So what does it mean to be “pre-approved” when it comes to aircraft financing?
A pre-approval simply allows you to walk into a potential airplane deal already armed with the financial backing of a lender. It provides you leverage to act quickly and decisively, particularly in a tight, seller’s market like this one.
The typical loan application process can sometimes take four to six weeks from start to finish. That process includes finding an airplane, vetting the airplane and vetting you. By the time all is said and done, you may have missed out on multiple airplanes.
Pre-approvals offer you the chance to jump-start the process by being vetted first. Once you’re good to go, you’re cleared to find the airplane of your dreams… as long as it’s similar in make and model to what you were pre-approved for in the first place. In other words, don’t get pre-approved for a Cessna 182 and then start window-shopping for Cirrus Vision SF50s.
Like any pre-approval process you’ve experienced before—auto loan, home loan, etc.—part of the pre-approval includes pulling your credit history. The lender is seeking to get a full sense of your character. Credit history fleshes out your financial personality in a way financial statements alone cannot. Incidentally, checking your credit as part of the pre-approval process does not hurt your credit score.
The answer to the question of how long pre-approvals are valid is, “It depends on the lender.” The average time period is 90 days. That should give you plenty of time to hunt down the right airplane.
Great advice. Great rates. 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.