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Will a Low Offer Get You the Deal You Want? by Joanne Hanson sually a low price is the best way to handle the initial offer. But today, every buyer seems to relish the opportunity to put in a super-low offer in the hopes that he will find a motivated seller who will sign on the dotted line the instant the offer is received. It seldom happens that way. Often the seller will counter the offer at a much higher price, and we end up somewhere in the middle. Or, the buyer and seller will not be able to come to an agreement, so nothing comes of it. As a rule, an offer will prompt the listing broker to contact any other people who have seen the property recently and expressed some interest. With an offer on the table, others are told about the opportunity to present their offer at the same time. In that case, the low offer does nothing more than help to generate a better one for the seller, and the property gets sold for more money to the second person. The first buyer may not have even had an opportunity to buy the home for more, losing out completely. We find in today’s market that we have two types of buyers.

U Silverthorne • $1,150,000 See More Information on Page 4!

The one who makes a series of “lowball” offers until he finds someone who bites is not emotionally connected to the property. He or she is just an investor who wants a deal. The home itself is not the most important thing—getting the lowest price possible is. It usually must be sold for much less than the latest similar sale in order for it to be good enough. The second buyer is the traditional primary or second home owner, who falls in love with a property and just has to live there. They still are not willing to pay more than it is worth and will do extensive research to determine what that price is, but they do have the emotional connection to the home. Once they determine a fair value, they will buy it if they can come to an agreement. Finding out what type of buyer is making the offer on your home might help you determine how to respond to the offer, but you can usually figure it out as you go through the negotiations. The seller’s job is to get as much money as you can for your home, and the buyer’s job is to pay as little as possible. If the seller wants to sell, and the buyer wants to buy, they can usually come to an agreement. ■

Buying and Selling a Home Long Distance Silverthorne Lot • $230,000 See More Information on Page 4!


Jason Adams

Meredith Hanson Adams

Joanne Hanson

by Joanne Hanson Because this is a resort area, the majority of our clients who purchase homes are buying them as second homes. Additionally, most buyers live at least 100 miles away (Denver area) and many live hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Although it may seem that it would be difficult to buy or sell a property when you live so far away, thanks to technology, it is surprisingly easy! Contracts can be e-mailed, signatures can be scanned and e-mailed, and most title companies use online systems. The latest and greatest is a website that allows one to sign electronically. No longer do we need to email a contract to the buyer, have them print it out at their end, then find a fax machine to send it back to us. Now we enter the document into the website with instructions on where to sign, and the system e-mails the signers that a document is waiting for them. They go to the website, log on and then click everywhere it asks for a signature or initials, then close the document. We are then notified

the document is complete, and go to the website to retrieve it. Simple! There are a few lenders who aren’t quite there yet who won’t allow the electronic signatures, so in that case we go back to e-mail and fax. At least we don’t have to send by snail mail like we used to do just 15 or 20 years ago. Inspections can also be ordered on behalf of clients, and the inspectors e-mail their reports complete with photographs. We keep a complete resource list on hand with title companies, inspectors, plumbers, carpenters and handymen, carpet companies and even a company that specializes in shipping artwork. We have done our fair share of uncovering septic tank lids, turning down (or up) thermostats, taking inventories and emptying owner’s closets and shipping things out. Unwanted items get washed and taken to the thrift store where some-

one else can use them, and the owner can get a tax deduction. We arrange for repairs, radon mitigation, take back cable boxes and take more photos than are in the MLS for clients to show their families. Our garage has, at times, been full of boxes shipped ahead for clients to pick up when they get out here. We routinely work with sellers we have never met, and sometimes even buyers that we have never met. We do what needs to be done to make what is sometimes a stressful experience as simple and enjoyable as possible for everyone involved. ■

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Selling a Summit County Home with a Septic System by Meredith Adams Many properties around Summit County have septic systems. The outlying areas are the more obvious places to find septic systems, but there are some in areas you would not expect. Some homes in Frisco Heights and Frisco Terrace, two subdivisions right in the heart of Frisco, still have septic systems. It is important not to assume you are connected to city sewer services, even if your neighbor is. Knowing where your waste goes is more important than you might expect, especially when it comes time to sell your home. The Summit County Environmental Health Department has taken what steps they can to ensure septic systems are functioning properly and not leaking toxins into our environment. They have accomplished this by requiring a use permit, provided by the county, in order to transfer title to your Summit County property. This means that county-approved vendors must inspect your septic system and provide a report to the county in order for you to sell your home. However, if the home is less than five years old, the county will waive this requirement. If the inspection turns up any problems with the septic system, the county can require the system be repaired, replaced or a sewer hookup, if available, be

in place prior to the sale of the property. Septic system repairs can be costly, as can tap fees for sewer lines, so it is imperative that you are aware of this recent requirement prior to selling your home. The county-issued use permit is only valid for 12 months, so unless you suspect a problem, it is often best to wait until the property goes under contract to order the inspection of the system. If no repairs are needed, the total cost for the inspection and use permit will likely be around $1000. ■

Nine Reasons Why Now is the Right Time to Buy Making Money From Your Rental Property a Vacation Home

by Joanne Hanson

by Meredith Adams

In Summit County, there are two types of rentals; long term rentals for a year or more, and short term rentals, which can be anywhere from one night to a season. Renting a house or condo for a year or more means that it will be lived in full time, and that can be hard on the property. In Summit County, that often means that every bedroom will be occupied, often by unrelated people. You may not know when you rent it to a couple that it will end up with eight people living there. It makes sense to put some limitations into your lease and to check on the tenants every so often. Many owners put their properties with management companies who take a percentage of the rental income in return for doing all that for you. If you don’t live within 100 miles, that may be a smart way to go. Perhaps you live in Texas or Florida and spend summers in the county, but are looking for someone to pay the mortgage in the winter. Finding someone for winters only is pretty easy, and you may even be lucky enough to find people who will use it weekends only. Craigslist is a way that a lot of people find tenants. The local newspaper, the Summit Daily, is another. Or do some networking with friends and coworkers. Again, management companies like Wildernest or Mountain Managers may be able to help, for a fee. But what if you want to use the property yourself for a week or two, or a couple of weekends a month and rent it when you are not using it? Short term rentals, for anywhere from a night to a week or two, used to be the exclusive domain of management companies. Then the internet came along, and websites

1. Drive I-70 during off-peak times and stop sitting in heavy traffic. Stay for dinner. Come and go at more convenient times to drive the I-70 corridor. 2. Prices are down. Every neighborhood is different, but overall, prices have fallen back to where they were in 2005 or 2006. like and were born. Now it is very easy for a person who lives anywhere to find tenants, make reservations, collect the money and take care of the condo or house here in Summit County. You do need some sort of a local connection to handle the cleaning and checking guests in, but there are companies available that will do it for a smaller percentage, or even a flat fee. If you prefer to be completely hands off, there still are plenty of management companies who will take care of all the details for you, mail you a check at the end of the month, and still help you make enough to at least cover your expenses. Those companies take anywhere from 35% to about 50% of the gross revenue. Some companies will do a hybrid of the two, where you book some rentals and they get some rentals. Many won’t offer you that option, but if you ask, they usually will do it. Often they will also list the properties on the same websites that homeowners use to do it themselves. Most also have their own websites. ■

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3. Interest Rates are low. If you are financing, a low interest rate will make a substantial difference in your mortgage payment. 4. Spend more time in Summit County. If you are paying for it anyway, you will use it more. 5. Deduct your interest. At least for the time being, the interest on your mortgage is probably tax deductible. (Check with your accountant for your specific situation.) 6. Be Healthy. Summit County and all its outdoor activities help to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Be a part of it. 7. Stop waiting. The sooner you begin enjoying life, the better life will be. 8. Make memories. This is a fantastic place to create memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime 9. There is no better place to put your money. With the economy the way it is, your money isn’t earning much in any financial arena. Why not invest it in something you can enjoy? ■

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Prepare Your Home to Sell Next Summer by Joanne Hanson Our selling season is from July to October, and while we do sell properties the rest of the year, there are fewer buyers available and fewer homes and condos to see. Many people withdraw their listings in the fall so they can use and/or rent them, then re-list in the spring. One reason to go ahead and list in the winter is that there are so few choices for buyers who are looking. However, many people just use the time to get the home ready to sell. If you are considering selling next summer, here are a couple of tips to prepare your home (or second home) to sell faster: Update kitchens and baths. You might not want to put money into it, but it will sell faster and for more money. Dated and tired homes and condos languish on the market while prices continue to drop. A quick sale will always fetch more money than one six months later in the kind of market we are experiencing. If you want to replace Formica countertops with more Formica, don’t bother. Buyers today have high expectations. If you have new Formica, and a similar home at a similar price has granite, they will go with the granite almost every time. You need nice cabinets, granite and stainless appliances. Vinyl floors won’t do, and neither will carpet in the bathrooms. You need wood or tile. Replace carpet if it is worn or if the color is dated. No dark green, baby blue or mauve. Clean and de-clutter. Some people think that, in order to get a mountain feel, you need lots of knickknacks with

Wanna Trade? by Meredith Adams

moose and bears on them. One or two is great, but one on every flat surface is too many. Clear out extras by taking them home or donating them to the thrift store. Most condos are smallish, and it is best to keep them looking as large as possible by having less stuff. Keeping the furniture smaller in scale will help, too. Once you have de-cluttered, clean until it sparkles. When it’s a second home for sale, you can’t really keep fresh flowers or cookies in the oven, so making a great first impression with a sparkling clean, updated place is the best thing you can do. Can’t afford to update? Have the carpets cleaned, shine and de-clutter, then price it below the last sale. It should list for less than anything else similar. Get it on the market as soon as possible. To be the next one sold it needs to be a compelling value, and it will probably sell for more today than six to nine months from now. ■

Selling your home is a daunting task in today’s real estate market. If you are looking to purchase another home, it can become an even more difficult task as you balance your new purchase with the anticipated sale price of your existing home. The timing also has to be right, or you will find the perfect house to buy without having a buyer for your home yet or vice versa. An option that is becoming more prevalent in this market is to trade. If you are looking to downsize, perhaps you can find someone looking to upgrade and make a trade. They can buy your house, and you can buy theirs. It sounds simple enough, and once you get over the initial hurdles, it is a relatively easy transaction. The initial hurdles involve both parties liking the other’s home, as well as both parties agreeing to a sales price on each. The purchases can include loans and an opportunity to perform the due diligence necessary on each sale. As homes sit on the market longer and longer, sellers that would really prefer to sell may settle on a trade as a way to lower their outgoing expenses right away. They may even turn around and try to sell the property they traded for immediately. Especially if you are looking to move up in this market, a trade may be an easier, more effective way to achieve your goals. ■

What is a QR Code? by Meredith Adams Have you noticed these funny little squares in magazines and advertisements? Have you wondered what they are? They are called Quick Response (QR) codes, and they’re like a modern, more advanced UPC code. It’s a code that your smartphone can read and it directs you to a website, provides con-

tact information, or lets you send an email or text. Your smartphone uses its camera to view and read the QR code, but you have to download an app first. Just search the apps for a QR reader. You should be able to get a good one for free. Once you’ve installed it on your phone, aim it at a QR code, and the phone will do the

S ki C ountr y My Home Isn’t Selling;

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Colorado Rockies Real Estate

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What Can I Do? There are several options available when you’re home isn’t selling. First, see if you can find out why it hasn’t sold. Is it location, condition or price? Remember, price fixes all problems. You can change the condition but not the location, so you probably need a price adjustment. Are you up to date with market conditions? They have been changing very quickly, and comparable sales from six months ago are no longer current. It may be that the market has moved down around you, making your price too high. What you need to get out of it and what you can get out of it are two different things. You may need to start looking at what is possible instead of what you would like to sell it for. Condition takes some time to change, but perhaps the winter will give you the time to prepare it for the selling season next April or May. (Articles are included throughout this publication that offer tips.)

Consider renting for a while. There are several management companies that can rent it for you long term. They screen the tenants and collect the rent for you. After deducting their percentage, they send you the rent monthly. Just remember that long-term rental can be hard on a property, depending very much on who your tenants are. Perhaps short-term rental would work for you. It is very easy to do yourself, and all you need is a local company to arrange cleaning and to hand out keys. If you need more information on how that might work, let us know, as we can send you more details. If you only want to rent for a year or so, then put it back on the market, just remember that it will probably take longer than a year for the market to come back. You may need to plan on two to five years of rentals if you are looking to get a higher price. ■

rest. Once you know about QR codes and how to use them, you will begin noticing them everywhere—from magazine ads to store shelves, to buildings and shopping centers. The capabilities of QR codes are still being discovered, and there will continue to be new and unique uses for them in the future. ■

If You Don’t Live in Colorado, You Have to Pay the Price by Meredith Adams If you are selling a second home or investment property in Colorado but have your primary residence outside of Colorado, you may have to pay an additional 2% at the closing table. The state of Colorado requires up to 2% of the sales price of your real estate be withheld to pay any state taxes that may be due on your gain. Like with most taxes paid, a tax return is required to determine the specific amount of taxes due, and you will then be reimbursed, or billed, for the difference. Typically form DR 1083 will be part of your closing paperwork. This form does give you the option to decline the withholding. A conversation with your tax accountant would be advised before making the decision not to pay the taxes requested. Knowing about this potential tax now will help you more accurately calculate your net proceeds and avoid an unwelcome surprise at the closing table. ■

S ummit County R eal Estate 3

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Use your Smart Phone to take a virtual tour



Enjoy slope views from this 1-bedroom ski condo at Copper Mountain Resort. Just a short stroll to the lifts in the winter, or the golf course in the summer. Fantastic year-round condo. $265,000

Backing to National Forest, this half-acre building site feels bigger than it is. Located in the Cortina Subdivision in Silverthorne, you get that private location, without compromising convenience. $200,000

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This is one of the best views in the county. Build your dream-home perched high above Silverthorne, looking toward Buffalo and Red Mountains, and the Gore Range. Private location with some flexibility on lot lines. $275,000

Enjoy beautiful views from this upscale, Eagles Nest home. Open floorplan with main floor master plus 3 additional bedrooms, media room, 3+ car garage, private patio and more. Top notch home. $1,150,000

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Use your Smart Phone to take a virtual tour



Conveniently located just off Main Street in Frisco, this 2 bedroom condo is your versatile urban loft. Great amenities include swimming pool and hot tub. Great price. $240,000

Spacious 4+ bedroom home in a great Frisco location. Ample space for everyone includes lower level living area & second kitchen, huge deck with hot tub, bunk room & bonus room. $559,000

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6238 HIGHWAY 9


Classic ski condo just 3.5 miles from the town of Breckenridge. This original A-frame plus spacious addition perched above the Blue River create the perfect getaway! $430,000

Relatively flat building site for your Summit County home. Perfect for full time or part time residents this lot is close to National Forest off a paved, county maintained road. $230,000

For real estate in Summit County, call The Mountain Living Team at (888) 666-0844 4

Use your Smart Phone to take a virtual tour

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Lagoon’s luxury townhomes are ready for occupancy. Pull into the garage, step inside the two-story entry, and take your private elevator to the top floor. Here you’ll enjoy a wide-open floorplan, multiple decks, and views in every direction. $1,190,000

Lake views from this penthouse town home in Frisco. The private elevator provides easy access to all three floors of this 3870 sq. ft. home. With an open floorplan, 3 bedrooms & 3.5 baths, this is a home for generations. $1,190,000

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Use your Smart Phone to take a virtual tour



A variety of opportunities are available to lease retail or office space across from Keystone Resort. With spaces starting around $300/month, there’s sure to be the perfect spot for you to start or grow your business.

Amazing views from the deck of this affordable 2-bedroom Wildernest condo. Nicely kept, this 770-sq.-ft. condo is the perfect Summit County getaway. Conveniently located near bus stop. $175,000



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Recently remodeled 2 bedroom Wildernest condo. Now there's fresh paint, new tile flooring and new stainless appliances in this fantastic, ground floor condo. Rare, walk out patio with washer/dryer and storage locker just across the atrium. $189,900

On the slopes at Breckenridge Resort! This cozy, ski condo makes hitting the slopes convenient and easy. Fantastic year-round location lets you enjoy all Summit County has to offer. $164,000

OPEN ALL NIGHT The complete listing inventory of residential properties in Summit County and part of Park County is now available at There is a convenient search capability with no advertising or banner ads to get in the way. If you would like to be notified instantly of new listings that fit your parameters, just let us know and they will be emailed to you as they come up. Call us with your parameters at 888-666-0844 or fill out the form on our Web site at

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COPPER MOUNTAIN NOV 4 Keystone Resort Copper Mountain Wolf Creek NOV 11 Breckenridge NOV 16 Winter Park NOV 18 Vail Eldora NOV 23 Steamboat Crested Butte Monarch NOV 24 Snowmass Aspen Mountain Telluride NOV 25 Purgatory at Durango Mountain NOV 30 Echo Mountain DEC 2 Sunlight DEC 3 Howelsen Hill Silverton DEC 10 Aspen Highlands Buttermilk DEC 14 Sol Vista

Smart Negotiations by Joanne Hanson Being informed of comparable sales in comparable neighborhoods is the best way to get a great price on the home of your dreams. Look first at the big picture with Summit County residential sales. Then narrow the focus to the town and further to the subdivision. You may find substantial differences from one neighborhood to another, and you will always find differences from one town to another. Find out as much as possible about the seller and the sales history of the home. In this market, we often have people who are unable to go lower in price because they are limited by what they owe, and they cannot bring money to closing. But never assume they don’t have resources; they just might. Have your buyer’s agent ask questions of the listing broker, and look up county records. Your agent can find listing history in the MLS to see how long it has been on the market and at what prices. Pretend you are the seller when you make an offer to see if you can imagine what the reaction might be to your offer. Will they be offended, happy, mad, relieved or resigned? Most buyers today will make a low initial offer in the hopes they find a motivated seller. The seller will respond in a way that will show you his/her motivation. You can go back and forth with offers and counteroffers, wearing him down, or just cut to the chase and make a “last and best” offer. Cash is king, but a quick close is not always the best option, as it may rush someone who thought they had lots of time. However, a seller will almost always be flexible on closing dates. The purchase price is the

big item that will most often generate a counter proposal. Suppose you are the seller and you get a low offer on your home. What is the best way to respond? The seller should be just as informed as the buyer. Understand that if there is a loan involved, the home will need to appraise, and you need to know what has sold and for how much. Even if there is no loan, you should have the same information. If you are really motivated, you may not want to scare the buyer away, even though you do need to get more money out of him. Perhaps you can be flexible on some of the things they are requesting, but not others. Bend where you can and stick tighter to your end goal in places where you have less wiggle room. Prepare to be flexible as much as possible, as buyers have very high expectations. Show the buyer where you got your comparables that helped you set your value, then ask where they got theirs. Determine what your bottom line is and develop a strategy that will help you get there. We find that most buyers make their offers hoping to meet in the middle. If they want to get a $400,000 place for $350,000, they will offer $300,000. If the seller doesn’t want to sell for $350,000, he has to make his counteroffers so that he manages the buyer’s expectations if he can. It doesn’t always work, but any offer is better than no offer, even if it is way too low. Perhaps the buyer is just testing to see where your motivation lies. If the seller wants to sell, and the buyer wants to buy, there is usually a way to make it work. ■

Fun Facts Breckenridge was named after the vice president, John C. Breckinridge. The spelling was changed during the Civil War when John Breckinridge sided with the Confederates. Lake Dillon is a reservoir for the city of Denver.

DEC 15 Powderhorn DEC 16 Ski Cooper - weekends only before 12/16

The Colorado Trail is a 483-mile-long trail that runs from Waterton Canyon, southwest of Denver, through Summit County to Durango. Keep tabs on the Summit County real estate market with The Mountain Living Team’s monthly e-newsletter.


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Where Are the Best Deals on a Ski Condo? A common question for buyers looking for a ski condo is which ski area has better deals. Properties in Breckenridge near the ski slopes are higher priced than either Keystone or Copper Mountain. You will pay more money for less property. Because of this people that don’t have to be in Breckenridge will wind up trying to decide between Keystone and Copper Mountain. If they like both ski mountains it becomes a question of value; where will their dollars go further? My initial feeling is that Keystone is a better value right now, but when I took a closer look at the numbers I was a little surprised by what I found. Keystone is a substantially larger market than Copper Mountain with a variety of properties, so to compare apples to apples this comparison is between the River Run area of Keystone and Center Village at Copper. The markets are pretty similar.

Breckenridge • $430,000 See More Information on Page 4!

Center Village at Copper Mountain (1 and 2 bedroom condos) Active listings: 41 1 bedrooms: 13 2 bedrooms: 28

Average list price $292,269 $458,659

Sales in 2011: 6 1 bedrooms: 2 2 bedrooms: 4

Average sale price $272,000 $370,250

Days on market 287 314

Days on market 195 242

List/sales price 90.8% 96.3%

Copper Mountain • $265,000

River Run at Keystone Resort (1 and 2 bedroom condos) Active listings: 43 1 bedrooms: 21 2 bedrooms: 22 Sales in 2011 14 1 bedrooms: 10 2 bedrooms: 4

Average list price $237,386 $410,532 Average sale price $209,790 $378,800

See More Information on Page 4!

Days on market 229 325

Days on market 250 210

List/sales price 94% 94.4%

The numbers will show you that more properties have sold in Keystone, more than double Copper’s sales. However, there are close to the same number of properties on the market in both areas. The numbers for the 2 bedrooms are surprisingly similar for both areas. It’s in the 1 bedroom condos where we see the difference. In general, the Summit County pricing has fallen to 2006 levels. Keystone 1 bedrooms are back to 2005 pricing. At Copper Mountain the 1 bedroom prices are only down to 2006-2007 levels. The 2 bedroom condos at Keystone are also seeing 2006-2007 prices, but at Copper they are at 2005-2006 levels. Bottom line, the 1 bedroom condos at Keystone are a better value while the 2 bedroom condos are slightly better at Copper Mountain.

Breckenridge • $164,000 See More Information on Page 5!

Ski Condo Values $400,000 $350,000

Silverthorne Condo • $175,000 See More Information on Page 5!

$300,000 $250,000

Copper Mountain


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Ski Country News  
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Real estate information for the Summit County Colorado area.