Decisions, Decisions- Boating is all about decisions and problem solving skills, no matter the size or worth of a boat.  Two of the biggest decisions are the buying and selling the boat kind of decisions.  When we started this blog project, we were intent to assist, encourage and inspire people with little money to think through how they might buy a boat.  We walked through our process for buying a boat WITHOUT laying down much cash, although we’ve spent some fixing her up and ensuring her systems were safe and updated.  But after owning Tulum IV for two and a half years, we came face to face with the unexpected; life decisions that made us consider selling the boat we had put so much time and effort into fixing up to prep for cruising.

The intent of next few pieces in this blog and my ongoing project is to walk you through some of our decision points as we considered whether we would have to actually sell the boat, the selling process (in real time) and the outcome.  Whether you are considering buying or selling a boat, this blog series should help, as you will gain knowledge from a sellers perspective (mine) and get to know some of the motivations that might help you as a buyer.   I’ve been involved or have personal knowledge of several folks selling their sailboats and have purchased one of my own, so we’ll work through this together; as most of these folks follow this blog and have great experience with this subject.

Decisions, Decisions- Why do people sell their boats and why did we make the selling decision;  what drives selling decisions?

Some selling decisions are easy,,,some are more complicated:-

I want to sell my boat because: I want another one, it’s time to stop cruising, I’m too old,  poor, unhealthy to handle the boat anymore, I want something else beside a boat, my boat costs too much to maintain, my boat slip to too expensive, my wife thinks the boat is becoming my Mistress, my wife told me to sell the boat, my wife wants another boat, my wife has divorced me and taken the boat in the settlement, my kids won’t get on the boat anymore (it’s no longer cool), I need to sell the boat to pay for college,,,,house,,,vacation.     See what I’m getting at,,,,it could be complicated or it could be easy, but somewhere along the line something started you thinking about selling the boat and now you actually have to make that decision, either quickly or eventually.  If you can’t make a selling decision quickly, I would advise you to slow down and rethink the decision, as you might find you really don’t want to sell the boat, you need to solve some other problem in your life that selling the boat might represent?

Why and how did we come to selling decision?

I’ve covered some of this in previous blogs, but here’s a quick update:   Several months ago my wife was offered another job with the same company that will move her out of our immediate area and I will need to stay here (Yep, we both work full time and have several small childrens).   This move will impact our ability to work and play on our boat as my wife will have to move to where the job is.  Thinking it through made us consider our immediate priorities and whether we could afford to keep the boat but not be able to use it or work on it as much as we wanted.   We also may want a larger boat or a catamaran, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  This time in our lives was a boating crossroads, we needed to make decisions about our upcoming trip.  Because of Michelle’s work change, we pushed the trip off by another year at least and remain flexible as a family.  Because we loved our previous Marina and the people we know there, it took us several weeks to come to a selling decision, but once we came to the decision as a team, we knew it was the right one.  Upon making the decision, we knew Tulum was in great shape because of the work and upgrades we had made; but we didn’t feel we wanted to present her for sale before making a few cosmetic upgrades (waxing/buffing the hull, getting a few gel coat scrapes fixed, getting the prop rebalanced and making sure she was shiny clean inside and getting a new sail cover made) so we held off putting her up for sale before getting all this done.  This is a tactic I would highly recommend and something our broker asked us to do prior to putting her on the market.  So, for the past month the boat has been sitting at the brokers docks behind a boatyard, slowly getting fixed by a combination of our labor on weekends and a few specialists coming down to give us some professional help.

Lastly, here’s something I want to pass on that might help:  When you’re looking at boats to buy, look at how much prep the owner’s done to sell.  It might not all be the owners fault if the boat isn’t gleaming everywhere all the time with fresh gel coat, wash job and no clutter on board.  There are always two sides to every story.  Two weeks ago we went on two boats the same size; one obviously prepared for sale and gleaming nicely while the other had personal effects and needed a bit of spit and polish, but both boats had nice bones.  On the opposite tack, three years ago we went on a boat prepped for sale and looking ok.  We met the owner and took the boat out for a sail, hauled her out and looked at her.  But the owner would not budge on price and may have privately asked our broker if he could get a copy of the survey that we had paid to have done that day.  We rescinded our offer and moved on to look at other boats.  So think this over,,,,was the owner of that boat serious about selling or did he just want a free survey and haul out to look over his own boat?  As for us, we’re serious about selling and have polished, cleaned, decluttered and semi-staged our boat.


2 Responses

  1. This was really great to read. We don’t have a sailboat, just a fishing boat for fresh water lakes. My husband has always wanted to buy a houseboat or something bigger. Your tips about buying and selling are helpful. Thank you. 🙂

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