Being up to date on local news is something I enjoy. The news in Steamboat is more often feature stories over hard news. Most hard news is related to local government, though sometimes we see our local law enforcement making good arrests or helping out…
September to mid-October, Autumn set in and the colors in Steamboat were amazing, especially during the full moon. We are now in our shoulder season, the time between Summer visitors and Winter visitors. It’s quiet, and our market has begun to show it. Here’s…
In’s and Out’s of Buying a Resort Condo in Steamboat Springs
Depending on why you want a condo, buying a condominium often seems easier than it really is. We have many different discussions with individuals and families regarding buying a resort condo. These discussions lead to educated choices and successful achievement of goals.
The goal of this paper is to give you an educated overview of the condo purchasing process and an understanding of what to expect. Knowing differences in condos, HOA’s (Home Owner Associations), types of ski in/ski out units, seasonal markets, and more will help you save time and hopefully money.
Ski in/ski out Condominiums
Ski-in/ski-out condominiums have two basic variations. The first is what we call ‘true ski-in/ski-out’. These condo units are found directly adjacent to the ski resort. A person can put their skis on at the door of the complex or unit and ski directly to the lift. A person can also ski right up to the same door, or a different one in the same complex.
Condominiums that have indirect access to the ski lifts are considered ski-in/ski-out. If a person can get to the slopes without having to walk, these are considered ski-in/ski-out. These units and complexes may have long trails directing skiers to runs. They may also have narrow roads as well. The most common is trails, which may be downhill from the slopes, or uphill. These vary related to the location of buildings.
Non-ski in/ski out condos
In Steamboat Springs, there are several condominiums that are not located directly on the resort. They vary widely related to their distance from the resort. The further away a condo is, the more likely it is to be a home or long term rental. These condos vary in size, can be large and include a heated garage.
Those condos found within three blocks, or so, of the resort are designed differently. They are made to house out of town visitors as comfortably as possible while maintaining great access to Steamboat Ski Resort. These condominiums are most commonly found in short term rental markets. They often have what is called the ‘owner’s closet’, which stores personal items for when the owner visits.
HOA Dues and Amenities
Homeowners’ Associations are common in Steamboat Springs. They are very helpful in maintaining the condominium complex in regards of exterior maintenance, snow removal, lawn care, and other essential functions to keeping buildings and grounds healthy. HOA’s have dues that keep these functions ongoing and these dues vary. They can be as low as $200 a month or as high as $1300 a month. This variation is related to the amenities and services a complex will provide an owner. These amenities and services can include the following:
- Cable TV
- Trash Service
- Lawn Maintenance
- Building Maintenance
- Shuttle Service (often seasonal)
- Road Maintenance
- Snow Plowing/shoveling
- Capital Reserves
- Common Area Amenities (pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, front desks etc)
Management of Units
There are three types of management for condominiums: large Property Management Companies, Property Managers and Owner managed.
Property Management Companies offer a menu of services. They often have agreements with HOA’s to manage functions like snow removal, lawn care and upholding HOA rules and regulations. These companies also manage individual units, taking care of short and long term rental units, including repair and cleaning as needed. Fees for these services range from 40-45% of the gross rental income. In Steamboat Springs, the large property management companies who offer these services are:
- Steamboat Resorts
- Resort Group
Smaller, boutique style property management companies offer many of the same services that larger companies do just on a smaller scale. These companies offer a more personalized service, often customized to a property owner’s needs. They typically offer online-based reservations and charge 25-30% of gross rental income.
Owner managed condos are for individual units primarily. Owners often desire to care for their units directly. Using services like VRBO and AirBnB to book rentals, they are able to maximize their rental income. They have a house cleaning service and maintenance person for their unit and the HOA cares for exterior maintenance. When an owner opts to use this option, some services are not included, like front desk check in, concierge, shuttles, and more.
Lenders have many loan products that assist owners in purchasing their units. They vary widely and one size does not fit all. In Steamboat, there are several local mortgage brokers who supply loans for condos. Between all of them, a loan for your unit is likely to be found. Local banks are also helpful. What is often seen is a prospective owner’s hometown bank cannot lend on a Steamboat Springs condominium. Resort condos do not fit their guidelines and a person must look elsewhere for a loan.
Certain condominium units cannot be purchased using conventional financing. These units we refer to as “condotels”, which function more like hotels than condominium complexes. These complexes often have a front desk, maid service, and more. There are lending products that fit these types of complexes. The criteria vary and typically require at least 30% + down payment to obtain the loan.
Most new owners of condominiums want to rent their units when not visiting Steamboat Springs. This is a great way to offset expenses related to purchasing the condo. Many owners are able to pay for their units and see appreciation in value for their investment. Condominium complexes regulate how their units can be rented – whether long term, short term, or both.
Long-term rentals are often defined as a month or more. A common term of renting is from May to the end of November, which covers our two shoulder seasons and Summer too. At the beginning of December, the rentals are more short term – often about a week. And some owners just hold their unit as an investment and reap the benefits of year-to-year leases.
Winter vs. Summer Markets
In Colorado, western resort towns have two seasonal markets – Winter and Summer. In Steamboat Springs, we are fortunate to have a thriving summer season where we see visitor numbers equivalent to that of winter. Summer season rentals are not as lucrative as winter, and the short term market still thrives.
If you are looking to maximize your income with your unit, the highest value rents are found over holidays, like Fourth of July, Labor Day, Christmas and New Years, and President’s Day. We realize that this might be prime time for your own visit. We also want you to get the most from your condo purchase while achieving your goals.
Steamboat Springs is more than a world-class skiing destination. It is a place where mountain living and outdoor recreation come together to create an enjoyable and healthy lifestyle. If you are looking to visit or move to Steamboat Springs, give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you, as I have many others.
Steamboat has had a very western history. Having been a place where Native Americans would not Winter over, it is now a bustling area of athletes, professionals, retirees, and folks who want to live in a beautiful place. Steamboat is known for the first ski…
This Spring has been amazing weather! Now, it’s starting to get a little dry. So, I found it a great idea to hike up to Christie Peak before the Sun went down.
This Summer has many mountain hikes in it for me. There are 14,000 foot peaks I’ve my eye on and I know I need to be in better shape if I’m to get to the tops. Looking up at Thunderhead Lodge, I realize that the hike to Thunderhead and back is a little under the miles I will be traveling to a number of prospective peaks. Many of these hikes are about 7 miles round trip, though several are much further.
So, in the evening, I took off after a small dinner. I drank a pint of water and put one hiking shoe in front of the other.
I thought the hike would be more difficult. It must have been the bike riding I’ve been doing because the trail up was friendly to me. This trail, for me, tends to be a strong uphill. Though I stopped a few times on the way, I was able to make it to the top of Christie Peak in about an hour.
The hike was full of flowers and wonderful scents. The trail was dry the entire way. And with the evening angle of the Sun, I was able to take mini-breaks in the shade. Once at the top, it was a fantastic view of the valley.
And there were lift chairs to relax in and take in the breeze and view.
The hike down was equally as easy. Being so late in the day, I was surprised to run into a handful of people who were on their way up. To me, I thought they might get caught in low light. It seemed like they knew what they were doing and I let the thought out of my mind.
At the end, I took time to rest next to Burgess Creek at the Base Area. Overall, it was a treat to get out and I’m confident Thunderhead Lodge hike will be equally as rewarding.
This weekend was a fantastic weather time for a day hike. But before that, we took a bike ride down the Core Trail, next to the Yampa River. With a slight breeze and the morning sun, we took a bike ride into town. On the…
Selling a home in Steamboat Springs in 2017 seemed easy for some, and tenuous for others. Our market had a really good season up to Thanksgiving. Then, as most Winters, the market went flat as thoughts of skiing, holidays and Winter events took over the…
With the current market in Steamboat Springs, having an edge on the homes that compete with yours, it is good to be informed, and positioned ahead of the crowd. Here are a few tips that can help get your Steamboat home sold –
Get Market Familiar: When I consult with homeowners about selling their homes, I ask many questions to find out what is behind the decision to move. What I find in the answers is how much research owners have done. There is plenty of information online (especially for Colorado homes) to figure out what your home is worth. What a broker brings to the conversation is related to communities, current buying trends, and hard data that helps understand how to price your home. An estimate of time to sale is also a conversation that is usually had.
Hire a Home Stager: I’m a guy. I need help with staging a home because I’m not creative with home interiors. With the experience I have, I know good staging when I see it. However, I’m not the person to consult for colors, furniture positioning, feng shui, and more. A professional home stager can be inexpensive, and very valuable. Home stagers are adept at making a home look good, similar to the way a real estate photographer makes rooms look bigger and brighter. A home stager can help bring a quicker sale and more.
Make Necessary Home Repairs: Home repairs that are necessary have two categories: 1) has to be fixed, and 2) has to be upgraded to get better value. Broken doors, oven lights, leaky faucets and the like are easier to identify and repair. Items that can bring greater value or a quicker sale should be discussed with the Home Stager or your Broker. Paint and carpet can go a long way. Replacing appliances without upgrading a countertop can be spending money with no return. Take time to consult your professional team when considering what repairs and upgrades will bring the most value.
Declutter and Depersonalize: My wife finds this difficult. I’m sure many others find it to be a challenge as well. We live in our homes and our personal items are dear to us. If it is a vacation home you are selling, it is easier to declutter and depersonalize because most of these items are not numerous. If you spend a lot of time in your home, personal items are everywhere. And items that make life easier, like a blender or plant stand, are being used. If an item hasn’t been used in over a month, it is a good candidate to get packed.
Make the Entry Welcoming: Many home owners overlook this detail. It has been an education for myself to observe how the entry of a home can make or break a sale. Often I’ve run into bumpy driveways, broken stoops, muddy welcome mats and more.
The entry to a home is like the first impression of a person you meet. Within moments judgements are made. To make a good impression, would you meet someone in slippers and a smoking jacket? I doubt it. It’s the same with a home. When the entry is welcoming, clean, and smells good, major hurdles have been overcome. A prospective buyer can feel safer and linger longer to see if their family would enjoy the home your are selling.