The deals are disappearing from the Summit County Real Estate Market!

May 12th, 2010

The single family home market is always the “last in and first out” when the market corrects. We are definitely seeing this occur in Summit County. Most of the incredibly low priced single family homes have been absorbed. Opportunities continue to arise but these are rare cases and are immediately purchased by savvy Buyers waiting for such a deal to become available. This absorption has definitely shown that the single family home market has reached the bottom. Prices have stabilized.

The condominium and vacant land market historically lags behind home sales. Although Buyer activity has recently strengthened dramatically, there are still some incredible opportunities for you now. Financing has become available for both condos and vacant land. This has opened the market up to a large amount of Buyers who were not able to pay cash for the property in 2009. Since many financial experts are predicting interest rates will rise, this is also causing many Buyers to purchase now and thus lock in their interest rate for 30 years.

Since Buyers are buying, there are actually less properties on the market this Spring than we have seen in previous years. With this pent up Buyer demand the Summit County real estate market is quickly changing. Soon, the inventory of great deals will be totally depleted and prices will begin to rise.

If you have been waiting for the right time to purchase your mountain property, be careful not to miss this opportunity. There are still some quality properties available at deeply discounted prices but they are quickly being purchased.

Consider Santa Barbara

November 20th, 2009

One of the best exercises for a Luxury Realtor is to keep abreast of trends in real estate in other markets. It gives a deeper perspective of emerging patterns and a great comparison to our local market. Presently, I am visiting Realtor friends in California and I’m happy to report that markets are springing back to life all along the California coast. Today’s featured homes are in Santa Barbara. It’s a great spot to consider as a second home if you have a Colorado mountain residence. It’s on the ocean, has a quiet cosmopolitan vibe and a Mediterranean flair, and enjoys a direct flight from Denver.


The home at Crescent Avenue is a beautifully updated two bedroom, two bath single family home with a lush tropical setting, lots of palm trees, and a low maintenance yard. The front door opens into the kitchen area, which has been redone with contemporary décor. A bar area on one side adds counter seating. Woven bamboo flooring flows into the charming open living area, centered by a corner fireplace. The wall of glass opens onto the patio area. Offered at $749,000, the home takes advantage of its 1400 square feet.


On the other end of the spectrum is the classic Santa Barbara 1921 Mediterranean home on Anacapa that captures all the romance of the area. Offered at $2,795,000, the residence has three bedrooms, three and a half baths, an office, formal dining room, family room, and three fireplaces. French doors out from the dining room lead out to a slate patio with an outdoor kitchen which looks out to the gardens.


The home features a well appointed kitchen, colorful walls and décor, and a marriage of old and new of the area. A two car garage is a wonderful amenity, although the home is in the heart of town in the Upper East side and walkable to the Mission and State Street. The garden gate opens into a magical oasis and the privacy of your own outdoor paradise. This lovely home melds the beauty, spirit, and tradition of Santa Barbara into its fiber.


At the middle price point, I fell in love with the home on Northridge Road. Set well back from the road, this lovely residence had a key component true to every market- location! Set on 1.3 acres on a ridge, the home enjoys sweeping views of islands, the ocean, treetops, and city lights. One whole side of the home is glass, bringing the outside in to daily living. Offered at $1,325,000, the three bedroom, two and a half bedroom home also features an outdoor covered family area, southern exposure, and a pond, fountain, and waterfall in the front yard.

The contemporary kitchen has oak parquet floors, skylights, and an adjacent living space with couches for kitchen gathering. The master suite drinks in the ocean view and features an ensuite bath and sliding glass doors out to the spa. I was picturing an afternoon libation on the patio with the sunset splashing into the Pacific. Croquet on the long expanse of flat lawn sounded like a plan, as well.


Then I remembered- it’s ski season! It’s time to enjoy our winter paradise in Breckenridge. If your dreams include a home on the coast in addition to your mountain residence, consider Santa Barbara. Call me and we can dream together.

Weighing in on the Luxury Real Estate Market

April 30th, 2009

Having just attended a Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate conference with a group of preeminent luxury real estate practitioners from all over the world, it seems a good opportunity to give an overview of what’s happening currently in the luxury market and hopeful trends on the horizon.

First of all, it appears sales are definitely increasing. Particularly in coastal markets, price corrections seem to have been achieved and REALTORS® are even seeing multiple offers again in many markets. For those of you watching for the “bottom” of the market, it appears that there are signs in many markets that prices are starting to rise.

Trends have emerged, though. It has never been more important to hire a REALTOR® to assist in analyzing the market. Pricing is sometimes arbitrary and it is important to understand the local market with the professional’s help to ensure that you are truly getting a value opportunity. A REALTOR® is also important to assist in the newly complex world of financing the property. Lenders have new guidelines, some of which can be cumbersome. A well qualified mortgage professional, working with you and your REALTOR®, will streamline the process and make it much easier. Rates are still at historic lows, so often you save additional money over the time value of the note.

In Santa Barbara, for example, the middle market is holding its value, but there are a few opportunities in the high end and lower end of the market. Similarly, other ski resort communities are seeing prices holding steady throughout, clearly because our areas are heavily fueled by past cash transactions and are often held by second homeowners who don’t necessarily feel the pressure to sell. Arizona and southern California are roaring back, with lots of activity. If you want to purchase something, prices are already creeping upward again.

In the Summit County, Colorado and Breckenridge markets, there are actually more sales in the very highest end of the market than at this time last year. There is considerable inventory in the lower end of the luxury price ranges, though, so there are a few strong value opportunities. Summit County is historically a great solid investment area, with local prices and values not experiencing the dramatic swings that other areas such as Florida and California sometimes do.

When considering a second home or investment, however, do not concentrate on the “deal” as much as solid criteria for selecting the property. First of all, the floor plan should be a good one and suit today’s lifestyle and your needs in particular. You can remodel with more recent finishes, but the fundamental “bones” of the home need to work well.

The location is important and your REALTOR® can assist in discussing on-mountain versus town versus remote locations. Your selection will be based on how you will use the property yourself and your lifestyle needs. A view is often a sought-after feature and, thus, is valuable for resale. Remember that to be a solid long term investment, it is important to choose a residence with broad appeal. The same things that attract you to the home will help sell it when the time comes.

When looking for a second home, according to the National Association of REALTORS® surveys, location is number one. Additional features that are important to luxury buyers include well designed kitchens, main floor master suites, bedroom-bath suites for secondary bedrooms, a separate “family” or media room, storage, and updated bathrooms.

As the economy strengthens, it has never been a better time to invest in a solid market like ours. This is the perfect time to consider an investment you can enjoy which fits into your long term investment strategy. If you need a real estate expert anywhere in the world, email me at: and I will make the introduction for you.

NAR’s Region XI Meeting Highlights Market Optimism

April 3rd, 2009

The Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa just outside Las Vegas was the setting for the 2009 Region 11 meeting on February 22-24. Our 2009 Regional Vice President, Keith Kelley, ABR, CRS, hosted the event in his home state with Leadership from our six state region in attendance. Nearly 200 members and staff from the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming attended the event.


Monday morning’s meetings kicked off with a breakfast buffet, followed by a panel of government affairs speakers which included Colorado’s own Rachel Nance, CAR Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Lobbyist. The other panelists were Tom Farley, CEO and Lobbyist for the Arizona Association of REALTORS®; Rocky Finseth, Chief Lobbyist for the Nevada Association of REALTORS®.  The speakers primarily addressed emerging legislative issues in their respective states. Of particular import across the board, were revenue generators and consumer protection issues. In this tough financial climate, all the states seemed to indicate that government entities were struggling to raise new revenue in creative and sometimes onerous ways.


Laurie Janik, General Counsel for the National Association of REALTORS® gave an update on national legal issues. In particular, she updated us on the changes to NAR’s VOW policy and the importance of compliance by February 2009. A pdf file of Frequently Asked Questions can be found by logging in to and then using this link:


Teresa McKee, Nevada Association of REALTORS® Legal Counsel and Curtis Bullock, Utah Association of REALTORS® Legal Counsel addressed their state issues. John Harrison, RPAC National Fundraising Chair spoke about last year’s amazing results, and stressed the importance of our voluntary contributions to address legislative challenges springing up on local, state and national levels.


Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman welcomed the group to Las Vegas at a Monday luncheon. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist. His remarks included some positive news for our Region, including the fact that the Las Vegas market was one of the first in the nation to experience a housing crisis, but he expects will be one of the first to recover. He was positive about Colorado, as well, mentioning that we were not as damaged as the period post-9/11. He believes that recessions in the past were more influenced by interest rates than by job losses, which bodes better for this situation. Also, the credit explosion, not the housing bubble, caused many of our problems on a nationwide basis. Additionally, the 50 year low mortgage rates are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and savvy consumers will ultimately take advantage of them, creating a cautious demand.


Colorado’s State President, Amy Dorsey, CIPS, MRE, GRI, CRS, RSPS and CAR CEO Robert Golden, RCE, spoke about CARHOF (Colorado Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Fund) and the success of the Foreclosure Hotline which provides assistance to consumers. Colorado is a leader in the nation with programs like these.

Kipp Cooper, Government Affairs Director, Las Vegas, spoke about the new Quality of Life graffiti-fighting program. With graffiti a large problem, they have enacted a multi-tiered approach to protecting private property rights.


Our Tuesday luncheon speaker was Marcel Bryer from Fannie Mae who spoke about challenges and opportunities in the present time and answered audience questions, many of which focused on handling of REOs and foreclosures.


Kay Watson was the spokesperson for the Ira Gribbon Workforce Housing Grants.  Further information is found at:  Grant applications are due by December 10.   Applicants must be non-profits.  $5.2 million will go to this project.  CAR hopes to obtain funding which will aid CARHOF. 


Vicki Cox Golder, 2009 National Association of REALTORS® President elect and a member of our Region from Arizona, spoke about the new NAR “Right Tools – Right Now” initiative. This program offers members many free and reduced cost products. For more information, log on to and use this link:


Region 11 then held the traditional Caucus where we come together to attend to business issues.  The six State Presidents introduced their respective Leadership teams and each spoke about key issues that had not already been covered.


Random Thoughts: Chris McElroy has been selected as the alternate to the NAR Nominating Committee for a two-year term. The group discussed our annual convention to be held this year in San Diego. “Chart a Winning Course” will be the theme and further information is available at:  or you can follow updates (tweets) at:

In summary, there was a great deal of useful information packed into a two day period. It was one of the best Regional meetings I’ve ever attended, with excellent participation, provocative speakers, and lots of useful information.

Lovely Luxury in Silverthorne

March 19th, 2009

Today’s featured residence sits toward the end of a quiet road in the Three Peaks subdivision, just a stone’s throw from the Raven Golf Course in Silverthorne. The home at 275 Two Cabins Road sits up on a sunny ridge looking out majestically to the Keystone Ski Resort and surrounding peaks. The four bedroom, four and a half bath home also has a three car and is being sold with its fabulous furnishings.

The exterior of the home sets the stage with a mix of natural rock, chinked barnboard and massive peeled beam construction. Stairs lead up to a covered entry which opens into the foyer with a stone floor. Directly ahead is a library/office, with double doors. To the left, the great room has colorized concrete tile floors and soaring ceilings with massive beam pillars and details. The space is centered by an imposing stone fireplace with a raised hearth and a carved mountain themed mantle. On one side, a window seat adds charm, while on the other, a built in casing houses a pop up 52” flat screen television.

The adjoining dining room is wreathed in windows which look down valley to the golf course and mountains below. Doors lead out to a sunny deck. Doors from the living area lead to a covered patio with an outdoor stone fireplace and built in GE Monogram barbeque. The patio, as well as the walkway to the spa, is heated.

The open kitchen is done in a mix of black and burgundy cabinets with slab granite in burgundy, charcoal and buff. Appliances are GE Monogram and include two dishwashers, refrigerator, microwave, warming oven, and a six burner, two oven range with griddle. A walk in pantry adds a great amenity.

To the right of the entry, the powder room features a green and dark wood Asian antique chest fitted with a granite vessel sink. A rock wall with art niche adds a design element.

The master suite has cathedral ceilings, rock fireplace, and a private deck. The adjoining bath has a copper plunge tub, two sinks, vanilla cabinets and granite counters in black, caramel and vanilla. The shower boasts a rainwater head, as well as a conventional one and tumbled stone trim. A walk in closet with integrated system completes the suite.

Stairs down lead into a fabulous entertainment area, with wet bar, wine cellar, media viewing area with surround sound, and access to the outdoor spa. One wall is a mural with a tribute to the ‘50s.

A nearby laundry adds convenience. Three additional bedrooms are on this level. One shares a Jack and Jill bath with the entertainment area. One is a bunkroom with six bunks and an ensuite bath. The third is a mini master suite.

Throughout the home, the detail and furnishings are amazing with a consistent sense of style and welcoming warmth. With wonderful lighting, oil rubbed bronze faucets, and outstanding doors and trim work, this home is exceptional. Don’t miss the opportunity to make this home a hospitable base for all your mountain adventures.


Bonnie Smith Honored As 2007 Realtor of the Year

August 29th, 2007

Summit Association of Realtors Recognizes Bonnie for Realtor and Community Contributions

The Summit Association of Realtors, in the heart of Colorado’s High Country, held their annual Installation Banquet for their incoming Board of Directors last week. At the event, Bonnie Smith, ABR, CIPS, CRB, CRS, GRI, MRE was named 2007 Realtor® of the Year. The award was given in recognition for service and support to the Board of Directors, local, State and National Association members, and for service to the Summit County community. The REALTOR® of the Year Award is given to the member who has shown outstanding leadership, commitment, and skill in the real estate industry. Candidates are judged on contributions to the industry, outstanding qualities, and any additional factors that set the individual apart in the award year. “This honor is voted on by peers and competitors so it is very special to me,” Smith said.

At the awards ceremony, a video traced the highlights of Bonnie’s life so far, including her Leadership and community service. Bruce F. Wolf, National Association of Realtors Treasurer, and his wife Mary, flew in for the surprise presentation.

Ms. Smith is Owner and Managing Broker of Exclusive Mountain Retreats Real Estate in Breckenridge, Colorado. She is a member of Luxury Real Estate’s Board of Regents. Bonnie is presently serving the local Board as a State Director, the Colorado Association of Realtors as Vice President, and serves on several National committees. She is a Golden R donor for RPAC on the National level, as well as a member of the NAR President’s Circle. Last year she was one of thirty eight national “Ambassadors” to the New Orleans convention, working for ten months on the effort to raise Realtor consciousness in the aftermath of Katrina. The event gathered 26,000 Realtor attendees, brought $34 million in revenue to the New Orleans community and resulted in 54 homes built in the Gulf Coast region.

Western Sky Ranch Launches with a Bang!

July 13th, 2007

This new offering is the most unique opportunity in Breckenridge in a long time

The newest private community of homesites has just released some spectacular offerings this summer! Western Sky Ranch is a private enclave of twenty-one home sites on the northern boundary of the Town of Breckenridge. Just over two miles from Highway 9, but with a feeling of privacy and seclusion, each home site has a private setting with amazing Ski Area & Ten Mile Range views. Parcel sizes range from 3 to 27 acres, with carefully planned building envelopes.

This is one of a very few places where you can ATV or snowmobile from your own property. For such unique estate-sized parcels, these lots provide buried utilities, paved roads and a remote feel with the convenience of World Class skiing and golf less than two miles away. Where else can you enjoy the Jack Nicklaus-designed 27 hole Breckenridge Golf Course or a major ski resort all within a mile or two of your mountain residence site.

Meanwhile, the convenience of Main Street shopping and dining are just two miles away as well. Take in a play at the Backstage Theatre, dine on the deck at Relish or have a cold frosty beer at Burke an Riley’s Pub- just a few diversions- IF you ever want to leave the beauty of the spectacular mountain views from your piece of paradise.

Lot prices begin at $595,000. Call us today to have the opportunity to secure the spot for your perfect mountain retreat.

Luxury Home Sales Continue Strong in Many Major Markets

July 13th, 2007

Western Resort Towns, Boston, New York, and Denver continue strong in the Luxury market segment

Sales of luxury homes continue to outperform the rest of the market in many key locations, according to David Leonhardt from The New York Times.

Several causes seem to be in evidence including the fact that higher income buyers continue to experience strong income gains and a rising stock market, and foreign investors have more buying power with the continued decline of the dollar against other global currencies. Additionally, the increasing interest rates affect lower and middle income families on a larger scale, while many upscale buyers rely more on cash.

Cities including Boston, New York City, San Jose, Calif., Seattle Denver, and Houston have posted year to date luxury numbers comparable to 2005, a boom year. Other key markets appear to be trending in that direction as well.

Numbers in the second home resort market continue to rise as well, with record appreciation increases and record sales in places like Breckenridge, Colorado, Aspen, Vail, Telluride, and Park City, Utah.

All of these are continued reasons to engage a local Realtor© to track the specifics of the market you are considering. With up to date information and a Realtor to guide you through the history of the market, you will maximize your long term investment potential.

Bonnie Smith Attends the 4th NAR Resort Symposium

July 6th, 2007

Along with partner, Rodney Allen, Bonnie finishes the new RSPS certification and shares information with real estate professionals from all over the world.

Last week I attended the 4th National Association of Realtors Resort Symposium held this year in Vail, Colorado. Realtors from all over the United States and real estate professionals from all over the world attended to discuss issues and share marketing, management and technology ideas. The previous three symposiums have been held in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

It was a dynamic group with lots of old friends from NAR Leadership and Luxury Real Estate, and new friends from all points in attendance. Highlights included finishing the coursework for the new Resort and Second Home Property Specialist certification. This new program from the National Association of Realtors provides specialized training for resort and second home markets all over the globe. It also provided an opportunity to catch up with realtors from all over to discuss their changing marketplaces.

The common thread seems to be that only a handful of primary markets are experiencing a real downturn or at least a slowdown. Most of the resort markets were hot, hot, hot, with escalating prices and values, consistent appreciation, and plenty of activity.

One of the most interesting statistics that was noted was that last year, 39% of home sales were second home and resort properties! With the baby boomers still coming of age over the next decade, this shows no sign of changing anytime soon.

Thus, it’s a great time to invest in mountain property, and Breckenridge and Summit County are still a relative value. Call us if you’d like the specifics on a Rocky mountain investment. Both Rodney and Bonnie hold the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) Designation which means they are among an elite group of professionals who have completed a course of study in International real estate investment and have demonstrated a proven track record in working with International buyers and sellers. As always, our network of international associates can assist you with your investments anywhere in the world. Give us a call and we can help! 

Luxury Home and Ranch Trends

July 5th, 2007

Summit County Investment trends echo trends of the US Luxury Market.

The Wall Street Journal reports that popular luxury homes these days include lots of specialized spaces for their owners. Rooms like wine cellars, craft rooms, media or home theatre rooms, separate double baths for master suites, and walk in pantries are among the amenities noted in many high-end homes. Many of the newer homes often have a sunroom or family room instead of a formal dining room as well.

These trends seem to be echoed in many of our luxury category of mountain homes. More of the newer upscale homes have wine cellars, elaborate theatres with graduated seating, open dining areas which create a warm gathering atmosphere, and plenty of “escape spaces” so that family members have space for privacy during their mountain playtime.

Another current trend is the escalation of investment into “cocktail ranches” where the acreage and peaceful surroundings provide time away from the hustle and bustle of the mainstream tourist visitors. These ranches provide a great entry into the mountain community without the upkeep or hassle of a full-blown working ranch.

With all indicators showing today’s busy entrepreneurs and executives savoring their downtime, these trends show no sign of slowing. Call us today to find the right property to fit your busy lifestyle and invest in your piece of paradise. Don’t forget that, with our network of professional affiliates, we can assist you in investing in real estate all over the globe.