Buying and selling planes is anything but child’s play. It’s a more complex process than it appears. While you can put a “for sale” sign on a car and sell it right out of your driveway, a plane takes a little more work.
Dealerships aren’t available around every corner, and planes are potentially risky investments.
Fortunately, there are solutions that give you the power to sell your plane in a hassle-free way.
#1) Balance Costs vs. Purpose
When buying the plane, ask yourself: are you going to use this plane for business purposes, or will it be for recreational purposes? How often are you going to use the plane? Will you carry passengers? What amenities will you need? All of these factors can help you set your budget.
When you’re selling, your goal is to set a realistic asking price. This starts with an aircraft appraisal or valuation. You’ll also need to compare your plane to the market values of other, similar planes, while analyzing the demand for that particular type of aircraft.
#2) Take a Test Flight / Evaluate Systems
Taking a test flight will help you evaluate the condition and performance level of the plane. Carefully inspect all systems and equipment on the aircraft. If you’re selling, you need to know what you’re selling, and if you’re buying, you need to know what you’re buying.
It all sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step. You can’t simply rely on representations without independently verifying the condition.
While you’re at it, when buying it’s a good idea to work with a professional who can walk through all the minute details of the plane with you to determine whether or not it’s worth the purchase price. When selling, it’s a good idea to do the same thing, so that you’ll know whether you need to make repairs or come down on the price.
#3) Inspect the plane prior to selling it.
You can bet that your buyers will be inspecting the plane prior to selling it, so you’d best do the same thing.
In fact, clearing issues prior to selling helps to speed up the process and helps you to negotiate a good price. The same applies when buying. Pre-purchase review should at least include a differential compression check on each engine cylinder and preferably a borescope evaluation as well.
It’s also important to thoroughly evaluate the logbooks of the plane along with other records. Usually, airplane owners keep reports of major repairs, as well as component and serial numbers. The mechanic you hire for inspection should also be familiar with the recommended best practices and maintenance schedules for the specific model.
#4) Make sure all the paperwork is in order.
Check all the paperwork! Make sure it comes from the rightful owner with a clean title. Failure to do so can create complications in the future!
Important: any outstanding lien on the plane is going to have to be resolved before the sale closes.
This is one place where working with a professional can really come in handy. They can help you clear liens and manage paperwork with a minimum of stress.
#5) Remember there isn’t always a connection between performance and style.
If you’re the owner or potential buyer of a rare airplane with the unique features it may be tempting to think this plane performs like a dream. In reality, rare airplanes, more often than not, come with unique mechanical issues. They may require specialized parts, and the need to source those parts can turn minor repairs into nightmares.
The same is true for older planes. Older parts are harder to find than newer parts. Do not overlook the hidden costs that you may incur down the road, such as having to have custom machining done just to correct a mechanical error. You’ll thank yourself later.
The Effortless Way to Buy and Sell Planes
Hiring a professional plane dealer or aircraft broker can help you manage all of these issues in a smooth, stress-free way. Plane dealers are knowledgeable and experienced, and bring a lot of contacts to the table. That means they can offer outstanding deals to buyers and higher profits to sellers.
Contact us if you want to buy or sell the hassle-free way!