Selling your piano is a challenge as it is a large investment of time for any buyer to make. As a seller, you will have to compete for the buyer’s attention by creating an image that your piano is better than other sellers’ listings. If you’ve decided that selling your piano is the right step to take, there is a lot to know about it before starting the process. For instance, do you know what information to list when selling? Do you know what online platforms you can sell it on easily? How about the process of determining a fair price? Or maybe you don’t want to deal with the process of selling and looking for external help? All of these questions will be answered in this article so that you can have the best possible experience selling your piano.
Before Deciding on Selling
Consider if you want to save the hassle of taking on the whole process yourself. It’s possible to sell your piano to a shop that will in turn sell it to a buyer. This guarantees you money for your instrument, which is not always the case if you choose to sell it privately. Consult a good technician, who will evaluate your piano and give you information on how to proceed. As a part of Hulme and Sweeney services, we offer piano evaluation and can take the hassle of selling the piano off of your hands.
However, it’s possible for your piano to be turned down by a shop for either being too old and unmaintained or simply not fit for sale. In that case, look into selling it privately, which will be detailed below.
What to Consider Before Selling
Selling a used piano is definitely a challenge in this era. Some new digital pianos can replicate the feel of an acoustic piano but do not have to be maintained. Naturally, acoustic pianos are becoming a rarer choice for the typical buyer. Used ones, at that, need to sufficiently sway the buyer away from buying a new piano, either acoustic or digital. So, there are a few things you must consider before deciding on selling your piano:
First, the brand of the piano. As goes for any product, well-known brands sell easier. A buyer who recognizes your piano’s brand will be more likely to look into it. On the other hand, lesser-known brands receive less attention from the typical buyer and more from a niche group of piano enthusiasts.
The piano’s age is another important factor as to whether your piano will sell or not. Contrary to popular belief, older pianos are simply not worth more. With age, a piano progressively breaks down, its wood becoming more brittle and its strings falling out of tune. Typically, a piano can last 20 to 30 years, and even more if it’s maintained properly, reconditioned, or restored. If you have a very old piano, it’s best to still try to sell it, but do not count on the fact that it will sell, for it’s very unlikely.
Next comes the appearance of the piano. Since the majority of people shop on the internet, a piano that looks good will obviously sell quicker than a damaged piano. If you want your piano to sell fast, then repairing any major damages to the case or the keys is a must-do. Such damages will turn down potential buyers very often.
Last, a record of the piano’s maintenance should be included in the sale. A buyer could find a well-known brand of piano that looks to be in good condition, but not follow through with the sale because of a clear lack of maintenance of the piano. It is crucial that you maintain your piano so that the buyer knows that they are purchasing a functioning instrument.
Advertising on Online Platforms
Again, since it’s easier for buyers to look at pianos on the internet, you will want to advertise yours there. Some common platforms include Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. Additionally, there are some more niche platforms specifically for pianos. These include PianoMart, PianoBuyer, Klaviano, and more. Now, to get the most out of your advertisement that you will publish, it’s important for you to do the following:
Take Good Pictures
More often than not, good photos of your piano will sway the buyer to look in further. Make sure to clean up the background and clean the piano itself. Take close-up pictures of the keys, case, and the inside of the piano. Be sure to include a good photo of the entire piano that will be suitable for a cover photo. The more appealing and eye-catching it is, the more likely that a buyer will look into purchasing it. Additionally, if there are any damages that you were unable to repair, make sure to take pictures of them. The more pictures you include in your advertisement, the more accurate and honest of an image you will create for your buyer.
List out Information
The first thing that potential buyers will read in the listing is the title of the product. A good format to follow for the title is the following: Year, Make, and Model.
Next, after looking at the cover photo, name, and price (which we will get to shortly), the buyer will move on to looking at the description. In the description of your item, list as much information about the piano as possible. This information should again include make, model, and year. Some additional facts that you should include are the piano’s serial number, its playing condition, any known damages (along with photos), the date of its last service, and the reason as to why you are selling it.
Again, the more information you provide about your listing, the more likely it is that a buyer will look into it. Selling a used piano is tough; you are competing with other sellers, after all. By placing yourself ahead of these sellers by providing information, you are increasing the likelihood of someone purchasing your piano.
Determine a Reasonable Price
The price of the piano is the deciding factor on whether potential buyers will look further into a sale. Of course, if the price is astronomically high, then most buyers will be turned away. However, the closer the listed price is to the piano’s fair market value (FMV), then buyers will be more likely to purchase it or negotiate a price.
So, how do you determine your piano’s FMV? The first thing to do would be to speak to a piano technician, preferably the one who has been servicing your piano. They will know its ins and outs and will be able to give a price close to the FMV.
Next, you should look at the listing prices of other pianos similar to yours on these online platforms. A competitive price will make potential buyers look more into your piano than other ones that are similar. Then, combining the two sources, determine a FMV for your piano.
However, you should not list the piano for this price. By listing the piano for a price about 12% higher than the FMV, then negotiating a lower price (that is close to the FMW) with your buyer will make them feel as though they are getting a good deal. Both you and the buyer will be happy because you sold your piano for its FMV and the buyer got the piano for a “deal”.
Movement and Shipping Costs
A price completely separate from the piano itself, which you should list in the description and/or total price, is the movement cost of the piano. Since pianos are such large and fragile objects, the cost of shipping them increases exponentially with distance. Additionally, moving the piano to a tough location in the house, such as up flights of stairs, can tack on a price that is important to display so that it does not sneak up on the buyer and turn them away from the sale.
There is a lot more that goes with selling your piano than just a picture and some text. The whole process of selling your piano is a battle to capture the attention of potential buyers. You may find that after some time, interest in your piano has died down. This is simply because your listing has fallen behind those of other sellers. Your information may be inadequate or your pictures and price may be unappealing.
All of the factors discussed earlier in the article have a substantial impact on whether your piano will sell. Oftentimes, you might even have to decrease the price of your piano for it to gain more attention from potential buyers.
That being said, there are other options to selling your piano. For instance, you could sell it to a piano shop, who will then sell it to a customer. Hulme and Sweeney Pianos can assist you with any questions regarding selling and can appraise your piano so you can determine its FMV. Feel free to visit us or give us a call!