By Vincent Wigmans

What are the five biggest mistakes aircraft owners are making when they perform an airplane sale on their own.

Emotions and airplane sales

The biggest mistake most sellers make is to make airplane sales personal. Leave your emotions at the doorstep! Start thinking as a businessperson rather than as an aircraft owner. People generally have trouble keeping their emotions in line when the time comes to say goodbye. It’s easy to get highly emotional about the sale of your aircraft when you receive a low-ball offer. Especially when you invested a lot of money in your aircraft. 

Remember, a buyer’s offer is not a reflection of their opinion of your aircraft. They like your aircraft. Otherwise they wouldn’t make an offer, right? The sale of your aircraft is a business transaction. Even if they are starting with a low offer, now is the time to negotiate. Make your counteroffer. If they’re truly interested, the potential buyer will improve their offer. Start looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, then you’ll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling your asset.

I don’t need an aircraft broker

Although airplane sales brokers command a commission on the sale price of your aircraft, it’s probably not a great idea to try to sell your aircraft on your own. We have seen several aircraft owners placing their aircraft for sale on some aircraft sales websites and that’s it. They are not reaching the full aircraft sales distribution potential to make the best deal.

Consequentially aircraft owners will receive several requests from potential buyers about the history of the aircraft, its damage history, due dates, maintenance etc. They also might be willing to give the aircraft a visit. Having filtered the famous “tire kickers” from them is not always an easy task. These so called potential buyers only want to take a look at your aircraft, but have no intention whatsoever to make an offer. In most cases, you don’t have time for these kind of requests. You have another business to run.

It might become frustration when you get involved with potential buyers mentioning all the negative aspects of your aircraft. Rest assured they are only doing this to get a better deal. It can become very frustrating if you invested a fortune in your aircraft. An aircraft broker will help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers and eliminating tire kickers.

Not preparing your aircraft sale

Showing your aircraft to potential buyers is definitely something that you do not need to underestimate. Generally speaking, the cleaner and less cluttered your aircraft is the more appeal it will have. If your potential buyer visits your aircraft but the aircraft is covered in dust or dirt, then the buyer gets a wrong impression about the quality.

This also counts for the interior, if the interior is a mess, potential buyers might think that you are not taking care of your aircraft. Keep in mind that your aircraft exterior is like the cover of a book, setting the stage for what’s inside. If your aircraft is disorganized or appears in disrepair, potential buyers may be more skeptical about its condition when they’re considering an offer.


You may think your aircraft is worth more. Though it is better to set a realistic price based on comparable aircraft that are available on the market. Overpriced aircraft generally don’t sell. Many professional aircraft brokers say that overpricing is the number one mistake that sellers make. Do keep in mind that keeping an aircraft longer than necessary will result in additional maintenance, insurance and hangarage fees. Don’t worry too much about setting a price that’s on the lower side, if your aircraft is truly valuable it will generate multiple offers. Hence bids will go up to the aircraft actual market value. 

A good aircraft broker has your best interests at heart. They will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your aircraft, increasing your odds of closing a quick sale. Whether you’re working with an agent or doing it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Check our blog “pricing an aircraft right” for factors that will influence the price of your aircraft.

Hiding Major Problems 

Do you think you can get away with hiding major problems on your aircraft? Any problem will be uncovered during the pre purchase inspection. If there is a substantial issue you basically have two options to deal with such an issue. Fix the problem upfront or price the aircraft below market value. Keep in mind that if you don’t fix the problem upfront that you may eliminate a fair number of aircraft buyers who are looking for a turnkey aircraft. 

Your aircraft broker will have more experience negotiating airplane sales, helping you to get more money for your aircraft than you could on your own. And if any problems come up during the process, and they commonly do, an experienced broker will be there to handle them for you. Finally, brokers are very familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in aircraft transactions and can help to make sure the process goes smoothly. 

Interested to discuss your aircraft sale? Please contact us today at or give us a call: +31 (0)15 820 0999