Vail Daily column: Decision to buy brings more choices |

Vail Daily column: Decision to buy brings more choices

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan: It is so hot in Dallas right now, and I am delighted about the heat. My husband has finally agreed to buy a second home in the Vail Valley so he can stay and play golf and enjoy the cool nights. We have the money to buy something we would like. We would like it to be nice but not lavish, with three bedrooms and in Vail or Beaver Creek. We have recently started to talk about it and have realized it will be vacant a lot ​of​ the time.

We are also considering how much the association fees can be, as well as maintenance and taxes. So now we are trying to decide if we should look for a less-expensive property or buy a nicer one and rent it out when we are not here. Can you give us any insight into which is the best way to go?

​Dear New Local: How exciting to know that you are going to own a home in our beautiful valley. ​It is also good that you are taking a practical approach when looking into the long term costs of your investment, in addition to the fun and joy it will bring.

I believe you are on the right track when you start looking at the amount of time you will be able to use the property when you are making those important financial decisions. If you had the opportunity to come very often — such as living in Denver and coming most weekends — then I think there would be merit in looking for something you could use exclusively, that was maybe less expensive with smaller fees and taxes.

If it looks like you will only be able to come four to six times a year, then I think it might be best for you, and the property, to rent it out short-term so that the property is checked on and cared for, as well as having the income to defray the costs over and above the purchase price. Your knowledgeable Realtor can be a great help with this.

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Your Realtor can set you up with one or more short term rental companies in town that will actually look at the property you are considering buying and then run a pro forma on what they could rent it for at different times of the year and what your projected income would be. Then you could simply book the times you would like to be here and they subtract that from the possible income you would receive.

I have clients who have examined several properties with one of these professional short term rental services, and it has been a great help deciding which property might work out better for them as time passes. Be sure to talk to your Realtor about using this handy and important service with your pending purchase. Best of luck to you, and welcome.

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 and

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