Single-Family Mountain Home
A single-family home is a standalone home that includes the land the home sits on. All maintenance and repair costs for interior and exterior are at the owner’s expense. Typically, these types of mountain homes allow for one household or “family,” but in a mountain town, a single- family home may be occupied by eight “ski bums” who are unrelated. It is not uncommon for single-family homes to also include an apartment that can be rented out separately. This apartment can be a lock-off within the main home, or above the detached garage as an accessory dwelling. Some mountain towns may have deed restrictions for long-term rentals in accessory dwellings that cannot be changed. This means that the nice rental apartment above the garage out back cannot be converted into the kids’ game room space. Yes, really. Make sure to discuss all your intended uses with your experienced local agent to avoid such surprises.
Another type of home you will often find in a mountain town is a townhouse. A townhouse is defined as a single-family attached dwelling unit with common walls. The townhouse owner may own the land the townhouse sits on, as well as an undivided interest in common areas and facilities owned by all the lot owners or the Homeowners Association (HOA). A townhouse may be a detached home, a duplex, or an individual unit in a larger structure. All owners in the HOA share all maintenance and repair costs for exterior and common areas.
The third type of mountain home you will see are condominiums (condos). These are a separate unit or portion of a multi-unit, or a multi-unit structure or property in which people own individual units and an undivided interest in common areas typically owned by the Homeowners Association (HOA). A condominium may be a unit in a duplex, or an individual unit in a larger structure. The condo owner has individual ownership to the interior of the unit “from the paint in.” All owners in the HOA share all maintenance and repair costs for exterior and common areas with these types of mountain homes.
What You May LOVE about a Condo or Townhome
Considering a condo or townhouse in a mountain town like Crested Butte can be a great option for you. Many people enjoy the convenience and peace of mind of “lock-and-leave” since they know the HOA and property management people are looking after all the day- to-day operational details of the development or building. There are many of these types of mountain homes to choose from, and perhaps many in the same development, which makes the comparison of different condo units a bit easier than comparing different single-family homes. Condos come in all shapes and sizes, and a condo or townhome that is a duplex unit can feel very much like a quiet and private single family home. While there are many luxury condo or townhome properties that cost into the millions of dollars, a condo is usually more affordable and can be good choice and an opportunity to dip your toe in the water to see if being a second homeowner in your selected mountain town is right for you.
What You May NOT love About a Condo or Townhome
Some people don’t like the communal living arrangement in a big condo building, and may want more privacy or more space than a condo or a townhome can provide. Typically, condos are rented in the short-term rental market, which means your neighbors on your next visit could be a loud party group, and you may rarely get to meet your neighbor-owner that you share a wall with if you are there at different times. Some argue that the HOA fees are too high and they cannot justify the annual expense, especially in larger condo buildings with a front desk, bellhop, maid service, pool, and restaurant. When looking at a condo, be observant of the condition of the exterior and common areas. If you find the upkeep is shabby, then this is typically a result of a poorly- run HOA and a large number of owners who are not willing to approve an increase in dues to cover needed maintenance or capital reserves. You may be buying into a condo association that will need to assess the owners when things reach a breaking point. During the downturn in the economy, some condo buildings saw many foreclosures and distressed sales at low prices — new buyers may be “party-hearty ski-bums” who are happy with the status quo, and will always vote no. This may also be a signal to get a copy of the HOA budget and annual meeting minutes to see what is going on before purchasing these types of mountain homes.
The fourth type of mountain town property is called a Timeshare. There will be many definitions and arrangements, but typically, fractional ownership is an ownership of use, with no physical division of property. These properties are typically condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each share owner is allotted a period of time in which they may use the property (usually one specific week). Units may be on a partial ownership, lease, or “right to use” basis, in which the share-owner holds no claim to physical ownership of the property. Timeshare fees may also include management fees. The resale market for some timeshare properties may be non- existent. “Buyer beware” is the recommendation if considering these types of mountain homes.
How can I help you? I have over 30 years of sales and marketing experience and 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 Crested Butte MLS – visit chriskopf.com. How is the Real Estate Market doing? Click this link to see my monthly Crested Butte Real Estate Market Reports. Whether you need help in determining which types of mountain homes are right for you or have questions about the area, I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and be your Crested Butte Real Estate Agent.
Chris Kopf, Coldwell Banker Bighorn Realty
Previews® Property Specialist