The Ranch at Breckenridge is one of Breck’s best kept secrets. This exclusive and secluded gated community is located less than 4 miles from Breckenridge Main Street, and yet feels a world apart. And the views truly don’t get any better.
Scroll down to see today’s listings in this exclusive luxury neighborhood.
This is mountain living at its finest. The Ranch at Breckenridge features luxurious homes on large homesites, ranging from 5 to 12 acres. With just 12 homesites in all, half of these homesites have been built on, which further contributes to the peaceful solitude this subdivision is known for. (When available, vacant land listings in The Ranch at Breckenridge will appear here.)
[As a side note, the property commonly referenced as the Ranch at Breckenridge PUD Phase 1 consists of 12 homesites in all. There is a second area, commonly referenced as The Ranch at Breckenridge Phase II, consisting of approximately 284 acres allowing 16 units of density. This land has not yet been developed. The entire parcel was listed in June 2016 and withdrawn from the market in July 2017 at a list price of $10,995,000.]
Properties at The Ranch at Breckenridge offer jaw-dropping views of the entire Ten Mile Range including Breckenridge Ski Resort. Soaring panes of glass and high ceilings are common, designed to take advantage of the majestic view corridors.
Homes feature the finest in high-end finishes and incorporate a variety of rich natural elements… from stone masonry to enormous timbers, beams, and logs. Designs here fit within closely defined architectural guidelines and most embrace a classic mountain aesthetic. You’ll see more than one home from illustrious local architect Jon Gunson, for example.
On your way to the neighborhood from Breckenridge Main Street, you’ll pass the exclusive luxury neighborhoods of Juniata and Baldy Ridge Estates. You’ll be near Goldenview Estates, with its gorgeous luxury homes, along with the view lots and properties of Woodmoor at Breckenridge.
The Ranch at Breckenridge is located at the top of Baldy Road. Roads up to this area are well maintained, year round. In the summertime, fields of wildflowers welcome you home. In the winter, you’ll be greeted by views of majestic snow-covered peaks and the rich scent of pine. Once inside the Ranch at Breckenridge gate, you will pass the iconic cabin that has become the signature for this prestigious subdivision.
Per HOA covenants, short term rentals in the Ranch at Breckenridge are restricted to 30 days or more, so seasonal rentals are permitted, but not weekly rentals – and this means you can count on peace and quiet even during the busy seasons in Breckenridge (especially the holidays and the month of March.) See more luxury neighborhoods that restrict short-term rentals. Some of the finest hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the county are nearby.
Properties in The Ranch at Breckenridge subdivision are situated along two roadways: Little Sallie Barber Trail and Cumberland Drive.
To reach The Ranch at Breckenridge, from Breckenridge Main Street South, take a left at the last stop light in town (Boreas Pass Road). Follow this road approximately two miles to take a left on Baldy Road. In approximately one mile, take a left on North Fuller Placer. The entrance gate to The Ranch at Breckenridge is about one-half mile up this road.
Also note that, because The Ranch at Breckenridge is outside the town limits, these properties are not subject to the typical Breckenridge transfer tax of 1%.
The Ranch at Breckenridge Luxury Homes for Sale
When there are homes available for sale in The Ranch at Breckenridge, they will appear below.
If this location is particularly appealing to you, please let me know. I’m happy to set you up for automatic notification of new properties as they come on the market, and I may have some other areas or possibilities to share with you, as well.
The wooded lots and larger homesites of the prestigious and desirable subdivision of Cortina Ridge lend a sense of peaceful seclusion with mountain convenience. Numerous hiking trails are right out your door, and you are just moments from the towns of Silverthorne and Dillon – plus an easy driving distance to five ski areas.
Each Cortina Ridge home for sale is custom-designed and custom-built, so the designs and finishes of individual homes vary. Still, many of the homes in this luxury development feature expansive windows framing the picturesque views of Lake Dillon and the mountains beyond.
Scroll down to see Cortina Ridge luxury homes that are currently for sale.
This beautiful custom home is newly available in Cortina Ridge. Offered at $995,000, it is a dramatic luxury enclave at an affordable price. Click on the photo for details.
Finishes are in line with those you expect to find in the finest luxury mountain homes – from natural stone elements to heavy timbers and wood accents. Gourmet kitchens feature granite and stainless steel and many of the homes feature open floor plans, perfect for entertaining. Multiple outdoor spaces – decks and patios – are also common , along with exterior hot tubs and fire pits.
Located near the Mesa Cortina subdivision in the Wildernest area of Silverthorne, Cortina Ridge is home to 30 luxury residential homesites. Lots range from three-quarters of an acre to more than 5 acres, with most of the homes situated on just under an acre. (See subdivision plat of Filing 1.) The streets of Cortina Ridge are paved and include the following roads: Lake View Drive, Aspen Drive, Kings Court, and Solomons Lane.
Premiere lots in Cortina Ridge capture the astonishing beauty of Lake Dillon, the Ten Mile Range, the slopes of Keystone Ski Resort and the mountains beyond through well-preserved view corridors.
Construction in Cortina Ridge began in 2001 and, as of 2017, about 2/3 of the lots have been built on.
Homes in Cortina Ridge range in size from 2,700 square feet up to more than 5,000 square feet, with anywhere from three to six bedrooms. At the time of this writing, just one Cortina Ridge lot is for sale, and it is For Sale by Owner. Contact me for details or to learn more about the opportunities for building in the area.
Architectural guidelines ensure that all garages here are 2-car garages or larger, so each home features plenty of room for toys, cars and storage.
At the northwest corner of the Cortina Ridge subdivision ,you’ll find the Mesa Cortina trail and trailhead. Just moments away by car is everything the towns of Silverthorne and Dillon have to offer, the amphitheater on the lake, the all-new Lake Dillon theater, fly fishing on the Blue River and shopping at the outlet stores.
Cortina Ridge has no transfer tax and minimal association fees at $100 per year. Cortina Ridge is part of the Buffalo Mountain Metro District. As such, water and sewer is billed on a quarterly basis at on a set fee schedule.
Cortina Ridge Luxury Homes for Sale
Here are the latest listings for fine luxury homes in Cortina Ridge. I’m happy to answer any questions or arrange a private showing. Contact me anytime.
Search and Research Summit County Properties on the Go!
Back in the 1990s, when my husband and I were first looking at Summit County properties, one of our favorite things to do was drive around and look for new “For Sale” signs… signs on homes, townhomes, duplexes, vacant lots — properties in our price range and way beyond.
We always wished we had a way to know the details about a property while we were on the go – especially for those properties that had no flyer – without having to make a phone call or committing to see inside.
Fast forward 20+ years – and now it’s easy!
As you drive around, your navigator or passenger can be using the official Summit County mobile real estate app, SkiMLS. All you need to do is set your search parameters in the app, and, because the app knows your location through your GPS-enabled device, the app will find available properties that meet your search criteria automatically, as you drive around.
The app will show you a map of listings in your price range that are close to you. Move the map and new listings that fit your criteria will automatically appear. Then tap the listing bubble to get all the details, photos, and turn-by-turn directions.
All of Summit and Park MLS properties are featured – so you can easily find the details on Breckenridge, Frisco, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Dillon and Silverthorne properties plus Park County properties, including Fairplay and Alma.
Once you find properties you’d like to tour, just let me know, and I’ll get the keys.
Nestled in a private setting less than one mile to Main Street, Corkscrew Flats Homes for Sale offer a sense of community and larger home sites, all within walking distance to town.
Breckenridge’s free shuttle service stops along Wellington Road, at the mouth of the subdivision, for easy access to the Breck Connect gondola and ski resort as well to the town core.
Main Street Breckenridge is all downhill from here, so take the easy walk down into town, about one-half mile along paved sidewalks, to enjoy shopping, dining, and nightlife, and know that you can always opt for the bus on the way home.
Scroll down below today’s Corkscrew Flats listings to learn more about this unique subdivision:
Luxury Breckenridge Homes for Sale along Corkscrew Drive
Each of the homes in Corkscrew Flats is newer construction (beginning in 2006) and is arranged alongside a nice long street, which ends in a cul-de-sac – so there is no drive through traffic. A walking path connects you to the paved sidewalk leading to town. The French Creek runs along one side of the neighborhood, as well, completing the picturesque setting.
Corkscrew Flats is comprised of 38 parcels in total, with lot sizes ranging from 0.3 acres to 0.8 acres. Properties here are all single family homes, ranging in size from 2500 sq. ft. to 4000 sq. ft. (Three bedrooms to five bedrooms.)
Floor plans in Corkscrew Flats are open and cleverly designed to capture the view corridors and the abundance of natural light. Finishes are rich and inviting in a natural rustic mountain style. Expect to find soaring windows, stone and granite, heavy timbers, and rustic metal accents. Inside: gourmet chef’s kitchens with granite countertops and high-end stainless steel appliances.
Corkscrew Flats homes take full advantage of the views and outdoor living, as well, with well-placed decks and patios.
The subdivision of Corkscrew Flats features more than 14 acres of open space thoughout the subdivision, plus nearby access to miles upon miles of biking and hiking trails in the Golden Horseshoe area.
Like other Breckenridge properties, homes for sale in Corkscrew Flats are subject to a 1% transfer tax. At the time of this writing, association fees are just $550 per year and cover common area maintenance.
Corkscrew Flats Homes and the Vacation Rental Market
Short term and long term rentals are permitted here in Corkscrew Flats. As you might imagine, homes for sale in Corkscrew Flats can potentially do very well in both of these rental markets. The subdivision is also home to several long-time locals.
Learn more about renting your Corkscrew Flats home when you aren’t in town to enjoy it yourself. And contact me for historic or projected income for any properties you might be interested in.
Corkscrew Flats Homes for Sale in Breckenridge
When there are Corkscrew Flats homes for sale in Breckenridge, they will appear below. If you have particular interest in this area of Breckenridge, please send me an email or give me a call so I can be on the lookout for new listings on your behalf.
Contact me anytime to learn more about this popular community or to schedule a showing and private property tour.
Southside Estates offers true exclusivity, featuring just six beautifully treed lots over 24 acres. Individual parcels are large and many feature incredible views of the Ten Mile Range and Breckenridge Ski Resort. Owners and guests may hike, bike, snowshoe, and cross country ski directly from the back door.
Positioned as it is just over the hill from the Breckenridge Ice Rink, owners and guests in Southside Estates are able to walk into town during the summer on a forested hiking path. Or hop in the car and be on Main Street in moments.
The land parcels of Southside Estates are outlined in green, from Summit County’s GIS mapping tool. Note their size and relation to Main Street Breckenridge.
To reach Southside Estates from Breckenridge and Highway 9, take the first left (on Southside Drive) after the stoplight near the Conoco on the south side of town.
Association fees at the time of this writing are around $210 per month and include common area maintenance and subdivision snow removal.
Homes here are large and feature the lavish amenities you would expect from the finest custom homes in Breckenridge, depending on the property and ranging from sprawling gourmet kitchens, home theaters, home fitness centers, hot tubs, saunas, wine rooms, and expansive outdoor living areas.
At the time of this writing, only two of the six estates have been built on.
Nearby Recreation and Amenities
As mentioned above, Southside Estates is just over the ridge from Breckenridge’s Stephen C. West Ice Arena where patrons enjoy an outdoor ice rink, as well as an all-season indoor rink. Hiking and biking trails are never far from away in the Southside subdivision.
Southside Estates Luxury Homes for Sale
Properties in luxurious Southside are rare. When homes here are available for sale, they will appear below. If you have particular interest in this community, please let me know. I’ll make sure to notify you about any new listings in this area.
Bekkedal Homes for Sale offer seclusion, privacy, and a deep-in-the-forest feel, despite their position just moments from downtown Breckenridge.
‘Bekkedal’ is the Norwegian word to describe a mountain valley “where water flows,” which certainly is fitting considering Bekkedal’s lovely positioning among the Blue River, where owners enjoy private fishing rights.
Towering pines and spruce – and majestic views – grace the lots of Bekkedal, located between the south end of Breckenridge and the town of Blue River.
A selection of Bekkedal properties enjoy riverfront views, others enjoy views of Goose Pasture Tarn. Owners and guests here in Bekkedal have the distinct pleasure of enjoying the peace and quiet from the privacy of their expansive decks and outdoor living areas. They can cross-country-ski, snowshoe, hike and mountain bike right from their property. All of this, within 1.5 miles from downtown Breckenridge.
There are 62 distinct lots in the subdivision of Bekkedal, as well as two tracts of open space along the Blue River, totaling about 12 acres. That means Bekkedal residents have private fishing rights along this section of the Blue.
Lot sizes here range from one-half acre to 3.5 acres, with most lots between 1 and 2 acres in size.
As is common with subdivisions of this vintage – the design and style of homes vary widely – from simple cabins to elaborate luxury custom homes. Finished homes range from 1000 square feet to 5000 square feet. Some of these older homes may offer opportunity for renovating and earning equity, as Bekkedal is such a desirable subdivision. According to the subdivision’s architectural guidelines, no separate guesthouse or caretaker units are allowed, but short-term and long-term rentals are permitted.
Because Bekkedal lies just outside the town limits of Breckenridge, there is no Breckenridge transfer tax on properties here. Properties in Bekkedal are on well and septic. Natural gas is available.
HOA fees, as of this writing, are just $50 per year. Bekkedal’s homeowners association maintains an informative website here: http://www.bekkedal.org/ with more information on covenants, rental guidelines, and architectural design guidelines, as well as budget and meeting minutes.
Bekkedal Homes for Sale and the Short Term Rental Market
When homes are available in this popular subdivision, they will appear below. If Bekkedal is particularly interesting to you, please let me know, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated with new properties as soon as they come on the market. You might also like: Warrior’s Mark Homes for Sale (just over the mountain from Bekkedal) and Blue River Homes for Sale (just South of Bekkedal). Or see Peak 7 Homes for Sale.
Sunbeam Estates offers an ideal location for luxury homebuyers who love to be close to everything Breckenridge has to offer.
Nestled among tall trees on the south side of town, between the ice arena and Carter Park, Sunbeam Estates offers an easy walk to both of these recreational hubs, as well as to the boutique shopping, award-winning dining, and year-round festivals and events on Main Street Breckenridge.
Learn more about this prestigious subdivision below today’s listings of Sunbeam Estates Luxury Homes for Sale.
With 43 parcels in all, lot sizes in Sunbeam Estates range from 0.2 acres to 1.7 acres. Single family home sizes range from around 2800 square feet to 6700 square feet. Many of the luxury homes here feature ski area views and are not far from Breckenridge’s free shuttle route for easy access to the ski area and connections to the rest of Summit County. On its south end, Sunbeam Estates is also home to a popular 9000 square foot, 12-bedroom lodge/chalet on a larger, 3-acre parcel. (Little Mountain Lodge, located at 98 Sunbeam Drive.)
The luxury homes in Sunbeam Estates are all custom builds, and many feature the luxury amenities a discerning Breckenridge buyer has come to expect: wine room, fitness room, gourmet chef’s kitchen with top of the line appliances (Subzero, Wolf, Viking), outdoor kitchens and outdoor seating areas. Architecture and designs make clever use of view corridors and natural light.
Building in Sunbeam Estates began in 1992, so this luxury subdivision features newer homes than some of its nearby counterparts… The Weisshorn,Warrior’s Mark West and Gold Flake, for example. Exteriors feature rich natural elements, from soaring timber trusses to meticulous masonry.
Nearby Recreation and Amenities
As mentioned above, Sunbeam Estates is just across Boreas Pass Road from Breckenridge’s Stephen C. West Ice Arena where patrons enjoy an outdoor ice rink, as well as an all-season indoor rink. Hiking and biking trails wind through the Sunbeam Estates subdivision and connect to main arteries near Carter Park as well as beyond the ice rink.
Carter Park features several nice playgrounds, in conjunction with adjacent Breckenridge Elementary, along with picnic tables, four outdoor tennis courts, and a day lodge, which is available for rent through the town of Breckenridge. Visitors also love Carter Park’s sand volleyball in the summer and Breck’s most popular sledding hill in the winter.
Sunbeam Estates Luxury Homes for Sale
Properties in luxurious Sunbeam Estates don’t come along too often. It is one of the most coveted areas in Breckenridge. When homes in Sunbeam Estates are available for sale, they will appear below. If you have particular interest in this community, please let me know. I’ll make sure to notify you about any new listings in this area.
Pines at 4 OClock homes for sale feature easy, convenient access to both Breckenridge Ski Resort and the town of Breckenridge. True ski in, ski out, owners and guests in the Pines simply point their skis down the run to the Snowflake Lift, and then ski home via the gentle Four O’clock ski run.
Pines at 4 OClock is comprised of 21 townhomes, 4 duplexes, 7 single family homes, and, at the time of this writing, one vacant parcel. Additionally, the subdivision has four tracts of open space totaling a little over an acre to contribute to the feeling of privacy and seclusion, especially with the towering pine trees in and around this sub.
Scroll down past these listings to learn more about this subdivision.
Single family homes range from 3 bedrooms/3 baths to 6 bedrooms/6 baths. The largest parcels here are around .8 acres.
Completed in 1996, townhomes in Pines at 4 O Clock range from 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and 2200 square feet to 4 bedrooms, 4 baths and 2600 square feet. Many units feature decks with views and private outdoor hot tubs.
HOA fees vary with the size of the property. At the time of this writing, fees for townhomes range from $450 and $550 per month and include Cable TV, Snow Removal, Trash Pickup and Water/Sewer.
In the summertime, the ski run becomes a wide, clear path that connects to area trailheads, or provides a smooth walk into town.
The Pines at Four O’Clock is on the free shuttle route, providing easy access year round to town (downtown Breckenridge is about a mile downhill). The shuttle actually stops at Grandview and Ski Hill Road, which is just a short walk away.
The Pines enjoys close proximity to the Breckenridge Nordic Center, as well.
Like other properties in the town of Breckenridge, Pines at Four O’Clock properties are subject to a 1% transfer tax.
Pines at 4 O’Clock and the Short Term Rental Market
The Pines at 4 OClock Homes for Sale – Today’s Listings
When there are Pines at 4 OClock homes for sale, they will appear below. Feel free to contact me if this area is particularly interesting to you, and I will immediately notify you of new properties as they come on the market. I’m also happy to provide additional market data for this subdivision as well as surrounding properties.
Wildernest condos for sale are known for their good values, gorgeous views and plentiful trails for hiking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Located on the hillside that you see on the right as you travel I-70 from Silverthorne to Frisco, Wildernest is home to a variety of condos and townhomes, popular among locals, long-term renters and short term renters/vacationers.
Scroll down below the listings to learn more about Wildernest Condos for Sale.
Even with the relatively high density of Wildernest, a great number of these properties maximize view corridors and many back to open space and national forest.
Here is a map of the area from our Summit County GIS tool, so you can see what I mean. Wildernest is the entire unshaded area. The area shaded in light green is National Forest (White River National Forest.). Dark green depicts the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. Pink is the town of Silverthorne.
So, while you are centrally located and among friends and neighbors, the forest, with its network of trails, is never far away.
From this vantage point above Silverthorne, you will enjoy magnificent views of Lake Dillon, Keystone Ski Resort, as well as the majestic 14ers, Grays and Torreys. At dawn and dusk, you’ll note the distant ribbon of headlights and taillights descending from Eisenhower on I-70, across the valley and on the other side of Silverthorne.
While there are exceptions, Wildernest is comprised mostly of condos, townhomes, and duplexes. Most of the single family homes in this area are located in Mesa Cortina, including Cortina Sub, Mesa Cortina West and Cortina Ridge.
The free Summit Stage bus route travels up Ryan Gulch Road, the main artery of Wildernest, frequently. (See the current Wildernest Loop bus schedule here. ) This bus can connect you into the town of Silverthorne, where you can connect to the rest of Summit County, including each of Summit’s world-class ski resorts.
Condominium construction in Wildernest began in the early 1970s with properties that are still popular today, including Silver Queen, Snowbird, and Sundance Lodge. There are homes in Wildernest that date back more than a decade earlier.
Wildernest condos for sale offer some of the best values, per square foot, in Summit County. And many of the complexes, including Timber Ridge and Buffalo Ridge/Buffalo Village offer some of the best amenities in the county, as well, from pools and hot tubs to tennis courts and racquetball.
Wildernest properties in general are popular among locals, as well as in the short term/vacation market and the long-term rental market. They tend to provide sold value, both for purchase and rental.
by Susie Cortright, Broker Associate, RE/MAX Properties of the Summit, RSPS, PSA
Do you spend your free time scrolling through online listings of cozy ski condos – or second homes perched on ridgelines, enveloped in powder? Do you routinely imagine yourself there, taking it all in, steam rising from your outdoor hot tub as you enjoy the life—or at least the occasional weekend—of retreat and restoration?
It might be time to consider buying a second home in Colorado.
As a Realtor, certified Resort & Second Home Property Specialist (RSPS), and a long-time Breckenridge local, it’s my privilege to give you some insider info – both the short- and long-term advantages of buying a second home in Colorado, as well as some important cautions and considerations.
First, the positives…
Advantages to Buying a Second Home in Colorado
1. Possibility for Long-Term Appreciation
Download Susie’s 13,500-word PDF, The Summit County Real Estate Handbook (Buyers Edition) for essential knowledge of real estate in Breckenridge and Summit County, written exclusively for buyers.
There are two reasons that vacation properties like those in Summit County are generally considered to be poised for appreciation: One, they are located in areas that are popular among visitors and other vacation homeowners, and, two, the supply of homes here is limited.
Of Summit County’s 619 square miles, about 80 percent of it is public land, managed by either the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. That means only 20 percent of land in Summit County is privately owned and managed. (Source).
Once you own a piece of this paradise, you can realize the appreciation over the long term. All while you are enjoying that aforementioned hot tub.
And while no one has a crystal ball and real estate valuations can be affected by any number of events outside our control, certainly, at this time, prices are trending upward. In 2016, across Summit County, we saw a 7.9% increase in Average Sold Price. Breckenridge’s Average Sold Price was up 9.4% and Keystone’s was up 9.1%. (Read the latest market stats.)
2. Potential for Rental Income
Own a vacation property in a desirable area, and you have the added benefits of being able to short-term rent the property when you aren’t in town to enjoy it yourself.
In our resort market, vacation homes are really best thought of as lifestyle purchases, and the rental income is best thought of as something to offset your expenses.
There are ways to maximize your rental income however–by finding the right property, choosing the right vacation rental management company, and making the property available during peak rental times, for example.
As someone who studies rental income from various listed properties, I have seen a number of increases in year-over-year gross rental figures. One Ski Hill Place and ski in, ski out homes in Breckenridge seem to be doing particularly well in the rental market and occupancy rates are high across a great variety of properties.
As Denver and its surrounding communities continue to grow, many of these Coloradans are spending extended weekends and longer vacations in the High Country. Summit County is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the rising population in Denver and the rest of the Front Range. We are, after all, less than a two-hour drive away—and a world apart.
Another nice thing about purchasing a second home in a highly desirable area: there are plenty of people and organizations to help make the process easy for you. And if you choose to offer your second home on the short-term rental market, there are a great variety of solutions to help you take care of the tasks associated with renting it out.
A word of caution: Make sure to discuss your plans for renting out the property with your Realtor before you begin looking, especially if you are considering single family homes. Some subdivisions/HOAs prohibit short-term rentals altogether.
If you do plan to rent out your second home it’s important to be aware that rental income can vary greatly – across the four seasons, and across the years. I can provide you with any available figures about historic or projected rental income, but these past figures may not predict the future.
It’s important to note that, on many Breckenridge and Summit County residential properties, buyers will realize a cash flow only with a substantial down payment, and, even then, they may have a property that just breaks even – a “cash flow neutral.”
Even so, keep in mind that your equity in the property will increase as you continue to pay your mortgage. And if the property also increases in value while you own it, you can gain considerable equity. There may also be tax advantages, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
So, what kind of rental income can you expect?
The answer depends on the property and on what kind of marketing and property management you employ. Again, I can always get rental income projections for you from property management companies. But here’s some basic information to help guide your decision.
Generally speaking, if you want to offer a property for short-term rental in Summit County, we’re going to be looking for those properties with past annual gross rental income between 5% and 10% of the purchase price. (More if we can find it.)
Consider that property management companies will take 25% to 50% of your gross rental income as their fee. (I have a resource to help you navigate those companies/fees, and I’ll share it with you as we get started down that path.) Depending on the location of your unit, you also have the option of running your property management yourself, through sites such as VRBO.com, but then you are using your own time and money to market the property, so there’s some costs associated with that, as well, if only opportunity costs.
I am not a tax advisor and this is not tax advice (so discuss this with your tax professional), but I can tell you that purchasing a second home in Colorado may allow you to take advantage of certain tax deductions. If you choose to rent out his home, you will be able to take advantage of more deductions.
If you use your second home primarily for your own enjoyment (in other words, you rent the home for fewer than 14 days each year), you can deduct your property taxes and your mortgage interest, just like you do with your primary residence, as long as the debt secured by these homes (combined) does not exceed $1.1 million.
If you use your second home as an investment property and rent it for more than 14 days you are required to claim the income but can also deduct a number of expenses related to the rental activity, as well as depreciation. This is the deduction that allows for wear and tear on the home and it can result in significant tax savings.
If the second home is an investment property, you can also take advantage of a Section 1031 Exchange by which you can purchase a second investment property without paying tax on the sale of the first property. (The payment of this tax is deferred.)
Again, you’ll want to speak with a tax professional and/or a Qualified Intermediary (for 1031 exchanges). I have some good contacts if you need them.
4. Second Homes Lend a True Sense of Community.
Why do people choose a vacation home, rather than renting someplace new each time? Because it gives them a stake in the community they love. As a homeowner, you get to know the neighbors, the shop owners, the bartenders, the grocery store checkers. You are living like a local whenever you are here.
Or maybe you’re thinking ahead. Many people in our marketplace find a ski condo or second home while they are living elsewhere with the idea that they will eventually retire here, either in the same property or a trade-up property.
This consistent vacation home can give true cohesiveness to your family in a peaceful piece of paradise. This is a place for everyone to get together, away from the distractions of everyday life. On some visits, you might invite friends and family along. For others, maybe it’s just the immediate family. In any case, the relationships forged in a vacation home are priceless. Such a home represents both a reason and a place to get together.
Especially with larger homes, many people purchase with the idea that this will be a legacy home where their families – immediate and extended – will continue to come and use as a respite for years and generations to come. Again, hard to put a price on that.
5. Quick & Easy Vacations.
When you have a second home, it’s much easier to make the vacation actually happen. If your cozy clothes and skis are in your Summit County second home (along with your mountain bike and kayak for the summertime) you are ready for adventure any time. Not to mention the plates, bowls, flour, sugar, salt, etc.
Hop in the car or on a plane and you’re a world away in no time, without having to worry about bringing along all of your gear – or renting it when you arrive.
So all of this sounds pretty good so far. But I always like to make sure would-be buyers understand the expenses and any potential downside to buying a second home in Colorado.
Cautions and Considerations when Buying a Second Home in Colorado
1. Real Estate Values Can Fluctuate.
Like all investments, real estate prices can rise and fall. As there are so many variables that affect a resort real estate market, no one can guarantee you that your second home will appreciate and certainly can’t guarantee that it will appreciate at any particular rate. All we can go by are historic figures and our knowledge of the past dynamics in our unique real estate market.
2. Financing can be (a bit) Costlier/Trickier.
On second homes and investment properties, most lenders are going to require at least 25% down, though there are exceptions. I recently met with a lender who can offer Investment Occupancy loan-to-value ratios of 85% and Second Home Occupancy loan-to-value ratios of 90% to qualified buyers.
Also, if you are looking at ski condos for your second home, note that any condos a lender may classify as a “condotel” or “resort condominium” can potentially be more difficult to lend on.
Most of the loan programs we see on these types of properties are 5/1, 7/1, 10/1 ARMs and 10- and 15-year fixed rates. Just recently, a lender entered our marketplace, however, who can offer conventional 30-year lending on certain condo projects, including a number of those with an on-site front desk. We will talk more about your options here and I can introduce you to lenders, if necessary, as we begin working together.
On a related note, your homeowner’s insurance may be a bit higher on your second home. Renting the property may affect your rates, as well. Your insurance company may also have some additional requirements for using the property as a second home. For example, if your home is worth $500,000 or more, you might need to purchase a security system that automatically notifies someone if the temperature falls below a certain level. In the case of condos, most of the time you will just need to get contents and liability coverage for your individual unit.
3. There are a Variety of Expenses to Consider.
Before you buy, it’s important to be aware of these (sometimes hidden) costs involved in buying a second home in Colorado.
HOA fees. The HOA fees for single family homes tend to be fairly minimal, but for condos and townhomes, it’s typical to see HOA fees upwards of $400 a month. These fees might pay for snow removal, trash pickup, and cable TV, as well as on-site amenities such as hot tubs, fitness centers, pools, and saunas – or all of the above. Some Association’s fees even pay for electricity and heat.
Keep in mind that your HOA fees, whether a townhome, a condo or a single family home, will be included in your debt-to-income ratio, which your lender will use to determine whether you qualify for a loan.
The higher the HOA fees, the more amenities the condo probably provides. And that makes sense for some items, but maybe not others. If your complex has eight hot tubs and two pools, but you know you won’t ever use them, it makes no sense for you to pay for them (unless you plan to rent out your unit.) If they are part of your HOA dues, however, you will have to pay for them regardless of how much you use the amenities.
Utilities. One cost that sometimes takes people by surprise is the price of heating their Summit County property.
Anywhere it snows enough to ski through the middle of April, it’s going to cost a bit to heat your place.
The first home I owned here was a drafty little cabin at an elevation of 11,000 feet. We had a single wood-burning stove for heat, and so, in the depths of the wintry night—every single wintry night—I’d have to leave the cozy bed and feed the fire.
It was kind of romantic at this time of my life. (Not really. Not really at all.) But I truly don’t recommend it. Nowadays, there are a variety of ways to heat your home, and each has its benefits and its drawbacks. As your Summit County real estate agent, I will be able to educate you on a case by case basis.
Many of the newer properties are heated with in-floor radiant heat, which warms everything from the floor up. It keeps your toes nice and warm, even on the tile and slate floors. Gas fireplaces are common in Summit County condos, so if you have your heart set on one, I’m happy to make sure we look at the right properties.
Some of the newer construction is tremendously energy efficient. Some is not. And some of the older properties might be a little drafty. I’ve previewed units where my hair blew back when I stood at the window. (I won’t be showing you these unless, of course, you want a fixer-upper). The bottom line is that the price of heat should always be a consideration. As we look at properties together, we’ll pay close attention to the heating method and the utility cost for each.
Accommodation Unit License and Tax. Along with the rise in popularity of such sites as BookbyOwner.com and Airbnb.com, many resort towns are being a bit more deliberate in the ways that they license rentals and collect lodging taxes.
If you purchase a property in Breckenridge, for example, shortly after your closing, you will receive a mailing from the town’s Finance and Municipal Services Division. This letter will help you determine if you need an Accommodation Unit license and, if you do, what your fee will be. A license is required in the town of Breckenridge if you plan to rent the unit on the short-term market (“short term” is defined as fewer than 30 consecutive days.) Fees are based on the number of bedrooms and range from $75 to $175.
Real Estate Transfer Tax. Many resorts and ski towns (ours included) charge a real estate transfer tax. A real estate transfer tax is a one-time payment, made at the time of closing. The amount of real estate transfer tax in Summit County varies according to the location of the property purchased but will be either 0%, 1%, 1.5% or 2% of the total purchase price.
You can read more about this in my article Summit County Real Estate Transfer Tax, but here are the basics: Transfer tax is traditionally paid by the buyer, though this is negotiable. When we begin looking at homes, I’ll be sure to tell you the transfer tax rate of each property. In general, properties in Breckenridge and Frisco will have a 1% transfer tax. Some areas of Keystone have a 2% resort transfer fee and some areas of Copper Mountain have a 1.5% resort transfer fee.
Property Taxes. Many out-of-state buyers are pleasantly surprised at how low our Colorado property taxes are. For a complete explanation of how property taxes are calculated, read my in-depth post on the subject here.
Repairs, Maintenance, & Home Care While You Are Away. With second homes, you are not always on site if/when something goes wrong in the home. If you are renting out the home and have contracted with a vacation rental management company, these maintenance and repair issues will likely be part of your agreement.
If you are not renting out your home and the home is vacant when you are not here, our community does offer a variety of easy solutions, including a fairly large industry devoted to helping you with property management tasks – checking on the property, handling the snow removal, making sure heat tape is functioning property, etc.
There are also gadgets to help second home owners. One that we see on vacant homes in our marketplace is a Water Cop Leak Detection System. This is a series of sensors installed where leaks could occur (toilets, sinks, icemaker, etc.) If a leak is detected, the master plumbing valve is automatically turned off and a call is placed to the monitoring company, which then notifies you. Again, insurance companies like these types of systems and sometimes require them.
Especially in Summit County, it’s important to be aware of costs associated with snow plowing and snow shoveling. We’ve had so much snow this year, many of the area roofs needed to be cleared by mid-January and that comes at a cost.
4. Purchasing a Property in Place that is Somewhat Unfamiliar to You
Chances are, you know the real estate market and the most desirable communities near your primary residence. But vacation markets can have different real estate dynamics. There are also various other considerations depending on whether you want just a second home to share with family and friends – or you want something that will bring in some rental income.
That’s where a good local Realtor can really help you. She can help you find the best deals, the places that have historically seen the best appreciation, and the places where you will be happiest, based on your individual wants and needs. An informed Realtor is important, so choose a good one!
I hope this gives you a little sense for the pros and cons of buying a second home in Colorado. Of course, I’m always available to answer any additional questions you may have.