Thinking of a Vacation Home

What to Consider

According to, Hawaii and Colorado posted the nation’s fastest luxury price growth, beating out traditional luxury hubs like New York and San Francisco. Second home buyers are flocking to Colorado resort areas like Vail Valley and Breckenridge for their idyllic summer temps, mountain charm, and favorable housing options, one thing often remains a mystery – who is buying and why?

Who’s Buying?

Some stats reveal approximately 40 percent of all transactions in Summit County (Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper) were purchased by residents from the Front Range (Denver Metro). The close proximity of Breckenridge to Denver provides residents a higher quality of life, just one-hour from mountain activities like skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and fly-fishing.

In Eagle County (Edwards, Vail, Beaver Creek), approximately 20 percent of property sales came from the Front Range, while nearly 30 percent came from out-of-state, including the traditional Colorado feeder markets like Texas, California, Florida, and Illinois. With the charm of a European-inspired town, Vail attracts buyers from all over seeking exquisite mountain views and Colorado’s quintessential active lifestyle.

Find a Team to Help

An experienced and diverse real estate team like Top Dog Properties can not only help you find that perfect vacation home, but we also understand how and where to market your current home to these buyers for an increased chance of a timely, successful sale.

Good Time to Buy?

When looking to purchase a vacation home, one of the first things you want to consider is whether or not this is a good time to purchase. What does all this mean? Vacation properties in resort areas like Colorado are on the rise. The NAR report indicates that resort and rural areas make up for 57 percent of the vacation home market, with 14 percent of buyers specifying the mountains as their vacation home buying area of choice

For those weighing their options, it’s important to ask yourself how you plan to use your vacation home – for enjoyment, for income, as an investment, or all three? There are several key factors to consider, including lifestyle and location, accessibility, current low mortgage rates which are expected to rise (42% of investors and 39% of vacation buyers paid cash for their property purchase), tax laws, plus maintenance costs vs. supplemental income.

Consider Most Desired Features

Top features for second home buyers in Colorado go beyond the typical ski-in/ski-out chalet. People want square-footage, luxurious guest quarters, and room to accommodate family and friends. Swimming pools, hot tubs, fire pits, and wine cellars top the list of must-haves, as well as kid-friendly amenities, parking, and a deck or terrace to take in the majestic mountain views. Resort buyers aren’t willing to sacrifice on location either. In Colorado, they want easy access to the slopes, as well as proximity to nightlife and entertainment, like Vail’s acclaimed foodie scene and upscale boutiques, or Breckenridge’s quaint bars and shops.

As year-round outdoor recreation opportunities take precedent, traditional ski towns are starting to take note, with areas like Aspen, Telluride, Breckenridge, and Vail catering to year-round events and entertainment.

This makes a team like Top Dog Properties ideal for people looking to buy in these markets as we are the only team in Colorado to have experienced Brokers specializing in each of these markets. This allows you to explore all your options without any pressure to buy in a particular area.

What to consider when looking at a location.

When assessing location, particularly for a vacation home in an area you’re not familiar with, renting for at least one stay is always a good first step. Carefully consider travel time and expenses against how often you plan to use the home. Even if you’ve been vacationing in the same area for years, getting to know the place from a local perspective is important before buying a home there. Talk to residents and ask them what they like about the area, how it’s changing, what types of people are moving there and what it’s like off-season. You should also visit the area yourself during each season to get a feel for what it’s like year-round. While you’re there, scope out restaurants, grocery stores and entertainment. Does the area have enough of the things you like to keep you interested? Also check out the public school system; even if you never plan on your kids attending there, homes near great schools have more value.

To help gauge whether the property is a good investment, review other home sales in the community to examine what the track record is on resale values of similar properties. If you plan to rent the property, expect to do additional research. For example, some communities ban weekly vacation rentals, allowing only for monthly rentals. It depends on the homeowner’s association and the city law. On the flip side, if you’re craving a quiet retreat, you may not want to vacation in a community with a lot of rental turnover.

Work with an experienced agent that knows the market. A seasoned real estate agent can help you weigh your criteria and make all the difference in a second home purchase.