Purchasing a piano should be a fun and enjoyable process. Many people get stressed out and feel that they are uneducated in the entire piano and music genre. The most important aspect to buying a piano is knowing that the dealer you are buying from is a reputable dealer. A company that offers several brands at one location is also a plus, it allows you to here different pianos side by side.
Listen, listen, listen. Even if you can't play the piano, you can here the different tone qualities of the pianos. Ask the salesperson to play each piano for you. Listen for a warm tone with a sound that will ring out and sustain a long time. Ask about the different scale designs of the pianos discussed in our Piano Basics 101 section.
Look. Asthetics are important too. If this is your first piano, don't feel silly if you really like one style or another. This actually may take priority in a student piano.
Play the piano. Even if you play just a bit. It is important to feel the keys. The action should give you some resistance, yet be even from bass to treble.
Some piano dealerships offer a trade in offer, which will allow you to recoup much of your original purchase price (if purchased at the same dealership) when purchasing a better piano. This can be an excellent way to venture into the world of piano playing with the least amount of money out of pocket.
Avoid rental plans. Everything that we have seen shows rentals to be overpriced. Most people who rent pianos wind up purchasing a piano for list price, because they have paid into the piano with rental money and become tied into the store that rented it to them. No one would want to walk away from several hundred dollars.
Pianos in general hold their value. There is an initial depreciation the first 4 to 5 years, anytime after that, it is very possible to recoup 100% of your investment if not more. We are not advocating investing in pianos to get rich, but most pianos have outperformed the stock market for the past 2 years.