos, videos, and virtual tours are what we as brokers use to both attract and educate our buyers. It’s a delicate balance to display attractive photos without making the boat look better than it is. I never want a client to board a listing and be disappointed with the boat in person compared with the photos. A great photographer will be able to accurately capture the feeling of a boat.
Video and virtual tours have been a game changer for yacht sales. Those of us who have embraced not only the technology, but the opportunity to engage with clients through video have seen an incredible return on the investment. I find clients appreciate a deeper dive into the boats they are considering, and over time, clients that follow my videos build a level of trust in me and enjoy seeing a wide variety of yachts through my eyes. Virtual tours are very helpful as well, but require more client interaction. During the peak of the pandemic, we used this method extensively, and I think there’s a lot of room to grow in this category. The key is to give the buyer the opportunity to explore as much as they desire, and when they’re ready, they’ll reach out. This results in more educated buyers, more qualified showings on my listings, and faster sales. The old method of trying to get clients to call for more information is not the way people shop any longer.
Describe the broker and seller relationship. What do you like best about working with brokerage clients?
Having a strategy, adapting the strategy to market fluctuations, communicating proactively, and always doing the right thing are what I think my clients appreciate most about working with me. I help my clients buy, build, sell, and operate their boats with confidence. Communication is key. I enjoy working with brokerage clients as I can work with them to buy the right boat for them rather than selling them a brand product I represent. I love that each boat is unique, learning about each boat, and interpreting it through my experience. Sharing that with clients is very rewarding. I enjoy that most of my client relationships go beyond boating and we’ve become friends over the years.
About the Expert: While there are many advantages to listing your boat with a broker, not all brokers or brokerage houses are equal. It’s important that you build a trusting relationship with your broker, that he or she understands your boat inside and out, and that you feel confident in their strategy to market and sell your boat. At Worth Avenue Yachts, we specialize in motoryachts, but our brokers each bring a wide array of experience, from sailboats to tenders and all the way up to superyachts. Our team spans from Seattle to Florida to Rhode Island and Monaco, and we have a vast array of market intelligence and industry relationships that give our clients an advantage in the marketplace. Personally, I enjoy working with clients who are owner-operators for vessels in the 40-80’ range, particularly Downeast style yachts and raised pilot house motoryachts. >> For more information on selling your yacht with Worth Avenue Yachts, visit: worthavenueyachts.com. Or reach out directly to Diego at: firstname.lastname@example.org