One of the aircraft we considered listing for sale on eBay
When it comes to making any large purchase, being thoughtful and thorough is of the upmost importance. This is true for homes, cars, and especially for airplanes. An airplane is an investment that will hopefully last you years, and absolutely must keep you safe to the best of its abilities when you fly it.
In general, people are wary of where their large ticket items come from. They like to have a full description of the item that is without any deception or misinformation. Typically it is preferred to have a way to inspect the purchase up close, but with aircraft and other online purchases this may be difficult because it is located far away.
One might be surprised to learn that in a Google search for “Aircraft for Sale,” eBay is one of the top results in the first page. Of course, when you search for any number of things followed by “for sale,” eBay also appears on the first page. They’ve been in the business of connecting sellers to buyers for 22 years now. While some may be quick to discount eBay as an unreliable or sketchy source for aircraft sales, there are certainly pros as well as cons to purchasing through their site.
After consulting a few industry experts, reading online forums, and browsing the selection of aircraft for myself, I have come to the conclusion that you just might find a perfectly good aircraft listed on eBay. However, you may have to proceed with more caution than on specific “aircraft for sale” websites. Let’s break it down into the pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of buying Airplanes of Ebay
For the Buyer
It may be difficult to inspect
As mentioned earlier, the perfect deal is likely not sitting in your backyard. Aircraft can be list a few states away, and without having the ease of heading over to inspect it up close, you may end up buying it sight unseen. eBay did think of this, and you can hire the people are We Go Look to inspect your purchase for you, typically for less than $100.
The bid is non-binding.
When you place a bid on eBay Motors, which includes all of their aircraft listings, the bid is non-binding. This simply means that your bid expresses interest in the airplane, but it is not a binding contract between you and the seller. That can be comforting when you want to get your foot in the door but you would still like to read over all the paperwork associated with the plane before you dive in with a purchase.
For the Seller:
It may be expensive to list
The terms and conditions on eBay’s site says that there is an $125 fee on listings that are more than $5000 if you list less than 6 vehicles per calendar year. Additionally, the seller has to pay more to have extra photos, extend the listing for more than 7 days, to have their header in bold, and a few other extra features. These numbers can add up quickly, as compared to other aircraft for sale websites where the first listing is often free, and the following ones are at a steep discount. https://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/motorfees.html#volume
Your plane is exposed to a larger audience
Although eBay is not as big as it used to be, it does still have a large following. Some old-school aircraft purchasers still check the site, as is evident by the aircraft buyer forums I browsed. Having extra exposure across multiple buying platforms can help your aircraft get noticed and sold, which is the ultimate goal.
Regardless of if you’re buying or selling, you must have your paperwork in order. Any purchase should still be contingent upon a title search showing clear title and a satisfactory pre-purchase inspection. If you opt to purchase it without a pre-purchase inspection, you are taking a risk that may not be worth it. Some of the most repeated advice for aircraft purchases is to be patient. It may seem like your dream airplane but being thorough with paperwork and inspections is vital.
Another more practical way to utilize eBay is to purchase aircraft parts. You can find some pretty good deals on old parts that only need a little work to look new. If you look at the storefront for Universal Asset Management, you’ll be able to find authentic, rare parts from decommissioned commercial airliners. I found a Russian “EXIT” sign, a flight recorder, and a parking break panel. They have hundreds more treasures listed on their site that do not carry quite the amount of risk involved with purchasing an entire plane.
One more thing:
You may find some hidden treasures.
During my browsing of the eBay airplane listings, I also happened upon an advertisement for 10 hours PIC of multi-engine time in a Piper PA 30 Twin Comanche. In this case the seller is using eBay as a sort of classifieds, reaching a whole new audience that may be thinking about getting their Multi-engine add-on. This is a clever tactic and could be capitalized on if it isn’t against eBay’s terms and conditions!
We ended up choosing not to sell this plane on eBay