These are strange times, to say the least, and while we usually fill this space with information that is not so real estate-centric, now seems to be a good time to discuss the future and the pros and cons of owning mountain property.

If you’re like many, you’ve seen your retirement account shrink and your financial stress increase. It’s difficult to know when to jump back into the market — or even IF you want to. So what do you do to protect your money?

Consultants have always told us to diversify. And we agree!

Mountain real estate can provide you an investment that you can use AND enjoy. Rental units in the Winter Park area are proving to provide exceptional ROI to their investors and we predict that the best is yet to come.

Since the Grand County area offers multi-season activities — everything from hiking and biking, to skiing and boating — property investors up here reap year-around benefits from short-term, rentable homes, condos or duplex properties.

Unlike problems previously associated with this type of remotely handled investment, online scheduling and payment companies like VRBO, Air BNB, and HomeAway have streamlined the process. Additionally, Grand County has myriad property management groups to help you out. Plus, when your family wants to get away, you simply block out the time you’ll be occupying the unit and viola! You’ve got a win-win situation — rental income when you’re not using it and an easily reached getaway when you want it.

Know that the hidden financial rewards can be significant, so talk to your advisor or tax consultant about “what ifs” like deductions, depreciation, etc. If you already own a rental property but this sounds like a better option for you, let’s talk about a “transfer” program where you can sell your current property and trade it for a property up here without having to realize any tax implications on gains you make.

We’ve been told by an owner of a three-bedroom condo in Fraser that they pay their entire year’s mortgage by renting out their place during the busy weeks around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, President’s Day and July 4th. “We take our vacations away from Colorado during a few of those times, so we don’t miss not having our place available to us,” they told us.

A client with a home on Grand Lake let us know their place is rented consistently throughout the year.

“We thought our place would only get interest on VRBO for summer activities but have found out that Grand Lake is a mecca of activity in the winter also. We get people who come here to snowmobile, cross country ski and snowshoe — or to just get away for a relaxing winter vacation with beautiful views and clean mountain air.”

If you’re budget conscious, look for properties up the road from the ski resort. Fraser, Tabernash, and Granby are still very close to the action, but the real estate prices are lower than you’ll find in Winter Park proper. And remember, there’s a free shuttle that runs between Granby and Winter Park Ski Resort, and it stops at grocery stores and other places in the center of town, so your renters don’t even have to worry about driving or parking.

Added bonus: The dining scene is hopping up here. While Devil’s Thumb Resort and the Tabernash Tavern have always been the go-to for fine dining, new offerings like Paella’s has opened and offers a small, intimate setting serving customers delicious Spanish cuisine, and Pepe O’sakas has a unique twist on fish tacos and custom infused tequilas that you probably didn’t expect to find in a small town.

Recently, the owner of The Crooked Creek Eatery and her business partner opened a new wine bar, Adventures Decanted. Here you’ll find vending machine-type carousels with a selection of unique and exotic wines that where you can customize your pour amount … from a 2 oz. tasting to a full glass of your favorite. Each carousel offers a different selection: French or Italian reds, or California whites. There are even sections of wines from women-owned vineyards.

Need more reasons to start thinking about owning in Grand County?

  • You KNOW we advocate the virtues of “THE SIMPLE LIFE” and that our slow-paced/low-key lifestyle does have it’s benefits.
  • There’s plenty of land available if you want to build.
  • We’re a hub for the biking community.
  • The art scene is exploding in Grand County.
  • We keep busy in the summer with tons of music festivals, art shows, beer & wine festivals, downhill mountain biking, whitewater rafting, golfing, etc.
  • And we’re already experts at social distancing since we have plenty of wide-open spaces!

Long term and employee housing rentals are also sorely needed up here, so if your investment aspirations are in bigger projects, know that Grand County is prime for those. Call us at 970-726-6625 to talk to Parnell. As a Town Council member, he can set you up with whoever you need to talk to and what you need to know.

We’ve talked about the growth that is happening up here since the folks who run Aspen Resort took over Winter Park. We’re thankful for all that Alterra Mountain Company has done for our ski resort and our surrounding communities. If you haven’t been up this way lately, take the hour and a half drive from Denver and you’ll be amazed. It’s not the sleepy little ski town anymore.