Before you buy, Prebuy

Purchasing an aircraft can be a complicated and costly proposition. However, with the right team on your side, it doesn't have to be. That's where we come in. Watch the video below to learn more.

Trading Buyer Beware for Buyer Aware

Buying an aircraft is an important investment that offers many benefits to aviators and businesses alike. However, it can also be a risky, costly and flat out problematic experience to an uneducated buyer - even experienced aircraft owners can make costly mistakes during the purchase process. Perhaps the biggest mistake made by many prospective aircraft owners is neglecting to get an independent pre-purchase inspection on the aircraft.

The pre-purchase aircraft inspection, also known as a prebuy, is one of the most important steps in buying an airplane. Similar to a home inspection, the prebuy serves to help you uncover any problems, defects and discrepancies before you buy the airplane. 

A high quality, comprehensive prebuy inspection should discover otherwise hidden issues that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to repair - or worse - compromise the safety of you, your passengers and your family.

Additionally, a prebuy inspection puts you in control of the transaction by giving you the information you need to make a smarter, more effective buying decision. 

Not all aircraft prebuy inspections are created equal - neither the FAA or the aircraft's manufacturer provide any guidance, descriptions or checklists for conducting a prebuy. Therefore, it's extremely important to choose a prebuy inspector that is experienced in performing prebuy inspections and has your best interests in mind at all times. Anything less could risk your safety and cost you thousands of dollars.

When you decide to invest in a high quality, comprehensive aircraft prebuy inspection, you're investing in safety, peace of mind and savings.

Make the Smart Choice

We've been performing aircraft prebuy inspections for over 40 years. We bring a wealth of knowledge and experience coupled with unique prowess and perspective to make the buying process simple, stress free and more cost effective. We represent you during the entire process and work diligently to deliver the most thorough prebuy inspection possible.

Whether you're looking to buy your first airplane or your twentieth, piston powered or jet, we would be happy to help you during the prebuy process. Click the button below to start a free, no obligation conversation.

Why Prebuy?

You've already made the decision to buy an aircraft. Now what? Before you make an offer, enlist the help of a knowledgeable and experienced prebuy expert. Your dream aircraft may have a few skeletons in the closet that you'll want to know about before signing the dotted line. According to aviation attorney J. Scott Hamilton, one of the biggest reasons for litigation over aircraft purchases is neglecting to perform an adequate pre-purchase inspection. While some sellers may deter you from performing a prebuy, it is your right as a buyer, and should be part of your purchase agreement.

Avweb reports the average age of the General Aviation fleet is 30 years old, making a comprehensive prebuy more important than ever before. The purpose of a prebuy is to help you determine the true value of the aircraft, verify the aircraft is legal to buy, and uncover defects and discrepancies that could affect the value or safety of the aircraft. Interestingly, prebuys are not required by the FAA, which is a major reason why they are often overlooked. However, neglecting to perform a quality prebuy could be the worst decision you ever make. While not mandated by the FAA, many lenders do require a prebuy inspection to secure financing.

Remember, once you've signed the dotted line, all the problems are yours. According to FAR Part 91.403(a), the owner or operator is primarily responsible for maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy condition, including compliance with all applicable Airworthiness Directives (AD).

 Do I need a prebuy? Costs of an airplane prebuy inspection


You're familiar with Pilot-In-Command, but what about Buyer-In-Command? If you want to take control of the purchase process, you must start with a detailed prebuy. When you enlist The Prebuy Guys, we will act as your mentor and agent during the buying process. We will help coordinate the prebuy and flight test as well as coach you through the negotiations. We come to the airplane, so there is no need to pay to have it flown to an outside mechanic or shop. If you choose, you or your mechanic can attend the prebuy to get a first hand look at the aircraft.

We will keep you informed during each phase of the prebuy process. Upon completion, we will present you with a detailed written report with our findings, as well as estimated costs of repairs and solutions to possible airworthiness discrepancies. The results of the prebuy will help you determine if you want to buy the aircraft. In many cases, the seller will agree to correct defects at their expense, or agree to renegotiate the sales price. 

What Should Your Prebuys Include?

Ultimately, you determine the scope, detail and complexity of the prebuy evaluation based on your requirements. However, our prebuys can include the following:

Prebuy Vs. Annual Inspection

A question we often get is, "The airplane just had an annual. Isn't that an adequate prebuy?" While many prospective airplane owners think an annual will suffice for a prebuy, this simply isn't true. This is because annual inspections are not designed to find items that affect the overall value of the aircraft. In short, annuals and prebuys have different objectives, utilize different methods and yield different results.

Annuals are limited in scope and meant to find safety of flight issues - not cost of ownership issues. In most cases, annuals are organized by the seller, meaning there is no one there to represent you and your interests. Plus, the aircraft may have to be flown to a mechanic or maintenance facility which may cost you even more time and money. If you have annual done in place of a prebuy, the annual must be completed regardless of whether you decide the buy the aircraft - at your expense! Finally, the results of the annual inspection must be made in the aircraft's logbook(s) with an approval for return to service, and all airworthiness defects must be corrected.

On the other hand, a prebuy inspection is unlimited in scope and can be as comprehensive as you see fit. It is specifically tailored for the make and model aircraft and you may discontinue the examination at any time. Prebuys look for different things - How has the aircraft been utilized? Where has it been stored? Who possesses the title? How frequently has the aircraft flown? Are there signs of damage or major repairs? Has the airplane ever made a gear up landing? Has the airplane ever been on fire? Is the equipment listed on the specifications actually in the airplane? How does the airplane fly? As you can see, there are many things that an annual does not tell you. Even the most honest and forthcoming sellers may not have these answers.

Simply put, an annual is not a substitute for a quality prebuy.

 Compare your options for an airplane prebuy inspection and how to buy an airplane

Get answers to your questions

You probably have a lot of questions. Get answers now by checkout out Frequently Asked Questions page. You can also call us at 904-290-3870 or hit the Contact Us button at the top of the page.