Teaching the real estate aviation niche market
As a real estate professional, Erik McCormick will often be asked, “Why should I hire you to manage our listing?” Devoting all his efforts to commercial and residential aviation real estate, he will respond with something like, respectively, “Consider this comparison, would you hire an appliance repairman to fix your plane?” ”
Follow-up to “Doesn’t it make sense to hire an aircraft real estate specialist who has the best chance of bringing in a pilot buyer willing to pay top dollar?” ”
But what makes the sale of specific aviation properties, namely residential airpark homes, different from other types of real estate? McCormick argues that there are amenities that make these properties he works with unique and that help provide value beyond that of a standard residential home:
- The community
- Track type and number
- Availability and type of fuel
- Shed size and overall structure
- Presence of runway lights controlled by the pilot and others
Determining the value of an airpark property is probably the most difficult part of the sales equation. This is mainly due to two factors; the lack of comps on the market and the delta between the amenities of standard residences and those of airparks.
This is just a general theme that McCormick, an aviation real estate veteran, helps highlight to agents who are part of the Aviation Real Estate Specialist Referral Program – Certification and Designation.
What it is
This group was created in 2020 as a way for existing real estate professionals, with or without industry experience, to become experts on this type of niche real estate and capitalize on opportunities. It also allows them to benefit from the large base of prospects of buyers, sellers and owners of airparks that McCormick has developed over the past few years.
âIf you’re not on social media and the World Wide Webâ¦ you don’t exist,â McCormack said. He has focused a lot on these technological aspects in recent years. In addition to attracting leads through trade shows and word of mouth, his online efforts have been crucial.
Usually, the process of getting potential buyers into the sales funnel begins on one of McCormick’s websites or on the Facebook group he created in 2018. The Aviation Home and Hangar group consists of close quarters of 9,200 members and has a specific focus on aviation real estate of all kinds. . The group serves as a place for members to display homes, freestanding commercial sheds and other property for sale across the country and beyond.
Often times, party members will speak to McCormick, a private multi-engine classified pilot, about their aviation real estate interests. Or they will also find its tailor-made introductory survey on their own. Either way, the The Ultimate Aviation Real Estate-Ultimate Buyer survey focuses on attributes such as:
- Aircraft type owned
- Interests outside aviation
- Type of property desired
- Preferred track type
- Type of fuel in the field, if required in the field
The result of this 26-field survey gives McCormick a better understanding of a buyer’s real estate needs and how best to serve them. If the sponsor wants something in Arizona, they will work with them to find a property that meets their needs. If this is not the case, he will endeavor to place them with an aeronautical real estate specialist in the desired area of ââresidence.
This referral network is made up of around fifteen agents, including five in Florida. The members of the group have different backgrounds and years of experience in the sale of aeronautical real estate. But all of them have a love for aviation and are interested in the continued success of the industry.
Each of the real estate specialists dedicate time each week to discuss sales goals, current challenges, recent obstacles overcome, industry trends, as well as topics relevant to the aviation real estate niche. Talking about these latter topics helps align the knowledge base of both experienced specialists and those with less experience.
An example from a recent discussion addressed an issue with one of the most important features of an airpark house, the hangar. Sometimes agents within the group will find themselves in a situation where the tail of a potential buyer’s plane will be too high to fit in the hangar. McCormick rightly points out: âIf a shed is too small, then it’s a compromise. “
But he and the others agreed that there are still ways to keep the sale alive if the tail is too big. For example, McCormick mentions the time when what appeared to be the case was not actually reality.
âSometimes the hangar door was installed where it was not raised to its full available height,â he said. âIn one case, we called the manufacturer. They helped determine how far he could travel open. We were able to get another six inches [of travel upward], which allowed the plane to adapt and save the deal.
The executive also discussed the possibility of using ground support equipment and good old-fashioned manpower to lower the tail in certain scenarios to adapt the aircraft. Either way, it takes entrepreneurial spirit and effort to consider potential ways to get the plane inside and keep the sale alive.
Another topic discussed at a recent meeting was to ensure the safety of airparks for potential buyers. Bringing in high energy and expectations, buyers will almost always ask to see active runways and taxiways for themselves. But since there are often spinning propellers and other potential hazards nearby, the head should always be on a pivot when in an airpark. Often, however, buyers will be unfamiliar with the configuration of the community they are visiting, or too caught up in the moment to recognize these potential security risks.
Thus, the real estate specialist is partly there to ensure their safety on the establishment, as well as to help guide them while providing them with relevant information to support the buying process. The group explored several ways to maintain a high level of security during registration appointments at the aeropark houses they represent. This includes (for qualified persons) wearing and using a portable radio to communicate with traffic if necessary. It can also mean bringing an airport diagram and the airport manager if necessary.
Judging from the warm dialogue on a recent call, keeping pilots in air parks is a hot topic. After all, without pilots replacing pilots in air parks, the community of enthusiasts is threatened.
âOur underlying goal is to sell their home for the best price and demonstrate that we will fill it with a pilot who will invest in the future of the airpark,â said McCormick. âKeeping pilots in the air parks keeps them healthy. “