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#3062912 12/30/20 04:44 PM
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One thing I've been asked to do, but not been able to help with much is appraisals. Whether it's for insurance or personal curiosity, I've always shyed away from it since I don't work from or even remotely near a piano dealer. To me, it's like asking a mechanic how much your car is worth. My focus has always been on tuning and repair, never values. I'd like to change that and be able to offer that to future clients. How do I familiarize myself with the appraisal process and values? Any suggestions are appreciated!

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If a client has recently purchased their piano I ask them where they got it and then ask how much they paid for it. They like to know if they got a good price so they are happy to answer the question. This has given me good insights into market prices for used pianos. You can survey craigslist and eBay to get an idea for private party used prices. In eBay I click the box in the advanced search options titled “sold listings”. That shows me what certain models have sold for. Piano stores know the market prices better than anybody so it seems a great idea to make friends with a piano dealer for such information. Every once in a while I’ll go survey piano stores to get an update on prices.

I rarely do appraisals, but when I do I give a range of prices. I give one price if the piano is being sold for quick sale and a higher price (at piano store level) if they want to try and hold out for a while. I also give them a price for the equivalent new replacement price for insurance purposes. Sometimes I will call a dealer or rebuilder to see if they are interested in purchasing a clients piano. Whatever price they offer to buy it for will be super cheap and I tell the clients the price they could get from trying to find a private buyer could be up to several times more than what they are offering.

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I’d be careful doing appraisals for insurance reasons or for tax write offs because of donations.
I just declined an appraisal for the latter.
Told the client to find a pro.


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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
I’d be careful doing appraisals for insurance reasons or for tax write offs because of donations.
I just declined an appraisal for the latter.
Told the client to find a pro.

That’s good advice.

I only do appraisals on lower end pianos. High end pianos are not worth the risk in the end.

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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
I’d be careful doing appraisals for insurance reasons or for tax write offs because of donations.
I just declined an appraisal for the latter.
Told the client to find a pro.

Gene's caution is wise. But the part about finding a pro doesn't work so well. I have no idea who a pro is in the field of piano appraisal. An auction house won't know, since the field is too small. A seasoned piano technician might be able to do it, but the appraisal fee likely doesn't merit the risk or the time involved. Perhaps a veteran retailer who sells both new and used pianos could do it, though again, they may not want to accept the legal risk. And the retailer hardly appears objective.

I have thought of doing this myself, since I know the piano scene well and have sourced many instruments for myself and for students, but I don't do it formally, for these same reasons. And also since I don't want to offend my students if I tell them the truth about the slender value of their beloved instruments.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 01/03/21 08:11 PM.
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Laws have changed. You have to find a pro appraiser.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8

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