Selling Your Aircraft Part 2 – Aircraft Evaluations/Appraisals

by Glenn Graham

What is my Aircraft worth?”  And “How much should I list it for?”…..Two questions with three answers. Let me explain!

The first answer, use a Price Digest Program like Vref or Blue Book to determine the value of your aircraft. A subscription will run anywhere from $600.00 to $2000.00 a year depending.  Most of the data in these types of programs are based on “Reported “Retail Sales; current and historical. Though good if used as a guide, the issue I find with price digest programs is it is sometimes difficult to match your aircraft configuration to the configurations offered in the program; therefore skewing the retail and wholesale price. Mind you a good program will allow you to manually enter data. My other concern is the accuracy of the reported selling price; usually reported quarterly; is the actual selling price less or more than the reported price, only the Brokers doing the reporting would know. I do use these programs as a guide to start developing a listing price and when I report a sale, I report the actual retail price without my commission, giving the most accurate number.

The second answer, have a Desk Top Evaluation/Appraisal completed on your aircraft. This will run you anywhere from $300.00 to $3500.00 depending if it is completed by a “Certified” appraiser or not. The Desk Top Evaluation/Appraisal will not only include the information from a Price Digest Program but will also contain an analysis of Log Book pages, Aircraft Specifications, Technical & Maintenance Records, Kits and Upgrades, Recent Prices, Upcoming and Future Maintenance and the Demand for the aircraft model. This type of evaluation or appraisal compared to running your aircraft through a Price Digest Program will produce a more accurate price, based on more comprehensive data. For Desk Top valuations the appraiser will tell you what is required and you can email the data off to them, reducing the cost of the valuation.

The third and final answer and the more expensive; have a Certified Appraiser visit your hangar and complete a physical appraisal of your aircraft. Most Certified Appraisals will be a quoted price as travel, meals and accommodations will be considered, so expect to pay over and above $3500.00. The appraiser will spend a minimum of a couple days with your aircraft looking at the overall condition, taking photos and collecting the required data; similar to a pre-purchase inspection. They will inspect the Technical Records as well as the Historical Records. Kits and Upgrades will be reviewed along with Maintenance Tracking Sheets, Component Times, Airworthiness Directives, Alert Service Bulletins and Service Bulletins. An extensive review will be completed so the appraiser can have a full understanding of the life and current condition of your aircraft at that moment in time. After the appraiser has completed the investigation, a written, certified report; complete with aircraft photos and findings will be presented to you. Within the report you will find the “Fair Market Value” for your aircraft. This type of Evaluation/Appraisal is required by Banks when securing financing, some insurance companies and you may find Buyer’s completing one so they know what to offer. Even though the more expensive valuation, the physical appraisal will give you the most accurate pricing of your aircraft.

I hope that this gives you a little insight on determining the value of an aircraft and a listing price, but remember, like selling anything as I am sure you are aware, what the actual value is and what you get for it can be two very different things and over the years I have seen aircraft sell for more than the appraised value and less. However; knowing the fair market value and listing the aircraft at or close to that price, should and I repeat should decrease the amount of time it takes to sell the aircraft, but like anything, there are no guarantees.

So if you are in the market to Sell, drop me a line at or call me anytime at 1 (705) 923-1552. Next up “To Escrow or not to Escrow”