How to Find the Value of a Riding Lawn Mower

The value of a riding mower is clear to the owner of a large yard -- it cuts the time and effort needed to mow a large lawn dramatically. Whether buying or selling a tractor, though, its purchase price depends in large part on supply -- how many are for sale -- and demand -- how many buyers want it. Determine the value of a tractor by comparing its benefits and costs to your needs.

Senior mowing lawn
credit: Steven Heap/iStock/Getty Images
Man cutting grass on a riding lawn mower.

What You Need Vs. Want

That shiny new green -- or red, orange or black -- tractor with six attachments and cup holder on the fender might be attractive, but its price tag will bring you back to earth fast. Begin by assessing what you need. If you have less than 1/2 acre to mow, a riding mower might be all you need to keep it trim. Lawn tractors are designed for lawns up to 2 acres in size. Garden tractors are heavy-duty machines, strong enough to haul carts of wood, aerate and plow snow. Unless you have a golf course in your "back 40," those zero-turn jobs with the levers are probably an indulgence rather than a necessity. Once you've determined your yard's requirements, toss in such considerations as your physical condition and the capabilities of others in the family who share mowing chores. A mower that meets your needs will have more value.

Consult The Experts

Compare and you'll find that new tractors, like other vehicles, lose progressive chunks of their purchase price in resale value as they age -- and that some mowers retain value better than others because of brand or quality. Use a reference such as the Tractor Blue Book to find resale prices on models in which you're interested. A dealer for a particular brand might have knowledge of resale values, particularly if the dealer also offers used tractors. Keep in mind that the blue book value of a tractor represents what a dealer would offer you for a tractor. The sale price on the same model available for resale from a dealer has the dealer's costs and profit margin added to the price tag.

Shop For Deals

Local dealers who buy and sell used riders and tractors and can give you an idea of values in your local area, but to find a specific model, you might try consulting a dealer network such as John Deere's Machine Finder to find values on machines by brand, model, age, features and number of hours on the machine.

Find a Local Market

Whether you're establishing a value for a mower you want to sell or for one offered for sale, consider the local market. If you live in Horicon, Wisconsin, where John Deere makes its riding mowers -- or in communities where Toro, Craftsman or other manufacturers assemble tractors -- you might find a ready supply, which might depress values on the "local brand," but increase values on others. Absence of a "local brand" might tend to improve values on riders and tractors.

Laura Reynolds

An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.