Vail Daily column: The right way to downsize |

Vail Daily column: The right way to downsize

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My husband and I have become empty nesters this year and are thinking of selling our large home here, getting a smaller property in the valley, and possibly a small condo in our favorite vacation spot. How can we find out if this is possible and start the process?

Dear Empty Nester,

It appears that the exciting and creative plan you have is dependent first of all on the success of the sale of your primary residence and the proceeds you will receive and retain. Therefore you will need to check with your accountant, to verify that you qualify, as most married couples do, to retain up to $500,000 in net profit (subtracting allowable expenses) without paying capital gain tax. Once you have determined your tax consequences, you will not be surprised to hear me say that you need to find a competent, experienced Realtor to talk to about all of the facets of your plan. You will need to know what your home can bring, what available smaller properties are selling for in our valley, and also what properties are selling for, and currently available, in your vacation spot. In order to find a real estate broker that is knowledgeable in these three areas, you will need to ask the following questions when you are interviewing them:

• Do you, as a real estate broker and your company, have experience and success in selling properties in my area in a timely period?

• Do you have a history of securing a price that is close to the price you list for properties?

• Do you, as a real estate broker, have experience and success in helping buyers find the properties they want in the location and price range that they desire?

• Are you a real estate broker that is affiliated with an international or national franchise, or some competent network, so that you can secure information and find us a top agent in the market we will be moving to?

• Are you a full time real estate broker that is able to be organized, thorough, attentive and willing to work with us as long as it may take to coordinate the important sale of our home? Then also work on the two subsequent purchases, even if it takes extra effort to work out the important timing to make these purchases work for us?

Once you have determined the best choice of Brokers, you will be able to determine if your plan is financially sound and feasible. If it is not possible just yet, you can figure out the timing that can work for you in the future. If it does look like this is the correct time to accomplish your goal, I applaud you for moving forward at this great time in your life. I am pleased that you are embracing change by planning for a fun future for you and your husband. You can feel secure knowing that your children (and grandchildren?) will come visit you, because they will enjoy seeing you and experiencing your beautiful surroundings in both locations.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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