Think you’re ready to buy an airplane? Want seller’s to take you seriously? Then don’t waste everyone’s time with an “offer.” Make a real offer. Let me explain the difference.
Understandably, buyer’s want to find out how low a seller is willing to sell. And the most relied upon question they tend to ask is, “What’s the bottom dollar on this thing, anyway?” (As if a seller is going to just spill the beans right there on the first call and say, “you know, $X is my bottom number.”) Anyone who has ever sold so much as a skateboard knows this is a terrible question to answer. Why? Because the next thing you’re going to hear from a buyer is an offer for an amount less than that so-called bottom number. A savvier buyer will resort to the next tactic of “offering” a number, which is to casually throw out a number. “Think he’ll take X dollars, they’ll say.” Trouble is, there’s no commitment behind this “offer.” It’s a fishing expedition. Or knowledge they’ll leverage against the next guy. That’s what an “offer” is – it is a number proffered to the seller with no contractual or monetary commitment. When they’ve heard the sellers response, as often as not, they disappear to never be heard from again.
An offer, on the other hand, is a bona fide bid backed up by a commitment of some sort. Most of the time this involves a written proposal or contract. Many times it involves a deposit to show good faith. This type of offer establishes all of the parameters of the deal that go beyond the dollar amount to include things like the type of inspections to be conducted, who pays for what repairs that are needed, where the inspection is to be performed, how funds will be transferred, who is responsible for taxes, what contingencies exist, and so forth. These scenarios all come at a cost and are important for a seller to consider when evaluating the overall proposal. This type ofoffer is also equitable and allows for the buyer to be released from the contract and the deposit returned if the terms of the deal are not followed by the seller or if the airplane being sold isn’t as represented. Unless you’re trying to buy a low-end airplane, think of an aircraft purchase as being more like a real estate transaction and less like an automobile purchase.
Want the seller (or his broker) to take you seriously? Then take the time to make a real offer. A good aircraft broker or dealer can make this process easy and will help establish a sold relationship that all parties can feel good about.