General

Selling Your Piano Online

I cruise several online listings daily for pianos for sale and other piano services. More often than not I see posts that say simply “Piano for sale” and offer wide shots of the piano with no other information.
I usually email the seller for more information and sometimes I get a reply back. Even then, most replies do not answer all the questions I have. So here are some pointers on how to sell your piano online:
• Use every outlet available to you. Don’t choose between Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Post on both!
• Multiple detailed photos help the buyer to inspect your piano without making a trip out to you. In your photos include one or two overall shots that shows the entire piano, a shot of the brand graphic on the fallboard as well as shots of the brand artwork on the soundboard and harp. Include a photo of the serial number on the piano and any additional information you may have on the piano. Finally, take close up photos of any parts of the piano that might be broken – this includes strings, hammers, keys that aren’t level or missing, or any damage to the piano itself.
• Include any pedigree on the piano such as when it came into your possession and who you got it from and, if you can find out, who they got it from. Also mention how many times you know the piano has been moved and/or how often you’ve had it serviced.
• Stress that the buyer is responsible for moving the piano. This will help prepare the buyer in arranging transport – hiring movers or a piano service. Moving grand pianos is a special process and should only be done by experienced and skilled movers. Be sure to mention any steps or obstacles that the movers will encounter in the process.
• Include the bench! Unless you purchased an artists or duets bench and plan on keeping it or selling it separate, include the bench you’ve used with the piano. This is important if the piano came into your possession with the bench, especially if it matches the piano.
• Pricing a piano has many variables and there is very little in the way of a standard value in pianos. You can get an estimate from a Piano Technician or dealer but even that estimate is only worth as much as a buyer will actually pay for it. Your piano may be highly valuable to you but your buyer has a smaller budget and will pass on your piano. Similarly, you could offer your piano for little – or free – and not get any bites. I advise that you price your piano for what you’re willing to part with it for. If you need the space, find a balance between how much you paid for the piano and how valuable your new space will be. If you’re buying a new piano but need to sell yours first, find a value that will get you what you want but not so high that it’s too expensive to someone else.
• Consider the age and condition of the piano. You may have a hundred year-old Steinway upright that has been in a garage for twenty years and needs a lot of work. Or you may have a five year old Pearl River upright. The condition and age of the piano affects the buyers perception of it. If that old Steinway needs $2,000 worth of work on it then to the buyer will add that renovation cost to your asking price. However, that five year-old Pearl River could be in excellent condition and worth every penny without needing any work. Consider and explain the condition of the piano you’re selling in your post.
• Encourage inspections and questions regarding the piano. I once emailed a seller asking for a brand name and serial number on a piano and got the reply “I don’t know. I’m selling it for my mom. Here’s her number” – That sort of reply is an immediate turn-off. Consider your customer service when you’re selling the piano. Make getting information to the buyer easy and it will help keep the deal to your asking price since the buyer will have the added value in your service.
Finally, as in everything – KEEP IT SIMPLE. Consider the buyer in search of a piano – a simple, well-worded ad with pictures and information will pre-answer all the questions in their mind. Answer questions promptly and thoroughly. Think through the process of selling your piano from the buyers perspective and you’ll find your efforts will be a worthwhile endeavor.

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