How to Sell Your Airplane - A Quick Guide for Individual Sellers
How To Sell Your Airplane
Selling a small airplane is fairly straightforward.
It Goes Like This Gather Aircraft Documentation Establish the Asking Price Spread the Word Interact with Aircraft Shoppers Make a Deal Handle the pre-buy Inspection Findings Do the Test Flight Complete the Paperwork Wave Goodbye!
Gather Aircraft Documentation Aircraft Registration Certificate Airworthiness Certificate Engine and Airframe Logbooks Aircraft Equipment List Aircraft Flight Manual or Handbook
Set the Asking Price Aircraft ValueSeller Buyer FACTORSEngine Time / Avionics / Total Time / Recurring ADs Damage History / Equipment / Market Conditions
Aircraft ValuationTools Research similar aircraft on aircraft classifieds sites. Get an appraisal from vRef or Aircraft Blue Book. Ask a pro to appraise your aircraft.Tips Browsing the Internet for similar airplanes can tell you what others are asking but not what the aircraft are selling for. Maintenance items required to keep the aircraft flyable do not add value to it. Brokers typically offer a free, no obligation appraisal.
Do You Really Want to Sell? Price it to Sell and it Will Make the price attractive when compared to competing airplanes. airplanesIn a stagnant market, aircraft that are a attractively priced will sell whileothers move slowly or sit. There is a price at which most any aircraft will finda buyer. If you really want to move the airplane then you must accept thatmarket conditions determine the price. How will you know when your price isright? When you get offers. If your aircraft has been for sale for more than afew months then it’s time to reduce the price.
Advertise Your Aircraft for Sale• List your aircraft on sites like PlaneViz, aircraft-type clubs and pilot boards. List on a few sites for maximum exposure.• A good ad will include the year, make, model, total time, engine time, and price. It will also include photos and a good description of the avionics and equipment.• Including old damage is a judgment call. I really don’t see the upside to noting it at the advertising stage. If damage was repaired and the airplane has been flying for years, it might be better to discuss it when speaking to the aircraft shopper.
Advertising Your Aircraft Ads with photos perform better.
Showing Your Aircraft The sale process should work like this…1. Aircraft shopper contacts aircraft seller.2. Shopper optionally inspects the airplane (eyeballs it).3. Parties negotiate price subject to pre-buy inspection.4. Seller receives the deposit.5. pre-buy inspection and resolution of any maintenance items.6. Test flight and equipment check.7. Paperwork and funds exchanged. But eager sellers sometimes deviate...
Showing Your AircraftFlying to Tire KickersOccasionally, a prospect located some distance from the plane will askyou to fly it to him/her for a look. The only situations in which flying to aneyeball inspection makes sense are if the buyer has forwarded youmoney to cover the cost of the trip or if you just feel like working it into aSaturday afternoon joy ride.Flying it to the pre-buyThe buyer made a deposit but wants the plane inspected at a place otherthan your airport. Fair enough, you think since you received a deposit. Halfway through the pre-buy, 100 miles from home, the mechanic announces thathe found an airworthiness issue. The buyer backs out of the deal, leavingyou to pick up the pieces far from home. Think hard before taking this risk.
The Deposit• A prospective buyer removes the aircraft from the market by paying a deposit to the seller.• The deposit amount is entirely up to the seller and buyer.• The deposit should be non-refundable except for cause, such as the aircraft being found unairworthy or repair expenses exceeding a certain, agreed-to threshold.
The Test Flight Before or after the pre-buy?A test flight is to check the aircraft’s systems: autopilot, avionics,flight controls. After the pre-buy is the time to do this.After the pre-buy, it’s a Test Flight+ The airplane should be completely squawk free now+ The test flight is a formality at this point, not part of buying decision+ The deal is done unless something unexpected pops up.Before the pre-buy, it’s a Sales Flight+ Might get the prospect emotionally invested in the airplane- Glitches may sour the prospect on the airplane/asking price- The buyer might want a test flight after the pre-buy anyway- It costs the seller money. The owner/seller flies the aircraft during the test flight.
Aircraft Brokers• Handle the sale for a percentage of sale price (commission).• Have first hand knowledge of what is selling and for how much.• Can be located anywhere, not necessarily near the aircraft.• A good option for sellers who don’t want to screen potential buyers.• Who pays the advertising costs varies by broker• Sale proceeds go to seller, who then pays broker.
Complete the Sale NOTE: THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICEThis is an overview of the minimum steps required of the seller. Thebuyer must secure insurance, register the airplane with the FAA and payany state sales tax. Although not required, an aviation lawyer will be happyto assist you. Complete form 8050-2, FAA Bill of Sale. Receive funds from buyer – an escrow service can protect both parties. Complete the reverse side of current aircraft registration certificate (with seller’s name on it) and return to FAA registry in Oklahoma City (buyer completes temporary registration which goes in the aircraft).