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Appraising the Appraiser

Finding the Right Appraiser is as Easy as ASA

After the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s, and again in 2008, the banking industry responded with new rules and additional safeguards for better risk management.

One of the most significant changes involves aircraft appraisals.

Prior to 2008, a simple market evaluation by a resale broker, often with just a quick look at the current edition of the Aircraft Blue Book, was sufficient to secure as much as a 90% loan-to-value ratio for a preowned aircraft. That is no longer so.

Today, most banks, leasing companies, and insurance underwriters require that all loan collateral, including business jets, be valued by a qualified, certified appraiser before financing is approved. Those appraisers must comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which was created in 1989 by the Appraisal Foundation, and is the generally accepted standard in Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S.

Two organizations provide such appraiser certification: the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT), which focuses primarily on commercial airliners; and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), which teaches, tests, and confers credentials to its members, who conduct professional appraisals for business and personal property valuation. The ASA’s Machinery and Technical Specialties division offers the only program to train and certify business aircraft appraisers.

Appraisers earn that Aircraft Specialty accreditation by completing a rigorous curriculum and peer evaluation. ASA-accredited appraisers must adhere to the professional standards set forth by ASA’s Code of Ethics and Principles of Appraisal Practice, and well as USPAP (in North America), or the International Valuation Standard elsewhere in the world. The two levels of ASA certification, Accredited Member and Accredited Senior Appraiser, are based on the number of years of appraisal experience, with continuing education courses required to hold either accreditation.

The recent rebound in business jet transaction activity has increased the demand for certified appraisals. To meet that need, two established aviation organizations, Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI) (www.jetsupport.com) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) (www.erau.edu) co-sponsored and co-hosted two ASA accreditation courses earlier this year, one at ERAU’s campus in Daytona Beach, FL, and the other at JSSI’s European headquarters in Farnborough, UK, with more courses planned for this fall.

What does this mean for you, the aircraft owner?

If you are interested in monitoring the value of your aircraft, whether for financing, refinancing, or sale; or to verify hull value for insurance coverage, you will need to have your aircraft appraised by an ASA-certified appraiser. This will ensure that you have the most accurate and lender-acceptable data.

On average, expect the appraisal to take about one week, with the physical inspection process usually one full day onsite, and the rest reviewing records. The appraiser will conduct a systematic inspection of the interior and the exterior of the aircraft, including: engine, airframe, avionics, instrumentation, and other systems; as well as provide a methodical review of your aircraft’s flight and maintenance log books, FAA registration, title, and owner’s documentation. Most business jet appraisers avoid “desktop only” appraisals because the inspection and review of the records is extremely important.

In 2015, the average cost for a full appraisal and inspection – required by most lenders – is about $5,000, perhaps up to $7,500, plus expenses. Be aware, however, that a standard appraisal is not the same as a pre-buy inspection for purchase, which can run between $10,000-$50,000 depending on the size and scope of the work.

Rules for lending have changed dramatically in the past six years. If you have not been in the market recently, know that a proper appraisal will ensure that you secure the right equipment at the right price, while meeting your lender’s requirements.

For more information about and to find an accredited Appraiser go to www.appraisers.org or call 800-272-8258. BAA

Richard A. Berkemeier, ASA, is chief appraiser for CB Appraisal Review and Management Group. An active member of ASA’s Board of Governors with 30 years’ banking and leasing experience, he was VP of Citigroups’s Investment Bank.


  1. My brother was talking to me the other day about looking for an appraiser. I think that being able to get someone who has the proper appraiser certification like you talked about would be really smart. I’m going to have to look into a few good appraisers for him and see if we can find him what he needs!


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