Boating is booming: How to ride the wave of demand and get top dollar for your boat

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Not only is it peak boating season, but the impact of COVID-19 has inspired a renewed interest in boats from coast-to-coast as people start getting outside and enjoying the water while maintaining social distancing.

Boat Trader — boating’s largest online marketplace — confirmed this spike in demand in all regions across the country and reported that their traffic in the second quarter jumped 74% over 2019. Even areas less known for boating are seeing record-high listing engagement. What’s more, all boat types, new and used, are experiencing a buying boom with center consoles, pontoons, and ski/wake boats among the most popular segments in terms of lead volume.

Because many boat manufacturers around the world were forced to reduce or halt production in the wake of the global pandemic, the current rise in market activity suggests there will be tighter inventory later in the year. As interest in boating shows no signs of slowing and supply shrinks as new boaters buy boats, the time is ripe for current boat owners to ride this wave of demand and sell and upgrade now before a possible waiting period for new models sets in.

What do surging boat sales mean for boats currently sitting in driveways?

Buyers are snapping up affordable inventory: Right now, as historic numbers of people are looking to buy a boat, marketplace insight shows the highest demand is for vessels priced under $25,000, followed by boats under $50,000.

Sale prices are up: According to data from Boat Trader, in May and June the average sale price per boat sold in the used, under 26-foot category, increased 5.24% — more than $1,600 — over last year. Though there are many factors that determine the sale price of a boat, like condition, engine hours and age, this trend is yet another signal that demand is strong.

Families want to go boating: Americans, to the tune of more than 10 million boat shoppers per month, are relying on the convenience of technology more than ever to get on the water. For a minimal price, you can sell your boat locally on Boat Trader and get up to 10 times the exposure of free ads. The site also populates boat specs from the manufacturer, making it easy to list and market your boat.

How to sell your boat faster and for top dollar

Beware the buzz: There’s a joke in real estate about spotting watchwords in listings. For example, “close to shopping,” could mean you can hear traffic noise from the backyard. Be careful writing a boat listing with phrases like “custom paint!” or “rebuilt engine!” because, without explanations, these well-meaning buzzwords can raise red flags.

Picture perfect: Upload multiple photos to your boat listing and post the best photo first to encourage maximum engagement. The “sweet spot” falls between 11 and 25 photos, and in these times of social distancing, share video tours. Listings with video tours see more activity than those without.

Market price: Position your boat as the catch of the day with competitive pricing. To determine an accurate price range for your boat, look at listings for similar boats in similar condition. For quick research, use the Boat Trader Price Checker tool.

Be responsive: As the seller, it’s important that you build trust with a potential buyer, which can lead to a faster sale and willingness to pay more money. Respond within 24 hours — if not sooner — to keep interest high and attract that perfect sale.

The bottom line is this: Timing is everything. If selling your boat has crossed your mind, either in order to upgrade or put money in the bank, the time is now. Surging interest in boating and limited inventories could mean faster sales and more money in your pocket if you take action today.

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