What to Know When Selling Your Business Jet

With many of the premium aircraft on the used market currently selling for top-dollar it may seem tempting to load an aircraft with all the ‘bells and whistles’ before selling it. But is that really the only way to make a sale today? Jet Tolbert explores…

Jet Tolbert  |  05th September 2018
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    Jet Tolbert
    Jet Tolbert

    Jet Tolbert is president of Florida-based American Aircraft Sales where he oversees all aspects of aircraft...

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    Dassault Falcon jet in the Snow

    With many of the premium aircraft on the used market currently selling for top-dollar it may seem tempting to load an aircraft with all the ‘bells and whistles’ before selling it. But is that really the only way to make a sale today? Jet Tolbert explores…
    Following are a few of the most important things you will need to address if you wish to sell your aircraft in a timely manner (and for the best price).
    These can be considered the ‘top-five’ list for aircraft sellers seeking to maximize their return in today’s used aircraft market...
    1. Avionics

    Everyone is talking about ADS-B and the associated cost. It would be very difficult not to know by now that ADS-B is an avionics upgrade that the FAA has mandated and is required to be installed and operational in every aircraft by January 1, 2020. The FAA has stated that aircraft that are not equipped by this date will be grounded, without exception.
    As we get closer to this date there are concerns about the availability of equipment and shop-space to get the upgrade accomplished on time, because the amount of time until the mandate comes into effect is dwindling and the number of aircraft that still need to be upgraded is reportedly greater than the available capacity.
    If you are considering selling your aircraft, and if there is a straightforward solution to install ADS-B that is available the advice is very straightforward: Just get it done.
    If there is significant lead-time then it might be worth scheduling the upgrade with a shop that has multiple locations to complete the install. That way if the aircraft is under contract prior to the installation, the buyer could still use the kit at a facility convenient to them. If you choose this course of action, know the cost of the upgrade and expect to account for it in the sale price you accept.
    2. Paint and Interior

    A clean aircraft with a modern interior in good condition will carry a good value even if the paint and interior have some age to them. Most buyers will value a brand-new paint and interior, but it’s unlikely that you would see a difference in the sale price equal to the investment of a new paint and interior refurbishment.
    With that said, if the cosmetics of your aircraft are very outdated or unserviceable then the investment into a complete refurbishment could be justified. Because you can’t read the mind of a future buyer (their tastes and preferences may very well be different to yours) it’s usually best to invest as little as possible to have the aircraft show well.
    Minimal investment often means a touch up of all woodwork, addressing the entryway of the aircraft, carpet runners and seats closest to the entry door. Remember the buyer will get their first impression of the interior by looking at this area and so a small investment here can go a long way in creating a good impression.
    3. Market Awareness

    A well-established broker with deep connections across the markets will be well placed to advise on recent sales activity and aircraft on the market of the same make and model as your aircraft. They’ll also be able to offer perspective on other similar models’ activity on the market that could have an impact your aircraft’s value.
    4. Marketing Plan

    When planning to sell your aircraft, there is much to coordinate. Bringing the right presentation to the market will ensure that the right channels are open to connect with principal buyers.
    Again, take the time to work with an experienced representative who will gather the right information about your aircraft. It’s best to be able to advertise the aircraft in the best light, and make a more detailed and very accurate representation of the aircraft without hiding anything.
    5. Be Clear What you Have ‘For Sale’

    Know what you have and be transparent in the marketplace.
    • Engine program 100% with no deferment?
    • How much of a deferment?
    • Damage history?
    • Missing records?
    • International-ownership history?
    This information will come out eventually and if that’s after the fact, or in a buyer’s inspection (after the buyer has invested in a contract review and inspection) they will not be happy. Worse, the aircraft will gain a stigma on the market as one that has fallen out of contract based on its quality.
    You will find that buyers are more appreciative of a transparent presentation. Ultimately, the smoothest aircraft sales are handled professionally by the sellers who are well prepared with realistic expectations.

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