Start by having a mechanic go through your maintenance logbooks and point out what could go wrong with the sale based on what they see. You may not know what’s in your logbooks or whether a significant maintenance event is coming due like a landing gear overhaul or a C-check. Maybe when you purchased the airplane, you trusted your mechanic to go through the logs. Now you’ve had the airplane, say, three years, so you need to get a good picture of what’s in those books and where the aircraft is in its current maintenance schedule before you negotiate the sale. Don’t cut it too close from a timing perspective. A potential buyer who has financing in place will want to move quickly.
If you need the money from this airplane to get you into another airplane, give yourself extra time. A sale can slow down for reasons beyond your control.
If you’re a seller and you still owe money on your bank loan, alert that lender in advance that you are going to need the lender’s lien release sent to your escrow company. It’s important to find out how much expertise your bank has in this area. Banks that are not familiar with aircraft financing don’t want to sign over a lien release before they get paid. Typically, smaller banks are unfamiliar with the process. Even some larger banks don’t have much experience with lien releases for aircraft. This unfamiliarity can slow the process down if you’re not seeking a loan with a lender versed in aviation financing.
That’s where clear communication comes in. Everyone has a lot invested and is working together to get a deal done. Remaining calm generally helps move the process along. Keep in mind that things will no doubt come up and disrupt the timing. Staying flexible and adapting to changes will help ensure that you have a smooth sale.
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