BlueBook and Vref Prices

I am buying a Cirrus for the first time and dealing with Brokers. Why are the asking prices for SR-20 2000-2003 so much more than Bluebook and Vref? I do not mind paying average retail, but prices are listed $20K to $40K more than book. Many listings by brokers are sold, and have been for several months. If Bluebook and Vref prices are wrong, why are they not corrected?

I bought my 2005 SR22 after months of searching. Prices on are about 10% higher than what planes actually sell for. Brokers need their commission, and are always looking to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. Private sellers are too optimistic about the value of their airplanes. Have patience. There are plenty of airplanes on the market.

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First - since you state you “buying” a Cirrus - you really need to join COPA. Then, using your newly available tool, do some research. YOU WILL BE REWARDED - COPA is the BEST aviation money you will ever spend - just DO IT!

Once you are a member, then you will have access to the entire wealth of “tribal knowledge”, history, and information, and we can have some more reasonable discussions.

Enjoy! - Join today - you will NOT be sorry!!!


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Robert, the short answer is that the Cirrus-specialist brokers (TAS, Lone Mountain, Steel) all have much better market data than Bluebook or Vref does. Add to that the fact that it’s impossible to correctly configure a Cirrus airplane in the Vref tool, and you can start to see why these online resources can diverge significantly from true market value.

We maintain a Cirrus valuation model that solves both of these problems. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss the value of any particular airplane you’re looking at, whether it’s in our inventory or not.

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Chris, Thank you and the brokers at Lone Mountain for being very tolerant and helpful in my journey to buy my first Cirrus. The AOPA Vref pricing tool is a free reference for AOPA members. Being limited, it is a great inexpensive tool to start learning how to price an aircraft. One then can go to Bluebook, which is more robust in its detail. Practice on sale listings, both Cirrus and non-Cirrus. They are important tools for the knowledgeable buyer.

I also recommend becoming very familiar with reviewing engine and air frame logs. I can give some issues that I routinely check (compressions, AD’s, prop strikes, major repairs, frequency of use, engine rust, etc) , but perhaps someone more knowledgeable can give advice. My mechanic has been helpful with suggestions. If you buy an airplane, you are also buying the logbook history.

Buyer beware.

After you join COPA, hire SAVVY to manage your pre-buy and your manintenance. Second best money you can spend, especially if you’re a new Cirrus owner.

+1 on Savvy but review the boroscopes, etc yourself.

And work only with Chris or Jamie Steele or another trusted Cirrus broker. They take the long view and won’t give one buyer bad advice. But they have probably told you that you’re buying into the sweet spot and you have to move quick. That may feel uncomfortable but when you see a good one at a good price, it won’t last long so you do have to move quick.

Cirrus is an interesting case study for sure…Cirrus has a number of packages and options that affect the value greatly. However some options are more subjective than others. Can’t speak to how V-ref does their pricing, but Bluebook reports the new pricing Cirrus provides as well as the option pricing. The average retail values are based on reported sales and from what is seen in the marketplace. The brokers probably have a lot of good data as well because they move a lot of aircraft, but keep in mind, the Aircraft Bluebook is not trying to sell you an airplane.

I’ve been looking at a 2004 g2 with over 1100 hrs and some good upgrades. I can’t get vref to price it over 200k unless I say all the options are brand new (not the engine). Then I still can’t get it over 215k. The ask is over 250k. I’m interested in the plane but not interested in being stupid. Can vref be that wrong? It starts at retail 190k. I have a good friend who bought a g2 with fresh chute and fresh OH, 225k. That sounds closer to vref than the current listed planes. Makes it tough for a buyer, no I can’t use a broker as I’m not going to pay and addtl 6% sales tax. Is vref that wrong? Experiences?

Just replying to this in case someone else see’s it (you probably already know).

Depending on the state you’re in, even if you use a broker you may not have to pay sales tax. In some states, as long as the final sales contract is between two entities that are not in the business of selling aircraft, the broker does not technically ‘own’ the plane and it’s still a casual sale.

There was a beautiful plane on the market recently that I didn’t want to take a chance on as it was a trade-in and owned by aircraft sales org, and I would have owed an extra 6%… That was a no-go.

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“Take advantage”? That’s really an unfair swipe at “brokers” in general. Most brokers, especially the Cirrus brokers who post frequently in these forums, are highly ethical and do right by both buyers and sellers.

We are not poor consumers at a buy-here, pay-here used car lot. A buyer of a Cirrus has the financial ability to hire an aviation attorney to represent them if they are not 100% comfortable doing it alone.


Scott, Shyam posted that in 2016. I appreciate the points of view, but a response should be more timely?
Id be impressed if Shyam remembered writing it!
Cudos to resurrecting a fallen thread to everyone!:grinning:

Thank you for pointing this out. Today, my view is more nuanced.

I believe knowledge is power. The more you know, the less you will need in terms of “help” from brokers. Brokers serve their clients who are selling airplanes, and they are obligated to get the best price they can to earn their 5% commission. They may try to convince buyers that they are looking out for the buyers too, but as you know: Caveat Emptor. A broker’s only fiduciary responsibility is to the seller who will pay them a commission. I do think they provide a valuable service to the seller, and make the process easier for the buyer as well. The major brokers have very high satisfaction ratings from both buyers and sellers.

If you want a broker’s assistance in purchasing an aircraft, you should establish a contractual relationship.

I totally agree with Scott on getting an attorney’s help in any transaction.

Personally, I would try to sell an airplane myself first, and work with Savvy to get the pre-buy inspection done if the buyer so desires. Similarly, if I were a buyer, I would look for private sellers first, and then go to the general market. With the help of Savvy or a knowledgeable A&P, the process should go smoothly.

Yes, I did not look carefully at the date of Shyam’s post when I replied to it. If I had seen it was in 2016, I would not have responded.

Fortunately, Shyam has stated that his current view is “more nuanced”, so I thank him for his update.

Hey Chris – I’m in the market looking at SR22 G5s. I’d very much appreciate an opportunity to learn more about your valuation model and any insights/guides you may have.


Without reading any of the responses, VRef is crap. It’s often 100k off in either direction. It does more harm than good.

Hanos, we’d be happy to help. In this crazy market we’ve been using our valuation tools to help buyers find (and purchase) airplanes outside Aerista’s inventory than ever before. I will ask one of our sales reps to reach out to you directly to see if we can help you find what you’re looking for.

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I buy and sell a couple of million dollars worth of cars every month and let me tell you this: Books have never bought or sold a car or in this case, airplane. Research the market. I never buy the cheapest example of a vehicle. Cheap isn’t good and good isn’t cheap. Find what you want and if it’s even close to market buy it or someone else will. Oh and use Chris! His team is the best!!


Same thing in real estate, with sites like Zillow and Redfin. Sometimes their valuations are close, but many times they are low or way too high. Hard to explain to a listing client that their house will sell for $800,000 when Zillow says it’s worth $1.1M.

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I explain it to my managers like this: Let me know when NADA is willing to write a check, until then it’s a guide for people who are uneducated and that’s not you. If it is, excuse yourself now. Our jobs are to reconcile the reason why our vehicles aren’t the cheapest or even close to book value. Want a tan Camry? You can buy that at book. Want a nice Shelby GT500? Forget the book or you’ll wish you did. I can only imagine what it’s like trying to tell sellers who have no clue about the market that Zillow won’t pay 1.1 mill and neither will buyers. It’s a chore to educate customers in sales, but vital!