Additional Thoughts and Questions
I've gotten a lot of great feedback on these pages, enough
to encourage me to add more.
I don't want to change the original steps, though, I think the way the thought process developed and played out for me organically is as important in some ways as fixing, adding, or modifying what I orginally wrote.
Instead I'll add additional information here, to enhance and suplement. This is generated almost completely by one-one correspondence with people in the process of buying an airplane (particularly Mooneys), keep writing to me your feedback, thoughts, and questions will help others in their processes.
Look for an installed upgrade or plan to upgrade post-purchase?
The section on finding the airplane you want spends a good bit of time talking about the particular configuration of airplane you're looking for. However, one gentleman wrote recently and was musing about whether to look for an airplane with long range fuel tanks installed, or buy without and add later.
My gut reaction was "Don't even let that question influence your selection criteria!" Then I had to figure out why I reacted like that, it felt right, but why?
I realized that there are two types (at least two) of upgrades, balanced and unbalanced. A balanced upgrade is weighted equally installed plus repair vs. post-installed, an unbalanced is biased more heavily one way or the other. Balanced upgrades should not factor into your decision very strongly, spend your time on the unbalanced upgrades.
Here are a few examples;
In practical terms, if you wanted an airplane with long-range tanks and an O2 system, you would put the LR tanks low, don't even let them enter (and distract) your thought process, while keeping a keen eye out for the O2 equipped aircraft.
Make sense? Your decisions about the accessories that you care about when picking an airplane have to have weighting also. Some things are trivially easy to make right after the fact and you shouldn't even fret about.
Two more examples;