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Mountain Living Blog

The Mountain Living Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 236

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

2015 - The Summit County real estate market year in review

by Meredith Adams

Residential SalesThe Summit County real estate market has been plugging along in an upward trend since 2009.  That continued through 2015 but with a little more gusto than previous years.

Double digit sales increases continued in 2015 with a 13.3% bump pushing us to more than double the sales that happened in 2009.  While the sales numbers are extraordinary, they are still 23.2% below the market peak in 2006 when we had 2,499 residential sales.

Inventory levels are extremely low.  There are currently fewer than 500 residential properties on the market in Summit County.  That’s about half the properties on the market this time last year and about 1/3 the properties that have been on the market to start previous years.  We typically gain inventory as the year goes along with the peak coming around September.

The increasing demand and shrinking inventory pushed prices higher in 2015.  The amount of the increases  vary across the county, neighborhood to neighborhood.  The high demand in some neighborhoods fueled competition between buyers creating multiple offers.  As a result, some sale prices exceeded pricing hit during the peak of our market.

2015 was especially good to Copper Mountain’s real estate market.  The year started as an extreme buyers market with a 17 month supply of properties on the market.  After 96 sales in 2015 it ended the year a balanced market with only about a seven month supply currently.   Reaching 96 sales meant a 29.7% increase over 2014 numbers; a much needed improvement.  Copper is still behind the rest of the county however, with all other areas already in a seller’s market.

2015 was a good year.  At this point, indications are that 2016 should be even stronger.


You can now catch the bus from Blue River

by The Mountain Living Team

The Summit Stage has added bus service from Breckenridge to Blue River.  Blue River is an unincorporated town located south of the town of Breckenridge on Highway 9. The new service began November 22 and will run through the winter.  Currently only limited service is being offered with two buses running in the mornings and evenings. Ridership will determine if the route continues or is extended.  For more information on where and when you can catch the bus, visit the Summit Stage website.

The Summit Stage already offers free bus service all across Summit County.  Routes include Silverthorne, Frisco, Keystone, A-Basin, Copper Mountain, Dillon and Breckenridge.  Commuter service is also offered between Leadville and Frisco and additional commuter service expansion to Park County is being considered.  The active lifestyle is understood and the buses have bike racks in the summer and transport a lot of skiers and riders to the various mountains in the winter.

The new express lane on eastbound I-70 is up and running, well sometimes

by The Mountain Living Team

Express Toll LogoThe new express lane is the left lane of eastbound I-70 between Hwy 40 (the Empire or Winter Park exit) and Hwy 6 at the bottom of Floyd Hill.  It will only be open during peak travel days, about 73 days a year weather permitting. On the other days it functions as the shoulder for the highway.  Separated from the other two eastbound lanes only by a solid white line, it may be confusing for drivers, especially those that aren’t familiar with the highway or express lanes in general.

The express lane is designed to have drivers enter at Hwy 40 and stay in the lane all 13 miles to Hwy 6.  Those drivers that want to stop in Idaho Springs have a limited exit area before exit 239, the first of three Idaho Spring’s exits.  The enter and exit areas are indicated by short dotted white lines instead of the solid white line that runs most of the 13 mile stretch.  If you choose to stop for a while in Idaho Springs plan to be back on the road within four hours or you may incur another toll if you return to the express lane.

When the express lane is open a toll will be charged.  The toll will be posted and will vary based on the congestion of the highway.  It will range from $3.00 to $30.00 for those that have an express pass.  If you don’t have a pass, the registered owner of the vehicle driving in the lane will receive a bill in the mail.  That bill will include administrative charges that could increase the toll by up to $10. 

Because this third lane functions as the shoulder when the express lane is not open, it should not be used as a passing lane.  A flat tire, mechanical failure or other emergency may cause vehicles to be parked in this lane. 

C-DOT anticipates the express lane to save drivers that use it around 30 minutes of travel time.  If you are a frequent I-70 traveler, it may be to your advantage to pick up an express pass and save on administrative charges.  To sign up, visit and register for an account.  You’ll need to know your vehicle information; make, model and license number; as well as have an email account and credit card.  When you register you will be charged $35.  That $35 will be placed in your account and any tolls received will be paid from those funds first.  Your credit card is kept on file and additional tolls may be charged directly to your credit card.  If you already have a transponder for other toll roads in the state that may work for this stretch of I-70 too.  Visit the website to be sure.

Additional information regarding the express lane is available on C-DOT’s website

Or here’s a link to a quick fact sheet:

Buying and selling property in Colorado: the purchase contract

by Meredith Adams

The Colorado contract to Buy and Sell real estate is 17 pages long and is written to protect the buyer.  Once under contract, there are eleven opportunities for the buyer to terminate the contract without losing their earnest money.  These contingencies offer a buyer the time to do their due diligence and ensure they are comfortable with all the extras surrounding the home.  Buyers can review the title documents, the HOA documents, the survey and any other requested docs.  If the property doesn't appraise there are provisions for that.  There is even an opportunity to make sure there are no issues getting homeowner's insurance.  Colorado really looks out for the buyer.  It is the agents job to ensure the appropriate actions are taken to protect those outs.  If those opportunities are not protected the buyer can lose their earnest money if they don't perform. 

From the seller side of the sale, once the contract is signed, they are obligated to sell.  They don't have any opportunities to terminate the contract unless the buyer provides those opportunities.  Once a buyer is under contract that property is theirs to buy, or not. If the contract is followed, the buyer can terminate the sale with a valid reason and receive 100% of their earnest money back.  The seller is just stuck with having to put their property back on the market and receives no compensation.  

The buyer is most at risk during a transaction.  If a buyer doesn't buy, the seller still has a property to sell but if a buyer buys a lemon, they are stuck with it.  The state of Colorado has put together a strong real estate contract to try to ensure the buyer knows what they are getting into before they buy.  As a buyer, it is imperative your rights are looked after and protected.  Those rights shouldn't be protected by just anyone.  Do what you can to make sure you are working with the right agent. 

Absoprtion rate, a worthy statistic all by itself.

by Meredith Adams

If you are interested in buying real estate in Summit County you may start looking at market statistics to get a feel for the state of the market.  Those market statistics may not mean much until they are put into the perspective of the Summit County market.  If you hear that there are 1000 properties for sale, it's hard to know what that means.  Is it a seller's market or a buyer's market?  Are the 85 sales last month exceptional or terrible?  Without some context, statistics are relatively useless.  That's why one of the statistics we look at every month is the absorption rate.  It automatically puts the statistics into the context of the market.  That means, even with no additional information, you know where the market is.

Absorption rate is the relationship between inventory and past sales.  If in the last year there have been 1200 sales and now there are 300 properties on the market, it is is a fair assumption that it will take 3 months to sell all the inventory.  1200 sales in one year equal 100 sales per month.  Therefore, 300 properties should take 3 months to sell.  The absorption rate in this example is 3 months.  In most markets, three months of inventory is a Seller's market.  

Looking at the Summit County market through the end of October the absorption rate is 3.6 months; a sellers market.  When diving deeper into the data we see that Keystone and Breckenridge are both seller's markets with 3.3 and 4.8 months of inventory respectively.  Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne are extreme seller's markets with 1.6, 1.7 and 2.3 months of inventory.  Copper is still a buyer's market with 8.9 months of inventory.

With just this one statistic, you have a much clearer picture of the Summit County market.  As a buyer or seller, by looking at the absorption rate you have a general overview of what is happening and what to expect.  Additional information will help dial it down even further but absorption rate is a fantastic statistic that should be utilized.


Buying and selling property in Colorado: the agent relationship

by Meredith Adams

Every state is a little different in the way a home purchase works.  Some states are more hands off than others.  Some state involve attorneys and others use title companies.  Even the relationship you have with your broker may not be what you are used to.  Many areas use different terms for the same process.  Even if you have bought and sold multiple properties you can feel like a fish out of water if you aren't familiar with a Colorado transaction.

Let's start with the relationship with your broker.  In Colorado your broker can be your Agent, either a Buyer's Agent or a Seller's Agent, they can be a Transaction Broker or you can just be a Customer, with no relationship.  Unless the agent is already in a relationship with the other party, you and your agent are in a Transaction Broker relationship by default.  That means they will facilitate what you want but may not take on your plight and do all they could.  Their main objective is to put the sale together.  You can choose to work with your broker in a Buyer or Seller Agent capacity instead of a Transaction Broker.  That requires a signed contract and more of a commitment from both parties.  The best way to explain the difference is with a sports analogy.  A Transaction Broker is like the referee of a football game.  Their job is to make sure both sides play fair and the game is completed.  They have no interest in who wins the game, just that it happens.  An Agent is like the coach of a team.  That coach is doing what they can to help their team win the game.  Their job is to do what is best for their team.  The third way you can interact with your broker is as a Customer.  That means the broker is working for the other party and has no obligation to you.  Anything you tell the broker can be passed along to the party they are working for .  A consumer should always know the type of relationship they have before disclosing much information about themselves and their motivations.  A broker is required to disclose their relationships in relation to each consumer.  Because this subject is somewhat hard to grasp, the conversation may not happen as early as it should.  

It is our preference to work as your agent, doing everything we morally and ethically can to get you what you want.


Looking for a rental?

by The Mountain Living Team

This time of year we have a lot of people looking for long term or seasonal rentals. While a large chunk of the properties in Summit County are rental properties, most are short term rentals.  That allows the owner to come out and use it too.  If it is rented for the winter or for an entire year, the owner doesn't get to enjoy it themselves.  Most people buy a property with the intent to use it themselves, even if just for a few weeks a year.  Because most properties are rented short term, most property management companies handle short term rentals.  They don't have properties you can rent for 6 or 12 months at a time.  This can make finding a place difficult.  On top of that, the closer we get to ski season, the more rentals are booked and the harder they are to find.

We handle real estate sales, not rentals, but even so, we receive a lot of inquiries.  We try and direct people to the best resources we know to try and facilitate their search.  We point out property management companies that deal with long term and seasonal rentals and the local newspaper where classified ads for rentals are posted.  Below is a list of our recommendations.  If you know of a better resource, let us know.  We're always trying to improve the resources we offer.  1-800-766-1477 970-513-5600  970-333-0082

Our local newspaper is

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 236




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Photo of Jason & Meredith Adams Real Estate
Jason & Meredith Adams
The Mountain Living Team at Coldwell Banker Colorado Rockies Real Estate
400 Main St / PO Box 4115
Frisco CO 80443