The current aircraft market leaves buyers with countless used aircraft to select from. Each make and model brings different performance specifications, characteristics, and prices. Buying a plane can mean the difference between a long-term transportation mode and an expensive dust collector. Don’t navigate the aircraft acquisition process alone and undirected! Here’s our guide on how to buy a plane and how aircraft acquisition services can help.
How to Buy a Plane: Our 6-Step Guide
Step 1: Designate Your Budget
Whether you’re pursuing new or used aircraft, the price range is drastic. For example, a new general aviation jet costs upwards of $1 million, but some used single-engine propeller planes can go for under $40,000.
Whether you are looking for a Cessna Citation CJ2, Embraer Phenom 300, single-engine, or twin-engine propellor aircraft, you’ll need to craft a realistic budget for the aircraft make and model you want and your financial situation. From there, you can begin narrowing your options.
Step 2: Start Your Searches
Although you have a general direction regarding the make, model, or aircraft type you intend to buy, the next step is to find what is actually on the market and available for purchase.
Recommended avenues to search include:
Unless you plan to buy a plane with cash, ask your financing and insurance companies for any restrictions pertaining to which types of aircraft you can buy. This might impact your search.
Step 3: Apply for a Loan (If Not Paying in Cash)
The next step is to apply for a loan with a trusted and approved lender for buyers who cannot buy a plane with cash. To help prove to the lender your intent to buy an airplane and promptly, it’s highly recommended to have a pre-approval letter. Also, compare lenders to see which offers the best financing in correlation to your credit rating.
According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, some lenders specialize in aircraft loans. Many of these lenders are members of the National Aircraft Finance Association. For single-engine planes, aircraft lenders will require at least a 15% down payment on aircraft built after 1960 and 20% for aircraft built before. Additionally, loan terms range from 5 to 20 years, with 20 years only available on loans of $75,000 and above, at rates between 4.38% and 7%.
Step 4: Take Test Flights
So long as you have the proper licensure to operate an aircraft, take a test flight with any aircraft you are sincerely interested in buying! Although this step seems obvious, some buyers might feel confident taking the seller’s verbal confirmation that everything works just fine. However, like test driving a car or looking at a home for sale, you want your own experience to help decide if you should buy or keep looking.
Step 5: Complete Pre-Purchase Inspection
Before buying any aircraft, it is important to know as much about the make, model, and condition as possible. To best gauge the aircraft’s value for purchase, request a comprehensive or straightforward pre-purchase inspection.
The money spent on a pre-purchase inspection can be well worth the price compared to the size of your investment and the potential for loss. Although sellers may be wary of a pre-buy inspection, buyers should undoubtedly insist on one to avoid unexpected expenses later.
With the full reports, the buyer then has the liberty to decide whether to require the current owners and make any repairs before taking the aircraft’s final delivery. Remember, after the close of a transaction, buyers are unlikely to convince previous owners to pay for repairs.
Step 6: Prepare Your Offer
After finding your plane, clearing your finances with your lender (or checkbook), and thoroughly inspecting the aircraft, you’re at the final step: putting in your offer! Remember, before offering anything to the seller, verify the plane’s value with an unbiased, third-party who can accurately gauge if the asking price is fair.
Buy a Plane with Aircraft Acquisition Services at J.A. Air
When looking through the numerous aircraft for sale in the marketplace, wouldn’t it be nice to know the cost to install the latest and greatest avionics equipment, or what ADSB equipment is most compatible with the aircraft you’re looking at? What about what it would take to replace the carpet and do sidewalls? How do you know if the wing bolts really need replacing? From single-engine piston aircraft to small jets, the value of having an experienced and qualified staff is important. With J.A. Air, we become your partner in the process.
Our team is knowledgeable, licensed, and factory-trained. Contact us today for any of your aircraft acquisition and inspection needs, questions, or if you are looking to have a new avionics system installed. We are excited to work with you and get your plane ready to fly the skies in no time!