Information:
Selling a boat

ABYA advises you should always use a professional to ensure your sale is managed properly and the correct documentation passed to the new owner.

Note: this page principally covers the sale of a boat through a broker acting as an intermediary.

Listing your boat

You can choose to list with one broker (sole agency) or several. Alternatively you can ask the sole agent to sub-contract with other brokers, meaning that he retains control of the sales process and the brokers negotiate the split of commission between themselves.

The vendor pays the brokerage commission, which will be a fixed percentage of the final sale price (plus VAT). This fee includes:

Ex-VAT Boats

If you bring your boat into the UK from outside the EU to sell, you can take advantage of the Customs Warehousing Scheme, operated by ABYA with HM Revenue & Customs. This allows boats that are not VAT paid to be put on the market with authorised brokers.

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  • Advertising your boat in magazines, on their website, through their client list and at boat shows;
  • Following up on all leads;
  • Showing clients over the boat;
  • Providing a contract to both parties which sets out the progress of the sale;
  • Ensuring all the relevant paperwork is available – RCD compliance, VAT evidence, Bills of Sale, Builder's Certificate, Service History, etc.

The broker will also advise the vendor of all offers and negotiate with the purchaser as well as liaising with the surveyor and assist in re-negotiating the fee if this is appropriate.

The % rate will be advised at the beginning of the contract, and the broker will provide you with a Listing Agreement setting out the contractual terms.

Be guided by the broker over market price – he is the expert. You need to be realistic.

Sea trials and inspections

Discuss with the broker the arrangements for viewing, inspection and sea trials. You may find that some brokers require accompanied viewing or a skippered sea trial.

Ex-VAT boats

If you bring your boat into the UK from outside the EU to sell, you can take advantage of the Customs Warehousing Scheme, operated by ABYA with HM Revenue & Customs. This allows boats that are not VAT paid to be put on the market with authorised brokers.

Preparation

You should ensure the boat is clean and tidy and all personal effects removed, fridge empty, etc. Prepare a careful inventory of all the things that are staying with the boat and ensure they are available for inspection by prospective purchasers and surveyors.

Title documents

Ensure you have all the relevant boat documents gathered together and show them to the broker who may take copies of the significant ones to keep in his file. These should be passed to the new owner in due course and should include the paper trail of Bills of Sale showing the ownership history, evidence of the VAT status, evidence of RCD compliance when first placed on the market in the EU, registration (if any), Builder's Certificate, Owner's Manual, Service History (engines, sails, etc.), outstanding finance details, any large repair bills, etc. This documentation is also required for private sales.

Negotiation

The broker will market your boat using a variety of options, such as websites, client lists, magazines, second-hand boat shows. He will let you know when he has any viewings, and when he receives an offer. He will negotiate an agreed sale price. This will either be conditional – that is, subject to survey and possibly sea trial and any other agreed conditions; or unconditional – "as is, where is".

The Contract

The broker will provide a Sale & Purchase Agreement which both parties sign. Any amendments must be agreed by both parties. This is a binding contract so be sure before you sign. (NB The broker is not a party to the contract – he is acting as the vendor's agent).

The Survey

The prospective purchaser will advise the broker of anything that is of concern or any questions that have arisen in the survey. They may require a revision of the price, a repair or replacement of some equipment. If there is significant defect found, the buyer may withdraw.

Completion

When negotiations are complete, the broker will send you a Bill of Sale to complete and return, together with all the documentation (as above) and keys. He will advise when completion has taken place (when the funds have cleared) and once he has finalised all issues, such as payment of any outstanding finance, he will issue a completion statement and send you the balance of the monies, less his agreed commission. The Bill of Sale makes the legal transfer of ownership of the boat.