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The Mountain Living Team


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Summit County real estate market 2016 vs 2015

by The Mountain Living Team

How does today's market compare with the market one year ago?


Currently Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne have the tightest real estate markets. Highlighted in pink as an Extreme Seller's Market there is less than 2.4 months of inventory.  The orange highlights are still a Seller's Market, just not as tight with a 2.4-5.4 months supply.  Keystone and Breckenridge are currently in a Seller's Market.  That leaves Copper bringing up the rear.  Copper is still in a Buyer's Market with an 8 month supply of properties.  

Let's compare these numbers with 2015 numbers.  Only Dillon was in the Extreme Seller's Market category.  Breckenridge was seeing a Balanced Market and Copper was still tagging along behind but with almost 20 months of inventory.  The rest of the county was in a Seller's Market.  

Overall the tightest markets are in the lower end price ranges.  All the Summit County areas are seeing Extreme Seller's Markets for properties priced below $200,000.  For some markets, like Frisco, that Extreme Seller's Market is pushing up to the million dollar price range.

Our market is a tighter market than it was last year.  We have lower inventory and slightly higher buyer activity.  As ski season comes to a close this month we will see more properties come on the market, which is a normal trend.  This year, however, I don't anticipate we will build much inventory heading into the summer months.  The majority of the properties coming on the market will be absorbed by the buyer demand.  That will continue to keep inventory tight and push prices higher over the summer.

Not living in Colorado will cost you 2% more when you sell your vacation home

by The Mountain Living Team

The state of Colorado charges non-residents 2% of the sale price when they sell their vacation home or investment property.  Believe it or not, it's not a penalty for those unlucky people that don't live in Colorado, it's actually an incentive for them.  If you are a non-resident you can avoid payment of this fee but only for limited reasons.

No matter where you live, the state of Colorado expects you to pay state taxes on any money you make here.  That can be a hard task for the state to enforce but when it comes to property they have come up with a solution.  If you don't live in Colorado and sell your Colorado property, the company handling the closing is required to collect 2% of the sales price for the state of Colorado.  2% can be a significant amount of money and Colorado knows it.  The money they collect needs to be enough money to motivate the seller to file a Colorado tax return.  When a tax return is filed, if 2% was too much to collect, a refund will be processed.

Taxes aren't always due when a property is sold.  For example, if there is no gain, no taxes are due.  The state knows that and does give you a limited choice of reasons why the 2% should not be collected.  If one of those reasons fits your situation you don't have to have it withheld.  

Typically the additional 2% is not a big deal to out of state sellers.  They know it will all work out come tax time.  However, when that 2% fee is a surprise, it can wind up being a big deal.  

Brunch at the Alpenglow Stube in Keystone

by The Mountain Living Team

Alpenglow Stube in KeystoneThis March we finally made it to the Alpenglow Stube in Keystone.  We were long overdue to try the restaurant we had heard so much about.  AAA ranks it a 4 Diamond restaurant, an honor bestowed upon only 2.3% of the nearly 28,0000 restaurants they approve.  It is one of only two 4 Diamond restaurants in Summit County.  

Located at the top of North Peak, at 11,400 feet in elevation, you have to take two gondolas to get to the restaurant or you can take the chair lift and pull up out front on your skis or snowboard.  Don't worry, you won't have to enjoy your meal in your ski boots.  Check your coat and boots at the door and slip on a pair of warm slippers while you dine.

We were there for Sunday brunch.  We had a choice of just the buffet or the buffet plus a breakfast entree, soup and mimosa for about $10 more.  We went all out and got the whole deal, the Champagne Brunch.  The buffet seemed rather small if that was going to be your whole meal.  It had some greens for a salad, pasta salads,a variety of smoked fish, a variety of cheese and crackers, crab claws and a whole lot of dessert.  It seemed more like appetizers than a meal so I was happy we opted for the Champagne Brunch.  Overall the food was good but I'm not sure it was worth the fifty some odd dollars we paid for it.

The service was fantastic.  Our waiter was very attentive and when the dessert table on the buffet was running low he brought out a variety of desserts just for our table.

I don't think we'll go back for brunch again but may try it for lunch or dinner sometime.

The Clubhouse - a new bar in Frisco

by The Mountain Living Team

This winter a new bar opened it's doors on Main Street in Frisco.  In the old Upstairs at Johnny G's is a new establishment called The Clubhouse.  We had an opportunity to check it out for happy hour recently.

It's upstairs in the Frisco mall so it may be a little harder to find and not yet established so it was pretty empty when we were there.  It's a nice establishment with a large bar, small bar tables around and a few couches and chairs around a nice fireplace.  It's a very nice atmosphere.  

The menu is small offering maybe eight items.  We had the pork sliders, the hummus and the pig and fig flatbread.  All of it was very good.  

The beer on tap was also limited.  I think they specialize more in signature cocktails.  Jason had a bloody mary that he enjoyed.  All drinks were $1 off for happy hour.

The reason for the name is because you can play golf while you're there.  You can golf at the course of your choice for $50 per hour.  While we were there several people gave the game a try.  It seemed to be just as frustrating as the real thing.

To sum it up, The Clubhouse is a great spot to hang out with friends.  The menu is limited but everything we tried was very good.  The service was great too.  We will be back again.


You have probably heard that inventory levels are down in Summit County.  We only have enough properties for sale to get us through the next 3 months.  Of course, more properties will come on the market and carry us into the summer and fall months, our selling season.  However, choices will be tight and competition may be fierce.  

If you are considering buying, now is a great time.  There are still great properties to choose from and the winter months usually mean fewer buyers and less competition for those great properties.  If you're looking for views over Lake Dillon, there are a couple of condos for sale in The Towers in Frisco.  The Towers offers elevator access, garages, plenty of storage and a community hot tub along with some of the best views over the lake available.  There are townhomes in Water Dance that have equally impressive views. These townhomes come with a little more space and higher price tag.  You know you'd enjoy a condo at your favorite mountain.  Why drive when you can just walk or shuttle to and from the lifts each day?  There are some great homes available on the outskirts of Breckenridge too that offer the peace and quiet of a mountain get-away.  No matter what you are looking for, there are still a few good options worth considering.  Even with the fed increasing interest rates, they have remained around 4%, a fantastic rate!  Don't wait to find your Summit County home.


Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties comes to Summit County

by The Mountain Living Team

Coldwell Banker Mountain PropertiesOur Coldwell Banker office is an independently owned and operated franchise.  It has been operating under the name Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate since it opened in the mid '80s.  At the end of 2015 a deal was put together and the franchise changed ownership.  The new name is Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties.  It is one of three offices under the Mountain Properties name.  Those three office are, as the name implies, located in the mountains of Colorado.  There is one office in Winter Park, a Breckenridge office and our office in Frisco.  Multiple offices will allow Coldwell Banker to have a stronger presence in the communities and implement some in-office upgrades.  These changes will offer additional support to The Mountain Living Team that will help us excel even more in our field.  

The Mountain Living Team has always taken pride in the service and expertise we offer to our clients.  We believe this new partnership will compliment our excellent standard of service and soup up the already aggressive marketing tool box we utilize for our sellers.  

The Mountain Living Team can still be found in the Frisco office unless it is a powder day.  In that case, you'll find us at one of the nearby ski areas.  We love the mountains and fit in some fun whenever we can.

Have you considered Partial Ownership for your vacation home?

by Meredith Adams

Partial ownership is deeded ownership of a fraction of a property. Just like home ownership, there are both advantages and disadvantages to partial ownership.  It may work perfectly for your situation or not be a very good fit.

The most common way properties are split is into quarter shares, 25% ownership.  Some properties are split into 1/8 or even 1/16 ownership.  If you get smaller than that you are looking at weekly ownership and that would be a timeshare purchase.

Typically your partial ownership will be set up as rotating weeks throughout the year.  A quarter share is roughly one week a month for a total of 13 weeks a year. A 1/8th share would be one week approximately every two months for 6 weeks a year.

Regardless of the percentage of ownership, the condos will be governed by their own rules.  Those will clarify if pets are allowed, how it is handled if something breaks or if updating is needed.  Monthly dues are typically all inclusive and include all utilities, HOA dues, property taxes, etc. 

If your schedule only allows for limited time in the county every year, partial ownership could be a great option.  You don’t have to work on it.  It comes with furnishings, dishes, etc and is ready to use. And, you only have to buy a portion of it.  Why not let others pay for the time in the condo you’re not using?

If partial ownership might work for you, consider this Greens at Copper Creek condo.  For just $39,900 you can own a 1/8th share of a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo that overlooks the golf course and is just yards away from the lift at Copper Mountain resort.  

Properties are scarce in Frisco right now

by Meredith Adams

Are you looking for a home in Frisco?  It is slim pickin’s right now.  As I’m writing this there are only 21 residential properties for sale in Frisco.  The lowest priced is a 3 bedroom condo for $428,000.  Only 12 of the 21 properties are priced under a million dollars.  There are 12 additional properties under contract.  11 of those are priced below a million dollars.  Frisco had 223 sales in 2015, which works out to be about 18 sales per month.  The beginning of the year is typically a slower time of year for us.  January in 2015 only had 6 sales.  There have already been 9 sales this January.

Market conditions like these can result in multiple offers on properties.   The shortage of inventory makes the buyers stack up as they wait for something to come on the market and often leaves them competing for properties.   As we head into summer we see more and more properties come on the market.  That will help alleviate the property shortage and even out the buyer/seller mix.  Even at our peak inventory level in 2016, I don’t anticipate having an abundance of properties.  I expect the Frisco market to be a seller’s market all year long.

Multiple offer situations can complicate a property sale as the seller has to determine the best course of action for handling all the buyers.  We will be posting additional information about handing multiple offers soon.

Copper Mountain real estate in 2015

by Meredith Adams

2015 was a year of significant improvement in the Copper Mountain real estate market.   Copper started the year in an extreme buyer’s market but thanks to a great summer and fall, ended the year in a balanced market.  Sales numbers were up 29.7% over 2014.  Median sale price increased as did the list to sales price ratio, and the number of days on the market dropped.

A balanced market means all of the properties on the market could sell at the current pace in five to seven months.  As that timeframe increases, meaning a longer time for the inventory to be absorbed, the market swings to a buyer’s market.  As that timeframe decreases, with a shorter time for the inventory to be absorbed, the market transitions to a seller’s market.  The absorption rate is impacted by both the supply and the demand of the market.  Copper Mountain began 2015 with 16.2 months of inventory, an extreme buyer’s market.  It gradually decreased throughout the year and ended with a 7.3 month supply; at the outskirts of a balanced market. 

Sales are typically slower the first half of the year.  2015 only had 17 sales in the first five months.  Sales came on strong in the second half pushing the total sales just shy of the one hundred mark with 98.  These are much stronger sales than the 74 seen in 2014.  This year is looking much stronger than 2015 with 4 sales already this year and 9 more under contract.  2016 could be the year we hit 115 sales, the number of sales we had during our peak year of 2007. 

Copper Mountain’s average sale price dipped slightly in 2015 however the median increased.  The average sale price in 2014 was $388,805 and only $355,309 in 2015, a 8.7% decline.  That was due to the highest sale price in 2015 being only $868,150.  In 2014 homes sold for $2.3million and $1,690,000 influencing the average sale price that year.  The median sale price in 2014 was $322,500.  It increased in 2015 by 6.7% to $344,000.   

During 2015, sellers were agreeing to sell their properties, on average, for 95.4% of their list price.  In 2014 sellers had to give away a little more selling for 94.4% of list price.  This ratio does not take into account any price changes that may have happened prior to the property going under contract.  The amount a seller will negotiate from their list price is typically driven by market conditions as well as the seller’s motivations.  In general, less negotiation can be expected in a seller’s market than in a buyer’s market.

As expected given the improving market conditions, properties at Copper sold faster in 2015 than they did the previous year.  The days a home spent on the market fell to a median of 137.  That is down from 2014’s median of 164, or approximately 5 ½ months.

No matter how you look at it, 2015 was a great year for Copper Mountain.  So far, all signs for 2016 are pointing toward another great year for Copper Mountain real estate.

Read more about the Summit County market in 2015.

Get the dirt on the lot before you buy

by Meredith Adams

When choosing a piece of land to build a home on, most people base their decision on the topography of the land.  They can see how steep it is and what type of home would be the best fit for it.  They can see how many trees are on the lot and if there is or will be a view. They can see that the south facing slopes are melted quicker than the north facing ones.  When it comes to building on that lot, they should have a good idea of what they are getting in to, right?  Unfortunately, while the topography tells us a lot of things it doesn't tell us everything.

A couple components of the land that are easily over looked are the dirt and water. Sure, every lot has dirt and water, that is what you're buying after all.  But what kind and how much can have a big impact on the costs involved in developing that lot.  Anyone that has ever tried to dig a hole in the Rocky Mountains knows there are a lot of rocks in the ground.  But there is also sandy soil, a variety of clay and varying water tables.  The make up of the dirt and water content in your lot will determine the type of foundation you need, the type of septic system if one is required, and the drainage requirements necessary.  These components can drastically impact your construction costs.

So how do you know what type of dirt you have?  How do you know if there is too much water on the lot?  The best way to evaluate your lot is by getting a soils test.  In our local market, a soils test is the responsibility of the buyer.  It's an inspection of the ground and therefore a buyer's expense.  Some lenders will require a soils test in order to approve a loan on the property.  They don't want possibly over valued land as collateral for their loan and neither should you.  The topography of the land will impact the cost involved but you should anticipate $2000-$3000 and a timeline of several weeks.  If the seller has had a soils test done in the past they may provide it to prospective buyers.  Drainage through the lot may change over the years but soil conditions usually don't.  However, a soils report over seven years old may not offer any liability protection if building decisions are based on it.

A soils test is more frequently performed prior to the sale of a lot but it may not be the only part of the lot you want to inspect before hand. The Summit County Planning and Engineering Department requires a Slope Stability Analysis on any lot where building will disturb slopes that have a 30% grade or steeper.  Wetlands can impact the ability to build on a lot.  Any disturbance to wetlands requires approval by the Amy Corps of Engineers and building around the wetlands may not be an option on all lots.  Even if there is enough room for the house, there may not be enough room for a septic system.  

By now you may be holding your head reeling from the amount of expenses piling up on a lot that you don't even own yet.  You need to realize that spending a few thousand dollars now may keep you from spending many more thousands of dollars on a piece of land that won't work for what you want or one that will cost you thousands more to build on than you thought.  If it turns out that the lot has good dirt and water, the expenses you incurred were expenses you would have had to incur to build anyway.  Evaluating the ground before making a purchase is something every buyer of vacant land should consider.

Some of the information in this article was provided by HP Geotech

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Jason & Meredith Adams
The Mountain Living Team at Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties
400 Main St / PO Box 4115
Frisco CO 80443