The Difference Between Desktop Appraisals and On-site Appraisals

Posted on September 12, 2017 under General

When it comes to aircraft appraisals, one of the most commonly asked questions is: “What is the difference between desktop appraisals and on-site appraisals?” There are plenty of important distinctions between the two approaches that are worth noting, and every prospective aircraft buyer and seller should understand the differences between these two types of appraisals. Let’s take a look at what separates desktop appraisals from the on-site variety to help you determine which is best for your aircraft or helicopter.


A Look at Desktop Appraisals of Aircraft and Helicopters

A desktop appraisal is a valuation conducted without actually physically inspecting the plane or helicopter. The research is performed from the desk of the appraiser. Desktop appraisals are based on information about the specific make and model of the plane or helicopter. This information is used in combination with supporting materials to determine the value of the aircraft or helicopter, yet the aircraft is not actually seen or inspected in-person by the appraiser. This makes the appraisal process more challenging as the valuation is determined by an analysis of the make, model, and the state of the current market, and not of the actual aircraft itself. The appraiser takes a look at sales prices for similar makes and models when formulating his valuation. These comparables, also known as “comps”, help the appraiser determine the aircraft’s potential sales price. As long as the aircraft is in decent condition without extreme flaws, a desktop appraisal will provide a fairly accurate gauge of its current market value.

The primary benefits of a desktop appraisal are speed and cost. This appraisal is conducted quickly compared to the on-site appraisal as there is no need to schedule and conduct an in-person evaluation of the aircraft. In some instances, a desktop appraisal of a plane or helicopter can be performed within 24-48 hours of the request. A desktop appraisal is usually cheaper than an on-site appraisal as there is no need to cover the cost of transportation to evaluate the aircraft in-person. As long as accurate information about the plane or helicopter in question is provided, the appraiser can provide a fairly accurate valuation.


A Look at On-site Appraisals of Aircraft and Helicopters

An on-site appraisal involves an up-close and personal evaluation of the aircraft in question. The appraiser visits the plane or helicopter, takes photographs, and inspects its condition. This gives the appraiser the opportunity to examine the nuances of the aircraft, evaluate it in-depth, and determine its true value.

The main advantage of on-site appraisals is accuracy. The appraiser does not have to strictly rely on research and sales prices of comps to determine the aircraft’s value. He might notice certain flaws or merits by checking out the aircraft in-person that otherwise would not have been noticed had he relied on paperwork and web research for a desktop appraisal. He can inspect the integrity of the aircraft’s repairs, gauge wear and tear, and take note of other nuances that play a part in the aircraft’s true value.

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