If you already own a boat and you love boating, you’re going to come across a time where you’re going to want to get a new boat.

Wanting a new boat is entirely normal, especially since you’re seeing the latest models and figuring out how to make room for a new one and whether or not to keep the old one.

Most will decide to get rid of the older boat, but the question remains, should you trade in or sell your boat?

DIY Selling or Trading In?

Let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of choices – either selling it on your own or using it like you would a used car, as a trade-in for a newer model.

If you may not want a new boat but just want to get rid of your current boat because maybe you’re moving somewhere the boat won’t be useful. You’re probably going to be better off selling it yourself.

Alternatively, if you’re in the market for a shiny brand-new boat, then the better option is likely going to be using your current boat as a trade-in.

Comparing the Pros and Cons of Selling and Trading

Selling can offer assurance about getting the right value for a boat because, as everyone knows, if you take your boat into a dealer to request a trade-in, you absolutely won’t get what your boat may be worth.

Consider, too, that although you won’t get the price you may want for your boat, dealers won’t make money off of your boat either until it sells. They give lower offers than what you want because they are also responsible for ensuring that other overhead expenses can be paid once they put it on the market.

If you choose to sell your boat, you may also end up sitting there for quite some time waiting for it to sell at a price you’ll accept. Should you decide to go the trade-in route, you’ll only have to wait for as long as you need to wait for the paperwork to go through.

Of course, trading in is also much more convenient because you don’t actually need to do much beyond handing over the keys and registration to a dealer. Most times, dealers will do the work for you, so it’s a pretty hands-off method of getting rid of your boat.

From a financial perspective, you are only responsible for the sales tax on a new boat minus the trade-in allowance, so you’ll have to pay less out of pocket.

On the other hand, if you’re selling it yourself, you may have to deal with people flaking out on you and going back on their offers, no-shows, and low ball offers. The upside of this, though, is that once you sell it, you’ll have cash in hand and won’t have to deal with financing.

Keep in mind that regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll have to get some prep work done to get your boat in tip-top shape so you can ask for a decent price and get what you expect.

Advice to Sell Your Boat Quickly

Know when boating season starts is key to getting a good price for your boat regardless of whether you’re trading it in or you’re selling it yourself.

Prices and offers will be higher at the beginning of the season and lower towards the end. If you’re going the trade-in route, you’ll also get a better offer from a dealer because dealers know they don’t have to store a certified pre-owned boat for long.

Also, make sure you know how much your boat is worth before you go to a dealer and before you list it for sale.  Do your research so you can be confident that you’re requesting a fair market value.

You want to prepare your boat and make sure it looks superb so it will meet the price points on the higher end of the book values.

Check for broken things like wipers or other aesthetics, and get it as clean as possible. Remember that cosmetics are crucial because the first impression your boat makes can make or break a sale.

Don’t forget to touch up paint and varnish, clean mildew, drawers, and your engine to give the best possible visual appeal. Even if you don’t want to do that much work, you do need to at least buff and wax your hull, and pay attention to paint and varnish.

Deciding to Sell or Trade In Your Boat

A clean boat will always receive a better offer than a dirty boat. Provide as much documentation as you can, too, about maintenance, history, and any equipment that will be included with your boat.

Show your boat at its best, and you won’t be disappointed with the result.