Four Common Mistakes That Can Delay Your Aircraft Purchase: Ways To Keep Headaches To a Minimum see more
NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, shares tips for making sure your aircraft purchase goes smoothly.
You found the right airplane for your mission; you have a lender and now you are days away from your final goal—landing the aircraft of your dreams. Out of nowhere, you get a phone call from the lender. A last-minute mix-up now threatens to stall or upend the deal. What happened? Here are four common trip-ups:
1. Last-minute ideas
Did you change your mind midway through the deal regarding how you wish the airplane to be owned, or how the airplane will be used? One of the biggest delays comes from buyers who suddenly decide their airplane should not be personally owned but instead owned by an LLC.
First, you’ve now altered the financial picture from which the lender is basing the parameters of the loan. Second, you’ve just added complexity to the deal. Complexity adds time. Third, an aviation LLC is different than other LLCs. The nuances are significant enough for us to suggest you contact AOPA Legal, or an aviation attorney before initiating the paperwork.
2. Title issues
Did you forget to order a title search from a reputable title company? Missing logbook signatures, an unqualified person making a logbook signoff, the presence of a heretofore unseen lien are all examples of items that can put a “cloud” on a title. Before the title can be cleared, a title company must do due diligence.
3. Pre-buy inspection
What could possibly go wrong with a pre-buy inspection? How about the aircraft is stuck overseas? How about a dispute between the seller and buyer as to where the pre-buy will occur? How about a pandemic that shuts down business operations and air travel for an unspecified amount of time? From the mundane to the previously unimaginable, myriad things can affect the pre-buy. That’s why a Pre-purchase Agreement is vital. In it, all the parameters of a pre-buy are codified and agreed to prior to, hopefully mitigating as many possible obstructive circumstances as possible.
Even with that, the pre-buy inspection will invariably uncover some addressable item. That item’s resolution will then have to be negotiated into the price if it’s not an airworthy item, or fixed and inspected prior to, if it is an airworthy item.
Illegible logbook documentation, missing paperwork, documents missing a notary’s required imprint— are a partial list of paperwork problems that could slow the closing process. AOPA Aviation Finance can help build a paperwork checklist early that will help prevent this pitfall.
This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on November 23, 2020.
Five Things to do Before Buying see more
NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, shares five quick tips to have a positive airplane buying experience.
On the one hand, the airplane buying experience is thrilling and full of adventure. You’re embarking on an upgrade, or it’s your first-time taking control of your business or personal air travel. On the other hand, the airplane buying experience can be full of adventure and an unintentional thrill ride. You’re embarking upon a transaction process that if left to chance may reveal hidden turbulence. So how to have the best experience? Here are five quick tips:
- Define your mission first. How do you envision using the airplane? Are you going to travel someplace? Are you going to be using to travel someplace with other people? How long are these trips going to be? Where will they be? At what time of year will they be? These will define the type of aircraft that fits your need best. At the very least, this exercise will help you understand what airplanes you don’t want.
- Define your intended aircraft’s support community. Who owns the same aircraft at your local airport? Does that airplane have an associated club or online community? Tap into those human resources to get real world intelligence. Combining what they know from actual flying with your defined mission can help further narrow your choices. For instance, Find out from friends or other owners (e. g. Comanche 400 vs. Cirrus)
- Define the aircraft’s true cost. There is the acquisition price, yes. And you may have clear picture of fuel burn, hangar, database updating, etc. But those aren’t the only cost. What really is the reserve? How easy are parts to obtain? What’s the access like to get a good qualified mechanic who is expert on your make and model? A generalist vs. an expert means down time. What’s your airplane’s down time going to be based on mechanic and parts availability? That analysis may cause you to consider buying a new plane with a warranty on it. Which brings us to #4.
- Define whether a used or a new airplane is your best value. If you own your own business and you can also utilize bonus depreciation to write the purchase off as a business expense, and if your price includes a manufacturer’s warranty for a new plane, that slightly higher cost may mitigate all the issues raised in point #3. This option may also be worthwhile to non-business owners, too.
- Define your financing options. Pre-approval vs. paying cash. What is your opportunity cost vs. financing? How would your return compare between an all cash deal and taking a loan while investing the cash? What’s your comfort level in having cash flow and leverage vs. owning an aircraft outright? Firm knowledge in where you stand on the leverage risk tolerance scale opens or focuses how you’re willing to pay for the airplane.
And last of all, reach out to AOPA Finance. If we don’t know the answers, through the rest of AOPA, we can help point people to other resources and get them those answers.
This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on January 7, 2021.
What Happens Once I'm Approved? see more
NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, shares two important final steps when securing an aircraft loan.
What happens once I’m approved for an aircraft loan? There are still two steps remaining to secure a loan. Approval means the bank has approved both you and the airplane. Now the question is, are you ready? The second step, post-approval, is getting the bank everything needed to fund.
Once a lender is comfortable with the aircraft, the borrower, the ownership structure of the borrowing entity, and the global financial picture of the entities in which the owner or owners have a controlling interest, they’ll signal they are OK to scheduling closing. How do they get there though?
You now do your part by providing the remaining paperwork—any missing financial documents necessary, copies of the ownership documents (the EIN document, the articles of organization, and the operating agreement), if applicable. Note if you intend to have a holding company own the aircraft, the time to form the company correctly and completely is earlier on because the lender will need to verify the legal structure and documents before it can approve the loan and issue loan documents.
It’s been our experience that people frequently take the organizational structure of an aircraft holding company too lightly when they shouldn’t. Lenders take it very seriously. There’s a legal difference between how a member-managed LLC signature block is executed versus a manager-managed LLC. So get, and heed, good advice and do so before getting approval (otherwise let the lender know it’s in the works and discuss the specifics).
Next, a title and escrow company will review the aircraft’s ownership and title history and share that with the lender. The lender will review the aircraft’s logbooks for completeness, the purchase and sale agreement, as well as the pre-purchase inspection or signed off documentation from an A&P to confirm that the airplane is in airworthy condition. The title and escrow company handling your transaction may even assist with the last document required prior to closing, the certificate of insurance (COI).
The escrow and title company will also handle the coordination of payments to the lender, you, and any third-party vendors attached to the aircraft at the time the lender releases the funds. Finally, the lender will authorize the release of funds once any requested supplemental documents have been received and vetted.
This article was originally published by AOPA Finance on October 23, 2020.
Will High Time Engines Complicate the Loan Process? see more
NAFA member Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, discusses finding the "perfect airplane" and the loan process.
You’ve finally found the perfect airplane. It has no damage history, all of its logs, great avionics, and good interior. The high time engines are the only downside. You’re not worried because the plane is flown often and mechanically is in great shape. When you present it to your lender, though, the lender balks. Why?
Lenders tend to keep the worst-case scenario in mind. For them, that case is if they might have to repossess the aircraft with it needing an overhaul. To make it marketable again, the lender would have to use their own money for an overhaul. To counter that, most lenders are going to specify you have enough liquidity to cover an overhaul from Day 1.
Some lenders may require an overhaul as part of the purchase. Others may require a "hold back" amount of money as a precursor to financing. That "hold back" amount must be sufficient to cover overhaul costs upon taking delivery. Because lenders recognize that the likelihood of other expenses popping up at any time with an airplane is high, they may also require an additional cushion of liquidity as a condition of completing the deal. Some lenders will simply bow out of the transaction entirely.
For many pilots, having to fold an overhaul into the purchase price looks like a pricing discount opportunity. The reality is aviation market appraisers have already figured that into the equation. For example, if two identical aircraft are for sale and one has a fresh overhaul while the other is at TBO, the airplane with the fresh engines will have a market value of at least $30,000 more per engine over the TBO plane.
We've had clients who felt their ability to potentially liquidate an asset to cover an overhaul should have had that counted in their favor. Lenders tend to disagree with that assessment for two reasons. First, offering to liquidate an asset against an overhaul changes the global financial picture of the borrower. Keeping in mind that every aspect of one's financial picture is interconnected; it becomes easy to see why changing one part may have a negative domino effect overall.
Second, where borrowers tend to feel eternally confident about their ability to quickly liquidate any asset they own, lenders are more sanguine about the reality of asset disposal. Financers can draw from plenty of historical precedent where circumstances changed for the worse, and the asset a borrower thought would be easy to sell to cover the unforeseen event fetched far less than expected or didn't sell at all.
The flip side of that coin are two specific instances where an airplane owner whose engines are at TBO might easily obtain an overhaul loan. In the case of an aircraft that is free and clear, it’s generally possible to get virtually 100% financing. The second situation is when a loan is still outstanding. If the amount requested--plus the remaining principal--adds up to less than 80% loan-to-value (LTV), a lender will typically refinance. In that case, the owner may not have to go more than 20% out of pocket to pay for the overhaul.
Lenders who provide this type of refinancing find it attractive for another reason. Often a pilot will include an avionics or interior upgrade, thus turning a simple engine overhaul into a whole aircraft refurbishment. The one caveat is, at least on the piston side, the relatively small dollar amount of a refinance loan for an overhaul is low, so it's not necessarily attractive to a lot of lenders.
This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on July 10, 2019.
Nardone and Company, Inc. Joins National Aircraft Finance Association see more
EDGEWATER, Md. – Dec. 4, 2018 – National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is pleased to announce that Nardone and Company, Inc. has recently joined its professional network of aviation lenders. “NAFA members proudly finance - support or enable the financing of - general and business aviation aircraft throughout the world, and we’re happy to add Nardone to our association,” said Ford von Weise, President of NAFA.
Nardone & Company, Inc., is a Veteran owned corporation in their 25th year of business. Experience within Nardone & Company exceeds 40 years in the salvage industry and since their establishment on July 8, 1993, they have been dedicated business partners, producing the highest salvage return on the sale of damaged goods - quickly and cost effectively. The company’s Aviation Technical Services focuses solely on aircraft-related salvage, sales/recovery, current market values, inventory loss, and damage evaluations.
The company’s President, George Nardone, Jr. is a member of the National Aircraft Appraisers Association (NAAA). Mr. Nardone has Airline Transport Pilot Ratings and over 40 years of aviation experience. Their staff of highly experienced and dedicated professionals, with senior certified aircraft and USPAP compliant appraisers, pride themselves on immediate response and rapid reporting with complete documentation on all assignments.
Aircraft appraisals by Nardone and Company’s professionals provide the buyer or seller with onsite inspections, valuation utilizing current market conditions and their sophisticated NAAA appraisal that measures every aspect of the aircraft's value at a reasonable cost. They can also manage pre-purchase inspection and provide consulting services to help match clients with the appropriate aircraft to meet their specific requirements.
Much like NAFA, Nardone and Companyupholds the highest standards in aircraft appraisal throughout the aviation industry as dedicated partners with their clients. “We provide credibility and trust every time,” said George Nardone, President and CEO. Nardone and NAFA are committed to fostering the education and experience necessary to develop the aviation industry as a whole.
For more information about Nardone and Company, Inc., visit www.nardoneandcompany.com.
The National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting the general welfare of individuals and organizations providing aircraft financing and loans secured by aircraft; to improving the industry's service to the public; and to providing our members with a forum for education and the sharing of information and knowledge to encourage the financing, leasing and insuring of general aviation aircraft. For more information about NAFA, visit www.NAFA.aero.
Airplane Acquisition Checklist Series: Part Two: Purchase and Delivery see more
NAFA member, Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance Company, follows up with part two of the Airplane Acquisition Checklist covering Purchase and Delivery.
In Part 1 of this series on airplane acquisition, we discussed the most efficient way to approach buying an aircraft by using three checklists—Pre-purchase, Purchase and Aircraft Delivery. We also detailed the Pre-purchase Checklist.
You're now staring at your ideal airplane on your screen. Time to run the Purchase Checklist:
- Escrow, Letter of Intent and Purchase Agreement
- Notify Lender
- Pre-purchase Inspection
- International Registry (if applicable)
- Title Search and Background Checks
Escrow, Letter of Intent and Purchase Agreement. Escrow appears in all three checklists. Before it was a reminder to get your down payment together. Now it triggers you to move money into an escrow account that you set up through your escrow agent. If you're unfamiliar, AOPA has a strategic partnership with Aerospace Reports and as a member you’ll get discounted pricing and we can help get things set up. Likewise, if you’re working with another escrow company AOPA Finance can help coordinate that too. Plan on a deposit of 5%-10% of the aircraft's asking price.
The letter of intent puts a clock on the deal, enables you to withdraw from it without penalty under certain conditions you and the seller negotiate, and establishes the parameters for the final price.
This is also time to have your aviation attorney to draw up a detailed purchase agreement. If you don't have one, AOPA has a sample purchase agreement you can view here. You may want to consider signing up for Pilot Protection Services which includes consultation with an attorney regarding your purchase of an aircraft specific to your state and the legal requirements there. What it covers includes, but is not limited to, purchase amount, refund terms, deadlines for the process, representations and warranties, even the location of aircraft delivery.
Notify Lender. The sooner you notify the lender, the sooner the lender can convert the pre-approval into an approval. Your lender will conduct background checks, damage history queries, etc. If the aircraft is missing logbooks, that may affect the stipulations of the pre-approval with the lender. Each has a set of tolerances for missing logbooks. Ask before you commit to a particular lender. AOPA Finance may be able to help.
Pre-purchase Inspection. Even before you go to the airplane, have the logbooks sent to you. Nowadays, most sellers have their airframe and engine logbooks scanned into PDF format for ease of emailing. Get your mechanic started perusing those logs. You and your lender will want to know whether the logbooks are complete as soon as possible. An incomplete set can frequently impact the final price, and it may also affect the plane's insurability.
In most instances, it's best that a mechanic other than the regular mechanic for that airplane perform the pre-purchase inspection. That may mean flying your assigned A&P to the airplane's location, with a hotel stay.
International Registry. If your plane is subject to the Cape Town Treaty (see here for more info), you should begin the International Registry process simultaneously with contacting your escrow agent. It's complex and time-consuming and may affect the timing of your closing date. Subject to some exceptions, an aircraft must be registered with an appropriate aviation authority before it can be legally operated in any country. Suffice it to say, better to have your team of experts handle this checklist item.
Insurance. As far as your lender is concerned, typically, they’ll require you to maintain full ground and flight insurance, as well as "Breach of Warranty Coverage" for the amount of the loan with a carrier acceptable to the lender.
The lender must be named as "loss payee" and be protected by a "lien holder's endorsement." Once you have been placed with the appropriate lender, we will send you the specific insurance requirements for that lender.
Title Search and Background Checks. Usually, this will be a straightforward process. If a plane has been in an incident, involved in an estate dispute or part of a bankruptcy, though, then things could get complicated. Your prospective insurer, your lender and your escrow agent may all play a part in these searches and checks. We've heard too many stories of airplane deals falling through at the last minute because of lack of due diligence by the buyer, so be thorough.
All that complete, what's left is to take delivery. There's one last checklist to run—the Aircraft Delivery Checklist:
- Punch List
- Technical Acceptance
- Closing and Delivery
Punch List. Here's where the due diligence of your title, escrow or insurance representatives pays off. They'll work with you to clear up any liens or estate claims. Similarly, the list of deficiencies and discrepancies your mechanic delivered will have been either rectified or negotiated into a lower price.
Technical Acceptance. Once the Punch List is complete, the buyer then executes and delivers a Technical Acceptance Certificate to the seller. This says the buyer accepts the condition of the aircraft, subject to "no material damage and/or total loss affecting the aircraft upon or prior to arrival of the aircraft at the delivery location." The deposit usually becomes non-refundable at this stage.
Escrow. The remaining purchase price is deposited into the escrow account, and the seller is paid.
Closing and Delivery. The title is transferred and the aircraft is registered to the new owner, once the new owner insures it. Finally, the aircraft is turned over or delivered to you. Congratulations.
Considering aircraft ownership? AOPA Aviation Finance will make your purchase experience as smooth as possible. For information about aircraft financing, please visit the website (www.aopafinance.com) or call 1-800-62-PLANE (75263).
This article was originally published by AOPA Aviation Finance Company on March 5, 2019.
Financing: Which Aircraft are Most Likely to Qualify? see more
NAFA member, Vivek Kaushal, Chief Risk Officer with Global Jet Capital, discusses the challenges of getting funding for used aircraft in today's market.
Is the goal of getting financing for a used aircraft really so difficult in today’s Business Aviation marketplace? Global Jet Capital’s Vivek Kaushal discusses, offering tips on ways to maximize your chances when selecting your next aircraft…
If you’re thinking about financing an aircraft, you’ve probably heard that it’s relatively easy to obtain funds for a new aircraft but that financing used jets is a thornier proposition.
That’s mostly true, but even for a new aircraft, there is no guarantee of securing funding. It’s important to remember that not all new aircraft are created equal. Lenders will always wait for a new model to prove its performance and demonstrate some trading history before going ‘all-in’.
Existing models with a solid installed base and performance history are usually acceptable, with a few exceptions.
While it’s mostly true that financing for new aircraft can be more easily obtained than for used, within the used realm there’s significant variation in what lenders look for and what kinds of risk they’ll tolerate. Generally speaking, a used aircraft can indeed be trickier to finance.
Some lenders, especially those that don’t specialize in aviation financing, won’t finance aircraft over five years old, while for others, ten years is the cut-off.
These are largely arbitrary numbers, and experienced aviation lenders know that there are more important considerations than arithmetic based on model year.
Useful or not, some banks rely on these simple weeding-out measures because they’re constrained by conservative credit risk policies or by a lack of knowledge. Neither is conducive to a holistic approach to used aircraft financing.
Thus, if you’ve got your eye on a used aircraft that’s got a little more history between its wings than some lenders are comfortable with, don’t despair. Older aircraft can qualify for financing, but obtaining it would typically mean engaging a specialized aviation financing partner who can work with you and navigate some of the industry particulars.
Following are three major factors that will make a difference as to whether a specific used aircraft qualifies for financing or not…
1. A Robust Installed Base/Model Performance History
The more performance history that’s available for an aircraft model, the better. Models that have been well-accepted in the market will almost always be more likely to qualify for financing.
For each cabin class, some models demonstrate better-than-usual value retention. These will typically have been in production at a high volume and will boast a well-documented operational and financial track record.
Models with short production runs and low trading volume may be viewed more cautiously as collateral for financing.
Data on a model’s installed base and recent trading history (number of pre-owned aircraft on the market/average days to trade) is typically available on AMSTAT or JETNET.
2. Fleet Average Usage Levels
An aircraft is more likely to qualify for financing if it’s at or below fleet average usage for its make and model. Bluebook and other guides can provide this information, which is a key indicator of how much service life an aircraft has left.
If the aircraft’s usage level is significantly higher than average, lenders may get concerned about the aircraft’s remaining useful life because of heavy usage. A heavily used aircraft will tend to sell more slowly.
3. Airworthiness is Non-Negotiable - Maintenance Status Matters
To qualify for financing, an aircraft must be in very good operational condition with no history of material damage. Damage to the aircraft will be assumed to affect its reliability and value, regardless of how comprehensive the repairs. All avionics have to be up to date, with no doubt over airworthiness. All technical upgrades must be in place as well.
One major maintenance-related consideration that may affect a lender’s decision is whether the engine is cared for under a power-by-the-hour (PBH) program or not. Most lenders consider PBH programs to be a favorable approach to mitigate the risk of expensive engine repair costs.
Another consideration is when the next major inspection is going to take place. An airframe inspection can be expensive and take a significant amount of time. A thorough review of the aircraft’s logs and maintenance history will help to flag such issues.
The Real Issue With Used Aircraft Financing
In a nutshell, the main obstacle to financing used aircraft is the complexity of the deals themselves. Some lenders struggle with the complex considerations that go into evaluating the risk of financing a used aircraft, especially if they don’t have robust aviation knowledge.
Those that rely on a simple exclusionary process may rule out perfectly airworthy and viable aircraft in favor of preserving a cautious risk posture. All too often, a traditional lender will ask for other forms of collateral, such as significant amounts of assets under management which it has a right of set off, rather than rely on the value of the asset or the credit of the borrower’s business.
Someone with domain knowledge can engage with the industry’s complexity and structure a transaction that works for the aircraft, even helping clients navigate the inspection process.
As an example, Global Jet Capital was about to close on financing an operating lease for a ten-year old Bombardier Challenger 605 when a problem was identified with the aircraft’s APU requiring it to be sent to Honeywell for an estimated eight-week repair.
A lender unfamiliar with aviation might have considered this a “red flag,” and its policies may have also precluded it from holding its financing commitment for that length of time, leading to an end to the deal and possibly a lost deposit if the right contingencies weren’t in place.
Instead, our understanding of the space meant we understood the need for the repair and were able to work through the delay seamlessly. Once the overhauled APU was installed, the deal closed successfully.
So which jets are most likely to qualify for aircraft finance? A lot is possible when you find the right partner for your Business Aviation financing and understand what matters to lenders.
Used aircraft continue to represent terrific value for savvy buyers. Keeping in mind the three major considerations relating to a used aircraft’s finance-worthiness, you should be able to find a used aircraft that suits your business goals and save yourself the disappointment of a rejection.
This article was originally published by AvBuyer on May 4, 2018.