For Marina Sales, Confidentiality is King

When selling a marina, it might seem like the more people who hear about the sale, the more offers will roll in to put the seller in the driver’s seat for high profit. When it comes to the unique business of a marina, however, confidentiality when selling or buying is key.

Imagine what might happen if a basin full of boaters or a trusted staff got wind of a potential sale. That could cause an abrupt departure of clients and employees damaging operations, goodwill, and business profitability. That’s why brokers frequently work behind closed doors, relying on curated lists of pre-qualified buyers instead of mass marketing.

With more than 20 years of experience in the marina sales industry, Simply Marinas is one such brokerage that acknowledges the importance of confidentiality to the seller, buyer, and to the whole marina community.

Confidentiality means keeping things quiet from pre-sale consultations and valuation to market listing, buyer due diligence, and on into closing. “We never state the name of the marina with our initial presentation to interested buyers,” said Michelle Ash, owner and broker at Simply Marinas. Buyers are given a general overview of the property and its location but aren’t given enough information to identify the facility. Once the pre-qualified buyer has been determined to be a good fit, they sign a non-disclosure agreement, and the broker asks the seller for authorization to share more details. Simply Marinas ensures owners are contacted only by private phone or email, preferably after hours, to avoid the risk of letting employees know the property is for sale.

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List of Investors
To find the perfect buyer, instead of advertising a property for sale, Simply Marinas taps its proprietary list of 14,000 pre-qualified marina investors. Other brokers retain similar lists that enable them to field numerous, competitive offers often within days of listing without relying on outside marketing. Ash pointed out that having previously worked with many investors on their list, Simply Marinas knows how they operate and can better tailor a potential sale. The competitive bidding process brought from using a proprietary list is a boon for sellers who often yield returns beyond their expectations.

“The Simply Marinas team’s ongoing outreach in the industry delivers velocity and volume of engagements and transactions. That, combined with our longevity in the marina brokerage sector, has helped nurture relationships with countless marina buyers,” Ash explained. Buyers are pre-qualified based on their acquisition criteria, financial ability, and experience. Investors, both individuals and institutional buyers, are contacted directly and regularly by brokers who share what properties are hitting the market. “All prospects are vetted and profiled based on our requirements and their investor criteria, ensuring they both belong on our lists and are a match for current and future listings,” Ash said.

The benefits of a confidential pre-qualified list reach both buyers on the list and sellers. Marina investors on the list know they will be alerted to upcoming sales before the broader market and sellers are able to quickly and efficiently market their properties confidentially. Keeping sales behind closed doors can result in competitive bids, expedited closings, and smooth transactions.

According to Ash, the best part of using a pre-qualified list is that “confidentiality helps protect our client’s business and our reputation.”