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buying first airplane


Clint466
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Hey everyone,

First post, and need some advice.  I've never bought a plane before, and am bouncing between a Mooney M20J and K.  I've read up and realized for the distances I'll be flying the K may be the best option.  But my main question is if you all feel like it'd be a good decision to hire a broker or, if not, how to go about the whole thing. 

 

Some points of concern:

1.  I am in the real estate business so I can look up and see what properties are selling for in an area, and how to come to a fair price based on those numbers, but how do you arrive at what would be considered a fair price on a plane?  I assume there isn't anything like MLS for airplanes.  I see some, based on avionics and engine time that are way overpriced compared to planes with lower engine times and much better avionics.  

2.  If an inspection is done how do you go about deciding who pays for what if there are some serious issues found (air worthiness ones).  How do you go about finding someone in an area that you know is reputable to do the inspection?

3. Who picks the title company? 

 

I am feeling a little overwhelmed, out of my element and not sure how to go about the whole thing.  This is why I had been considering hiring a broker but figured there are a lot of folks on here with a ton of experience that may have some good insight.

 

Really appreciate the help!

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Hey Clint...  

First, welcome aboard...

Got a basic question for you...

What do you know about flying?

Buying an old plane is very similar to buying an old house...

They have people that specialize in selling Mooneys... a good quality dealer is in TX... called all American aircraft...

An independent pre-purchase inspection is always recommended.... but not required...

Few people have success using a broker to find a Mooney for them... this is because few people have the extra dough and want to spend it this way... plenty of leg work to be done... best done by the buyer...

The broker is like having an employee doing work for you... his travel expenses start getting really high when he goes to look at planes for you... buying a plane is a go see it twice, event... probably not much different than a home... but these homes are spread around the country, not even in one state...

Typically people get their pilots license first before buying a high performance plane... this helps them with the thought process of what that plane should have... carb, fuel injection, turbo, turbine, twin.....

Learning to fly in a high performance airplane is  not usually recommended... unless you can turn off all the other things going on in your life to focus on flying...

If your real estate business is on hold because of Covid 19... this might be a good time to gear up for flying... :)

When you have that kind of coin... you’re probably not going to be focused on saving a few bucks by skipping learning to fly in a trainer... so you can take more time flying in a high end plane...

Most pilots open this conversation with... I’ve been flying this many years, I have this many hours... I have flown these different planes...

Sounds like you are about getting ready to fill out an application to flight school... let’s get started!

Important question for you... where are you located..?

Then a follow up... what brought you to select the J and the K?

PP thoughts only, not a CFI...

:)

Best regards,

-a-

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I've only bought one airplane, but from my experience as an owner for almost 4 years now... it's kind of a total crap shoot on your first plane.  You don't know what you don't know.  You can pay someone, but then a few months into owning you will find out what the person that you paid didn't know, or didn't care to know.  My advice would be don't spend more money than you can afford to take a total loss on.  Expect that you will get your hands dirty, change your oil, take cylinder compression readings, clean and gap your spark plugs, inspect your spars for corrosion, change tires, every maintenance item that owners are allowed to do, and maybe even some performed by hangar elves.  

Until you're at that level of comfort buying an airplane is gonna be a chicken / egg type experience.

 

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@Clint466To answer your main question, yes, get a broker to help you. Buying a plane is a different type of transaction, and buying a specific model of a specific make of a plane may be different than buying another specific make/model of a plane. Relating it to real estate, sort of like the difference between looking for your first starter home or a 500 door apartment complex with a specific cap rate. 

Jimmy Garrison at All American Aircraft (allamericanaircraft.com) is who many of us have used once or more to buy our planes. He also is able to essentially take orders on what someone wants in a plane and will keep his eyes open for those specific features in what he comes across.

But while you are waiting for your plane to come up, tell us some more about yourself. Location, experience, and the like. If you have never flown in a Mooney, or even if you have, there is likely someone on here nearby who will be glad to show you their plane and probably take you up in it. We'll do pretty much anything to get some flying time. :)

 

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Hey guys,

 

Thanks for the advice.  Regarding my flying experience I've had my license now for about 2.5 years and have a little over 250 hours.  Started off as most I think in an 172 but have been flying a Piper Arrow now for a little over a year (rent it).  Great plane, but for cross country flights it's cruise speed leaves a lot to be desired.  I plan to be making trips out to Santa Fe and up to Wyoming so a decent speed is important. 

 

Regarding American Aircraft, are those the folks in Spring Branch (GMax)?  I've seen some of their adds on Controller.  Spring Branch isn't that far from me. 

 

Santos, like you said mentioned, I don't want to put in $100K+ and end up with a piece of junk.  There's a guy here in Houston that works on a lot of Mooney's that I may ping and see if he'd mind helping me out.  Thinking of having him do the first look at a plane and then oversee the pre-buy inspection process. 

 

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Thanks for the advice on All American.  I'll shoot Jimmy an email.  I drive right by his offices almost monthly so it'd be easy to stop by there and talk to him. 

 

I have never been in a Mooney, but always heard great things about them.  I have talked to some of the maintenance guys at the flight school I learned at and picked their brain on what models have expensive yearly's, what do they see the most issues with, etc.  I've been thinking about what to buy for about a year, doing my research on specs, etc, and came to the conclusion a Mooney fits all of my needs perfectly. 

 

I'm in Houston but since all of this Covid stuff, my wife and I have been out at our place near San Angelo since March.  Not sure what everyone else's experiences are during this but between Zoom meetings and conference calls I think I'm busier than I was before all of this!  If anyone is in the area though, let me know. 

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+1 on All American Aircraft

I was asking similar questions a year or two ago. As much as I like doing my own research and learning new things, I decided it didn't make sense to figure out everything on my own when it comes to investing $100K in a Mooney.  I think Jimmy brought a lot of value in my purchase process last fall.  It was my first airplane purchase and it helped me to a actually commit to a purchase.  I know Jimmy works for the seller but it's obvious he wants to treat both buyer and seller fairly. The process went very smoothly and I have an M20K that I'm very happy with.

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30 minutes ago, Clint466 said:

Thanks for the advice on All American.  I'll shoot Jimmy an email.  I drive right by his offices almost monthly so it'd be easy to stop by there and talk to him. 

You could also just send a message through here to @jgarrison.

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For me, the hunt was so much fun!  I spent so much time looking at different planes, I learned the market pretty well.  I also learned what I wanted and what I didn't want in an airplane.  Then one day, the unicorn airplane showed up.  You know, the one that doesn't really exist.  It checked all of the boxes and I bought it.  No regrets at all.  It was a fair deal for both seller and buyer.

One thing that I feel is very important.  Most of these planes had a prior owner and maybe even several.  We are therefore a caretaker or steward of the plane while we own it.  How was the steward of the plane you are looking at?  You are buying not only the plane, but the current owner of that plane.  Talk to them.  Get a feel for who they are and how they took care of that plane while they had it.  This makes such a huge difference in what you are buying. 

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Clint,

You are really on your way... pretty well prepared to buy a Mooney...

Grab you gloves and mask and hand sanitizer...

Sitting in a bunch of Mooneys in the same day...

You can come away with a fine tune of what your mission is going to be...

1) Short body, mid body, long body...

2) carb, fuel injection, turbo...

3) Minimum IFR, full IFR, colorful multi-screen IFR...

 

You can come away with a fine tune of what your budget needs to be...

4) 75amu

5) 100amu

6) 150amu

7) 200amu

8) 500amu

Go visit AAA when able!

You have been approved to spend your own money... :)

Best regards,

-a-

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Hey everyone,

 

Thank you all so much for the advice.  I will definitely touch base with Jimmy.  Couldn't agree more on the comment about how the prior owners took care of the plane, definitely something I will keep in mind. 

 

Thanks again!!

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If you get it right...

The previous owner (PO) likes it when you call and ask questions...

What does that button do...

What is that light for...

How do you make that work...

Do you still have the...

What BatteryMinder did you use...

Did you ever intercept a....

I have bought two planes with absentee POs... the least preferred way to buy a plane...

PP thoughts only...

Best regards,

-a-

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I have purchased my M20J just last year, and I am extremely happy with it.

My advice for purchasing:

* How regularly has the airplane been flown? (minimum of 50 hours in each year). This is a better indication of the maintenance state of the aircraft than the total hours, or hours SMOH.

* Do a pre-purchase inspection on the seller! (as a real estate guy, this must seem natural to you). If he or she seems to love airplanes, is a little sad to sell, and seems a nice, honest, likable person, the airplane is probably okay. Don't buy from a crook.

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J vs K

the question isn’t how far, the question is how high. Unless you need to fly above 10,000’ regularly, the J is the better choice. 
When I was looking I found it helpful to put every plane in a spreadsheet with the various options. I did this for 6 months, it helped me to narrow down what’s overpriced, etc. i had a broker help me, he actually looked in his area so I didn’t have to travel just to look at a plane.

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You have a ton of good advice here already.  Congratulations on moving toward an aircraft purchase.  Airplanes are all of a sudden less expensive the last two months as the market has taken a hit with COVID19.  Top aircraft are not going to move much price wise, though you can likely negotiate a bid harder as there are not as many buyers willing to part with captial during this crisis.  

Do understand insurance rates are on the rise and can be a bit of a shock for those with low time in type.  I suggest contacting Parker Woodruff.  http://airspeedinsurance.com/

He'll help you determine your protection contribution.  The money you save due to COVID19 will help offset the first year of insurance.  Once you build some time in type the rates normally tend to go down a little bit.  However, with the insurance market tightening, I'm just hoping rates don't increase too badly.

You are going to really enjoy transitioning from a Piper to a Mooney on cross countries.

 

Take care,

 

-Seth

 

 

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+1 on using a reputable broker. This being your first airplane and you also being newer to the aviation world the money spent here can really save you a lot of pain. I had helped with many aircraft acquisitions for my prior company and clients and I can say, no matter how much you think you know, it is very different when you know you are footing all the bills moving forward. For me, I was running into paralysis by analysis for sure because of this. The key, just like with real estate, is to work with someone reputable.

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19 minutes ago, Seth said:

You are going to really enjoy transitioning from a Piper to a Mooney on cross countries.

And @Seth mentioned the magic word - transitioning. 

Mooneys are as easy to fly and land as any plane, but require adherence to numbers. Get a good Mooney experienced instructor to do the transition training with you, and when you have the plane and are ready, sign up for a Mooney Safety Foundation PPP for the "advanced" course on Mooneys. You get an IPC, FR, and tons of information. Your insurance carrier might also appreciate the certificate showing you had recurrent training. :)

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53 minutes ago, Paul_Havelka said:

As for any airworthiness issues that arise in prebuy, it is pretty common for the current owner to foot those bills unless the aircraft is already discounted accordingly.

And the airplane should be advertised as "as is where is". And I would be very wary of using the owner's (or brokers) shop to do the pre-buy. It's up to the buyer to chose the shop, or walk away.

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1 hour ago, Paul_Havelka said:

As for any airworthiness issues that arise in prebuy, it is pretty common for the current owner to foot those bills unless the aircraft is already discounted accordingly.

You pay for the prebuy and any costs to ferry the plane to and from the shop that does it. 
owner pays for airworthiness items, and other items are negotiable.

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7 minutes ago, ArtVandelay said:

You pay for the prebuy and any costs to ferry the plane to and from the shop that does it. 
owner pays for airworthiness items, and other items are negotiable.

And all that is spelled out in the purchase agreement before doing anything.

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17 hours ago, Clint466 said:

Hey everyone,

Thank you all so much for the advice.  I will definitely touch base with Jimmy.  Couldn't agree more on the comment about how the prior owners took care of the plane, definitely something I will keep in mind. 

Thanks again!!

@Clint466 Clint, not sure if you'll be in the San Marcos area in 2 weeks, but I'll be there from 5/23 to 5/30 in annual (and looking for real estate), so ping me if interested in taking a look at the Ovation platform.

Echoing others' remarks here...you have good advice already.  Again, it would be good to not only put a name to a face, but I'd love to show you a little bit about the guts of a Mooney.  Hopefully, it will stimulate some thinking and help get you on a path to ownership.  Feel free to reach out anytime.

Steve

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On 5/4/2020 at 11:52 AM, Clint466 said:

Thanks for the advice on All American.  I'll shoot Jimmy an email.  I drive right by his offices almost monthly so it'd be easy to stop by there and talk to him. 

 

I have never been in a Mooney, but always heard great things about them.  I have talked to some of the maintenance guys at the flight school I learned at and picked their brain on what models have expensive yearly's, what do they see the most issues with, etc.  I've been thinking about what to buy for about a year, doing my research on specs, etc, and came to the conclusion a Mooney fits all of my needs perfectly. 

 

I'm in Houston but since all of this Covid stuff, my wife and I have been out at our place near San Angelo since March.  Not sure what everyone else's experiences are during this but between Zoom meetings and conference calls I think I'm busier than I was before all of this!  If anyone is in the area though, let me know. 

One of my Planes is at N houston... I could possibly arrange a show n tell/ ride for you with the other owner.. but be warned... It is a Rocket and it will ruin you for a J.

 

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