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Used snowblowers

If you're not quite ready to invest in a new one, here are three things to consider when buying a used model.

Worried about what to do with snow on your acreage? The product guide starting on page 10 can help you choose a new snowblower, but what about a used model?

Over the last 10 years I've seen more than 700 snowblowers sell. One thing for sure, used models in good condition - whether front or rear mount - are holding their value.

For example, a Red Devil 9654B 8-foot, three-point, twin auger snowblower with hydraulic spout sold February 18, 2006, at an auction in northwest Iowa for $1,800.

And 10 years earlier, a similar Red Devil 9654B sold for $1,850 in northeast South Dakota. As you see, they are worth the same money 10 years later.

Look for these 3 things
Whether you're buying a new or a used snowblower, here are three key points to consider.

1. Weight. Skip Schimek of Detke-Morbac Co., Blue Earth, Minnesota, sells Loftness (www.loftness.com) snowblowers. He says weight of the blower is very important.

"Be sure to buy something heavy duty enough to do the job you need it to do. You definitely don't want to buy something too light." Manufacturers list the weight of models on their Web sites, so go there first to compare.

2. Tractor size. "You need to buy what fits your tractor, skid steer, or garden tractor," says Schimek. If you have a 40-hp. tractor, you'll want a heavier snowblower than if you are running a 20-hp. tractor. Again, most manufacturers' Web sites detail the horsepower needs for various models. A few calls to local dealers can help, too.

3. Timing. Prices tend to run higher from mid-November through February on all types of used equipment. Snowblowers are no exception. I'd estimate used snowblowers tend to sell for 10% more at auction during this three-month period. Makes sense, as that's when folks in the northern half of the U.S. are looking to blow snow.

Timing can also affect price when you buy new snowblowers. Buy out of season and there's a decent chance dealers may be offering slight price breaks on last year's new models, especially if the past winter was mild.

Compare the prices
With used prices trending as high as they have the last couple years on good-condition snowblowers, almost inching towards retail value, there are advantages to buying new if you can afford it in this current market.

Greg Peterson is publisher of the F.A.C.T's Report, a guide to auction prices on all types of farm equipment, as well as listings of equipment available on upcoming auctions and through dealers.

Visit Greg Peterson's website

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