Getting a fair price on used pianos in Washington D.C. can be a difficult task. Especially if one is looking for a top tier brand name piano such as a Yamaha or Steinway. These days, there are many sellers out there trying to sell their piano at a price way more than what it is actually worth. As buyers and sellers of used pianos ourselves, our job is to know what a piano is truly worth. Today, we are going to give you a few guidelines should you be attempting to purchase one from a private seller on your own.
Always Look For Name Brand Pianos
When looking for a used piano, your first rule should always be “stick with the brand names”. There are just too many no-name pianos floating around out there made with inferior materials and marketed to the lowest dollar amount. Those pianos are virtually worthless once purchased.
Here is a list of some of the most trusted brands in the industry, and their respective price points:
- Yamaha (Prices: Low – High)
- Steinway & Sons (Prices: High – Very High)
- Mason & Hamlin (Prices: Medium – High)
- Baldwin (Prices: Low – Medium)
- Roland (Prices: Low – Medium)
- Cristofori (Prices: Low – Medium)
- Boston (Prices: Medium)
- Kawai (Prices: Low – Medium)
- Bösendorfer (Prices: High)
Almost All Private Sellers Over-Price Their Pianos
There is, of course, a simple reason for this: Many sellers haven’t the faintest notion of how much their piano is worth and are too busy to do the research to find out. So instead, the list it for what they think it should be worth based either on what they paid for it or what it means to them. Knowing the market value of various models will give you the upper hand in your negotiations and will make sure you purchase your piano at a fair price.
There are plenty of resources out there which can be helpful in determining a pianos worth such as online auctions, piano forums, and craigslist.
Determine the Manufacturing Date and Serial Number
Another piece of information we suggest you know is the manufacture date and serial number of the piano you are interested in purchasing. This information is usually imprinted over a metal plate near the keys or inside the piano. As a precaution, a quick search online for the piano model and manufacture date can sometimes (though rarely) yield information about an issue specific to that series. You should also have it inspected over by a authorized piano servicer or technician to make sure it has been well taken care of.
Prior buying or selling, one should test the sound for each key both at high and low volume. Make sure that there’s no defect in any key whatsoever that is neither should be out of tune or non functional. The variation by which a used piano is out of tune will also give you an idea of how well it was taken care of. If the piano is way off tune, it may be indicative of a piano that has not been cared for well or rarely tuned. Thus, more costly tunings and/or repair may be needed after purchase.
Visit a Used Piano Dealer
This can never hurt and may also help put into perspective some of the prices you’ve come across. Piano dealers are often trying to move used pianos quickly and often price them as low as they can possibly go. While you may not get a “steal” on a piano, there are some very attractive upsides to buying a piano from a dealer that sells used pianos.
- The piano will have been checked thoroughly by a technician prior to any dealer acquisition.
- Any tuning or repair work will have already been done. So no extra expenses to rain on your parade when you get the piano home.
- A dealer can be visited after-the-purchase should something go horribly wrong.
Remember, every piano is different and each has its own back-story. The best piece of information on a piano is an accurate history. Who owned it? For how long? And how was it used? The right answers to those questions can raise the worth a piano substantially.