There are many questions that come up when buying real estate.
Several have been answered for you here.
- What will my expenses be as an owner? If you are in a condo or townhome complex you will have Home Owner Association dues. In a single family home or duplex you will have the same utility and maintenance expenses you have in your primary residence. In addition you will have monthly mortgage payments unless you pay cash. Even then, you still have taxes and insurance to pay annually.
- What do the dues cover? Home Owner Association dues vary, depending on the age of the complex and what they pay for. They almost always cover snow removal and trash removal, common area maintenance and insurance, water and sewer and cable TV. Some include heat. A few include electricity as well. Dues are usually higher if the building has an elevator or is at a ski area with “free” shuttle bus service. There is no general rule of thumb, however.
- What insurance coverage will I need? If the home is more than $500,000 and will be used as a second home, most insurance companies will require a security system that will notify someone if the temperature falls below a certain level. If you are renting the home or condo, be sure to tell your insurance agent. Your rates will be higher, but unless you disclose the rental situation you may not be covered if you have a claim. If you own in a condominium complex the insurance on the building is usually included in your dues. You should still carry contents and liability coverage. If you do not have a homes association, you will need your own insurance.
- What are the interest rates when I finance? For a second home the rates are comparable to what you will pay for your primary residence. If you plan to use the property only as a rental the interest rate will be about ½% higher. If you use it yourself and rent occasionally you can probably get by with a second home rate, but it will depend on the lender. Many people start out thinking they will use it only as a second home, but change their minds once they close and decide to rent.
- What closing costs will I incur when I buy my home? In addition to your down payment, my rule of thumb is to allow 2% of the purchase price for closing costs. In addition, the towns of Frisco and Breckenridge charge a 1% transfer fee that is traditionally (although not always) paid by the Buyer when the property changes hands. Keystone and Copper Mountain also have fees of up to 2% of the purchase price that is levied on change of ownership.
- I want to be secluded. What is available? Not a lot! More than 75% of our county is National Forest or public land. As a result most private land is available in pretty small pieces, with a ½ acre lot being one of the larger lots in most areas. There still are a few places where you can get an acre or more, but be prepared to pay mightily for them. Seclusion doesn’t necessarily need to mean a big chunk of land, however. Consider a treed lot or a condo complex that looks out at open space or trees. When we first bought our second home in Summit County we wanted the “cabin in the woods” and we ended up with a condo in a treed area. Or, consider driving further and being in Park County, or paying more as well as driving further in northern Summit County.
- I want acreage. What is available? See above. There is still acreage available and one or two areas that allow horses, but you pay a lot more for it. Most people only want to spend that much for a primary home, and perhaps that is what you are looking for. Again, consider property that backs to the National Forest or is close to open space. The Continental Divide Land Trust is working hard to preserve more land as open space.
- What about water, sewer and natural gas services? Water and sewer is available in all the towns and in some areas out of the towns. As you get further away from developed areas you will need to have well and septic for single family properties. Natural gas is available in most areas, but some may use propane.
- What options are there to connect to the internet? We have cable or DSL internet service in most areas. Some still rely on standard dial-up. Copper Mountain has wireless high speed internet in some buildings. Comcast has high speed cable connections and Qwest, Colorado net and a couple of other companies offer faster internet service as well.
- What are the recreation opportunities? Endless! We are within 30 minutes of 5 major ski areas. There is sailing and fishing on Lake Dillon, fly fishing on the Blue River, hiking the many mountain trails and biking the more than 60 miles of paved bike trails all over the county. There are many organizations catering to special interest groups. My favorite is the Over the Hill Gang, a ski group consisting of more than 800 people over 50 years old who are on the go constantly!
- What is an ILC? An Improvement Location Certificate (ILC) is usually required by lenders on residential loans, or by a Town or County Building Department during construction. It is a map showing the boundaries of the property and the major improvements (buildings) thereon. It is not to be used for the establishment of fences, buildings, or other future improvements. Monuments are not set at the lot corners.