One of the most popular real estate purchases in the Steamboat Springs real estate market are condominiums. Affordability, flexibility and low maintenance are primary reasons Steamboat Springs condominiums are such a popular property to own, and can be purchased around the Steamboat Ski Area or Downtown.
Condo Ownership Defined
Think of a Steamboat Springs condo as a three-dimensional, six-sided box with the living space and ownership contained on the inside of the box’s walls. The outside of that box could potentially be surrounded by up to five other boxes; either above, below, in front and back or to the sides. Those other five boxes would house your neighbors. Condominium ownership is legally described as airspace within the walls of that box. Granting ownership just inside the walls prohibit individual owners from potentially compromising utility services (plumbing, electric, heating and air conditioning), or structural elements that are located within the walls and shared with other owners. These walls are either considered a “limited common element” (LCE), as they are shared in common with a limited number of units, but not the entire project (which would then be termed a “general common element” (GCE)). Other GCE’s within a condominium building could include elevators, hallways, parking garages and amenities like pools and hot tubs. The ownership can be confirmed by a review of the condominiums plat map.
Condo ownership is not only within the walls of the property, but also consists of the grounds and common elements (described above). This ownership is typically split by the size of the individual condominium (square footage) relative to the total square footage of the entire building.
It costs money to operate and maintain these common elements, as well as manage the property, and this cost is apportioned by a percentage allocated to each individual unit. Buyers need to know the financial health and nuances of the homeowners association, and the best way to know that is by working with a real estate agent who will look out for their best interest by providing accurate and reliable information. Considerations include how utilities are programmed, how services are provided, and even capital reserves for future roof replacement or amenity renovation. Buyers should also be made aware of any anticipated special assessments.
Condo Report Card
The first Steamboat Springs condominium project was the 6th Street Condominiums in 1949. In the ski base area, Storm Meadows Condominiums arrived in 1969. They both stand today.
Imagine all of the renovations they have (hopefully) gone through in that time with various owners and tastes. For property managers to offer these properties to the renting public in a fair and concise way would be difficult. However, a system has been developed that is used by all management companies that seems to work. Every year the management companies give each individual condominium in their rental program a ‘grade’, like one would receive on a report card. This grade is based upon the quality of the condo furnishings, flooring, appliances, artwork, etc., and the grade is then placed in their reservation system. When a booking is received for a specific property type, the condominium with the highest grade matching that property type is rented first. The next reservation made for that same timeframe gets the next highest rated condo, and so-on. With this system the owner who has invested the most into the quality of their condo will receive the most income. As your exclusive Steamboat Springs buyer’s agent, I will provide you with the rating of the condominium you are interested in, and if it does not have an “A” grade, what it will take to get it there.
With recent changes in the lending environment, more challenges are surfacing for a project to be approved by the lender. I would be happy to discuss what properties would be looked upon most favorably by lenders. The biggest red flag at this time is an onsite check-in desk.
Many condos are available for rent. When a client comes in to town to condo shop, I recommend they take a test drive of their top pick by booking a stay in the condominium project (or even the exact condo if available). This will not only give you an idea of the project, but also how well the property management service operates. When a client is considering a condo as a rental property, I’ll prepare my exclusive “Condominium Cash Flow Comparison” that provides clients with a very helpful snapshot of how the various properties perform on a financial basis...just one example of how working with a broker who specializes in assisting buyers has special tools to assist buyer’s needs better than any other. Many options are available in the Steamboat Springs condominium market. Take time to think about places you’ve enjoyed (and even not enjoyed) staying in the past. That information will help me better understand the type of Steamboat Springs condo you want to own.
As a real estate executive for some of the largest ski and golf resorts in North America, I have helped design, program, build and market numerous condominium projects. Now, I’m lending that experience to help clients buy. I know where your attention needs to be directed so that your ownership will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.