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Tips for the savvy seller So, you're thinking about selling your airplane? It's often a tough decision. But when you've made up your mind to sell, here are some tips to smooth the experience.

Tips for the savvy seller

So, you're thinking about selling your airplane? It's often a tough decision. But when you've made up your mind to sell, here are some tips to smooth the experience.

First of all, shine up the airplane. First impressions mean a lot to a buyer. In addition to washing and vacuuming, clean the upholstery and the panel. If finding time is a problem, consider hiring a detailer to do it for you.

Second, have your paperwork organized and accessible so the prospective buyer can look through it easily. AOPA has a list of the required paperwork online. It's a good idea to pay for a title search before you advertise your airplane. AOPA Aircraft Title and Escrow Services can help.

Third, set a competitive price. Vref, AOPA's aircraft valuation service, is a free resource that can be customized to fit your airplane.

Your ad should include the airframe total time (AFTT), the engine time since major overhaul (SMOH), or time since factory-new engine (SFNEW) or time since top overhaul (STOH). List the avionics, as well as any enhancements and upgrades. Give the airplane's location, and an e-mail address.

When you've found a buyer and the day of the deal arrives, here's what to expect:

  • You complete a bill of sale (FAA form 8050-2, available from AOPA and most FAA flight standards district offices). It is critical that the name(s) of each owner be written exactly as on the current registration.
  • An original signature is required of each owner on both copies of the bill of sale.
  • The buyer gets both copies, but you should make a photocopy to keep.
  • A certified check or a wire transfer is the most common method of payment, and an escrow account can simplify the process, especially if the payment is made on a weekend. If you're working with a dealer or a broker, have a written agreement and include the requirement that a cash buyer pay you directly.

Before you hand over the keys and the bill of sale:

  • Remove the original aircraft registration certificate that is in your name, as well as the Federal Communications Commission radio station license, if you had one.
  • Give all the aircraft records and logbooks to the buyer.
  • If the buyer is a foreign national and if the N number cannot be maintained, the federal aviation regulations require that you remove it from the aircraft.

After the sale is complete:

  • Call your insurance company to cancel coverage.
  • Complete the sale information on the back of the old registration and mail it to the FAA registry in Oklahoma City.

Membership Q&A

Answers to frequently asked questions about your AOPA membership

Q: How can I increase my chances of winning AOPA's sweepstakes airplane?

A: You can enroll in our convenient Automatic Annual Renewal program and get two additional entries into the 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes. When you enroll, you'll save $4 off this year's membership dues. So what are you waiting for? Save $4 and get two additional entries into the sweepstakes with a quick call to our Member Services Center at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672), 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday.

Q: How can I get information about the annual AOPA Fly-In and Open House?

A: You can get complete information, including area hotels with special rates for our members, directions, an exhibitor list, and more by visiting the Web site and using the links in the left column to find what you need. Or call our Member Services representatives with your questions. Come join us on June 2 to enjoy more than 100 exciting, hands-on exhibits and displays, a variety of aircraft in the outdoor aircraft display, and presentations by some of the most informed aviation leaders in the country. Sign-up at the Fly-In to participate in AOPA Project Pilot and you and the future pilot you sign up could each win a Bose headset. Seminars and exhibits are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, and admission is free.

Q: I'm buying an airplane from a friend of mine who's owned it for several years. Do I still need to run a title search?

A: Unfortunately, knowing the current owner won't protect you or your investment. There could be old liens that even your friend doesn't know about, especially if he didn't run a title search before buying the airplane. And even if your friend did get a title search when he bought the airplane, something may have slipped into the FAA aircraft record without his knowledge. You could be buying someone else's headache, or even worse, someone else's debt. An AOPA Title Search is an inexpensive way to protect yourself against ownership surprises. Call 800/711-0087 to order your title search today.

Contact information

Phone: 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672), from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time from Monday through Friday
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: Update your personal information, renew your membership, and much more by clicking on My AOPA Membership in the left column of our home page.

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