Homebuyers find ways to move up | VailDaily.com

Homebuyers find ways to move up

Preston Utley/Vail DailyRandy Braucht and his fiancee Sarah VonKoepping on the back deck of their condo in Eagle.

EAGLE ” Who exactly is benefiting from the town of Eagle’s workforce housing program? People like Sara VonKoepping and her fiance Randy Braucht ” she’s an administrative assistant for the town and he works at the Vail Dispatch center in addition to volunteering with the Eagle Fire Department.

“There’s no way we could possibly afford a regular-priced home here,” VonKoepping said. “We make good money, but not enough for a $400,000 mortgage.”

She says the application process for the program is relatively simple. She actually missed out, by a day, on the first unit she tried to buy. The couple moved into their unit in The Lofts in February.

“Our unit is exactly the same as our neighbors,” VonKoepping said. The couple was able to purchase their 1,225-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse for $227,000. The identical unit on the free market costs $450,000.

What VonKoepping values most about her home is that her mortgage is only slightly higher than the amount of rent she used to pay. “It’s nice to be able to own a home when I am only 23 years old. That’s pretty exciting.”

The benefits of home ownership also attracted the Nolan family to the town’s program. “I wanted to get into a house I could afford instead of throwing away my money on rent,” said Donovan Nolan.

The couple lived in a deed-restricted townhome located in The Bluffs for two years before selling their unit in December. They have now moved into another Bluffs home, this one without a deed restriction. Nolan said selling the restricted unit was relatively simple ” one open house produced two qualified buyers.

“The downside of the program is obviously seeing your neighbors sell for $350,000 when you just got $250,000. But it didn’t bother me that much, because this is how people can start in this valley,” Nolan said. “It feels a lot better owning something versus renting something.”

Because the town’s program is new, Nolan said there were times when the process was cumbersome. But he remains a staunch advocate of the workforce housing effort.

“Its a great way to get started and get somewhere for your future. It’s a great program, in my mind.”

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