The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.Alan Watts, from The Wisdom of Insecurity [ 2 ]
Parting with any of your possessions can be difficult, as nostalgia seems to creep into every box, memento or broken chair. That piano, on which you first learned Für Elise, or watched your children pounding out chopsticks, taps directly into your sense memory. These charged emotions are not to be trusted when selling your piano.
That’s where this guide comes in, to help navigate through the logistics during this seemingly difficult task; and avoid rash, uninformed decisions. You want to approach selling your piano with as much zeal as you did in buying it—so be prepared.
The first step is to get your piano tuned professionally and make sure there aren’t any necessary repairs. Buyers may be turned off if the piano is too out of tune. And showing your instrument in the best condition is an important selling tool. Keep the receipt, and while you’re at it, dig up any old receipts; an often-overlooked step that authenticates the care you’ve taken to preserve your piano (maintenance & cleaning).
The best way to inform is to be informed. Prepare as much documentation about your piano to ensure you can communicate its value effectively and answer any questions the buyer may pose. This will also help you succeed in getting an appropriate price for your piano.
The following is a simple list of things to prepare in advance of selling:
1. General information: year, make, model, size, color.
2. Describe current condition: surface/finish, piano legs, keyboard, pedals, strings, hammers & soundboard.
3. List extra features.
4. Reasons for selling.
5. Locate serial number.
6. Last date tuned and serviced.
7. Any repairs needed?
The next step is to figure out what your piano is worth. The Blue Book of Pianos is a free online resource that can help you get started. Or you can hire a piano technician to provide an evaluation. There is a fee associated with this path that could be up to $250. But it may be worth it to properly ensure you are getting the most you can.
Now that you are fully armed with information, it’s time to decide how you will sell it. Things to consider: Do you want to place an ad in the paper, online or both and sell it yourself? You will probably get more money if you sold privately and can choose a fitting home for your beloved instrument. However, it may take a while. This involves a level of patience and negotiating for which you may not have the time or energy. Besides, you will have to contend with strangers in your private space.
An alternate possibility is to sell it through a dealer or merchant such as a piano store. As an incentive, they will offer a free valuation. It may be as simple as filling out a form and sending pictures, along with a serial number. Unlike a private sale, you won’t have to sell it yourself; you’ll receive immediate payment, and avoid strangers in your home. However, you may not get as much for it as you would on your own. But remember you have done all your research so you know what your piano is worth and can negotiate smartly.
So that’s all there is to selling your piano. Still feelin’ kinda blue? Perhaps knowing that you have informed yourself and the buyer as best you can, will help you say goodbye to an old friend.