Sellers: When placing an ad, please list the basics (year, model) as well as condition and location. BE HONEST about it. Nothing stinks more for a buyer than to arrive and be surprised.
List the price and state if it's firm. List your contact information. To reduce spam, it's suggested that you use the format like this: email address at domain dot com. List your phone number.
Any ads without this information may just get deleted. If anything is questionable about the boat, list it. Again, BE HONEST. For example, if your boat is a 1982 with original sails and you say they are in "good shape", that's NOT being honest (surely they are worn out). Also if the boom is bent or something like that...say so. Hiding problems is not in the spirit of these free classified ads.
List as much information as possible. It doesn't need to be a novel. Ask yourself if you would call based on your ad. Two sentences probably will not cut it.
"Maybe I'll sell" ads are not really an ad. Either you are or are not selling the boat. Fishing type ads will probably get replies and may just get deleted. Be critical of payment methods. Don't be afraid to call the issuing bank of a cashier check to ensure it's valid. Lookup the bank contact info on your own. Be wary of scams like cash this check and give me a check back type scams. These are never valid sellers. Be wary of sellers who do not come to see the boat.
Buyers: It's advised that you contact the person via the contact info they left in the ad. Ever noticed how many new ads are from members with one post? These folks are probably not checking in on the forum much. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Don't be afraid to ask for pictures. If they cannot produce them for you, be extra cautious and ask them to get a friend to help them.
Don't be afraid to negotiate, but be reasonable. If they are asking $10K for a boat, offering 6K is an insult--that is unless of course their selling price is unreasonable, or the condition doesn't reflect the cost. When looking at the boat, expect some issues. Rarely are used boats or trailers perfect. Ask what is wrong before you drive out to see it. So if the ad says excellent condition, you may still find little things wrong. Not a big deal, fix it and go on. However if the same boat has many issues beyond simple or cheap fixes, be extra cautious with the sale. Ask to see the title of both boat and trailer before making an offer. Ensure it has no liens. Also be aware some states do not require titles on small trailers. My state is one of them. However there should be a valid registration paperwork and plate. If you're nervous about making a long drive home on an unknown trailer, ask the seller about this. You can always buy or split the costs of new tires. Protect your personal information. Do not write a check out of your checking or money market account. Your acct number i on these checks. Use cash, wire, cashiers check or money order.
Be cautious of overly modified boats, but don't consider it a deal breaker. For example, if the prior owner has installed higher end parts and replaced wear parts, sails, blocks, etc...that's a good thing. If they cut the keel off and re did it...that's probably a bad sign. If something is wrong, like the above mentioned bent boom but everything else is OK, just adjust the price accordingly if it's not already reasonably priced.
All..please contact an admin (me, Bob23, Newt and Tim Gardner) if you find blatant dishonesty in the ad. We'll delete the ad and ban the poster. Note: We really don't want to do this...we do not want to stifle a seller or buyer, but in the interests of everyone we may need to do that. I don't mean small stuff like a bent chainplate, I mean big stuff like spars, hull, water problems, etc. Again, almost all used boats will have little things wrong.
Any other buyer/seller ideas are welcome on this thread to make our classified section a better place!