A few years ago I remodeled my house. I had seen some TV shows about people who would spend a few thousand dollars in preparation for selling and completely changed the look of there homes. I decided that if there were projects worth doing for someone else, it would be even better if I also enjoyed the investments that my house needed. The same thing applies to airplanes.
Owners often ask if they should do cosmetic work before selling their airplanes to make them sell faster or for more money. We regularly tell clients not to bother spending the money on refurbishment or upgrades right at the time of a sale. At that point, it is best to figure out what their aircraft is worth as it is and price it accordingly because you will never get all of your investment back if you invest right before a sale.
At the same time, most buyers don’t want to buy project aircraft due to the down time and cost associated with them. And, if the condition of the cosmetics are really poor it makes buyers concerned about what else might have been neglected about the aircraft deterring some buyers from focusing on an airplane at all. Finally, small problems turn into bigger and more expensive problems if left without being addressed. Consequently, I recommend regularly maintaining not just the mechanical condition of your aircraft, but the paint and interior too.
That doesn’t mean spending a lot on complete refurbishment projects, but when the paint starts to really fade and peel have it touched up and when necessary painted. When the carpet is worn out or the side walls stained or frayed, have them replaced.
If you do these projects when needed and not just think about them when it is time to sell you can also benefit through your own use and better experience. In the long run, these on-going smaller investments will also most likely save money in the long run because you will address smaller issues for less expense than if they were left unchecked to grow into bigger problems later.
When it is time to sell, you will then also benefit from a better sales price and faster sales cycle because worn out cosmetics won’t trigger other concerns about the rest of the mechanical condition of the aircraft or because of a fear of a long downtime and expensive complete refurbishment project.
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