The process of buying a plane, when done correctly, is a complex process. This is not a job for a pilot you may know or your local flight instructor. Though pilots and flight instructors are very knowledgeable, plane purchasing needs the depth of a good acquisitions agent.
Typical buying process:
- First, what do you want the plane to do for you? Each plane has its own unique abilities. Some haul a lot, some go fast. Few haul a lot and go fast. What is your acquisition budget? What is your operating budget? These and many other questions must be asked in order to match you with the right plane for your mission.
- How do you know you're getting the best value for your money? First, establish what you want in this plane. What type of paint, interior, avionics, engine times and modifications. Once you have established the type of plane you are looking for and the amenities you want, then we go to the market.
- Searching the market to find exactly what you are looking for can be a daunting task. Most planes will not fit the expectations set in items 1 and 2. This is where a skilled acquisitions agent can pick through the planes with the best value and understand what it will take to make it exactly what you are looking for.
- Once the market has been narrowed down to a few contenders, the vetting begins. This process starts with a thorough look at the current condition, maintenance and ownership history. This process is like an insurance policy against taking the wrong plane to a pre-purchase inspection. If the wrong plane is taken to a pre-purchase inspection, it can be very costly to both buyer and seller.
- Now comes the negotiations and sales agreement process. This is the first very tricky part of the process and where most sales fall through. It's extremely important to have an air tight purchase agreement covering all of the typical pitfalls while maintaining an environment ameanable to both purchaser and seller. This agreement must specifically lay out the process of each action and the timing of such actions along with the obligations of each part and the liability protections.
- Here comes the pre-purchase inspection and where without the proper guidance most go in with high hopes and most come out very upset and with less money. This is a process which must be actively supervised by the purchasing agent. A simple inspection required by the manufacturer may not be suitable. A comprehensive inspection process and specific items must be verified to insure the true value of the plane. Maintenance facilities will be looking for billable work while as the purchaser, you are simply looking for the best value for your money. Loosing a deal over a maintenance facility looking for billable work is not good for the purchase process.
- So, now the pre-purchase inspection is complete. The settlement begins. This is where timing is everything. When set up correctly, it goes very smoothly. If not, problems could arise that push the deal outside the parameters of the contract. For example, international registry, lien releases, tax implications, positioning obligations to name a few.
As you can see, this process is in depth and diverse in its scope. If you are ready to buy a plane and want to learn more about our staff of experts, contact us anytime by phone, email or our for "more information form". We look forward to speaking with you.