Perhaps you’ve looked over the housing market in Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte and are considering a Condo vs. a Single Family home. Maybe the idea of being at the base area or ski-in / ski-out is appealing. Perhaps the thought of managing a single family home remotely with tasks like maintaining a yard, or dealing with snow removal in the winter has you running for cover, or you just want to keep things simple.
Whatever the reason, if you have decided that you are interested in a owning a smaller, more easily maintained property, you may be investigating condominiums.
Buying a condominium is a bit different from buying any other types of property, and has both advantages and disadvantages. To start the process of determining if condominium life is right for you, there are some important questions to ask.
Namely, for starters, what is a condominium?
A condominium, commonly referred to as a condo is a single unit on a multi-unit property where individual units, including the land beneath them, can be purchased with the overall maintenance expense of the entire property shared.
How are the shared expenses handled?
Typically decisions affecting the entire “condo complex” are made by a Condo Association which holds regular meetings for board members and owners. As such each unit owner is subject to rulings established by that association. A Declaration or the Bylaws often dictate and help to determine how maintenance issues are addressed. As a prospective condo owner, associated maintenance fees and projected increases, assessments for the reserve fund, and insurance fees are items that you should learn about prior to your purchase. The HOA Fees are listed in the MLS and may be shown as monthly, quarterly or yearly figures. Taxes are also listed in the MLS and are separate from HOA fees. Some HOAs in the Crested Butte area are managed very efficiently and are in good financial shape. Many HOAs want to do the right things, but many homeowners vote to “do it next year” and so some rarely raise fees to hold money in reserve for needed capital projects like a new roof, exterior paint or stain, repair or replace concrete sidewalks, hot tub…etc
Do I pay homeowner’s insurance?
In terms of insurance, typically condo owners are responsible for the contents inside their individual dwelling – from walls and floors to cabinets and doors. Each condo association has an individual declaration which is a legal document that will spell out the details so that you can have a clear understanding . Typically condo owners can remodel and change interior surfaces at their discretion. Exterior modifications, however, generally need to be approved (or denied) by the Condo Association Board.
Condo or Condotel?
A condo hotel, also known as a hotel-condo or a Condotel, is a building used as both a condominium and a hotel. Meaning that there are “nightly” rental rates and the property is operated as a hotel with a registration desk, cleaning service and more. The units are individually owned, and condo owners place their unit in the rental program where it is rented out like any other hotel room. There are many examples of this in Mt. Crested Butte – The Grand Lodge, The Lodge at Mountaineer Square, West Wall, The Plaza, and Three Seasons are the obvious ones because there is a physical front desk and Guest Services offering Check-in/Check-out…etc. There are others like Chateaux where the front desk is operated from The Three Seasons building on Mt. Crested Butte. This is nice if you are looking for some rental income to off-set some of your HOA fees and property taxes – typically the property management fees are 30% – 50% of gross rental rates. This type of property can be more difficult to obtain financing to purchase, as some banks are not lending on this property type or have higher rates because these loans cannot be sold. In Crested Butte there are local banks that will lend on these properties and may hold the paper “in house”.
Anything else I need to know?
The majority of Condos and Townhomes in the Crested Butte are are on the mountain around the base area – but there are also options in downtown Crested Butte and at Skyland around the golf course. Location is always a consideration, and one of the tough decisions new second homeowners wrestle with. Once an area has been determined, and a condo or townhome is the goal there are some other things to look at. It helpful to consider homeowner statistics in the “condo complex” before finalizing your purchase. Knowing if any of the units are bank owned, or the number of owners that are current on their dues can have impact on the financial viability of the complex and your decision. You may also want to ask questions regarding timeframes of major upgrades, for things like pool or clubhouse renovations or roofing needs and the proposed assessment of those projects on association members, before making your purchase. Once you have picked a top 2-3 condos it may be good to get some of this information – many Condo HOAs have a website with data easily accessible or I can help you to get a copy of HOA annual meeting minutes and financials. Good to know up front, but these docs will be provided by the Seller once under contract for your review and if unacceptable – this is a contingency that will allow a buyer to terminate a contract.
As you make your condo purchase, there is a lot to consider, aside from the points listed above. Give me a call to discuss what other “need to know” items you should add to your list or to see some properties that are available now in the Crested Butte real estate market. I’d love to help you find a mountain home you will love!