Are there any deals left in mountain resort real estate?
What to consider when looking at properties in the Vail Valley and Down Valley
Dear Laurie and Mark,
I have had my eye on the Vail Valley region for a couple of years and am now in the position to look at buying a home, duplex or condo with the goal of living there more full time. Given the seller’s market and low inventory, wondering if there are still any deals out there and/or fixer uppers? Also curious about timing and if waiting until the spring or summer once we see what happens in the first two quarters is a good idea and might present some more opportunities?
Dear DIY Buyer,
You are not alone in the market looking for a good deal and your question raises our own on what constitutes a good deal. While most people, ourselves included, often put “deal” in a lower price point category, there are many ways to look at a deal, including how it fits into your overall goals, location and lifestyle.
Some key elements to consider when looking at properties in the Vail Valley and Down Valley include:
Location – The closer you are to Vail or Beaver Creek, or any ski-in, ski-out type of residence, the higher the price point. Is resort proximity a top priority and if so, do you have the financial means to pay for a home in this market? The farther away you are from the core village areas of these resorts, the lower the price point.
Consider your priorities – Do you want to be close to the resort areas or is driving distance OK if you find a home that meets your needs?
Home type – Are you open to any type of single family home, condo/townhome or duplex, new, used or in need of some significant updates and do HOA dues play a factor into your decision?
Residency – Are you looking to make this your primary residence, second home and/or generate rental income?
Schools – Is the something to factor into location?
Commute – Are you able to work remotely or is drive time to/from the resort communities a factor?
Weather – Down Valley offers more seasonal temperatures where on the average, you get an extra month of warmer temps on either side of winter due to its lower elevation and more arid climate. Residents who live Down Valley boast about skiing in the morning and golfing in the afternoon in the spring.
The following market overviews for the Down Valley and Resort/Vail markets will help give you a better perspective of opportunities and price points. It may also serve as some “food for thought” if looking at other mountain resort areas as geographic location and proximity to the core mountain resort/village areas typically follow similar types of pricing and accessibility criteria.
Down Valley | Eagle, Eagle Ranch, Gypsum, Dotsero
Generally speaking, there are more price point and home design options Down Valley. As noted above, the further you get from Vail the lower the price, so you get more home for your money, including offering even greater ease of access to Eagle County Airport, in addition to the Vail Valley
and to the west, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Grand Junction and Utah. If building a home is an option, there are considerably more land deals Down Valley. The Vail and resort market areas are, for the most part, built out. While there are some exceptions, the price point mirrors the location.
The past year proved that the Vail/Resort market is very resilient, which is great news for buyers and homeowners seeking to get the most value out of their homes. On the flipside, this also means there really aren’t any distressed or fire sale homes on or coming to market in the foreseeable future. Yes, demand is strong and inventory is at historically low levels, but keep in mind homes continue to come to the market daily.
Your willingness to update a home will likely lead to a lower purchase price in a given market. If you can do much of the work on your own, your ROI will typically be significantly greater than buying a home that may have the finished features already in place. There may also be less competition for this type of home as the majority of buyers in the resort market prefer turnkey ready and are willing to pay for it.
As for seasonality, the inventory of homes for sale nationally typically grows in the spring for the summer selling season. The Vail Valley is no different. However, the trend over the past few years in the Vail Valley and Down Valley has been homes coming to market earlier. March/April are the new May/June. This said, COVID changed the market trends in 2020 with strong sales into the late fall. We are now seeing more homes coming to market in January and throughout the year.
Good, well priced homes can and will still come to the market at any time. Determining your goals and communicating these with your broker will allow you to find the right home that meets your location needs and budget. Your real estate professional should have a playbook for finding off market homes and homes before they hit the market. Word of advice, be ready to move quickly and set yourself up to be the best buyer, including having financing in place if not a cash deal.
Good luck in your search,
—Mark & Laurie
Mark Weinreich and Laurie Slaughter are longtime Vail Valley residents and award-winning veteran broker associates with locally owned Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. Both are members of highly respected broker teams, including The Slaughter Group, a leader in residential, commercial and development property sales and The Weinreich Team, specializing in resort-market residential real estate. Their knowledge and expertise spans from Vail Village to Gypsum and they are among the top performing brokers in the Vail Valley. Mark and Laurie can be reached at Mark@VailMtnRealEstate.com or 970-376-3204 and Laurie@BHHSVail.net or 970-471-0108.