How to best sell or trade my piano

Posted by: jkurry

How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/27/10 09:48 PM

I have a Baldwin Model R (222101), which I believe is from 1978. One owner (got it from my parents) and always professionally maintained. I had it rebuilt about 10 years ago with new hammers and all that, but there are some cosmetic scratches (lots of kid piano lessons!). I'm moving to a smaller place and would like to sell or trade for a good upright. So 2 questions.

1. How do I go about figuring out what its worth? Is it possible to trade in, or should i sell then look for the new piano.

2. Looking for opinions on good uprights that will last and hold value. People are always impressed with the tone and overall quality of sound from the Baldwin and I'd like to find similar in an upright, understanding of course that it's an upright.

Thanks..
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 08:09 AM

Hi jkurry, and welcome to the PW forums!

I don’t know too much about buying and selling pianos, but I do check out the local Craigslist and eBay almost every day to see what used pianos are selling for (and, the possibility that I might come across a bargain grin).

It seems to me that you have a desirable and popular brand and model and you should be able to sell it rather easily. As far as how much it is worth, or how much you could sell it for, those two things are not always the same, or even close, per-se. You could do some research and see what used Baldwin R’s similar to yours are selling for and you could also have it appraised professionally. However, I rarely see used pianos sell for even close to what they are appraised for… as a general rule.

In terms of trading it in to a dealer, that is always an option. However, I’ve been told that dealers usually only allow you a very small fraction of what you could sell the piano for privately, unless you do a “retail to retail” trade, which may not me such a good deal either. But, I’m no expert or a consultant. I’m just a Piano World junky! grin

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

Take care,

Rick
Posted by: PianoMan1958

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 08:10 AM

Check ebay to see what R's are selling for and that would give you a starting place. I've also used local master piano tech's to appraise pianos I'm getting ready to sell, donate, etc.
Posted by: NoctuGranes

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 10:18 AM

1) Talk to your technician. If he/she can't help then you should be able to get a recommendation. You can discuss options such as how much you're concerned with the hassle of selling it yourself versus the lower price you get if you do consignment, etc. Most dealers will take a trade. Like a car trade, it is low hassle, low $$ for you.

2) if you like Baldwin and are looking for an upright, I had an early 90's vintage Baldwin 6000 for many years that I thought was quite a fine instrument. Ask the pros here about different vintages though, I've seen 6000's that were clearly different than the one I owned.
Posted by: Brandon_W_T

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 10:55 AM

Do you think you could squeeze a model M in your new place? That would be a nice smaller alternative. Of course its only 6" smaller, but still a great instrument.

As for uprights. I love Yamahas. A YUS5 (correct model anyone???) Might be an excellent find.

I am sure for the price you can get out of the R you can find a very nice used yamaha upright. Maybe even more than a used yamaha! Baldwin 6000 maybe? smile
Posted by: jkurry

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 04:23 PM

Thank you all for the input. My tech is telling me that the piano is probably worth $10-12k, but that it's a soft market right now. Is it worth trying to sell on ebay? craigslist?
Posted by: Bob

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 04:23 PM

Are you sure you want to replace a Baldwin R? That should be a fairly nice piano, and you won't get what it's really worth in today's market. I've owned many pianos over the years, and I've always regretted selling the nicer ones, even though I made money on them. Lack of space is the most common reason I hear for downsizing a piano, but if you really look, you can find the space somewhere. I see pianos in very small spaces all the time.
Posted by: jkurry

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 06:26 PM

I hear you and would love to keep it, but i'm moving to a much smaller place and really will only have room for an upright there.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/28/10 06:32 PM

In general, you will get much more by selling privately than if you trade a piano in, sell it to a dealer outright, or sell it on consignment. A dealer will offer you roughly half of what they think they can sell it for privately. That's not an attempt to take advantage of you either. By buying your piano the dealer is accepting all the risk of the market, and the carrying cost of fronting you the purchase price, and the cost of floor space. They need a return for that, hence the deep discount you'll fork over if you sell it to (or through) a dealer.

It all depends on your tastes. Once you have a decent idea of the range of selling price possibilities (and it's a range, not a number), then you have to decide whether you want fast cash (sell it to the dealer) or if you are willing to take the time (which is money) of marketing it yourself. This is your choice. In general you will get a better price by selling it privately, but you will have to invest your time to do that, and you will face all the risks of not selling it at all or having to deeply discount it at some point if the market isn't very good to you.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 12:10 PM

Originally Posted By: jkurry
My tech is telling me that the piano is probably worth $10-12k, but that it's a soft market right now. Is it worth trying to sell on ebay? craigslist?


I'd try Craisglist first. Depending on where you live, though, it may or may not be a big enough market to get any nibbles. Keep in mind that in many cities, so many ads are placed that yours will fall out of sight after a couple of days, so you'll need to track it and keep relisting it.

I'm surprised nobody has recommended placing an ad right here on PW's pianos for sale page:

http://www.pianoworld.com/exchange.htm
Posted by: OldFingers

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 02:09 PM

When I first became dissatisfied with my piano I decided to sell it through Craigslist. The first question from the one and only caller was "would I sell it for less". When I wasn't willing to compromise on the price, it was the first call after all, and tried to describe the piano to her, she hung up. If I ever get around to selling the piano it will be with a reputable dealer, hopefully to trade-up to a piano more to my taste. I may take a financial loss, but it will be worth it not having to deal with the public. The dealers earn their money.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 02:50 PM

It has been my observation that acoustic pianos are not easy to sell, privately or otherwise, unless they are priced dirt cheap; and then they can still be difficult to move. I’ve seen the same grand or upright piano listed on Craigslist and eBay for months and even years.

I suppose this is where a reputable dealer has an advantage to an extent. They are able to offer a prospective buyer more options and value added perks than a private seller. None the less, pianos can be difficult to sell in the current market (seems to me at least).

Take care,

Rick
Posted by: jkurry

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 02:51 PM

I'm going to try Craigslist and here on Piano World first and see where it gets me. The other option is to put it in my ex-wife's house (my ex-house) for a while, but who knows if I'll get it back.
Posted by: jkurry

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 02:54 PM

I have a feeling that Miami isn't the best place to sell a baby grand (for the same reason there are very few live music venues or, for that matter, bookstores).
Posted by: Pianolance

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 04:55 PM

First of all, you will never get an upright that will have the same quality of sound your Baldwin has. If there's any way you can keep it, I would. That being said, I realize that you just won't have room for it so that might not be an option. I'm not saying you won't find a quality upright, as there are some very good ones, but it will be apples and oranges to your grand. If you are trying to sell your piano you should be aware that condition is EVERYTHING! If you want to get a decent price, get it tuned and have the piano cabinet touched up by a professional touch up guy. The piano stores in your area should be able to recommend a local guy who could make your piano look many times better for far less then refinishing it. Once your piano is looking and sounding spectacular, make a high quality video of it. You want to show it off at its best. I do this for my clients and I use a seperate audio and video recorder, then I edit the video to match with the audio so I can have the highest quality audio on the video. I would then put it on CL and eBay with an emphasis on its extremely fine condition. Put lots and lots of pictures, close ups of every little thing on the piano. 20 or more high quality photos is good. On high end pianos I sometimes hire a professional photographer, it's worth it to get professional pictures. It's easy to put a video on ebay, you can find instructions on google, but trust me, it's very easy. You can also put a link to the video on your CL ad. One other thing. Price it right, but give yourself some wiggle room or negotiating space. If you decide you need to get $10,000, list it for $11,000. Ebay lets you put a "Make and Offer" option. If you do all these things you will give yourself an advantage to most of the pianos you see online. People buy what they can see and trust.
Posted by: Brandon_W_T

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 07:19 PM

You could tip the piano on its side and take the legs off and put it up against a wall. But that would require some skill to play!

laugh
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 09:30 PM

Originally Posted By: jkurry
I have a feeling that Miami isn't the best place to sell a baby grand (for the same reason there are very few live music venues or, for that matter, bookstores).


What? Cubans don't like music? grin

Full disclosure: my wife is Cuban.

There aren't many bookstores anywhere anymore. We have only a Barnes & Noble and a couple of Hastings "Entertainment Superstores" (sort of a bookstore-video store-computer games-CD store entertainment kinda place).
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/29/10 10:51 PM

Originally Posted By: jkurry
I have a feeling that Miami isn't the best place to sell a baby grand (for the same reason there are very few live music venues or, for that matter, bookstores).


Well, now that we know where you are ...

Why don't you try advertising through the Frost School at the University of Miami. There may be very legitimate ways to get the information out that you have a piano for sale, and you can always just post some flyers in the practice halls.
Posted by: jkurry

Re: How to best sell or trade my piano - 07/30/10 01:16 PM

Good idea, thanks for that one. I'm going to try a combination of all these and see if any get met some decent dollars. If not, I'm going to put it in my ex-wife's house rather than give it away. At least then my kids can still play.