Because of health reasons, I am currently pursuing my Sport Pilot certificate. I've been doing my research and I think it may be more cost-effective to purchase my own plane, vs plane rental when I'm ready for flight school. I've been formulating cost-benefit analysis, with different planes. Fortunately, since I'll only be able to fly S-LSAs-VFR, the costs are not as prohibitive as certified planes. Never the less, S-LSAs are expensive too. Then you have to incorporate maintenance, fuel, hangar/tie-down fees, ins. and the list goes on. I just turned 58, and plan on retiring in 2030, so I've got time to think this through and be smart & strategic. I have a baseline knowledge of the S-LSA planes/engines makes, models, and features I'd like to have. I'm also thinking it would be prudent to buy a newer plane (as much as I can afford) rather than an older one. I don't think it's wise to buy a $40K plane that's coming up on its 2K hour TBO and then have to turn around and shell out $50K - $100K for an overhaul. Oh, by the way, I work in downtown DC at FAA Headquarters. Well, I'm all ears!
The one club that has multiple planes moved out of Bowman to Clark Regional (KJVY) across the river in Indiana and has a buy-in fee and monthly membership cost depending on what one wants to fly. The club aircraft are very clean spotless and the number of members per plane is limited to assure reasonable availability. I guess someone needs to pay their money and commit to paying the monthly fee to see if this works for them.
Bottom line for me is that if you can afford it, buy it -- and don't think about the cost compared to renting.
Appreciate the words of wisdom. Although I can afford it, my stomach still churns when I think about the purchase price, along with the maintenance costs, insurance, hangar rental...
I also agree that one shouldn't purchase until convinced that flying is the right choice. I'm a late bloomer and have had my head in the sky for a long time, including riding my bike to Sun-n-Fun because I was too young to drive. I'm convinced that flying is the right choice, I just have to knock out all the cobwebs in my brain in order to pass the tests and get my certificate. I plan to buy a mid-time engine with reasonable AFTT that is IFR capable so that I can continue training and (eventually) become comfortable flying in IMC.
It is currently a seller's market, so I know that I most likely won't ever recoup my money. Based on that, I'm trying to buy a "keeper" airplane. I know, I know... I'll be like many others that immediately start looking for my "next plane" but I can't let the wife know.
I'll be checking-back to hear about your new plane, Cecil.
OTOH, I strongly discourage buying before getting your pilot certificate. First, and maybe most obvious, there's the possibility that you'll decide somewhere in training that this isn't for you, and turning over a plane you bought recently is a serious money-losing proposition. Also, for various regulatory, business, liability, and insurance reasons, flight school often decline to provide training in customer-owned airplanes unless you turn the plane over to them to manage and operate at their own discretion -- which kind of defeats most of the reasons for buying it yourself.
A newer airplane may skew your numbers a bit as the loan may be a higher monthly nut than for an older airplane. Also, since you noted it, you do need to factor in an engine overhaul and any planned, or desired, upgrades down the road. Hangar space in large metro areas can come at a premium, if it comes at all. Check all surrounding airports and inquire about hangar availability, wait lists, or tie-down availability early on; you don't want any surprises when you do get that bird. Hope this helps a bit, and good luck with ownership!