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Estonia Pianos
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#3188465 01/25/22 02:31 PM
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Hi! My mother-in-law in Winchester, Virginia is looking to sell a 1983 Yamaha C3 that was used by her husband until he passed. It has been kept inside (e.g. not garage) but not played regularly for the past 5 years. While I recognize we will probably get less selling to a dealer, we would prefer this route for ease of sale. Before I start engaging in earnest with dealers, I was hoping to get your ideas for a valuation range of valuation. I recognize there are many factors in play but based on reading this forum and on-line marketplaces, I'm thinking $8,000-$12,000.

Also, do you recommend getting a valuation from an RPT before proceeding? How much should I expect that to cost?

See pictures here

Thanks very much!

David/

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If I were in your shoes, I would get the piano prepped.
Find a local tuner, ask to tune the piano, ask them to clean the piano and have them appraise it too.

You will have your appraisal and piano will sell better too. Interested customers would also enjoy a tuned piano much more too.

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Thanks @Walkman! Good advice. How much should I expect to pay for that?

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I am not from the US and have no idea about the prices there smile Hopefully some other people will answer your pricing question. You could also post this in the Tuner Technicians subforum here.

Last edited by Walkman; 01/25/22 03:23 PM.
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If your plan is to sell it to a dealer I wouldn't spend anything getting it prepped. I would only do that if you sell it privately. Your price expectation seems reasonable to me based on selling prices for other C3s of that era. Given the market right now, you probably could sell it privately without much effort and get a few thousand more for it.

I can't tell if it's the lighting in the photo that shows the trap work, but what is that white stuff? It looks like it could be dust from a humidifier. If it really is something that you can remove, I'd clean that off.


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Contrary to the opinion of many, the instrument is in its declining years. The design lifespan of a piano is about 30-40 years, at which point major components are showing significant signs of degradation through age, use, and environment. Any dealer worth his salt is going to have to put some significant time and money into it in order to effectively sell it. I would very surprised if you were to get any offer over $5k.

I'm interested in the outcome though.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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MarkL #3188512 01/25/22 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
If your plan is to sell it to a dealer I wouldn't spend anything getting it prepped. I would only do that if you sell it privately. Your price expectation seems reasonable to me based on selling prices for other C3s of that era. Given the market right now, you probably could sell it privately without much effort and get a few thousand more for it.

I can't tell if it's the lighting in the photo that shows the trap work, but what is that white stuff? It looks like it could be dust from a humidifier. If it really is something that you can remove, I'd clean that off.

I agree with MarkL. I do not believe a dealer would offer you any more for the C3 whether the piano was recently tuned, cleaned, and serviced or not. I could be wrong, but don't think I am.

I will say, however, the Yamaha C3 is a very popular grand piano, and you shouldn't have any trouble selling it. I also agree with MarkL that selling it privately to an interested buyer, rather than a dealer, would yield the highest price. On the other hand, if you just want to get rid of it ASAP, the dealer might be the best way to go.

All the best!

Rick


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BTW the OP asked about the cost of tuning or evaluation by a piano tech -- this tends to vary regionally, and then also it's often a little more expensive in urban areas. The other detail is that a piano that hasn't been tuned in several years requires a little more work and may need more than one tuning to be brought up to pitch (although if the C3 was tuned regularly and then has not been tuned for 5 years, I bet it wouldn't need the kind of pitch raise you see on a long-neglected instrument).

In any case, here are some numbers:
1. $150 for a standard tuning
2. Pitch correction, add $50-100
3. Evaluation: depends but maybe $100??
4. Additional work is often $100/hour.

You might find someone who charges much more or a little less. Piano techs and tuners can usually give you some ballpark prices on the phone, it's work calling around and seeing who you can find.

Oh, the other benefit to connecting with a piano tech -- they may know people who want to buy privately, so it's a good contact to make.

Which reminds me: would you decide to sell it privately if a dealer offered $5000 but you could sell it yourself for $10,000? Because that is a scenario I could easily imagine. Something to think about.

And, if you are going to sell it privately, definitely get it tuned and prettied up, it makes a huge difference!

Hopefully this info helps!

Good luck!


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I will bow to the expertise of Peter W. Grey as far as the marketability of the piano to a dealer is concerned. I will say, however (non-professional opinion), that if you hope to sell it privately it should be tuned, if it hasn't recently been tuned. Nothing is more frustrating to a serious, potential buyer - and can even be a deal breaker - to come across a piano that is not in good tune. How can a buyer assess the tone of a piano if it is not in tune?

Regards,


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I am guessing the maximum you'd get for this piano, as a private sale, tuned and with whatever touchups it needs (slight regulation or voicing tweaks, or cleaning it internally, or fixing any prominent nicks or scratches in the case finish, etc.) might fetch you $10k for a C3 of this age that's otherwise original and not from an institutional environment. You're looking at an investment of probably less than $500 to get the piano into this sort of shape.

Sold to a dealer as-is, they're probably going to give you half that ($5k) as a wholesale price, because they will need to do the things I listed above to be able to sell it for $10-11k, move it, and ostensibly offer some sort of warranty for it.

These are educated guesses as to the pricing. A $4,500 difference in my pocket would be worth some extra effort on my end, if it were my piano. But that's just me. Thinking you're going to get $12k for that piano as a private sale is probably not in line with reality, given its age. Consigning it at a dealer is another option, if you can work out the terms and they have the ability to get the piano back into shape to be sold for the best possible price.


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I hope you can get a good price for this piano. Yamahas from this period can have a beautiful singing tone, subject to the piano being in good order. A general overview is that the instrument needs a good clean out, and it certainly needs the case buffed. We can't tell what condition the soundboard is in (likely fine, to be honest), and we can't tell if the strings are still serviceable. Yamaha pianos from this period were not as good in the bass, and sometimes the bass strings can go a bit tubby. I'm *not* recommending that you do this but in an ideal world the piano would be restrung as part of its servicing and the action will probably need considerable servicing that may extend to new hammers and damper felts.

All that considered, I suspect that a dealer would offer you $3000-$5000 for this piano. They may offer a bit more, Yamaha is usually a good seller, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it.

Although I've just said the piano may need all that work done, it may also be that the piano is perfectly serviceable as it is, and perfectly functional for a music student or pianist who requires a functional instrument but is just looking for a workhorse. If the piano is functional and serviceable there's probably a good five or ten years of life in it - not stellar, youthful, concert quality life, but you know what I mean. My hunch is that in a private sale, without a warranty, sold as seen, the piano might be worth $5000 - $10,000, but that $10,000 would be a very lucky scenario.

It's always difficult to know when selling a used grand, but I think if you get offered $6000 - $7000 you should probably take it, although naturally I'd love to see you get that $10k


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To David, the OP, I hope you’ll come back and let us know what you were able to sell it for once it’s all over.

Good luck!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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This is all immensely helpful! i appreciate all of you taking the time to respond to my query. I'll be sure to provide an update after we sell.

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