Ask a Realtor: Working up to your dream home is a step-by-step journey (column) |

Ask a Realtor: Working up to your dream home is a step-by-step journey (column)

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned Ask a Realtor

Dear Joan: We have found ourselves in the age-old dilemma of “rent or commute.” My husband and I both work in Vail, and we have been renting our whole lives. We very much want to own our own home, but find it difficult in the whole valley and impossible in Vail.

There are some deed-restricted properties that may be coming available in the future in the upper valley, but we would rather buy in the free market, so someday we can sell in the free market and have a chance to be able to profit nicely from the appreciation.

We seem to be stuck looking, wishing and hoping that a cute little inexpensive single-family home will come on the market. We have been doing this for several years and throwing away a ton of rent money in the meantime. Please help us get off dead center and do something to help us financially but not something we will regret emotionally.

— Dead Center

Dear Dead Center: I think the thing that will help you the most is to view the accomplishment of your goal as a journey, rather than an event.

Your goal is excellent. You will love having your own home someday, and you will realize it is almost always the first step for everyone for wealth building for their family. The process, or journey, however, usually involves buying something smaller and more affordable as your first home/investment.

The first condo my husband and I bought we nicknamed “the closet.” Small was too nice of a word for it. Since there are very few “affordable” condos or townhomes in the upper valley, you will need to engage a knowledgeable, hardworking Realtor who will help you find what is available throughout the valley.

I would highly suggest looking at some in several areas. You might be pleasantly surprised that there are things you will like in a new location that you never knew existed. Thinking of this purchase as a stepping-stone to your wealth building, and as a path to your next purchase, will help you choose something that could easily resale after at least two years of appreciation.

Your Realtor should be able to help you see the pluses and minuses for each property you view. If you truly want to own your own home in our area, you will be able to achieve your goal, once you have determined it is worth going through the process and choosing the right path to get there. And, once you have achieved this goal, you can continue your wealth building by having your Realtor help you wisely choose investment rentals, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. Best of 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. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or