Do you have plans to vacation in the Crested Butte area this winter? Already planning your summer getaway? A vacation to the area is the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with Crested Butte real estate. Plan to take a half day to drive around and get the feel for different neighborhoods and areas within Crested Butte that seem interesting to you.
While making your drive around town and viewing different areas, consider the following 7 tips:
1. Look in the Winter and the Summer
Many clients I work with will take multiple trips to Crested Butte to see homes in search for their mountain dream home. It can be helpful to see an area in the summer and in the winter, as snow can affect your perspective. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the summer hiking trail you like is a groomed Nordic trail in the winter and vice versa. Also, visiting your mountain town during the times you are most likely to spend time there can be insightful, letting you see how crowded the area is, or what the average temperatures are. In general, it will be ten to fifteen degrees warmer up higher on the mountain in the morning than on the valley floor (inversion), but temperatures in the Rocky Mountains can be deceiving, and just like the lack of humidity produces champagne powder, so does the dry cold make it feel warmer than the thermometer says, especially on a clear blue sunny day with no wind.
During heavy snow years, many homes’ first floor windows may be completely covered in snow; this is why you will find many homes have their main level living spaces on the second floor, to capture the sun and the views. It can be insightful to rent a home for a week in your dream area to try it out and ensure that area in the mountains is for you. The off-season can also be a great time to look at homes in a mountain town because the majority of homes will be vacant. During peak season (both summer and winter), it can be hard to schedule showings of properties that are occupied by owners or short-term renters.
2. Family, Friends, Clients…
Think about how you will use your home with your guests in the home. Visualize them in your home in the summer and winter. Think about all of their ski stuff, skis, poles, ski boots, jackets, helmets, and goggles — and where it will go? Do you want them to bring their dog? Will they bring their dog anyway? How much space do you need for everyone to sit down and eat, or lounge around? What if you wanted to have your three favorite couples come visit — where would they all sleep/shower? Will you have couples’ ski trips? Gals’/guys’ reunions? Will king size beds in each room work for guys doubling up? Will you invite clients? Do the same answers work when substituting clients instead of family and friends?
3. What Amenities Are Important to You?
Location, location, location are still the three most important factors in determining real estate value, and also should be a consideration on the front-end as you consider your dream home. A tale of two homes: If you take the same 4,000 square foot home and put it downtown or next to a ski run, or on the banks of a trout stream, you will have a valuable property. If you take this same home and put it in a subdivision far away from town, you will see a much lower value. It is hard to think about selling your mountain dream home before you even buy it, but as you are considering your Crested Butte real estate options, realize that remote locations are nice, and may offer a lower price point, but may not appeal to the mass of buyers when you go to sell.
The law of supply and demand also determines value, and this rule applies to mountain home construction and design. The majority of the population of second homebuyers want a solid, rustic mountain home look and feel. The typical mountain home will have exposed logs or beams, reclaimed timbers, scraped hardwood floors, stone or slate surfaces, hand crafted iron accents, etc. There are some people that absolutely love a contemporary home in the mountains. I have represented clients who have purchased contemporary homes. These homes are trendy and can be very cool, and usually much more expensive to build, but may not command the same high price at the time of sale. Ditto for homes with unusual layouts such as a huge master bedroom, small windows that don’t capture the views, low ceilings, many steps to get up to the main living area (and no elevator), or homes with many levels. Buy or build the home that is your dream home — but realize that if it is too funky, there may be limited demand from a very small subset of buyers when it comes time to sell. I tell the sellers who I represent that they need to be patient when selling a unique home; but it only takes one like-minded buyer to make it happen.
What if you were going to go ski for the day? How would you get everyone to the slopes and back? What if someone wanted to sleep in, or come back from the slopes early? Is ski-in/out important to you? Is a remote riverfront home just what you want? How about a place in town so you can walk to get a coffee or breakfast? Does it make sense to find a place for your group so everyone can walk home at the end of a late night? Do you want to be on, or close to the golf course? Is a secluded mountain home in the woods with great views and on thirty-five acres your dream home? Will your remote mountain dream home have cell service? How about high-speed Internet service? Do you want to be close to town, but not right in town where it may be noisy and there may be lots of dogs barking? There are lots of variables and lots of decisions to be made, but thankfully there are lots of proximity and amenity options to choose from.
5. Fishing Rights/Fishing Access
Property that offers private fishing rights or fishing access to shared or public water is another very nice amenity. Even more rare is a property that offers a riverfront setting where you can see and hear the water, and see rising trout from the home. Some developments may offer a number of miles of private fly fishing (for the homeowners in the shared ranch or development). Some may be farther out away from town and can be a great spot for a summer home, but may not as desirable in the winter if there is a longer drive to and from town or the Crested Butte ski area. Be aware as well that some remote properties may have great access in the summer, but there may be no snowplowing of roads in the winter and access is “seasonal,” which means getting your remote road and long driveway plowed can be very expensive.
As private riverfront fly-fishing water is increasingly difficult to procure, these developments present a rare and distinct opportunity to own real estate and have access to some of the best fly fishing in the mountains. The criteria you should consider: Is the fishing good, how much water is there, does it include both sides of the river, what species of trout, what is the length of the fishing season? It is it a tail water section of live water below a dam? If not, winter and spring runoff may likely reduce the fishable months to March through May, and July through October. Will you want to fish it all the time? Can you bring guests, and can guests fish when you are not there? Are there streams or ponds for the young and old?
6. Access to Hiking/ Biking/ Skiing Trails
Most mountain towns offer access to hundreds of miles of backcountry hiking and biking in the summer and recreational access in the winter. The option to “hike right out your back door” appeals to many people, and getting onto a trail quickly and easily is a nice amenity, especially with guests. This eliminates the need to pile everyone into a vehicle (or two) and drive to the trailhead. You will probably still do this because there are so many trails to explore, but like ski-in/out, it reduces the number of moving parts. It is not uncommon for developments or subdivisions to be adjacent or “below” National Forest land with easy access to this land for the owners in the subdivision, but not the general public. Check to see if there is public access or easements through the development for access. Many trails or dirt roads that you hike or bike on in the summer may offer great options for Nordic skiing in the winter. If the trail is groomed, then both classic Nordic (cross country) skiing as well as skate skiing will be options. It is nice to be able to hike or ski back to the house if the temperatures drop and you or your guests are tired or cold.
7. Views, Views, Views
Compared to a home in suburban USA where views are not typically even an item on the checklist, this can be the deciding factor between two homes in the mountains. Some homes are tucked in an aspen grove, and while this can be a beautiful setting, others offer panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It is hard to find a home that doesn’t have some sort of nice view, but again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There may be a western facing view and you will be blessed with magnificent mountain sunsets. A home that has great exposure and views facing to the east is nice as well because there is something special about having coffee on the deck on a crisp morning with the sun warming you up. Be very keen on looking at the views of a home and asking, “Are these views protected? Who owns that land in our ‘viewshed’? What can be built there?” It can be deceiving in a new development when there are very few homes built to visualize the changes to the views once other homes are built. It is not uncommon for homeowners to buy adjacent lots to guarantee open space and protect their views. Great, unobstructed views will positively impact the value of a home or property, and homes on a National Forest fence line are also very desirable.
Chasing the Perfect Dream Home- A Word of Advice
Sometimes I get a call from a prospective buyer who describes what they are looking for as “a nice, new ski-in/ski-out home, on the river, with fishing rights, within walking distance to the restaurants and shops in town, plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms and great views, oh, and it must be a really great deal…” The good news is that there are many options available for the second homeowner. The “perfect home” may be hard to find, but it is out there for everyone. Keeping an open mind while shopping Crested Butte real estate is important; what you think you want up front may change after looking at the ten homes you thought were what you wanted, but then realized your perspective has changed. Sometimes buyers “chase” a market, and return on every trip wondering why prices are creeping up, or the inventory of homes that meet their exact criteria is shrinking. It may be better to find a home that has the majority of the features you want at the right price than to wait for the perfect dream home that never materializes. Sometimes it is a hard decision, but putting a stake in the ground and starting your journey now may be the best decision vs. kicking your dream down the path (just sayin’).
How can I help you? I have over 30 years of sales and marketing experience and am a top real estate agent in the mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado representing affluent clients who are buying and selling their home and ranch properties in the mountains. To see featured properties or search the MLS – visit chriskopf.com. How is the Crested Butte Market doing? Click this link to see my monthly Market Reports. I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business when shopping Crested Butte Real Estate.
Previews® Property Specialist