Speaking only for myself – I can imagine that others may feel the same way – one of the most frustrating, and frankly counter-productive, first questions a buyer can ask is, “so, what’s the lowest you’ll take for that thing, anyway?”
I mean, you don’t know a thing about the airplane other than what you’ve seen on the ads. More than likely, you haven’t taken the time to dig into the logs or speak with the mechanic to see what type of maintenance has been done on the plane. You certainly haven’t seen it yet. Have you even considered the possibility that a “cheap” airplane or “smoking deal” may cost you more in maintenance, upkeep and upgrade than you’ll ever save on the front end?
When a buyer asks me this question within our first few minutes of conversation I automatically lower my expectations of that prospect and begin to discount their legitimacy. Experience has taught me over and over again that this question is often asked when little research has been done, when they suffer from price myopia, or when the buyer can’t think of anything else to say. I've also found this question to be reflective of their ability to financially qualify for the plane in the first place.
Some say there are no dumb questions. Honestly, I’m not so sure about that. What I am sure about is that there are dumb times to ask certain questions. Buying and selling is a lot like dating. There are just certain questions you don’t ask until you get to know someone first. Know what I mean? Should you forget that basic principle, you’ll likely find that to be your last date…or worse. Educate yourself first. Try to get as much of the big picture as you can before jumping right to the bottom line. You’ll undoubtedly find the other party more receptive and appreciative of the efforts they’ve made to maintain their airplane.
So, if you call and ask me that question, don’t be surprised if my response is, “Do you want a cheap airplane, or do you want a good airplane?” Because there’s a difference; a BIG difference. Happy and successful aircraft ownership is based on understanding the costs involved, not just the price.