Vail woman wins drawing to buy unit in Vail Commons |

Vail woman wins drawing to buy unit in Vail Commons

The deed-restricted, two-bedroom unit in West Vail will sell for just more than $211,000

Vail resident Sara Barrow was the winner in a drawing to buy a deed-restricted unit at the Vail Commons condominiums.
How it works Vail’s new housing lottery system provides applicants with up to five tickets in a drawing. Those tickets are awarded in five categories: Meet minimum participation criteria: One ticket. Vail resident: One ticket. Vail resident for five years or more: One ticket. Employed in Vail: One ticket. Employed in Vail for five years or more: One ticket.

Sara Barrow is excited and nervous, but she’s the probable next owner of a two-bedroom condo at Vail Commons.

Barrow’s name was picked from among more than 50 other applicants seeking to buy the two-bedroom home. The condo, which is deed-restricted in appreciation, will sell for just more than $211,000, a great price for a two-bedroom anything anywhere in the valley, much less in West Vail atop City Market.

“It’s overwhelming — it’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Barrow said of the prospect of owning her own home. It’s particularly true since she plans to save the second bedroom for family visits.

But if all the paperwork comes together — and it should, since Barrow is pre-qualified for a mortgage — she’ll be the newest owner in a neighborhood where people tend to stick around.

Barrow had four of a possible five tickets in the drawing. That’s a change from just a few years ago, when people in the town’s housing lottery system pretty well knew who was going to win. That meant few people even applied.

The system was changed in 2018 to allow more people a chance to win the drawing to buy a deed-restricted home.

“I tried the lottery a few years ago,” Barrow said, adding that this process was much more simple than it was the first time she tried.

In fact, she said, she wasn’t even able to complete that first application because she didn’t have all the required verification documents.

Barrow said she knows some of the people on the applicant list.

“If I’d been in their shoes a few years ago, I wouldn’t have applied,” she said.

Vail Local Housing Authority Board Chairman Steve Lindstrom said that was the point of changes to the drawing system.

Lindstrom said that for a number of years, people on the authority board wondered if the town could do a better job of bringing in more applicants.

The new system relies on essentially a point system in which applicants can receive up to five tickets in the drawing depending on how many criteria they meet.

Lindstrom said the fact that more than 50 people applied for the Vail Commons unit shows the interest in deed-restricted housing.

“The demand is just crazy,” he said. “A few hundred more of those units and we’ll be there.”

Barrow, the year-round manager at Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain, said she’s long wanted a place of her own.

“As I’ve gotten older, I want projects to do,” she said.

And, she added, as a single person with a single income, she knows the Vail Commons unit was about the only way she’d get into a place of her own, especially in Vail.

That also means Vail has one more long-term community member — and one more place soon opening for rent.

“That’s what we’re trying to foster here — to get locals a place they can stay for a long time,” Lindstrom said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at

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