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Finding the Best Appraisals for Your AircraftFinding the Best Appraisals for Your Aircraft

Which appraisal is right for your situation? 
AOPA Aviation Finance

Getting an appraisal is a necessary part of the aircraft acquisition process. Because there is more than one type, the question becomes, “Which appraisal is right for your situation? Knowing that may involve a conversation with your lender and should also involve a conversation with AOPA Aviation Finance. Here is an analysis of the three types.

Pricing Digest Appraisal
This is the least expensive, least comprehensive type of the three. A Vref or Bluebook analysis is good for 90 percent of aircraft transactions. That's the good news. The bad news is the analysis is only as accurate as the information put into it and therefore subject to biases (lender perspective, seller perspective, buyer perspective). Also, what isn't part of a book appraisal are the nuanced differences actual market values (based on current demand) versus costs for things like STC modifications, avionics and engine monitoring upgrades, not to mention interpretation of paint and interior quality.

Desktop Appraisal
A desktop appraisal is done by a certified appraiser. Certified appraisers may start with the pricing digests, but they then expand their analysis to include market data. That means looking at comparable sales, type-specific trends, as well as average "days on market" for similar aircraft. More sophisticated, more powerful aircraft garner additional appraisal criteria. For example, if the aircraft is a Malibu recently re-engineered into a JetPROP, well that means the aircraft's maintenance schedule must be evaluated differently.

This is also true for turboprops and light jets. The appraiser will have to sift through even more paperwork than normal. Does the aircraft have maintenance expenses coming up? Is it enrolled in an engine maintenance program? Is it up to date with those programs? How much life is left in those programs? A desktop appraisal typically runs $500 to $600.

Physical Appraisal
This is the most extensive, most hands-on, most precise way to appraise an aircraft. Not surprisingly, it's also the most extensive at a price range of $2,000 to $4,000. In a lot of ways, it's like a pre-buy inspection.

The physical appraisal combines all aspects of the desktop and pricing guide appraisal with an actual on-site inspection of the aircraft. This is an ideal inspection for unique, "orphan" or highly-modified aircraft. In the case of those airplanes, comparing them to the more standard, more generic market may prove insufficient. Despite the cost, it's also an ideal way to create a bulletproof assessment of one's aircraft's true value.

Great advice. Great rates. From helpful and responsive reps you can trust. Three good reasons to turn to AOPA Aviation Finance when you are buying or refinancing an airplane. If you need a dependable source of financing with people who are on your side, just call 800.62.PLANE (800.627.5263), or click here to request a quote.

Adam Meredith

Adam Meredith

President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company
Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, is an aircraft finance professional with more than 15 years lending, small business management and customer service experience. Adam is a commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings.
Topics: AOPA Aviation Finance Company, AOPA Products and Services, Ownership

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