Keats Ann Scott, CRS


Colorado Dreams

I can send you a list of everything currently for sale in Summit County, just ask.


Colorado Dreams
PO Box 2808
491 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne CO


Web hints for buying a vacation home in the mountains.

1. Find a Realtor that knows the area. For Summit County that would be me!! Seriously, get someone that knows the area, I wouldn't be comfortable selling a property in Durango, though my Colorado real estate license would allow me to. I can refer you to good agents in any area.

2. Find a Realtor who listens to you. Since most vacation home buyers are from outside the immediate area, you need to find an agent who you can trust to listen to you and figure which neighborhoods and types of properties will meet your needs.

3. Decide how you are going to use the property. Will you be up every weekend or just in the summer or winter? Will your grandchildren be at the property too? Maybe you would want a condo with a pool and clubhouse so they would have lots to do. Did you want the property to be available for rentals when you weren't using it? What do you have fun doing while you are in Summit County? Do you want to be near that activity? Hiking, biking, sailing, skiing, etc. All of the answers to these questions help me find the best property for you.

4. What kind of property? It could be a house, half duplex, townhome or condominium. With the house, half duplex and some townhomes you own the land too, which usually means a yard of some kind. As a homeowner it will be your responsibility to keep up the maintenance on the building, yard, and driveway. You will be responsible for paying the water, sewer, gas and electricity, and arranging for trash and snow removal. A condominium will be more like apartment living. You own the unit, the group of owners (Home Owners Association) own the land and buildings in the complex. My job is to try to help you decide which type of property you would like to own, to make sure you realize the pro and cons of both. The price may be the determining factor.

5. A Condominium has association dues to keep up the complex. Do you want the ease of a condominium? Just walk into your unit, no worry about plowing the snow. Or would you like a single family home, half duplex, or townhome, that might mean more privacy, but more responsibility. Think about how you want to use the property.

6. The definition of a Condominium is: A form of real estate ownership where the owner receives title to a particular unit and has a proportionate in certain common areas (hallways, parking lots, clubhouse...) The unit itself is a separately owned space whose interior surfaces (walls, floors and ceilings) serve as its boundaries.

7. When buying a condominium you will want to check out the Declaration and Bylaws. Check the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CCR). These are legal documents that set forth the sponsor's intention to create the condominium, and covers such things as voting rights, owner's responsibilities, restrictions on pets and property usage, and who pays for what.

8. If you are buying a condominium or any property in a planned unit development you will also want to see a copy of the association budget, and rules and regulations. Its not a bad idea to ask for a copy of the most recent minutes to the home owners association meeting too. That should you a little insight into the future.

9. When buying a condominium be sure to check out the Association Dues. The dues are paid by each condo owner, they may cover such things as management services, building maintenance and hazard insurance on the building, common utilities, water sewer, trash, snow removal, TV cable, gas and electricity. Dues vary by complex, so be sure to check not only the amount you must pay, but also what is covered by the dues.

10. When buying a condominium be sure to check out the possibility for Special Assessments. When there is not enough cash in the association's reserve accounts to meet an emergency, or to fund an improvement, all condo owners may need to contribute more than their usual dues. The home owners association votes on any special assessment.

11. When buying a condominium be sure to check out the Amenities. Many condominium complexes have clubhouses, laundry rooms, picnic areas, etc. that are owned by the association, and are funded by association dues. Generally, condos with more amenities have higher dues, as well as higher rental income potential.

12. When buying a condominium be sure to check out a potential Right of First Refusal. Some condominium associations give their own members the right to purchase any unit placed on the market for sale. Each complex treats the right of first refusal differently.

13. Are you thinking of renting your mountain property? Short term rentals: Many of the condominium units, townhomes and homes in Summit County are used only occasionally by the owner, the rest of the time the owner has the property available to renters. Short term is when the property is rented by the night, normally from 3 nights to two weeks to one group. Long term rental is normally to one set of tenants for 6 months to a year at a time.

14. If you want to use a property management company for short term rentals, we have many companies that will be happy to manage your property. Depending on the company, charges range from 35% to 50% of the gross rental. Keystone and Copper Mountain charge 50%, most others charge around 45%. You will have to sign a contract with the property management company. They normally collect a marketing fee ($250 or so) at the beginning of the season.

15. If using a property management company for the short term rentals, the company will have certain standards that they will expect from your property, such as TV, DVD player, microwave, phone, furnishings etc.

16. In most cases, even at Keystone, you can pick the property management company for your short term rentals. In a few complexes you must use the onsite management.

17. For the 45% (or so) that the property management company charges of your gross on short term rentals it normally included is the linens, cleaning, marketing, advertising, reservations, check-in and check-out. The management company will do minor repairs while the guest is in the unit, but you may be charged for those. You will also pay your mortgage, association dues, utilities, wood, cable, and telephone, unless some of those items are included in your association dues.

18. What kind of income can you expect from short term rentals? That depends on the complex, your unit and how much you use the unit yourself. When a potential renter is calling for reservations they usually ask for at least a hot tub and maybe a pool, so complexes with those amenities tend to rent better that those without. The renter calls about the bed configuration too, so be sure to have a sleeper sofa in the living room. Everything in the county can rent at Christmas and Spring Break, if you want to use your unit during those times it will reduce your gross. When you pick out the property I will be able to give you a better idea of the rent you may expect to get. Remember what has happened in the past is not a guarantee for the future, if we don't get snow or the economy dies the rentals can go to pot.

19. Will they "cash flow"? The short answer is NO. From my experience you will not want to buy the property for the fantastic income. Any short term rental income will off set the expenses, but not pay for the condo. You will want to buy because you want to use and enjoy the property.

Prepared and maintained by
Keats Ann Scott
Colorado Dreams Broker