We just went through two Regular Stores and one Special Event held by a dealer on behalf of a local Univ. The factories represented by the dealer chipped in with a few new models at steep discount to boost the event. These are not Steinway dealers; and the special event dealer had several Steinways from the University for sale.
I am translating our experience to a Steinway Store and answering only questions #1 and #2. It is to share what we did and definitely not the only way. #3 and #4 are beyond my experience. 1. Regular Steinway Store
All models available for playing and immediate comparisons. All questions about Steinway (new and used) properly answered. May have used models fully restored by Steinway with warranty. 2. Special Event - sponsored by Factory and local Store.
May not have the Steinway you want. May have many more brands of different sizes, styles and ages for trials and tests. If Steinway of interest is available, then it is a good place to compare and contrast that against others.
Some Special Events include new models when Factory is trying to promote the sale. The new models may (or may not) be deeply discounted. If purchased new, there is warranty. Some local stores offer their own warranty on used piano while others do not.
Special Event can have really nice deal. We saw quite a few at this Special Event.
In order to know if a price is truly "a lot better", we prepared by having the following:
1. Larry Fine book data on MSRP and SMP. It will immediately identify if a new unit discount is "good".
2. On-line research to find prices of various Steinway B's (age, finish) listed by dealers, private sales and other sales in your area. This provides a ballpark understanding of pricing in your local region.
3. Bluebook data to complete the picture.
4. Know my own "pain" factors. What is the most comfortable price I am happy to pay if the ONE
is there? How much to stretch for that SPECIAL ONE
? Can I go beyond the limit if the once-in-a-lifetime surprise catch
is there to be had if I could just stretch a bit?
5. What if there is a new one that is just a bit more than a 10-yr old one? Is there a %-range I am willing to stretch for?
6. Most importantly, I would want to clearly know the measure by which to make a final call. If there are multiple Steinway B's available, some new, some old and they all have different prices (age & finish) and play and sound different, then it is a matter of deciding what is most important? Is cost the overriding concern? Is touch? Is sound? Finish? etc.
Being prepared and clear about these factors made it easy to ignore the "pressure". It also made it that much easier to walk away
as well as to seize a surprise good deal.
Good luck & have fun!