Every so often I get a call from someone seeking advice about a piano they are considering buying. Usually, the question is along the lines of "what should I be looking for?" or "how much do you think the piano is worth?".
While it is impossible to say what a piano is worth without having looked at it, there are some basic things a person should keep in mind when considering the purchase of a piano:
What is the general condition of the case(woodwork) ?
Does the piano still have the original bench ?
Is the piano up to pitch, compared to a reference(pitch pipe,harmonica,etc) ?
What is the condition of the keyboard? Missing or chipped keys?
Do all of the keys work?
How does the piano sound? Bright? Dull?
Do the pedals all work?
The above list is by no means complete or exhaustive. I encourage people looking at a piano to call me( preferably when they are near the piano, and armed with a bright flash-light). I am glad to receive such calls, because I will likely be talking to a future tune-up customer.