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... where every sale results in a happy buyer and a happy seller

Selling a Boat - The Process

Are you considering selling your boat and wondering how to go about it?

1. Deciding to Sell
2. Preparing your Boat for Sale
3. Determining a Fair Asking Price
4. Signing an Authority to Sell Agreement
5. Preparing the Yacht Particulars
6. The Marketing Plan
7. The Sale Process


1. Deciding to Sell
We are now in difficult economic times, with many factors affecting the boat market, so it is even more important that vendors make informed decisions in regards to marketing their vessel.

Gone are the days of multiple offers on boats and high sale prices. We are now operating in a down used-boat market in New Zealand that has high quality, new sail and power imports at very reasonable prices (thanks to our strong New Zealand dollar). Kiwi boat owners no longer knock the imports, but accept them as part of the marina landscape.

At some point in time, all boat owners need to sell their prized possession. The reason for selling is not important – what is important, is the decision to sell.

A vendor has to ‘make the decision to sell’. This is usually a difficult decision, but the decision is important. A boat is filled with personal history, usually good times with family and friends, and there is a ‘personal value’ at stake. This makes the decision hard and the reason why some owners have an inflated opinion of what the value / worth of the boat is.

2. Preparing Your Boat for Sale
Having your boat in good condition, looking and smelling nice, really does make the difference when you are trying to find a purchaser. There are many things that an owner can do to make their boat more attractive and we would be happy to come onboard and discuss with you the specifics for your boat. And should you not have the time to do this then we can also help find someone that can undertake this for you. It is rarely necessary to spend a great deal of money. We are happy to come and advise you on the specifics of your boat but the types of things we recommend include:
  • Clean the interior, especially the galley and head areas, and including the walls and floors.
  • Remove all unnecessary items so that the boat is not cluttered.
  • Tidy all lockers.
  • Clean and dry bilges, especially under the engine.
  • The engine should also be cleaned and any rust removed and repainted. The engine room should also be tidy with no leaks, loose hose clamps, dirty filters, damaged lines etc.
  • Clean and polish the hull and decks.
  • The underwater should also be in good condition so either employ and diver or haul-out and apply fresh antifouling if necessary.
  • Check all through hull fittings open and close easily.
  • Ensure all interior and exterior lights are working, if necessary replace the bulbs.

3. Determining a Fair Asking Price
We believe that every boat will sell if it is well maintained and priced correctly. To this end it is important to have an independent, professional opinion on the value / market price for your boat.

An experienced broker will have the knowledge to determine a fair asking price. It is essential to not pitch the asking price too high, as otherwise you could end up owning your boat for a very long time.

Buyers today are looking for perceived value, and a boat that is not perceived value, will not be considered.

At Busfield Marine, our brokers, have a combined 20 years knowledge in the boat brokerage industry between them, with a vast background in the marine industry, and plenty of Bluewater miles between them. They have learnt that there is no point in giving a vendor unrealistic values as it is better to meet the market now, than in two years time.

The cost of ‘holding’ a boat needs to be taken into account. A typical $200,000 launch or yacht will cost about $2,000 a month to own. This figure includes marina, potential interest on the value, and maintenance. Therefore, selling quickly rather than in two years time could save approximately $50,000.

We have the appropriate experience to be able to guide you in determining a fair asking price. We will inspect the vessel before commenting on the value and then discuss this with you in a professional manner so that the outcome is an agreement in price.

4. Signing an Authority to Sell Agreement
At this stage we would ask that you sign an Authority to Sell Agreement providing us with either a General or Sole Agency. The decision to give either a General or Sole Agency Listing is yours however we do suggest that if you are going to list with more than one broker you limit it to maybe two or three as over exposure in the market is not always helpful. Obviously should you choose a Sole Agency Agreement then we will give your vessel priority over the General Agency listings in our advertising – whether it be in our high profile window displays, internet and print marketing - and you are also able to make use of our very visible sales berth. We would be happy to discuss the way the different Agencies work in order to help you decide which is best for you.
Download an Authority to Sell Agreement here.

5. Preparing the Yacht Particulars
We believe that the more details we are able to provide a potential purchaser the better chance we have of selling a boat for a good price and in good time. We recognise the importance of being able to provide thorough, accurate and attractive yacht particulars. Clearly the person who knows the boat the best is the owner and therefore we work with you to achieve this. You know what makes your boat unique and stand out from the crowd and we need you to tell us this. We want you to actively be involved to make sure that we have all the information to pass onto interested clients.

We also place paramount importance on providing good quality photographs, including interior and exterior. It’s helpful if you are able to provide us with at least one shot of her at sea or in a lovely anchorage that we can use as our main advertising image.

6. The Marketing Plan
Busfield Marine handles and covers a wide range of boat listings, some that will only be sold within New Zealand, and others that could be sold anywhere in the world. It is important to remember that New Zealand is operating in a very fluid global market so the connections to this market, is an important selling advantage.

A professional broker will be able to outline a plan of how a boat is to be advertised in the most appropriate media. The broker’s objective is to devise a strategy with the best chances of reaching the most interested and qualified audience for your boat. A vessel does not need to be listed with more than one brokerage to achieve this as with good marketing, a professional brokerage can reach the target market.

Busfield Marine offers:
  • The most highly visible Sales Office in New Zealand
  • An exclusive hardstand area, with the best exposure in Auckland
  • High profile sales berth with easy access
  • Use of multi-listing websites, including,, Trademe, own website, etc.
  • High quality advertising in Boating New Zealand, New Zealand’s premier boating publication
  • We also take a proactive approach and will send the details of your vessel to existing clients on our database whose requirements she matches.

7. The Sale Process
Once we have found a buyer we conduct the sale on your behalf. We are members of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association and follow their guidelines as follows:

Once we have found a buyer we conduct the sale on your behalf. We are members of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association and follow their guidelines as follows:
1. The Sale & Purchase Agreement is drawn and signed by yourself and the purchaser. Once signed a deposit is paid by the purchaser and held in our trust account.
2. The yacht is then under a conditional sale to the purchaser.
3. In most situations a survey and sea trial is carried out. The cost of the haul out is to you as the seller and the vessel is sea trialled under your insurance and control. The cost of the surveyor is to the Purchaser.
4. If the survey finds that the vessel is seriously defective or unsound the purchaser may ask you to remedy the defect or cancel the agreement and the deposit will be returned. The deposit may also be returned to the purchaser if the yacht is found to be unsatisfactory for purpose on sea trial. However in most cases a fair compromise can be reached and the sale will then be completed.
5. Once the purchaser accepts the yacht and the sale becomes unconditional the deposit becomes part payment for the yacht. Upon completion of the sale we will provide you with a full breakdown of paperwork and the agreed figure will be transferred to you, less the commission charge of 6.5% + GST for the first $250,000 then 4.5% after that. This is obviously only payable when we sell your vessel.

At Busfield’s our aim is to find a purchaser for your vessel promptly at market value. We work for you, using our unequalled experience within the brokerage market and our proud of our proven track record. So why not contact us or read more about how we can help you sell your yacht.


Contact Us

Phone: +64 9 376 4006 | Email: | Address: 103 Westhaven Drive Auckland, New Zealand    

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