Vail Daily column: Heart says ‘buy,’ head says ‘rent’
Ask a Realtor
My husband and I have been vacationing during the summers and winters in the Vail Valley for over 15 years now. For the past five years, we have been talking about buying a place here. We have paid a lot for the rentals over the years, but we still cannot quite make economic sense of buying a condo or home here, unless we actually were planning on living here full time. So I guess our hearts say “buy” and our heads say “rent.” Can you share your knowledge as to what other frequent visitors in the valley do?
Dear Heart and Head Dilemma,
As you may or may not know, most large decisions people make are from the heart. They may give lip service to practicality, and have interesting justifications, but they need to feel emotionally engaged 90 percent of the time to make a big purchase. Very few properties in and around the ski resorts in this valley ever “cash flow,” even if you rented them full time and never used them. So you will never buy your vacation spot here if you use that strict criteria. However, this does not mean you could not make money on your investment in the future. (And this is not taking into account that you will have years of special enjoyment.)
Buyers here have made 100 percent or more return when selling properties that they bought in good locations and/or just bought at a good time and price. If having the chance to make money in the long run is your goal, then you will need a great Realtor to provide you with the history and development plans for the future to help you find the right property in an area you prefer. Your search may take a week or it might take 12 to 24 months to find the right property, but it will be worth the effort. There are always opportunities in every market.
I would tell you, if you can afford it, there is unbelievable joy and contentment in owning your own home in an area you love to visit and can call your second home. After renting for years, we purchased a property out of state near our grandchildren. We paid cash and now rent it short term when we are not there. It comes close to breaking even with the expenses most of the time. Even if we pay out some money, it is worth every penny in the enjoyment we have in owning a second home in an area we want to visit frequently.
Often my business is so busy here that I don’t vacation as often as planned, but it is a pleasure every day knowing we can go anytime we like. We have an extra set of golf clubs we keep there, clothes and everything we need for everyday living. Flying without checked luggage is another underrated pleasure. Family and friends like to meet there because it is “home” and they love the location and amenities.
Talk to your trusted Realtor and day dream a little about how it would feel to have your own second home. Remember, life goes by quickly and postponing some of life’s pleasures is not recommended! We look forward to seeing you in the valley more!
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 Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.