Why it is a Good Idea to use a Broker

By Mike Nowakowski On March 27, 2017

There have been a few transactions that I’ve witnessed or have been part of in the last few months that have really pointed to the value of using an airplane broker in the sale and/or acquisition of your airplane.
The first transaction I happened to witness while I was in the local maintenance shop waiting to speak to the mechanic. A gentleman flew in to look an airplane that was for sale by owner. The buyer was looking through the logbooks and noticed that the spar AD had not been recently signed off and there was no evidence in the logbooks that the AD had been complied with. The seller ended up dropping his price $5,000. The seller had previously called me about listing the airplane for him. I had explained Cornerstone’s listing process with him. When listing an airplane, we require the airplane to go through a pre-listing inspection at the owner’s cost. The pre-listing inspection is basically a pre-buy inspection. We have a local maintenance shop go through the logbooks, run an AD compliance check, run the engine, check compressions, cut the oil filter to check for metal and contaminants, verify the avionics are in working order, etc. I give the maintenance shop an inspection checklist for them complete and return to me once complete. The listing fee includes scanning of the logbooks and uploading them to the cloud, making sure the airplane is in the best aesthetic condition possible interior and exterior, and generating the marketing material for the airplane, in addition to posting the airplane on our website and several other websites and social media outlets. The pre-listing inspection fee is refunded to the Seller at the close of the sale. The seller declined to contract us to list the airplane with us because did not want to pay the fees to list the airplane. Had this seller contracted Cornerstone to sell his airplane, we would have found the AD not being complied with, and we would have done a current market analysis. There is a possibility that we would have found that this particular airplane should have been listed at a different price point than the seller went with. At a minimum he would have made an additional $2,150 instead of having to lower his price due to a missed discrepancy.

The second transaction was an acquisition for a buyer that contracted me to find him an airplane. After narrowing the search down to 2 specific airplanes, we submitted a purchase agreement to the seller contingent upon a pre-buy inspection. Upon visual inspection of the airplane, I noticed that the airplane hadn’t been washed in quite some time, and the clear coat was a bit oxidized. The paint near the wing walk (near the door) had quite a bit of scratches, nothing too deep, however quite noticeable. There was also some evidence that the airplane had sat out in the sun for quite some time as the front seats were sun faded. The pre-buy inspection revealed that the airplane was in great mechanical shape. Compressions were normal, engine was close to a mid-time engine, but plenty of life left. As the buyer’s agent, I was able to save him approximately $15,000. Had the buyer listed his airplane with Cornerstone, the first thing I would have said to him after the pre-listing inspection would have been to spend $1,000 in washing, waxing, and polishing the paint. Bringing the paint from what it was, back to near factory condition. Remember, the pre-listing inspection fee, when listing with Cornerstone, is refunded to the seller after the close of the sale.

In these two examples, we did not mention the buyer’s or seller’s time as a factor. Our clients time can be attributed a dollar value, especially when it comes to taking the time to sell an airplane by owner. Fielding dozens, sometimes hundreds of phone calls, trips to the airport to show the airplane to potential buyers, taking pictures, writing listings, and sending contracts back and forth are quite consuming. The monetary value of a person’s time is often not thought about or attributed to the actual cost of buying or selling an airplane, but is something that should be.

If you are considering selling your airplane, or are looking to buy an airplane consider these examples given above and give us at Cornerstone Airplane Sales a call and let us tell you how we can develop a relationship with you and help you with your airplane needs.