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Cow Hunters: COW POW! Some Unexpected Turns

We’ve been considering trading in our 2007 40-foot Country Coach Magna for an older 45-foot Prevost or Newell. We drove to Holland, MI where Panterra Luxury Coaches has several condo-on-wheels (COWs) that interest us.

We looked at four COWs in Holland, MI: three Prevosts and a Newell.

A Quick Review

We love this 2006 Prevost Country Coach but the list price – $369k – is a bit over our budget.

The first COW we look at is a 2006 Prevost Country Coach listed for $369k. Goldilocks has everything we are looking for except for a king-sized bed but it is way over our $250k budget.

The 2002 Newell has just about everything we’re looking for but it seems to be a step or two below our 2007 Country Coach.

The second COW we look at is a 2002 Newell listed for $139k. The White House, too, has a lot of the things we are looking for but the drive disappointed us and some of the features (such as the retractable steps) seemed less-than-high-quality.

This 2004 Prevost American is nice but the changes we’d want, along with the $300k price tag, may put it out of our reach.

The third COW we tour is a 2004 Prevost American listed for $300k. Again, this COW, CoCo Deux, has a lot of the features we are looking for but it will require some expensive changes that, on top of the $300k price tag, would put it over our budget.

Prevost Marathon
Surprise! We are actually considering this 1998 Prevost Marathon!

The fourth and final COW we tour is a 1998 Prevost Marathon non-slide listed for $159k. Blue Man surprises us because we aren’t considering a non-slide. But with its spacious interior and high quality workmanship, we decide to put it into the mix. The ride, however, reveals the need for a new driver’s seat and significant upgrades to the electronics.

Which One Will We Choose?

We are not going to pursue the Newell. The ride and the quality of the workmanship were not up to our 2007 Country Coach.

RV choice
We decide not to pursue The White House because of the less-than-stellar ride.

That leaves Goldilocks, CoCo Deux and Blue Man.

Let’s start the negotiations with the dealership!

Surprise #1

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When Panterra takes a trade-in that’s not a Prevost or Newell they work with wholesalers. They give the wholesalers information about your COW, get the highest price they can, and then buy your COW for that price. They sell it to the wholesaler who then marks it up substantially and sells it to a dealer.

This isn’t looking good for our trade-in.

We recently had our COW appraised by our broker in Oregon and he said he would consign it for $189k, add his mark-up, and then sell our COW for probably $200k. That set our expectations. When we heard Panterra only deals with wholesalers, we braced ourselves.

Deep breath.

Panterra makes us three offers: one for each of the COWs we are interested in.

Another deep breath.

Panterra informs us that most of the wholesalers gave them a price of $105k for our 2007 Country Coach Magna with 90,000 miles. The mileage, they said, drove the price down significantly.

Another deep breath.

Surprise #2

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But, Panterra did some re-figuring of the numbers and comes back with these offers on the three COWs:

  • Goldilocks: Trade-in $150k… total out-of-pocket cost $219k.
  • CoCo Deux: Trade-in $150k… total out-of-pocket cost $150k.
  • Blue Man: Trade-in $159k… total out-of-pocket cost $0.


Some Quick Math

Our budget is $250k minus the trade-in value of our COW, which we thought would be $190k, leaving us with a total out-of-pocket cost of $60k.

Goldilocks and CoCo Deux are now out of the picture.

RV choice
Our budget and the surprise value of our trade-in pushes Goldilocks and CoCo Deux out of the picture.

That leaves Blue Man. But is trading in our COW, which we’ve been told is worth $189k for a COW that is retailing for $159k a good decision?

Surprise #3

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We call our Country Coach broker again. We ask him for an update on the value of our COW. He says Country Coach COWs have taken a hit these last few months. Our COW is now worth $160k on consignment.

What?! A $30k depreciation in just a few months’ time?! Yes. But prices may rise in the spring.

A Decision (Not Our’s)

We’re seriously considering Blue Man.

Panterra calls. Blue Man just sold… it is no longer available.

RV comparisons
A decision (although not our’s) is made.

Well, as Staples says, That Was Easy.

Now What?

We’re disappointed that our COW, which is in very good condition but apparently has high mileage, is only worth $160k. That means it depreciated $60k in the two years we’ve had it. In comparison to new-model COW depreciation, $30k/year isn’t bad but still… it’s disappointing and a bit jolting to us since we’re used to the nice appreciation we get from real estate investments.

We Decide To…

We decide to continue looking. We now know we like Prevosts and will look at older models, even non-slides.

We’re not in a rush so, in the meantime, we’ll stay with our current COW and do some light remodeling, maybe some new lights to brighten it up, new knobs on the cabinets and pulls on the drawers, a new or re-upholstered couch in a more modern color, new back splash tiling in the kitchen and bathroom/shower, new carpeting, new valences, new headboard, and a washer/dryer combo. These updates should be under $20k. We’ll do some of them ourselves but some, like the couch, the valences, headboard and the carpeting we will have done professionally.

It’s been a fun ride getting to see so many nice COWs! We’ll continue to look at COWs with the hope we’ll find one that “moooves” us.

Meanwhile, we’ll keep you posted on the remodeling as it goes along!

Have you remodeled your COW? We’d love to hear how it went, what worked, what didn’t and why.

Woof Out!

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Can’t wait to see what you say! Woof!