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Buffalo Mountain Fire and the Lessons Learned

by Meredith Adams

Living in the mountains surrounded by National Forest lands is an amazing place to be but, like anywhere, it is not without it's risks.  We don't really have floods, hail or tornadoes around here.  Our big concern is wildfire. Unfortunately, on June 12th a fire started on Buffalo Mountain just above the Wildernest neighborhood.

That Tuesday morning was a beautiful morning but at 10:46 someone called in a fire.  From Lake Dillon we could see smoke on the hill and estimated it was around Wildernest.  The smoke continued and the plume was getting bigger so I called my mom, Joanne, who lives in Mesa Cortina, the adjoining neighborhood to Wildernest, to see if she had heard anything.  At that time she hadn't but it wasn't long before Summit County made the notifications.  Reverse 911 calls went out and texts or emails were sent to those on the Summit County Alert System.  There was a mandatory evacuation in place for the upper portions of both the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods, the lower portions were on pre-evacuation.  The smoke was billowing and there was a lot of fear.  It wasn't until later that we found out just how close the fire was to homes.Smoke billowing up from Buffalo Mountain Fire

Air support was called in and multiple helicopters and slurry bombers were flying overhead attacking the fire very aggressively.  50 firefighters were fighting the fire on the ground and over 100 more were on the way.  Road blocks were in place keeping the residents from going into the evacuation zones, and even the pre-evacuation zones.  The response was nothing short of amazing as everyone held their breaths not knowing exactly where the fire was burning and if homes were involved.

The aggressive attack on the fire paid off and by that evening the fire laid down and the smoke going into the sky was minimal.  The personnel involved in the fire fight were reluctant to give any containment numbers and kept the evacuation orders in place but I know we felt a lot better about the situation. 

Over the next few days additional information came out about the fire fight.  That information showed us how close the fire came to burning so many homes and how the preventative measures taken by the forest service in conjunction with the county made all the difference in the outcome of this fire.  

Defensible space is a common term heard in fire prevention information.  It creates a fire break between the forest and the property and gives the firefighters a fighting chance to save property from a wildfire.  A few years ago, after the pine beetle came through and killed so many lodge pole pine trees in the forests, it was determined that the neighborhoods that backed to national forest lands needed to have defensible space.  A wide fire break was cut.  All the dead and living trees came down.  Most homeowners didn't like it.  Having the national forest right there was incredible and to see the vegetation we love so much removed was really hard.  Regardless of the protests, defensible space was created around both the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods.  That defensible space helped the firefighters keep this fire from going into the neighborhoods.  

If you own a property in Summit County, or in any area at risk to wildfires, defensible spaces is so important.  Take on the responsibility to ensure you have defensible space around your property.  Even in a condo complex, you can bring it up with the HOA or talk to the county or forest service.  For information on what you need to do to create defensible space around your home, visit firewise.org.  Eliminate ladder fuels, prune bushes and trees, and use fire resistant materials on your home, it's worth the time and effort if a wildfire ever comes knocking at your door.

Thank you to all the people involved in the firefighting efforts on the Buffalo Mountain Fire!

 

May real estate sales lag slightly

by The Mountain Living Team

Land and residential property closings in May were lagging a little but pricing and days on the market are still strong.  Inventory is beginning to build.  This summer’s sales will help to paint a picture of what’s to come in 2019 for the Summit County real estate market. 

This May there were 147 residential sales in Summit County.  The average sales price was $763,018. 17.7% of the sales were priced at $1,000,000 or higher and 23% were at $400,000 or less.  The highest sale was a single family home in Breckenridge that sold for $3,400,000 and the lowest a studio condo in Silverthorne for $179,900.  In May, residential properties sold for 98.4% of list price. The highest sales price per square foot was a 415 square foot condo by the Snowflake lift in Breckenridge that sold for a whopping $1,084 per square foot.  At the other extreme was both sides of a duplex that sold for almost $217 per square foot.  Properties sold quickly with 68.7% going under contract within the first 30 days on the market.  17% did hang around a while, taking 90 days or more to sell.  Of the 147 sales in May, 23% were cash purchases. 

May 2018 had 13.5% fewer residential sales than May 2017, however, the average sale price went up 6% from $719,584 in May of 2017.  One reason for both stats may be the inventory.  There are 14.1% fewer residential properties on the market compared to the same time in 2017.  Summit County has had a limited supply of inventory all year long.  Inventory has been climbing gradually since March with more significant strides coming in the last month.  We expect the inventory to continue to grow throughout the summer, as will sales, and probably prices.

There were 10 land sales in Summit County in May.  7 of those were in Breckenridge.  All were single family home lots and, with the exception of one, all under 1 acre of land. The average sale price was $309,850.  Half of the sales were on the market for 60 days or less, the other half for more than 6 months.  80% were cash purchases and on average, sold for 92.2% of list price.  Land sales were down compared to May 2017 when there were 14 sales.  Even with a slower May, year to date land sales are still up 40%.  

So far this year, the number of land sales is rising, and the number of residential sales is declining slightly.  An increase in land sales is a typical trend in a strong housing market when homes are tough to find and building your own becomes more appealing.  The decline in residential sales is likely a result of low inventory.  A couple of months of summer sales should give us a better picture to determine if buyer demand is still as strong as it has been.

Golf Discounts for Epic Pass Holders

by The Mountain Living Team

If you have an Epic Pass ski pass, you can get a reduced rate at both Keystone courses.  You have to reserve your tee time on line and use a discount code to get the special rate.  Once you're at the course, you'll have to show your pass or you will pay full price.  The discount is good for a foresome so grab your friends and get out on the course!

Here are the details copied from www.EpicPass.com

Keystone Golf Courses:

Passholders are eligible for great discounts on golf! Tee times must be booked online at www.golfkeystone.com using Promo code "PASSCLUB"

Valid after 11 am and 7 day advance reservations

  • $80 -- May 11 to June 30
  • $110 July 1 to August 31
  • $80 September 1 to October 7
  • Bring up to 3 guests per pass holder
  • Must flash pass at golf course or full price will be charged

 

Rentals: Discounted club rental @ $40
Practice Facility Access: $10 (unlimited practice balls)

Avoid taxes on your real estate sales

by The Mountain Living Team

Did you know your home value grows tax free up to a certain amount?  Did you know income on the sale of an investment property or second home is taxed at a reduced rate from your ordinary income?  Whether you knew it or not real estate is a great wealth building opportunity. 

When you sell a home, if it is your primary residence, you can exclude $250,000 of the gain or $500,000 for those that file a joint tax return from your taxes.  That's a huge tax savings. and an incredible wealth building tool. See the IRS rules to see if you may qualify.

Recently we have seen home prices rise dramatically in the Summit County market.  It's been a similar story nearly everywhere nationwide.  If you are a home owner, you likely have had an increase in the value of your home.  If you're not selling, that gain doesn't mean much, but if you are, that increase in value could be 100% tax free.

If you own a second home or investment property that you are considering selling, your taxes on the gain could be minimal or deferred altogether.  If you're property is held more than one year, your gain can be considered a long term capital gain and taxed as a long term capital gain rate instead of included in your income and taxed at that, likely higher, rate.  If you are going to reinvest your gain into another property, you can defer your taxes altogether by doing a 1031 Exchange.  

We are not tax accountants, and as you know, every situation is different, but as real estate agents, we are aware of potential tax implications that can come with the sale of your property.  We can help you to identify those situations so you know what you should be talking to your CPA about.  Those conversations will help you determine your best strategy regarding the sale of your home.  Ultimately, that is our goal; to make your real estate experience the best it can be.

Start new habits this Earth Day

by The Mountain Living Team

Earth Day is April 22nd and this year the focus is ending plastics pollution.  I have heard stories of the huge islands of plastics in the middle of the ocean.  I've seen tv shows where they have to rescue marine life from the plastic litter that is tangled around them.  I see plastics and other trash along side roads and in parking lots after being casually discarded from cars.  Recently I have heard of bits of plastics being in the bottled water products.  This Earth Day it's time for each of us to make a difference and minimize or eliminate the problems plastics cause.  In it's entirety it seems like an impossible task but if we break it down into small, manageable things each of us can do, it can have a huge impact.

One way to help eliminate our plastic trash is to stop buying things that come in plastic bottles or containers.  I realize that is nearly impossible to do in today's world but give it a second thought next time you make a purchase.  If you do end up buying a plastic container, make it a point to recycle or reuse it.  Minimize how much you put in the trash but of course, in the trash is better than tossing it out the car window.  Never do that!

Currently Summit County only recycles plastics marked #1 or #2.  Those are mostly bottles.  There is not currently an option locally that I am aware of to recycle other plastics.  For more information about what can be recycled in Summit County visit High Country Conservation Center's website.

Use fabric grocery bags.  Many stores no longer provide plastic bags or they do for a charge to motivate us to bring our own reusable bags.  It's a great idea just remember to wash them frequently.  

Donate or re-purpose items.  Regardless if they are made of plastic or not, finding a way to re-purpose an old item is good for the earth, and generally your pocketbook.  If you can't come up with a new use for your old item, if it still has some life in it, consider donating it.  There are a lot of non-profits that count on our donations to survive.  It's a win-win.  In our area, a lot of our seasonal workers can use stuff.  They came here for the lifestyle and because of the cost to live here, they often sacrifice some of the basic items most of us take for granted.  If you are local and belong to Facebook, post your unwanted item on One Man's Junk and see if anyone is in need.  Freecycle is another great option.

Visit www.EarthDay.org for more ways you can help end plastic pollution or a number of other earth friendly ideas.  Do your part and commit to creating a great habit this Earth Day. 

 

Donate outdoor items for kids to use

by The Mountain Living Team

It's hard to have a bad day when you're hiking or skiing or having a picnic in the park.  Nature has a way of releasing tensions and refreshing me.  A lot of kids in the Denver Metro area don't get to experience that for a variety of reasons.  Shiloh House, a non-profit organization in Littleton, takes high risk youth out into nature.  I can easily see the benefits of a program that gets kids outdoors.  I would be a lot more cranky and moody without nature.  

Unfortunately, Shiloh House had all of it's outdoor items stolen recently. As we head into spring and summer, the lack of these essential items may make it difficult to get all the kids that would benefit out into nature.  If you have a back pack, water bottle, fishing poles, or any other lightly used ,recreational items that you aren't using anymore, Shiloh House would love to have them.  Your tax deductible donation would help them continue to get more kids out into nature.  If that's not a good thing, I don't know what is.

If you'd like to donate, you can drop recreation items off at our Mountain Living Real Estate office, take them directly to their offices at 6588 W Ottawa Ave in Littleton or go to their website and donate money.  https://shilohhouse.org/donate/  Next time we are in Littleton we will drop off any items we collect and get a tax deduction form for you if they provide us with one.

You can see the complete story on a local denver news channel's website.

7 Easy Tips to Prepare Your Home to Sell

by The Mountain Living Team

Preparation is the key to success in most everything we do today.  It may not only impact whether or not you actually succeed but the level of success you will achieve.  When it comes time to sell your home, heed the words of Ben Franklin, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."  Even in our current seller's market there is a Keystone home that has been on the market for eight years.  A recent sale was on the market for five years and another for three and a half.  Unless that is your plan, you don't want to be one of those home sellers.  Prepare your home along with your expectations and succeed.  

Most home owners think their home is great.  It is their taste and it represents the way they live.  Often times buyers see it that way too; as the perfect home for the seller, not for the buyer.  As a home seller you can take a few steps to ensure your home comes off looking like a great place for the majority of the potential buyers that look at it.  Here are 7 easy tips that will help your home show great.

1. Clean.  It doesn't matter how clean you live, clean your home.  Do your spring cleaning and vaccuum away the cobwebs, dust the blinds, wash the windows, make your house shine.  If you live in your home full time, it's a little more work to keep it this way but it is worth it.  Don't leave your dishes in the sink, manage the kids and the pets, it's in your best interest.

2. Remove the clutter.  Clean almost everything off the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms.  If you have 100 books in the bookshelf, get rid of three-quarters of them.  If you have family photos on every wall replace them with a mountain scene.  When you are done, it should look like a show home and make you wonder if anybody really lives here.

3. Start packing.  The first impulse we have when it's time to remove clutter is to fill the closets with all that stuff.  Instead, pack away the things you don't use.  You are going to be moving and will have to pack anyway.  Get a head start.  If the cabinets, closets & garage or basement are all full, the buyers think there isn't enough space for all their things either.

4. Take a look outside.  If it is winter, be sure and shovel the walk to the front door.  If we have a garage, most of us park inside and don't walk outside to the front door.  Your buyers won't have that luxury.  If you are not always here, pay someone to shovel it for you.  Have the decks and exterior living space shoveled too.  Those spaces can be year 'round use on some of our warm and sunny winter days, we want it to look like it.  If it is summer, pick up the yard.  We typically don't have lawns that need to be mowed up here but there may be a few downed limbs or that excess lumber is still laying on the side of the house.  If you are in a condo complex, take a look at the common areas and address any concerns.  Flower gardens should be planted and weeded.  

5. Make repairs.  We all have repairs we haven't gotten around to yet, maybe it's that dripping faucet or the door that you have to push hard to close.  Typically you're better off to go ahead and make those repairs now.  Odds are the buyer will find them during their home inspection and ask you to repair them then or to credit them money. 

6. Paint.  If the home is looking a little dingy, consider painting it.  Painting gives a fresh, clean look and is relatively inexpensive.  If you have unusual colors you may want to paint over them with a warm, neutral color that will appeal to the masses.  

7. Consider buying a few new items.  New comforters with dust ruffles and throw pillows can go a long way dressing up a bedroom.  New rugs in the bathrooms and throw pillows on the sofas can perk up those rooms too.  Consider adding color to the room with corresponding pillows and accent pieces like flowers, candles, vases and artwork.  Don't go overboard though.  We don't want to clutter the rooms you just moved all the clutter out of.

 

Closing Dates for Summit County Resorts

by The Mountain Living Team

The days are getting longer and the temperatures getting warmer.  We are enjoying spring skiing here!  This time of year always lets us know that the snow won't last much longer.  Most resorts close around mid-April with Loveland and Arapahoe Basin staying open longer.  Here are the closing dates for our local resorts.  Remember these dates are subject to change based on snow conditions.

Breckenridge - April 22
Copper Mountain - April 15
Keystone - April 8
Arapahoe Basin - No date set yet.

Nearby Resorts:
Beaver Creek - April 15
Vail - April 15
Loveland - May 9

Time is short.  Get out there and enjoy the rest of this ski season!

The Ikon Pass could be a gamechanger for ski passes in Summit County

by The Mountain Living Team

Currently there are three passes that will grant you access to all the Summit County ski areas and a few just outside the county border; the Epic Pass, Copper Pass & Loveland Pass.  The Epic Pass offers access to all the Vail Resorts properties.  It includes Breck, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek and A-Basin. The Copper Mountain Pass is either a single mountain pass or can be combined with Winter Park & a few days at Steamboat.  The Loveland Pass is just Loveland. Next year there will be a new pass available, the Ikon Pass and it could give Vail Resorts a run for their money.  

The Ikon Pass includes Copper Mountain and 24 or 25 other resorts across the country.  There are 2 options to buy, $599 or $899.For $599 you will get unlimited access with no blackout dates to three Colorado resorts; Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Eldora, Big Bear in California, Blue Mountain & Tremblant in Canada, and Snowshoe in West Virginia. You also get unlimited access with a few blackout dates to three more California resorts plus 5 days at  Steamboat and Aspen Snowmass in Colorado plus Jackson Hole, Deer Valley and several other mountains in the East & in Canada.  The higher price point gives you unlimited access to 12 resorts and 7 days at the remaining 13 resorts.  Passes for kids under 12 are less than $200 and they offer military, college & teen discounts. 

It doesn't replace Epic Pass in Summit County.  There's still only one mountain in the county included but if you plan to take some ski vacations you have a whole lot more options.  I have already heard some people say they will buy this pass instead of the Epic and maybe get a cheaper pass, like the A-Basin/Keystone pass to add some additional Summit County resorts.  

We try and take a ski trip a few hours away every year.  We did Jackson Hole this year, Wolf Creek the year before and Steamboat before that.  Destination trips like that will certainly factor into the pass decision for many people.  

More information about the new Ikon Pass is available on their website.  Passes go on sale March 6th.  Like most passes, these may go up in price the longer you wait to buy. #IkonPass

The Winter Olympics is Summit County, Colorado and then some.

by Meredith Adams

Photo courtesy of https://www.bestvpnanalysis.com/watch-winter-olympics-2018-stream-live/The winter Olympics start today!  So many of the winter sports are some of the things we do every day here in Summit County.  Things like alpine and cross country skiing, snowboarding, & riding the rails & the half pipe.  We also have many of the past, present & future Olympians pass through town as they compete in their specific events hosted at our local ski resorts.  Many of us have had the opportunity to watch these amazing athletes compete in person.   

Sports are always more interesting to watch when you have an understanding of the game and can understand the strategies and skills involved.  Lindsey Vonn skis slalom at around 80 mph.  We don't generally clock ourselves skiing but with an app on his phone, my husband clocked his speed down one really fast run to see how fast he could ski.  He said he was going just over 50 mph.  There's no way I would have wanted to or could have kept up.  Based on that, I'm guessing, at my fastest ever I may hit 30 mph, maybe.  Lindsey Vonn goes 80.  Knowing what 30 feels like gives me so much more appreciation for not only what she does, but how fast she does it.  

I have a better appreciation for those athletes that ride the half pipe, getting amazing air and doing tricks.  I have skied the half pipe.  I don't get air and I don't even get close to the top of the pipe.  The momentum you get going from one side to the other is so amazing.  The steep and icy sides that are so high are absolutely crazy.  If you haven't taken a run down the half pipe, you should put it on your bucket list.  At Copper Mountain, if there isn't an event or practice happening, anyone can ride the pipe.  I urge you to go down it.  Go only as high up the sides as you feel comfortable.  Feel the speed you build as you slide from one side of the pipe to the other.  Notice how the sides tower over you.  Understand the control & skill these athletes must possess to fly beyond the top, spin around in the air, and land back on the steep sides without wiping out.  

Woodward at Copper MountainWhile you're at it, give some of the other Olympic sports a try.  If you've got the guts, check out Woodward at Copper Mountain.  There you can safely launch yourself off a ramp, do an in air trick, and land in a foam pit, all while strapped into your skis or board.  Or go a little milder and strap on the skinny skis and head out into the woods or to one of the local Nordic Centers.  There is one in Keystone, Frisco and Breckenridge.  You may be amazed how different it is from alpine skiing, and appreciate how much energy you exert just to go across a long, flat stretch.  

Summit County offers the opportunities to enjoy all these winter activities and so much more.  The fun to be had in both winter and summer is endless.  Get out and enjoy yourself in Summit County.  You'll be glad you did.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 294

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Photo of Jason & Meredith Adams Real Estate
Jason & Meredith Adams
Mountain Living Real Estate
PO Box 4115
Frisco CO 80443
888-666-0844