Pianos For Sale on Craigslist
I (Michael) get about 4 calls a week from people asking questions about buying a used piano on craigslist. They often are looking at a specific piano on craigslist that they think is the best deal they will ever guess. They say things like “If I don’t buy this piano now, I will never find another deal like this again” or “The person selling the piano has no idea how good of a deal they are giving me”. After they show me the piano I typically have to be the one to let them down softly… While there are great deals on used pianos on craigslist, they are typically snatched up by the used piano stores before the general public has a chance to even see them.
How We Find the Deals on Used Pianos
As most of you know, we get most of our used baby grand pianos and used upright pianos from private sellers in California. We work with realtors piano tuners, piano teachers and piano dealers out there about every two weeks and do all of the purchasing and moving ourselves. We also buy about 25% of our used pianos locally. These pianos usually come from people calling into our shop because they don’t want to try to sell their pianos on Craigslist. Obviously both of these buying techniques are not realistic for the average piano shopper.
How You Can Find Deals on Used Pianos
If somebody calls in and asks me how to find deals on used pianos I always remind them that at Stilwell Pianos, our main competitors are private sellers in Arizona, not other piano stores. If you have looked at our prices on used pianos, you will know that even though we are a piano store, we are still cheaper than most private sellers selling pianos on craigslist.
That being said, you have two options. You can buy from us and know that you are buying a piano that has been inspected by a Certified Piano Technician (CPT) or you can buy a piano from a private seller and pay for a “pre-purchase inspection“. A pre-purchase inspection costs $60 and involves having a certified piano technician from Stilwell Pianos go out to the private sellers house and inspect the piano inside and out before you buy it. The technician will call you and go over his findings and give you an accurate quote on what it will take to get the piano up to playable condition which will help you make a decision on whether or not to buy the used piano. For more information on pre-purchase inspections, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Things to Look For in a Used Piano
When buying a used piano on craigslist, you want to buy the one that feels the best and sounds the best TO YOU. This is extremely important. The piano is going to be yours forever. You want to LOVE it not just LIKE it. Sticking with the bigger name brands and looking out for things like major scratches or dramatically out of tune pianos will save you some time too. If the piano is dramatically out of tune, it means one of two things; 1. The owner didn’t take care of it or 2. The owner had it tuned but it slipped out of tune quickly due to a dried out pinblock or a cracked bridge.
I could go on and on about things we look for when buying pianos but because most of you are not piano technicians, it is always best to hire one to look over the piano before you buy it. This goes for $100 used pianos as well as $10,000 used pianos. It never feels good to find out that you spent your money on a “lemon”.