Vail Daily column: Should I rent if I can’t sell? |

Vail Daily column: Should I rent if I can’t sell?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

We have​ moved to another state and have​ a​ home ​listed for sale​ in the Eagle/Gypsum area that has not sold in over six months. I am now getting calls to rent it every week. I really want to sell it​,​ so​ I feel​ renting is a poor second choice. However,​ we are anxious to buy a home in our new location and might be able to qualify if we rented our home there. Can you give us your insight on what direction you think the market is going so we can make a decision on this property​?​

Dear Stalled Seller,

In the immortal words of the owner of ​the international company​ my franchise is associated with​, “If a home is not under contract, the price is too high!” This quote is easily defensible, but there can be reasons the seller can’t or won’t lower the price and ​also ​more reasons why some properties take longer to sell. ​Your location, the size or condition of your home or other special factors may be reasons for no sale yet. ​I think you are wise to take into consideration the direction of the market​ to help with your decision.

If you throw out the crystal ball, and the old 8 ​ball​​ that used to have all of the answers, and just listen to the economists, ​we​ ​are still​ guessing. But we can make an educated guess.​ So ​here goes with my best guess​: Looking at this every day for the last 29 years in real estate in the valley,​ I believe ​our economy is improving at an excellent pace.​ Last week’s Wall Street Journal​ Sunday article spoke of three factors nationally that I believe support this positive theory:

2014 was the strongest year in job growth in the last 15 years;

The unemployment rate was down to 5.6 percent at the end of December, the lowest level since June of 2008;

Apartment rents rose 3.6 percent for the year, but the average rent was the highest it has ever been (since records were noted in 1980) and the vacancy rate was the lowest since 2000.

Now, if you move this information to our microcosm of the Vail Valley, I would say we can see all of these things happening here. There are many more jobs than we have had in the last five years. This is largely due to increased construction and all of the businesses construction supports. Not surprisingly, this affects the unemployment rate, which has drastically gone down, with many employers lacking employees. And, lastly, I would say our long-term rental market is as strong as it has been in the last five years, with rents rising 5 to 15 percent in the Eagle and Gypsum areas this past year.

Therefore, I would have a serious talk with your listing broker and see what price she (or he) believes would actually get an offer on your home in the next 30 to 60 days, then make the price adjustment necessary, if at all possible.​ If this lowered price does not work for you, then you might consider renting. However, being a long distance landlord has its challenges. Best of luck to you with your sale and in your new location!

Joan Harned is an owner-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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