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Selling a Boat 101


MJBo

Question

I'm selling my boat outright to anotrher individual and this is the first time I haven't taken a trade from the dealership. Can anyone point me in the right direction for instructions on forms, taxes, responsibilities and all the other beaurocratic junk I might need to know about. I sure would appreciate it. Thanks everyone.

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This is a simple thing. The seller may want a bill of sale, just to document the value of the boat, motor, and trailer separatly. But legally, all you need to do is transfer the title for both the boat and the trailer. The motor is untitled. The purchaser will pay all sales tax due on registration. That's why he will want the bill of sale. In Minnesota, and in a number of other states, he only pays sales tax on the trailer, so it's to his advantage to value the trailer at a reasonably low value. The boat and motor, if purchased from an individual, are exempt from sales tax but the purchaser will have to register and license both boat and trailer.

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Hiya,

I have to sell my boats every year, so going through the process is an annual event...

You should absolutely do a bill of sale. You can download templates for a Bill of Sale from a number of different legal document sites online. It'll usually run you about 10 bucks. Well worth it - all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Include on the BOS EXACTLY what is included in the sale, including any accessories such as trolling motors, depth finders, etc. A bill of sale is nice because it will include all the legalese to cover your butt in case the buyer comes back wanting you to fix something they broke by claiming it was your fault, or worse yet tries to get their $ back because they changed their mind. Hate to have to think that way but it does happen, and has to me. A bill of sale lays out exactly what's what and spells out that the sale is as-is, excepting any manufacturer's warranties.

MH is correct on the sales tax. In MN, you only pay tax on the trailer. So you and the buyer should come to an agreement on what the value of the trailer is as part of the package price. It can be pretty low and not raise eyebrows at the Registrar's office, but if you don't have the trailer price on the BOS, THEY get to decide how much it's worth... Plus good to know what the sales tax is as a bargaining tool. I've offered to pay the sales tax to close a sale on a boat I was having trouble moving.

Finally, unless they are picking the boat up immediately, insist on a nominal deposit. When I sell my boats, if they back out on the deal, the deposit is non-refundable unless they can come up with a VERY convincing reason why they can't follow through. I have given deposits back, but having a deposit generally tells you someone's serious and not just wasting your time - and getting you to pull the boat off the market and missing a legitimate buyer.

Other than that, there's not a lot to it. It can be a fun process when everyone's happy at the end of the deal...

Good luck with the boat sale.

Cheers,

RK

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