Mallory Cantrell | August 16, 2021

5 Mistakes to Avoid when Selling your Aircraft

5 Mistakes to Avoid when Selling your Aircraft

Selling your aircraft can seem intimidating. Marketing your plane, negotiating the selling price and preparing all of the paperwork can be overwhelming. With an experienced partner at your side, selling your plane doesn’t have to be a stressful process. 


Here is advice from our team of sales professionals on the five biggest mistakes sellers make when selling their aircraft and how you can avoid them.


Set an Accurate Valuation

The first misstep sellers often make is not knowing the true market value of their aircraft. Many sellers will base their pricing on Bluebook or VREF values. They might even try to account for cosmetic changes and compare listings that seem similar to their own. 


It is important to use specific data about your aircraft as well as real-time market trends and changes. 

Your aircraft’s condition, maintenance and usage history must be assessed to set an accurate figure. Sellers also need to understand the market. Undervalue your aircraft and you could be leaving money on the table. Overprice your plane and buyers may write your aircraft off completely. 


Valuations are also a helpful tool as you consider making any upgrades or cosmetic changes. An accurate valuation will give you the insight to understand what features will help aid in the sale of the aircraft. 


Intimate knowledge of the current market can be the difference between merely selling your aircraft and getting the very most from your transaction. 


Set a Realistic Timeline

Second, it’s important to set a realistic timeline for the sale of your plane. You may be itching to sell, especially if you are already in the process of buying your next aircraft.  However, a realistic timeline can help you avoid additional pressure and stress.


Many first-time sellers think it should only take a couple of weeks to make it to closing once the Letter of Intent (LOI) has been signed. In reality, it could be longer.


If you are trying to coordinate your sale with the delivery of your next aircraft or another time-sensitive event, work with your broker to establish a realistic timeline. 


It’s best not to push too hard for a hasty closing. Instead, be open to a compromise that will allow you and the seller to feel confident about the transaction. 


Allow for a Thorough Pre-Purchase Inspection
Third, allow time for a thorough pre-purchase Inspection. Pre-purchase inspections can vary greatly. Some buyers will want to perform a simple logbook check while others may prefer to perform a heavy maintenance inspection. If any issues need to be addressed it can take time to order parts and schedule technicians. 


Savvy sellers should plan to have someone from their technical team onsite during pre-purchase inspections, especially if it is a long process. With a representative at the inspection, it’s easier to stay on top of things and make smart decisions. In-person communication goes a long way to avoid misunderstandings and prevent delays.


Sellers would be wise to build a buffer in the timeline set forth in the purchase agreement. Allowing extra time to work through the pre-purchase inspection will help ensure a smooth transaction.


Follow the Process
Fourth, it’s important to follow the standard process to sell your aircraft. Sellers should never assume the deal is complete until the wire transfer clears and the new owner accepts delivery. 


The Aircraft Purchase Agreement (APA) is an important milestone in the process, but there are still hurdles to cross before closing. Work with your aircraft broker to keep the process moving forward and maintain momentum.


Conversely, if a buyer stalls and isn’t allowing the process to progress, don’t be afraid to look for another buyer. 


Use a Trusted Broker  

Finally, use an experienced aircraft broker to ensure a smooth transaction and an accurate valuation. A professional aircraft broker will have market insight to guide you through the selling process. Your broker can also tailor a marketing strategy specifically for your aircraft. For example, the marketing requirements for the Cessna market, while robust, is wholly different from the Gulfstream market. 


A strong marketing plan will attract qualified buyers through target publications and major aviation sales websites that reach thousands of aviation professionals across the globe.

Ask for references as you evaluate potential brokerages. Reputable brokerages will happily provide you with several references. Speak with aircraft owners who have firsthand experience working with the team.

You can also look for a broker that is a member of the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA). Dealers with this designation are among the top brokerages in the industry. 

IADA-accredited dealers hold themselves to a higher standard and make efficient, effective and ethical transactions. Only 7% of all aircraft dealers have earned IADA membership and the group is responsible for 40% of pre-owned aircraft sales.

Ultimately, choosing the right brokerage comes down to trust. Work with a brokerage that empowers you to make an informed decision. You want to work with a trusted partner who will advocate for your best interests. 

Omni Aircraft Sales
At Omni Aircraft Sales, we are proud IADA Members and draw on our nearly 40 years of experience to help our clients buy and sell aircraft. Our experienced team supplies expert real-time data so that our clients can make smart decisions for their aviation future.

Our team can guide you through any cosmetic changes such as exterior paint or cabin refurbishment that will increase your sale value. Our experienced staff can also develop a marketing plan to meet the needs of your aircraft’s target market. And we are always happy to provide a list of references

Learn more about the benefits of working with Omni Aircraft Sales by calling us 24/7 at (918)836-4050.

Read more: Guide to Buying or Selling a Business or Private Jet

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