Vail Valley Homes

Real Estate

Real Estate

Buying A Vacation Rental Property in Vail and Eagle County

Tips for buying the right home.

“Location, location, location.” We’ve all heard the phrase when we here about real estate. The location is one of the most important features that determines real estate value.

When it comes to determining the value of a home in Vail, the home can be considered most valuable to a buyer by the ease of use and enjoyment as a vacation home or rental property.

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Your Vail or Eagle County Lifestyle

One great tip is to consider the season you will use the new vacation home, how much time they will spend in their vacation home, and which activities you usually do while in residence. This will help narrow your search to find the right property and location to match your lifestyle.

All buyers should evaluate what their budget will be to buy a vacation rental property, and determine the annual operating costs. There are many factors to consider for Vail real estate. In Vail, many areas have transfer taxes that add to the initial purchase. Additionally, you must consider homeowner’s association (HOA) dues which are normal for condominium complexes and some residential subdivisions. Utility, routine maintenance, property management and capital costs also should be considered into any Vail real estate.

Vail and Beaver Creek Real Estate


Vail and Beaver Creek resort communities offer many types of vacation and residential properties for sale, and there is definitely no shortage of activities. Each offers different advantages for a homeowner.

As an example, buyers who may want to use their property during the summer and for longer visits might likely want a home outside central Vail. Winter users who want to primarily use their property for skiing vacations and use the property a few weeks a year, likely will want area close to ski stores and ski lifts. Maybe you just need a few weeks a year for vacation, in which buyers who want onsite services in a luxury property may find a fractional condominium in the luxury-branded buildings best for their needs.

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Here’s an easy guide to help you pick the right Vail Real Estate.

Ready to turn daydreams of owning a home in the mountains into reality? Does the dream of owning a vacation home in Vail get you excited, but find the idea of buying one too intimidating? It may be actually easier than you may think.

I. Match housing choices to your lifestyle

You may be living in a city and want plenty of space you can’t afford. In the city you could rent a modest condo and buy a vacation to spend your time biking, skiing, hiking and more in a place such as in Vail. Before owning a vacation home, many people assume they must own a primary residence, but what really matters is to match your choices of housing with your lifestyle.

II. How you’ll use your Eagle County home

How are you going to use your property? You need to consider how you intend to own and use your property from a financing and tax point of view. You have three options:

Primary residence: You can buy down as little as 3 percent, and you will receive significant tax benefits for being a primary residential homeowner.

Second home: You can use a second home whenever you want, but lenders won’t let you rent out the home. Buy as low as 20 percent down and qualify for the loan using your full primary residence cost plus full second home cost. Mortgage rates and tax benefits are the same as primary residences.

Investment property: If it is not rented, you can rent the home and use it. You can expect rates to be higher than second home rates by .25 percent to .375 percent, and usually your down payment begins at 30 percent. You may qualify for the loan using your primary residence cost plus the full investment home cost, but you can use rental income to help qualify. Usually the tax treatment is less beneficial, however the extra income can help with making loans much more affordable.

III. Understand the total cost of owning it

Many tools on the internet can determine what you can afford in seconds. Although extremely desirable communities such as Beaver Creek or Vail, resort communities do come with extra expenses. Next you will need a lender to formally analyze the required funds available for down payment, closing costs and your reserves. You will also calculate your existing home’s total monthly cost (whether you’re renting or owning it), plus the total monthly holiday home cost.

Next, you also need to plan for other budget items that lenders typically don’t use in their calculations to determine qualifications:

  • Gas, electric, cable TV and internet
  • Furniture and housewares
  • Travel costs to your vacation home
  • Total cost of property management items, like cleaning, pool/spa upkeep. landscaping, home repairs, deck repairs, etc.

IV. Make an offer using a local real estate agent and lender

Many vacation properties are in specialized local markets.  As Vail home inspectors, we have found homeowners do best to find a local agent and lender in resort communities such as Vail or Beaver Creek who understand the uniqueness of resort homes and mortgages.

You may find that real estate commissions are on the high end, depending on the area and which resort towns. Only a local expert can provide adequate advice. And they will, of course, structure your offer for you and negotiate on all aspects of the deal that are your priority.

Local lenders will also be comfortable in rural areas with appraisals and loans. In less populated areas, assessments are more difficult because comparable sales can be old and difficult to find.

If you follow these steps, your closing will easy, and before you know it, you will be relaxing in your new Eagle County home.

Contact Envision Home Inspections today if you are ready to work with an experienced home inspector.

Our Service Areas

  • Summit County
  • Eagle County
  • Pitkin County
  • Lake County
  • Park County
  • Chaffee County