There aren't may guidelines for this cash cushion, but let's
look at an example. If the market value of your plane is,
say, $63,345, you'll want to net at least that much. Setting
an advertised sales price of $67,500 would allow you to accept
$65,000 as an offer, and still leaves roughly $1,700 for those
nasty pre-buy surprises.
Often we see sellers adding $5,000 for the AD note they just
had done, or an additional $3,000 for the GPS they just installed.
Be realistic when you're setting your price: the AD note HAD
to be done, or your plane would be unairworthy. The GPS you
just installed is now a used GPS, and while it adds
value, the amount will never be equal to what it cost. (See
our article on avionics
values.) If you think it's worth that much, take it out
before you place a single ad.
Now you'll ready to offer your plane to the public. Personally,
we wouldn't bother with print ads today. The internet is the
ideal medium for aircraft sales, and we've actually seen planes
sold within hours of their listing! Give some serious consideration
to the type-specific news groups, such as the Grumman Gang
or Cessna Cardinal groups. Buyers will often "lurk"
these groups, and posting your ad (for free!) may yield fast
results. Many planes are sold to members of these groups every
year, and are never advertised in any other way.
If you're going to write an ad, start with the important
stuff, and leave out the inconsequential. ALWAYS lead with
the year and model. While we've actually seen an ad that started
with "Garmin audio panel", I guarantee you few buyers
read much farther to find out what kind of plane it was installed
Here's an example of a well-written
"1978 Cessna 182, 2,877 TTAF, 1100
since factory remanufacture. Dual King KX-155's, King KN-64
DME, Garmin 155 GPS (approach certified), Cessna 300A autopilot.
New paint, interior good, all logs, NDH. $67,500."
Notice the avionics are all make-and-model-specific, we included
the GPS certification, and accurately described the paint
and interior. In these days of an aging fleet, No Damage History
is always an important selling point (along with "All
Now here's an actual
example of a REALLY BAD ad:
"Dry Country aircraft. King IFR C182
with Cessna audio panel
and marker beacons. Just completed $7,000 annual. Must see!"
What's wrong here? The first big error is leaving our the
price! Years ago a Trade-A-Plane study showed that ads
with prices receive 3 times the reply rate of ads without.
Second, "King IFR" essentially says nothing. A single
King KX145 with VOR and no glideslope, no ADF and no market
beacons can be accurately described (and legally qualifies)
as "King IFR".
Also, there's no production year! 182's have been manufactured
(on & off) since 1956, leaving lots of possibilities.
And finally, the $7,000 annual may or may not be a good thing.
Either the owner is a stickler for having everything perfect
(possible), his mechanic took him to the cleaners (also possible),
OR the aircraft was in such terrible shape during his course
of ownership that it took $7K just to bring it back to salable
condition! (more possible).