Agents fear buyers wouldn’t be in tune with old piano #657

#657 in a series of true adventures in real estate

We’re trying to figure out a good plan for getting rid of a piano. It’s not easy. This is an upright piano in a house we will be putting on the market. The owner does not want it. A friend who tried playing it says it’s “very bad” which I wouldn’t know because I know nothing at all about pianos except how difficult it is to pass them along.

We’ve had quite a few piano experiences at listings. The first one, years ago, was also an upright and quite old and was missing a front leg. How this leg came to be missing we never learned. The owner did not want to move the injured piano to her new house. She’d heard about Pianos for Cuba (aka Pianas for Havana, honestly) and thought that was a worthy idea. She contacted them and they said they’d come get the piano. Many weeks went by and we got very nervous but it did eventually disappear.

The experience reminded me of a piano in my mother’s house. Somehow it had been moved into a downstairs room when she moved there but when she was selling no one could figure out how to get the piano out. The only window was too small and the stairs to the main part of the house too steep to lift a very heavy piano. She ended up including it in the sale. I don’t know how happy the buyer was about this but he accepted the situation.

Once we had a listing with an old upright piano that we could not find a home for. We tried selling it, we tried giving it, the owner listed it as free on the Internet. Nothing.

We had a work crew at the house at the time and we asked if they could get rid of the piano. They figured they could take it to the dump but first they’d have to get it onto their truck. Strongest men, several of them, tried to lift the piano and get it onto a dolly. No dice. Plus we were all worried that even with a dolly the floors would be permanently marred during moving.

It was a lot of weight to get across several rooms to the front door and then down some steps and then to the truck and up into the bed. The crew decided to disassemble the piano. They took apart the case and removed the keyboard. Now they had the harp available, the heaviest part, and they tried to saw through it. Big steel harp, not sawable. It had to be carried by all the strong people, it was very difficult, but they did it. Piano went to the dump.

Now we are facing another one. And we think we may have it figured out. The garbage company offers a bulky pickup once a year. There are several categories they will remove free of charge: recyclable items such as stoves, refrigerators and mattresses, also TV’s and car tires (some limitations on quantity but not on weight); garden clippings and such; non-recyclables such as couches, rugs and doors.

We thought when we first read the categories that the piano would fit into the first group but then realized that a piano would not be considered recyclable. Then we thought surely a piano would work in the third category and this might work, we’re just not sure. There is a 3 cubic yard limitation on non-recyclables and our piano might just fit, but also, no item over 75 pounds is allowed except for furniture. We do not know if a piano is considered furniture.

If not, there is one more way to get the piano to the dump. A new program named The Bagster Bag is currently available. To get rid of construction debris, even concrete and rocks, you purchase a very large bag, 3 cubic foot capacity, from Home Depot or other retailers at a cost of $30. You can then put up to 3300 pounds of waste in the bag to be picked up by appointment at a cost of $175. Not cheap but less expensive than a dumpster.

I think we will need a professional piano mover because in this house there is not space to move the piano out the front door (another case of no one remembering how the piano came in). It will have to be moved across the living, dining rooms with wood floors, through the family room and outside to the courtyard. Then into and through the garage and finally into the Bagster Bag placed in an alley behind the garage. That’s where garbage is picked up.

I don’t know what moving it will cost but I’m guessing that to get rid of this piano, all in all, could cost as much as $300. Seems terribly expensive but it’s the only solution we’ve come up with and we can’t prep the house for sale until that piano is out of there.

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