Getting a great deal when you buy aircraft

 

Great aircraft deals

 

 

Question: 

“I’m looking for a really great deal.

Can you send me any aggressively priced aircraft in good condition that meet my specific make, model, avionics, and equipment needs?”

Answer: 

We have received thousands of inquiries from potential aircraft buyers over the years. Without a doubt, one of the most common statements we hear is “I’m looking for a great deal.”

Can we help you find a great deal? Absolutely. Will it be the great deal you envisioned? That depends.

To help you find the “great deal” you’re looking for, we need to better understand what you’re hoping to achieve. For example, are you looking to buy the plane that meets your travel needs with the lowest cost of ownership over a set period of time? Or, are you looking for a bargain on a perfectly pristine aircraft with very specific avionics, equipment, maintenance history, and more?

Here is what we see: good deals are out there, but you will rarely find the plane you really want priced well under the market with the avionics, paint scheme, maintenance history, and more that you are looking for.

Reasons include:

1. Modern technology has opened up a worldwide market. 

Gone are the days when aircraft stayed at the same airfield their entire lives. In a matter of minutes, we can post a plane for sale that will be seen online by thousands of aircraft buyers and dealers.

The advantage of marketing planes online is simply too powerful for sellers to ignore, and any dealers who are not openly advertising “great deals” on aircraft are only doing so to benefit themselves.

2. If you think it’s a great deal, so will everyone else.

If you look at an aircraft listing and say “wow, this looks like a really good deal,” we can guarantee that several other aircraft buyers are thinking the exact same thing. That “really good deal” will probably be under contract within hours of being posted, so you need to act fast.

Landing a great deal on the plane you want requires more time than most people realize. You’re also competing with dealers, who actively monitor the markets daily and rearrange other commitments quickly when a good deal surfaces.

Buyers who are able to snag the plane they want below market value often find themselves jumping through additional hoops, as the selling party becomes the “customer” who needs to be served. This can result in the buyer trying to make everything easy for the seller and taking on extra costs, unexpected risks, and shortened timeframes.

3. There might be a good reason it’s priced so low.

What looks like a good deal on the surface may end up costing more than you realize after you get it under contract. Damage history, missing logbook entries, corrosion, and below average condition (cosmetic or mechanical) can make a significant impact on the value of an aircraft. Regrettably, many sellers display only a handful of photos and very little supportive information in their online listings, leaving buyers to find out for themselves why the plane is priced so low.

Because the buyer is typically responsible for many costs associated with pre-purchase inspections, it is wise to review as much information as possible prior to making an offer. Look for: complete logbooks; high quality photos of the exterior, interior and panel; video footage showing the condition of the plane’s surfaces; and detailed, accurate aircraft specifications.

4. Off-market deals are not always great deals.

A small percentage of aircraft do not hit the open market. Instead, they get sold to a friend, family member, or other local individual. A personal relationship can lead to a good deal, but it is very rare to find the aircraft you want being sold off-market by someone you know.

On occasion, we have seen deals between acquaintances where the buyer trusts the other party and believes they are getting a great deal, but they end up overpaying for a plane without doing their due diligence. Without a proper pre-buy inspection, title search, or understanding of the aircraft’s true market value, buyers can take on unexpected lien issues, maintenance problems, and other financial woes.

5. A great deal on a great aircraft might involve paying full market value.

If your goal is to buy the plane you actually want to own (with your desired avionics, equipment, condition, and timing), your “great deal” will very likely involve a transaction at or around full market value.

Nobody ever calls us and says “I want to overpay for an airplane.” And conversely, most sellers don’t want to give their planes away. Most of the time, a good deal is a deal that is fair to both the buyer and seller.

A great deal is really a matter of perception. Are you more interested in finding the right price or the right plane? A plane that meets your business and personal needs, falls within your budget, and is enjoyable for you to fly might be an excellent deal for you, even if you are not able to purchase it well below the market.

 

Want a little help finding your next aircraft?

We’d love to hear from you! Contact us today by calling 402-475-6000 or emailing aircraft@flyperformance.com.

 

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What satisfied customers are saying...

  • I trusted the team at Performance Aircraft to help me identify an airplane that fit my mission, budget, and goals.  I'm happy to say that they exceeded all my expectations by keeping me informed throughout every step of the process.  You can trust that this team is not out to sell you an airplane but to be a lifelong aviation partner.  I would definitely use them again for selling or buying an aircraft.  Thank you!
    – Eric Leatherman, Nebraska
  • As a first time buyer, I was nervous about the entire process–plane selection, negotiations, paperwork, and closing. After my first contact with Stacey at Performance Aircraft, I knew they were the right fit to help me. She quickly made me feel at ease with everything. Their website is positively the best and most comprehensive in its class.  The process was smooth and the plane was exactly as it was represented. I couldn't be happier!
    – Dennis Cooley, Florida
  • Your team did exactly what you said you would do, which is a very rare trait in today's business world. I would recommend you guys highly...you have integrity.
    – Tony Wagner, Florida
  • I purchased an airplane from Performance Aircraft a few years ago and have also utilized some of their Flight Training Services since that time. I have developed a respect for their professional expertise in both their Training and Sales side of their business.
    – Mike Kelly, Nebraska
  • Because of your professional team and alliances with other top companies, you will be my first call when looking to purchase another airplane. Thank you again.
    – Tom Saxon, Florida
  • I would tell my friends they can trust Performance Aircraft to provide honest, ethical, and enthusiastic service. Bill found an aircraft that best suits our needs while staying well within our budget. The whole process was practically stress-free. And, the post-purchase training and follow-ups have been phenomenal.
    – Matt Young, Wyoming
  • Your communication here is very good and I really appreciated your honesty. Your follow up is awesome. Bill knew the value of airplanes as well as anyone I have met in the industry and I have been flying for over 30 years. You guys did a great job communicating with me throughout the process and kept the plane moving to closing. I was very pleased with everything.
    – Randy Christo, Nebraska
  • Performance Aircraft can help you achieve a life-time dream of becoming a pilot. You can go for it with confidence and know that you will receive great instruction as evidenced by many before you. Take time to look at the picture gallery in their office; you may even see some people you know that have already attained their private pilot license.
    – Donn Stoner, Nebraska
  • Their knowledge of the market allowed us to feel confident that they understood aircraft values. Additionally, the personality of the marketing team made this an easy decision that we would be treated well and communicated with frequently on their progress.
    – Skyhawk Flying Club, Nebraska
  • You guys did an excellent job. It was exactly what I needed and you did everything you said you would do. I would highly recommend your company. Additionally, I believe you added value to the process. Thanks for a job well done!
    – Dave Cochran, Minnesota
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What’s my best strategy to get “top dollar” for my plane?

 

Aircraft Sales Strategies

 

 

Question: 

“I’m not in a rush to sell, and I want “top dollar” for my plane. I’m perfectly willing to wait several months or more in order to get a really strong offer. Ideally, I’d like to get close to the same amount I paid when I bought the aircraft.

Can you help me?”

Answer: 

We hear variations of this question regularly. Unfortunately for many sellers, “not being in a rush to sell” can hurt their chances to get “top dollar” because their selling strategy fails to effectively harness the market’s initial momentum.

We find that the best opportunity to sell your plane at “top dollar” is commonly within the first few weeks of putting it on the market.

Here’s why:

The pool of buyers is generally more motivated in the first few weeks.

Whenever a new plane comes onto the market, there will be a “pool of buyers” who have been actively looking for that type of plane.

Some of these buyers may have been looking for several weeks or months, and they will act quickly to investigate or dismiss any new-to-market aircraft. They are usually more educated about the type of plane they want, and they have a good idea how much their purchase will cost. They may have even had a sale pending on another aircraft where the deal fell through for one reason or another. Because they may have been looking for the right plane to come on the market for quite some time, they are usually less likely to throw out “lowball offers” on a plane that meets their needs.

If the plane is presented well and priced competitively with the rest of the market, this pool of motivated buyers will inquire on the plane, and the seller will have a very good opportunity to get “top dollar” for their aircraft.

Sellers often lack confidence in their understanding of the market until after they have received their first couple offers. By that time, they have often passed up the “top dollar” offer.

Unlike real estate, aircraft rarely appreciate over time.

Sellers generally don’t reap any benefits from market appreciation by waiting around for months. Instead, most planes depreciate over time (whether they are flown or not flown!), and aircraft that are on the market for a longer time tend to be less enticing to buyers, who may perceive that something is wrong with the plane.

If you are “unmotivated” and overpriced, you may find yourself devaluing your plane.

This happens all the time with overpriced listings. Buyers will use “time on the market” against the aircraft when it comes to offers and negotiations. This even extends to whether or not they will make an offer on the aircraft in the first place.

If they do make an offer on a plane that has been on the market a while, buyers generally are less negotiable because they fear that “all those people who didn’t make an offer must know something about this plane that I don’t. I don’t want to make a mistake and pay too much!”

“Top dollar” is the best number buyers will pay.

Unfortunately, many sellers assign value to things that don’t matter to buyers. As a result, they start out pricing their aircraft too high to maximize interest. Because of this, they may never even see the offer that would have been “top dollar” for their plane.

If an “unmotivated” seller does receive a strong offer early on, they are likely to turn it down and see if they can do better. Even motivated sellers often lack confidence in their understanding of the market until after they have received their first couple offers. By that time, they have often passed up the “top dollar” offer and can end up having to settle for a much lower number months down the road.

 

Try our free Aircraft Market Review Tool! 

GET STARTED

Want to discuss a strategy for selling your aircraft quickly and maximizing your results?

We’d love to hear from you! Complete the form below or contact us today by calling 402-475-6000 or emailing aircraft@flyperformance.com.

 

Determining Your Aircraft’s Market Value

Calculating Aircraft Market Value

Thinking about selling your aircraft in the near future? If so, you are probably wondering how much your plane is worth.

Knowing the real market value for your aircraft is a huge key to success when you’re selling. If your aircraft is overpriced, you’ll miss out on great offers without knowing it. And if you price your aircraft under the current market, you could leave a lot of money on the table. We have seen the market for an individual aircraft jump by tens of thousands of dollars in just a few weeks. While huge fluctuations are more the exception than the rule, don’t be shy about contacting an expert you can trust to discuss the market for your aircraft.

There are numerous factors that make a significant difference when it comes to determining an aircraft’s current market value.
Here are some of the most important factors to consider when pricing your aircraft for sale:

  • Aircraft Bluebook or vRef Values. Both Aircraft Bluebook and vRef Aircraft Value Reference have great appraisal software to help determine a fair market value for your aircraft based on pricing trends. Used appropriately, they can help you identify a good range for your asking price. Values indicated, however can be tremendously subjective and vary widely based on information entered by the user. Because of this, it’s important to already have a good understanding of many specifics in your market in order to land on an accurate value for your aircraft.
  •  Aircraft condition. Has the aircraft been through any accidents, or is it always hangared and rarely flown? The condition of your aircraft can make a tremendous difference when it comes to the amount any potential buyer will pay. It’s obvious that an aircraft that is well-maintained will bring a better price than one with a damage history; but don’t be surprised when your “well-maintained” aircraft doesn’t bring the higher price you were expecting. Well-maintained is the standard that buyers expect, and they deduct from there for any issues. Perhaps you can expect a bit more than standard if you’ve opted for premium maintenance at a manufacturer-approved service center; but don’t expect to have “added value” by simply keeping up-to-date with routine maintenance that was needed.
  • Upcoming maintenance. If there’s any costly maintenance that will need to be scheduled in the next couple years, expect that to factor into your aircraft’s market value. For example, a CAPS parachute repack on a Cirrus aircraft or impending Airworthiness Directive will definitely affect the amount buyers will pay.

At Performance Aircraft, we spend time every day tracking aircraft prices and updating our exclusive Market Research Database so that we can provide the industry’s most in-depth and accurate understanding of the current aircraft market. We travel to every aircraft we represent to review and document the plane in person, which also helps us as we recommend a pricing strategy that will help you achieve your goals.

Try our free Aircraft Market Review Tool! 

GET STARTED

Want to learn more about the current market for your aircraft? Complete the form below or call us at 402.475.6000, and we’ll be happy to share more information with you!

 

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