How best to sell a boat?
July 5, 2016 9:33 AM   Subscribe

My family is trying to sell a $10,000 boat online and would like to know the safest way to do so.

They got one offer from someone in Florida (the boat is in rhode island) who says they will PayPal the money and then send movers to pick up the boat when the money clears. We're very surprised they would buy it sight unseen and so assume this must be a scam. Is it? What's the safest way to sell this? Is there a way to do so safely that's not a local cash sale?
posted by pombe to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Do you have anyone "on the ground" in RI? Where is the boat being stored? How *would* you show the boat to someone?

You're right that that offer is pretty definitely a scam.
posted by mskyle at 9:47 AM on July 5, 2016

Response by poster: The boat is at the family house in RI, so it's easy for people to come see.
posted by pombe at 9:51 AM on July 5, 2016

I have a friend of a friend who works for POP Yachts, which brokers boat sales and seems reputable. You might check them out.
posted by megancita at 9:54 AM on July 5, 2016

Don't do anything that involves a non-cash payment. That's how you get scammed. Cash, in person, and check to make sure the bills are real. You can meet in a bank for safety or whatever.

Craigslist is generally the best way to sell stuff like this but I don't have boat-selling experience so there may be a better option.
posted by Slinga at 10:18 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you looked in to Boat Trader, Rhode Island edition?

By going through Boat Trader, you will be putting yourself squarely into the "definitely looking for a boat" crowd, and while that's no guarantee against being scammed, it does raise your odds of finding someone who actually wants to buy your boat. Of course, if it works it will most likely end with a local cash sale, which may be the exact thing you are trying to avoid? If you really want to avoid the "local cash sale" aspect of selling this, you may need to partner with a boat broker as suggested above. As you would expect, this will impact your take of the final sales price.
posted by mosk at 10:53 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Points East is a monthly boating magazine (there are several others) and it has online classifieds.

Check out the marinas, boatyards, and marine stores near you; they will have bulletin boards, magazines, and advice.

You can also donate it to certain non-profits and get a tax write-off if that works better.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:55 AM on July 5, 2016

People are understandably reluctant to carry $10,000 to pay for high ticket items. The advice I often see on Craigslist flag help forum is for the buyer and seller to go together to the buyer's bank where the seller can watch the buyer request a cashier's check drawn on the buyer's account. That way, the seller knows the check is good and neither party has to risk being robbed. Obviously, have all the paperwork ready to transfer as soon as the check is handed over.
posted by Bruce H. at 11:32 AM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Craigslist. Cash only exchanged at buyer or seller's bank.

I wouldn't risk a non-local sale on a $10k boat.
posted by LoveHam at 12:58 PM on July 5, 2016

nth-ing the idea of cash exchange or you witnessing the cashier's check being produced at the buyer's bank. If that's not an option, consider a broker or another firm that will handle the transfer and escrow, for a fee. You're giving up a portion of the sale in exchange for confidence and peace of mind. (And yes, the sight-unseen offer you got from Florida is almost certainly a scam.)
posted by xedrik at 6:58 AM on July 6, 2016

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