Why can't I just use a price guide or "blue" book ?
Like shares of common stock, the value of an aircraft fluctuates daily. That's because value is determined not only by the aircraft itself, but also by market circumstances and conditions that are perceived to exist at the current time. Price guides are published quarterly and can be up to one year old due to lag times in publication and distribution. They are always out of date! Price guide data reports average selling prices gathered primarily from aircraft dealers, brokers, and FBO's. Therefore, the buyer actually establishes a false value, based strictly on what he is willing to pay. This faulty data is then published and passed off as an "Appraisal Guide".
Those so called "Appraisal/Price guides" do not cover all value points. When using a Price Guide, nobody actually inspects the aircraft. Therefore, the Price Guide provides improper consideration to damage history, airframe, interior, instrument and avionic condition, as well as logbook status, all of which can substantially affect the value of an aircraft.
These two aircraft appear to be identical. They are the same year, same make, same model, and have the same total hours of use. A price guide will lead you to believe they have the same value. However, one is actually worth $21,000.00 less! How do you know the differences? Who do you ask to find out how the value was determined? A published Price Guide cannot answer these questions. They have no support.
You certainly wouldn't want your home appraised from a published list of selling prices in a homes magazine. There are far too many variables to consider, so the home absolutely must be examined on site. This also holds true for aircraft.
An aircraft's true value can only be determined after a thorough examination, a detailed evaluation, and a comprehensive review of the logbooks by an NAAA Certified Aircraft Appraiser.