Aura Buy & Sell Guides

Buy A Boat with Aura Be informed for smooth and stress free exchange

Aura with ABYA advise that you should always use a professional to ensure you have all the correct documentation for legal ownership of your new boat.

Buying The Process

Decide what you want your boat for before you start looking. Cruising/racing? Do you have a young family? Crossing the Solent or crossing the Atlantic? Charter?
Review your budget and don't forget mooring and marina fees, fuel, slipping and winter storage fees, life jackets. If you are thinking of chartering, the cost of setting up a company and having the boat 'coded' to the MCA requirements.
Talk to several brokers and gather information before viewing. Take your time. Talk to friends, people at the sailing club, etc about the types of boats you are considering. Read reviews from the magazines ? a number of magazines have libraries of reviews.
Arrange viewings with those you will be sailing/buying with.
When you find a boat you like, talk it through with the broker, who will provide a Sale & Purchase Agreement that both parties sign. Any amendments must be agreed by both parties. This is a binding contract so be sure before you sign. (NB A broker, as opposed to a dealer, is not a party to the contract ? he is acting as the vendor's agent.)
You will need to place a deposit ? usually 10% - which the broker must put in his Client Account (not his usual business trading account). This is your money held by the broker as stakeholder.
Arrange a survey: the broker may not recommend a surveyor but may have a list of local surveyors. Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association (YDSA) is the sister association to ABYA and all YDSA surveyors are assessed rigorously before being elected into membership. See the YDSA website for a list of surveyors. Read the survey report through carefully and discuss any queries with the surveyor. Advise the broker of any important defects. If they are substantial you may consider withdrawing under the terms of the contract, revising the price to complete the sale, or requiring the vendor to provide a repair or piece of equipment. The contract will have a time frame for actions to be taken ? be clear what these are. You will be responsible for lifting fees and the surveyor's fees.
If you require finance ensure you contact a finance house in good time, as the money needs to be available when you reach completion.
If you want a trial sail, advise the broker early so he can set this up, and allow for changes due to weather, for instance. You will be responsible for any slipping or skipper's fees.
Decision made, check the inventory and that the title documentation is lodged with the broker to save any problems later, including the VAT documentation as appropriate.
Set up the electronic transfer to the Broker's Client Account in good time. Once the funds have cleared, completion can take place. The broker will give you the documentation, including the Bill of Sale transferring title from the vendor to you, and the keys to the boat.
Don't forget to insure the boat before you take possession. You will almost certainly need a survey for this, so don't be tempted to skip the pre-purchase survey, which can be used for this purpose too.
If you haven't sailed or driven a powerboat before do get some training before heading off. It is essential you know the 'Rules of the Road' and have adequate safety equipment. The RYA has a wide range of courses to assist you.

Sell your Boat with Aura Professional Consultancy and Representation from Aura

ABYA advises you should always use a professional to ensure your sale is managed properly and the correct documentation passed to the new owner.

Selling The Process

You can choose to list with one broker (sole agency) or several. Alternatively you can ask the sole agent to sub-contract with other brokers, meaning that he retains control of the sales process and the brokers negotiate the split of commission between themselves.

The vendor pays the brokerage commission, which will be a fixed percentage of the final sale price (plus VAT). This fee includes:

  • Advertising your boat in magazines, on their website, through their client list and at boat shows;
  • Following up on all leads;
  • Showing clients over the boat;
  • Providing a contract to both parties which sets out the progress of the sale;
  • Ensuring all the relevant paperwork is available RCD compliance, VAT evidence, Bills of Sale, Builder's Certificate, Service History, etc.

The broker will also advise the vendor of all offers and negotiate with the purchaser as well as liaising with the surveyor and assist in re-negotiating the fee if this is appropriate.

The % rate will be advised at the beginning of the contract, and the broker will provide you with a Listing Agreement setting out the contractual terms.

Be guided by the broker over market price he is the expert. You need to be realistic.

Discuss with the broker the arrangements for viewing, inspection and sea trials. You may find that some brokers require accompanied viewing or a skippered sea trial.
If you bring your boat into the UK from outside the EU to sell, you can take advantage of the Customs Warehousing Scheme, operated by ABYA with HM Revenue & Customs. This allows boats that are not VAT paid to be put on the market with authorised brokers.
You should ensure the boat is clean and tidy and all personal effects removed, fridge empty, etc. Prepare a careful inventory of all the things that are staying with the boat and ensure they are available for inspection by prospective purchasers and surveyors.
Ensure you have all the relevant boat documents gathered together and show them to the broker who may take copies of the significant ones to keep in his file. These should be passed to the new owner in due course and should include the paper trail of Bills of Sale showing the ownership history, evidence of the VAT status, evidence of RCD compliance when first placed on the market in the EU, registration (if any), Builder's Certificate, Owner's Manual, Service History (engines, sails, etc.), outstanding finance details, any large repair bills, etc. This documentation is also required for private sales.
The broker will market your boat using a variety of options, such as websites, client lists, magazines, second-hand boat shows. He will let you know when he has any viewings, and when he receives an offer. He will negotiate an agreed sale price. This will either be conditional ? that is, subject to survey and possibly sea trial and any other agreed conditions; or unconditional ? "as is, where is".
The broker will provide a Sale & Purchase Agreement which both parties sign. Any amendments must be agreed by both parties. This is a binding contract so be sure before you sign. (NB The broker is not a party to the contract ? he is acting as the vendor's agent).
The prospective purchaser will advise the broker of anything that is of concern or any questions that have arisen in the survey. They may require a revision of the price, a repair or replacement of some equipment. If there is significant defect found, the buyer may withdraw.
When negotiations are complete, the broker will send you a Bill of Sale to complete and return, together with all the documentation (as above) and keys. He will advise when completion has taken place (when the funds have cleared) and once he has finalised all issues, such as payment of any outstanding finance, he will issue a completion statement and send you the balance of the monies, less his agreed commission. The Bill of Sale makes the legal transfer of ownership of the boat.

Note: this page principally covers the sale of a boat through a broker acting as an intermediary.

Note: the use of the term broker here should be taken to mean any boat sales personnel, whether at a brokerage or a dealership, unless specifically stated.

Affiliates Companies we work with

Palmarina, Yalikavak
ABYA Full Member
Contest Yachts
Oyster Yachts
British Marine Federation