If there’s one decision that’s easy, it’s choosing Steamboat as the place to purchase the vacation home you’ve always wanted. The mountain lifestyle, amazing scenery, and tight-knit community are a given, but Steamboat’s rare brand of ranching history meets luxe ski resort are what makes it one of the best towns in Colorado.
The hard part is knowing what type of property to buy. Vacation home buyers in Steamboat often ask whether they should look at condos or single-family homes, and there are far more considerations than meets the eye. Prospective buyers may miss out on viewing excellent properties by prematurely assuming only a single-family home will work for them.
Buyers are often wary of the HOA dues that come along with condo ownership. In our market especially, it’s prudent to review the a la carte carrying costs of a single-family home for comparison. The repairs, maintenance, snow removal, utility expenses, and cost of management services can really add up, especially on a larger home or a property that has a lot of land.
Another factor to consider when you’re wed to the idea of a single-family home is that inventory in Steamboat is still thin, and there are likely only going to be so many homes that will meet your needs, and many will require a remodel. Another thing buyers don’t always think about is coordinating transportation among family members or worrying about driving in winter conditions. These are all reasons to consider new construction and condominium developments that are going to offer the most up-to-date finishes and amenities in addition to bonus services like private shuttles that will usher you to the mountain for a day of skiing or pick you up in town after diner.
Many buyers are interested in “downsizing” to smaller homes lately as the desire to be near activities, shopping, and restaurants has become more important than features like the large dining rooms and private pools found in a single-family home—at least for the purpose of a coveted two-week family ski vacation. This might be due to a cultural shift, or it could be simply personal preference. A spacious single-family home is impressive, but do you really want to deal with the responsibilities of all the maintenance required if you’re visiting only three or four times per year?
Some condos are meant to be efficient while others have both the private and common space to satisfy the needs of your crew—especially if your ownership includes a ski locker, owner storage cage, a well-maintained pool and fitness facility, and assigned parking. Some of the newer developments might offer additional amenities like a private parking garage and common spaces such as a courtyard in addition to the condominium itself. Best of all, the price point of a smaller footprint is much more digestible.
Another factor is rentability. There is consistent, year-round demand for anything located on the mountain or downtown—but a home in a subdivision outside of those areas might be intimidating for a family looking to rent for a week or two, especially if they’re from an area where driving in winter conditions is not typical. Many condo complexes offer hassle-free airport transportation and walkability. Hotel-style properties are booked months in advance of ski season. Most renters prioritize these services.
A good way to decide what you want is to picture yourself on your first visit as a new homeowner in Steamboat. Who is with you? What are your dinner plans this week? How much time are you spending on the slopes, and where is the après party? Does anybody need to go to the ticket office or book a ski lesson? Are there kids who need to get to and from ski school?
If these logistics do not concern you, and you really want that private pool, then perhaps that 8,000-square-foot, single-family home might be for you. Keep your options open, and chances are you’ll find the perfect fit for you and your family—that’s what we like to call a dream home.