Aviation Articles

What’s my best strategy to get “top dollar” for my plane?

September 25, 2015


Aircraft Sales Strategies




“I’m not in a rush to sell, and I want “top dollar” for my plane. I’m perfectly willing to wait several months or more in order to get a really strong offer. Ideally, I’d like to get close to the same amount I paid when I bought the aircraft.

Can you help me?”


We hear variations of this question regularly. Unfortunately for many sellers, “not being in a rush to sell” can hurt their chances to get “top dollar” because their selling strategy fails to effectively harness the market’s initial momentum.

We find that the best opportunity to sell your plane at “top dollar” is commonly within the first few weeks of putting it on the market.

Here’s why:

The pool of buyers is generally more motivated in the first few weeks.

Whenever a new plane comes onto the market, there will be a “pool of buyers” who have been actively looking for that type of plane.

Some of these buyers may have been looking for several weeks or months, and they will act quickly to investigate or dismiss any new-to-market aircraft. They are usually more educated about the type of plane they want, and they have a good idea how much their purchase will cost. They may have even had a sale pending on another aircraft where the deal fell through for one reason or another. Because they may have been looking for the right plane to come on the market for quite some time, they are usually less likely to throw out “lowball offers” on a plane that meets their needs.

If the plane is presented well and priced competitively with the rest of the market, this pool of motivated buyers will inquire on the plane, and the seller will have a very good opportunity to get “top dollar” for their aircraft.

Sellers often lack confidence in their understanding of the market until after they have received their first couple offers. By that time, they have often passed up the “top dollar” offer.

Unlike real estate, aircraft rarely appreciate over time.

Sellers generally don’t reap any benefits from market appreciation by waiting around for months. Instead, most planes depreciate over time (whether they are flown or not flown!), and aircraft that are on the market for a longer time tend to be less enticing to buyers, who may perceive that something is wrong with the plane.

If you are “unmotivated” and overpriced, you may find yourself devaluing your plane.

This happens all the time with overpriced listings. Buyers will use “time on the market” against the aircraft when it comes to offers and negotiations. This even extends to whether or not they will make an offer on the aircraft in the first place.

If they do make an offer on a plane that has been on the market a while, buyers generally are less negotiable because they fear that “all those people who didn’t make an offer must know something about this plane that I don’t. I don’t want to make a mistake and pay too much!”

“Top dollar” is the best number buyers will pay.

Unfortunately, many sellers assign value to things that don’t matter to buyers. As a result, they start out pricing their aircraft too high to maximize interest. Because of this, they may never even see the offer that would have been “top dollar” for their plane.

If an “unmotivated” seller does receive a strong offer early on, they are likely to turn it down and see if they can do better. Even motivated sellers often lack confidence in their understanding of the market until after they have received their first couple offers. By that time, they have often passed up the “top dollar” offer and can end up having to settle for a much lower number months down the road.


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Want to discuss a strategy for selling your aircraft quickly and maximizing your results?

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