This 10,000 Sq.Ft. home located in the Snow Top neighborhood in Deer Valley is listed at $5.8 million. (Summit Sotheby's International Realty)
For those thinking of purchasing a vacation home in ski country, summer is a good time to start looking.
Ben Fisher, broker with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City, Utah, noted that skiers now come out and purchase in summer, making July through Sept. their busiest months. He adds that being able to tell a broker what your needs are can lead to an efficient and productive search process.
Broker Bret Williamson of Vermont's Killington Valley Real Estate concurs.
“The thought process that goes into a decision to purchase is very important,” agrees Amy Hebert, a broker with Loon Mountain Real Estate in Lincoln, NH.
First, think about what type of property would suit your needs and lifestyle — single-family home or duplex, condo, townhouse, condo-hotel unit, or fractional ownership, Hebert said.
Location is another big consideration, the agents noted. Do you want the convenience of ski-on/off, a short walk or shuttle service to the slopes or is a nearby setting preferred?
Are amenities like a pool, fitness center, or summer activities desired? Do you want a full-service resort experience or prefer a place near a ski area or near other vacation attractions?
Are you looking to own and use the property exclusively or use it and rent it out occasionally to help offset yearly costs? Or are you an investor looking for a fixer upper you can rent out?
Finally, what price range fits your budget?
Vacation home prices have continued to climb since 2008 with many properties near pre-recession prices (some exceed them out West).
While good values can still be had, prices depend on the property and location, brokers agree.
Hebert said prices in the Loon area currently range from $15,000 for a quarter share to $625,000 for a slopeside 4-bedroom, 3-bath townhouse and that inventory is tight.
Williamson said it is still a buyer’s market in Killington with good values but appropriately priced properties are moving quickly. “Activity is strong and there’s good inventory but a shortage of three bedroom condos. Prices range from $18,000 for a quarter share hotel studio to $3.25 million for a single-family home,” he said.
Fisher said Park City on-mountain vacation properties can be found in most areas with some good buys to be had. “Fractionals can be found on Main Street in Old Town around $100k and a fractional on the mountain in Deer Valley starts at $150k.” Condos start from $200,000 in Park City and go up to $6 million for slopeside at Deer Valley. Single-family homes start around $500,000 and ski in/out range from $4 to $18 million.
Lorie Chapman, who handles sales in the South Lake Tahoe area, said inventory is tight, adding “a property that is priced right can sell in two days. There’s a huge range in prices with an average price of $450,000 to $550,000. A small cabin goes for $300,000 while a waterfront property ranges from $950,00 to $1.5 million,” she said.
Consider a property in a nearby town or a smaller or older unit if your budget is limited, brokers advise.
They also agree: “If you are not a cash buyer and want to get into a vacation home for ski season, getting pre-qualified by a mortgage company familiar with area properties is very important.”
Marylou Scofield, an attorney in Killington, added, “Homebuyers should make every effort to "shop local" when looking for vacation home financing, as local, smaller lenders are generally more in tune with the attributes of the local housing market and can relay information to underwriters and others to keep a transaction moving forward.”