A well-designed ad will inspire dreams in people who may not be able to afford your boat. Some of these dreamers will actually answer your advert, in order to carry on with their fantasy. And some may even ask to view or have a sea trial. It is important for you to identify these "tyre-kickers" before they waste too much of your time or interfere with selling your boat.

Boat leaving the marina.

Separating "tyre-kickers" from serious buyers will save you time and effort.

Watch out for the signs

The first few questions you are asked will indicate whether the "buyer" understands what you’re selling. For guidelines about "normal" questions, see how to handle enquiries.

Boating knowledge

For example, asking about engine hours for a boat with no motor would reveal a time waster. While it’s important to realise that some serious buyers are not well-educated about specific details, such lack of knowledge is often a bad sign.

Purchasing timeline

Other time wasters may ask all the right questions but show no urgency in moving ahead. A serious buyer will want to get on with the deal, so repeatedly putting off showings is another sign your prospect is not "hot."


Blaming delays on financing is also a bad sign, especially if you have insisted on a proper form of payment. And many unrealistic buyers will try to talk you down below what your boat is worth, which is why it’s important to set a rock-bottom sale price and stick to it.

Cut loose and move on

To get rid of relentless time wasters, suggest they contact you again when they are willing to meet your price. Don’t say the boat is sold (unless, of course, it is), since your fib will become obvious as long as the ad remains active! And even if someone gets to be bothersome, do your best to remain polite and business-like. You never know who might talk up your boat to the next serious buyer.

Advertise your boat for sale here.

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Written by: Carol Cronin
Carol Cronin has published several novels about the Olympics, sailing, hurricanes, time travel, and old schooners. She spends as much time on the water as possible, in a variety of boats, though most have sails.