Affordable housing ‘store’ opening’ in Edwards |

Affordable housing ‘store’ opening’ in Edwards

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Buying a deed-restricted home in Eagle County could get much easier with the opening of the Valley Home Source in Edwards this summer.

The nonprofit Home Source will be “a one-stop shop” for all things to do with deed-restricted and affordable housing, said Don Cohen, president of the Eagle County Economic Council, which is spearheading the effort.

Potential buyers will be able to go to the Home Source’s office, find information on all the deed-restricted properties in Eagle County, go through the qualification process and even get advice on payment programs.

“You don’t have to talk to three or four people. It’s one-stop shopping,” Cohen said. “It’s a consumer friendly way of helping people buy deed-restricted homes.”

As the county government looks to build more affordable housing, and towns and businesses are looking for ways to house the workforce, someone needs to manage the sale of the homes, he said.

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The store will be a public-private partnership that will provide information for real estate agents and do the work of a housing office for the towns.

The Home Source will have about five employees and several volunteers from the county and the economic council.

The store will cost about $400,000 a year to operate, and at first businesses and governments will be pitching in, Cohen said.

Eventually the store will be self-funding through transaction fees, a percentage of affordable home sales that will go toward the Home Store. Using the transaction fee, grants and sponsorships, Cohen said he expects the store to be self-funding by 2010.

The Home Source is a way to link buyers to homes and manage deed-restricted properties.

Potential home buyers can see all the available affordable homes in the valley, complete the pre-qualification process, get on wait lists for housing, and find information for down payment assistance programs, homebuyer education and homebuyer counseling.

The home store will play a behind the scenes role also. The office will take the load off the towns and county by doing the administrative and upkeep work for the deed-restricted homes. The home store will verify who the owners are each year and make sure people are complying with deed restrictions.

It will “relieve the towns and county of the headaches of managing a growing inventory of deed-restricted properties,” said Cohen.

For Realtors, the Home Source will be an information base of all the available deed-restricted properties, said Chad Brasington, a real estate agent with Prudential Properties in Eagle.

For example, right now if a customer wants to buy a deed-restricted home, he has to call each property office, such as Miller Ranch or the West End, individually. Also, the deed-restriction rules are different in each town and property, he said.

“It’d be nice to have a place to call in and check all that info,” he said.

Cohen has been rallying support for the project with various governments and businesses. Many are already on board, and have offered everything from discounted rent to office supply deals, he said.

The Home Source is a necessary resource, and the Vail Board of Realtors definitely wants to get involved, said President Cynthia Kruse.

Her only concern is how customers will be directed toward what properties.

“Will they be directed to the county’s products first? We just want to make sure it’s fair to everybody,” she said. “But these are details that can be worked out.”

Dave Osbourne, of Vail Valley Mortgage, said he sees the Home Source as a first step to solving some of the area’s housing problems. It will also make the process easier for lenders, he said.

The entire process can be taken care of in one place with “no loose ends” for customers, he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or

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