Vail Daily column: Is it time to buy? |

Vail Daily column: Is it time to buy?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My husband and I own ​a​ home outside of the U.S. and one home in the U.S. on the ocean. We love to come to Vail to ski in the winter, but like most​ other​ people, we rent. This year, we came out for the Fourth of July and stayed with friends who own a home here. I was not looking for a third home, but my whole family has now really fallen in love with Vail this summer. They already loved it in the winter. Would it make any sort of economic sense for us to buy here? Since we would be here less than six months, more like four months, would we be better off renting, financially​?​

Dear Newly in Love,

You have joined the ranks of thousands of us who came for the winter and stayed for the summers in the Vail Valley. It is difficult to explain to anyone who has not been here, but the beauty of the valley in the summer, the gorgeous ​pine and aspen​ trees, grasses, wildflowers, bright blue sunny skies, with snow covered peaks in the distance ​with​ the crisp cool nights​,​ are hard to beat. Not to mention the mountain biking, hiking, fishing, rafting and golfing on stunningly beautiful courses. ​There is one more undefined reason for the strong attraction,​ and I am sure you felt it already. It is the warm​,​ ​friendly ​culture of this mountain community. Nowhere else I have been have I seen such a sense of community where people are so giving and willing to help and support their neighbors in time of need. People you meet on the slopes, trails and your neighbors become life-long friends. This nurturing environment can not be totally defined nor can you put a value on it.

Better off renting

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

​Now, to your question as to whether you would be better off financially by renting, the answer is​ yes. It is very difficult to do anything other than break even by renting short term on most luxury properties in this valley, or any resort for that matter. Visitors that become local luxury homeowners do it to enjoy all the area has to offer, not to make a lot of money off rental income. Now, it is definitely possible to have your savvy, professional real estate broker find you a good buy and then you can make your financial gain when you sell. A lot of money has been made by people that have the ability to get in on a good new project or have the means to buy in a down market when many are selling. If you buy and rent​ out your property​, as a general rule of thumb, then you can cover your HOA fees, taxes and utilities. That, of course, is a huge generalization. Your competent Realtor can get comparable rental information so you can make an educated guess on the return on any given property. However, don’t forget all of the beauty, adventures, fun​,​ family memories​ and friends​ you will be making … priceless! Good luck to you.

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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