A Few Insights on Piano Resale Value by Steve Siu
Here is a factor that almost everyone overlook when purchasing a piano in America - that is, ease of resale and resale value. Let me tell you how significant this is when play into the whole equation. And as a result, I have identified only 5 brands that I would recommend one to buy when considering this "resale" factor.
May be not in the near future, but there may be a good chance that you may want or need to sell your piano in the future. Upgrading, relocating, life style changes, changes of space requirements, both bigger or smaller; you need money (a big one!!!) etc. You want to free up space in your house. Or you may just look at your dusty piano one day and decide to get rid or it. The list is endless. I personally have sold pianos that I thought I was going to keep for the rest of my life. One of them is a Hamburg Steinway model B. At that time I was struggling in my career and I had no choice but to sell it. I quickly found a buyer that paid $55,000 for it. Just two years prior I paid $50,000 for it. I can assure you if it was any other piano, I would have trouble selling it fast and get even close to what I paid for it, let alone gaining $5000.
With that said, in addition to researching a good instrument, it is very important to buy a piano that sells relatively easily and have a decent resale value when it is time to unload it in the used market. But very few think about this when purchasing an instrument.
In general, Americans are easily marketed by big corporations and most of the time they are clueless about true quality - not just in pianos, but pretty much in everything else. In the piano market, the average consumers, or even pianists, are only familiar and trusting with a few brands. I personally disagree with some of these American preferences, but it is what they know and prefer, and if you want to sell to them, you have to play their game.
The truth is, there are a handful of wonderful pianos in the world. But most of them I will never buy or advice someone to buy in America. For example, I love the Italian piano Fazioli, as well as the German piano Grotrian. There are other premier brands like Seiler, Bluthner, Mason and Hamlin, Steingraeber, Estonia, Sauter, Bechstein, just to name a few (By the way, any of these pianos is a better made piano in all aspects compared to a brand new New York Steinway in a showroom near you). But in America, I will not advice one to buy one of these brands. Not because they are not good pianos, but if you are trying to sell one of these pianos in the used market, good luck. It will be extremely difficult to find a buyer and when you do, unless you are extremely lucky, you probably have to lower your price steeply, which means a poor resale value.
You can say whatever you want about a New York Steinway (and I have, see my piano buying guide in my website), but a Steinway will always be a Steinway and people in America in general will always want to buy a Steinway if they can afford it. That's why they tend to do well with resale value and it is much easier to find a buyer. The Bosendorfer, while not as well known as the Steinway in America among the general public, is still a world class brand that can attract a sizable pool of interested buyers in the used market. The Mason and Hamlin, however, while an excellent instrument, has what I call a "cult like" following among technicians and a small pool of enthusiasts who appreciate true quality workmanship. Almost all average consumer and believe it or not, most pianists (by that I mean people learning to play, university students, church players, gigging musicians), may never have heard of this American brand. I say this by experience - many pianists I have talked to have never heard of the Mason and Hamlin and if they have, they have never played on one therefore they do not know what a quality instrument it really is.
So here comes one of my core believes when purchasing a piano in America based on my resale philosophy. I have identified only 5 brands I would advice one to buy in America that can be easily sold in the used market with a decent resale value. Steinway. Bosendorfer, Yamaha, Kawai, and maybe a Young Chang (at least all the Asians know about Young Chang). Any other brands, even the Mason & Hamlin and Baldwin, you will most likely struggle at some degree.
Click here to read more on Steve Siu’s Piano Buying Guide
About the Author:
Steve Siu a concert pianist and composer, founder of www.PianoReimagined.com, the internet best popular piano music website. For more information on piano music, pianos and other services you can email him at steve@PianoReimagined.com