A flute teacher with a large studio wrote recently to ask:

Hi Lori,
I have a former student’s family trying to sell a used, step-up flute with a B Foot:

They paid 1,700.00 a little over a year ago for it, and the student hardly played on it at all. So, it’s in good condition. I have another student interested in buying it, and the seller wants $1,400.00 for it.

Is this a reasonable price to ask?
Many thanks for your help.
Busy Flute Teacher

I replied:

Dear Busy Flute Teacher,

The short answer is that correct price for anything is one of the buyer and seller can agree on. (!!)

That being said, a rule of thumb for pricing used beginner or step-up flutes is 50% of retail. See what the instrument currently sells for (i.e., $1700), then adjust up or down depending on condition.

Buyers and sellers will have different objectives. From the seller’s perspective, you want to recoup expenses: particularly from an instrument that was barely played. From the buyer’s perspective, is a $300 discount enough to purchase a gently used instrument. And what does the $300 discount get you.

What’s fair depends on the market: how readily available are these models in the area and what advantages are there with something brand new vs slightly used. And with any instrument you are evaluating, you want to see how how it looks and feels. From my perspective, there are a lot of instruments on the used market, there are a zillion step-up flutes, and I think the seller should drop a few more dollars off the price to make a sale.

As another point of reference, do your some homework online, particularly at sites featuring used instruments. For example, I see one listed for $900. And a floor demo listed for $1350. And watch the sales to see if the instruments are moving.