Deciding where to invest in fixing up your boat for sale comes down to two questions that every boat owner should ask themselves: What will it cost to make the repair or upgrade? What will it cost if I don’t?

Fortunately, there are a few easy and inexpensive things you can do, which will always improve the marketability and speed up a sale.

Here’s what the pros had to say:

  1. “De clutter by removing anything that’s not intended to be sold,” 
    1.  “You want people to be able to open lockers and cupboards.” He suggested removing personal effects that might make it harder for the buyer to imagine themselves in your boat. “Take the junk off, but keep Coast Guard-required gear, boat hooks, lines, fenders, pots and pans.” Spare sails may be included in the price but don’t need to be on the boat for viewing.

2. “Cleaning and waxing is the best money you can spend including all compartments, lazarettes, bilges, storage areas, and awnings.  

Remove stains from furniture covers and headliners. Tidy up dock lines, sheets, and halyards. In the interior, make sure the heads are spotless and odorless and ensure the bilges are dry, clean, and odor-free.” Consider hiring a professional cleaner.

3. “I’ve found that a lot of potential buyers walk right off a boat if it smells 

 Not necessarily just holding-tank smell, but musty smell, moldy smell, diesel smell. If a boat smells like anything, that should be dealt with. In some cases, it’s the sanitation lines, and that can be a pretty complex and involved problem, but it’s worth addressing if possible.

4. “Keep the engine room clean and tidy,”                                                              

 Tidying wiring and replacing old hoses signal to the buyer that the boat is well cared for. Ensure basic maintenance is up to date including replacing oil, changing filters, and topping off all fluids.

5. “Repair anything you already know is broken or defective, including all electronics, lights, and accessories.”             

  I also recommends checking all equipment on your inventory list and repairing any inoperative equipment or removing it from the list.

6. Make the boat accessible.  

                                                                                                                                                                “If it’s tarped in your backyard, that’s not very easy or practical for the buyer , “It should be in the water, near the water, or easy to launch for an inspection or survey.” If your boat is out of the water, keeping it “cleaned and covered, and add new zincs so it looks like it’s ready to splash.”

7. Take good photos that are bright, clear, and high-resolution,           

Put 20 to 30 photos in the listing and then offer additional photos (say, 50 to 70 in a Dropbox file) to people who are serious. If you’re not good at taking well-lit photos, find someone who can help, or consider hiring a pro.”

8. Compile digital copies of service history, inventory list, photos, and survey.                                                                      

  “If you do the work on your boat, keep records of everything you do or if you’ve contracted a boatyard, have records of your invoices.” Digital records are best. “We’re working with buyers from all over the country, and the more info we can share with them the better,” he says. He suggested compiling a detailed inventory, service history, a recent survey showing the boat in good condition, and additional photos — especially important for people who’ll incur travel expenses to view the boat.

9. Like with homes, paint and varnish go a long way. Wills is in favor of bright-work touch-ups,                                          

“If it looks ugly, sand the peeling varnish off and either paint or re varnish it.”

10. Sometimes partial improvements can be effective, too. “I’d replace stained carpet but wouldn’t reupholster everything on the boat,

  Similarly, replacing deteriorated is in glass might deliver a better value-to-cost ratio than replacing an entire dodger or awning that still has life in it.

11. If you have the skills, you may want to embark on small fiberglass repairs.                                                             

Anything that you can do yourself, do it, because that goes directly to marketing and sale-ability.