It almost feels sacrilegious to say, but there are lots of great things to do in Park City besides ski. Don’t get me wrong, the skiing is world class all over Utah, and even when conditions might be (ahem) a little less than perfect early season, the skiing is still fabulous.
Whether you’re a first time visitor, a second home owner or a local resident, there are bound to be times when you or the people in your group simply don’t want to ski. Never fear. There are plenty of activities in Park City for non skiers. Here’s a short list of my favorite Park City activities “off the slopes”.
This article was written for Tripping.com with Volo. My client, Kris Getzie, turned an investment home she purchased through me into a money making machine and a vacation management consulting business. She asked me to write about FAQ for vacation rental homes and added comments based on her experience as a property manager. If you are considering the purchase of a vacation rental property, you won’t want to miss this blog post.
Buying a Vacation Rental Property
[Kris Getzie] Actually purchasing your vacation rental home is obviously a huge piece of starting your business. So, I’ve partnered with one of Sotheby’s top agents to help answer frequently asked questions.
Nancy Tallman sells vacation properties in Park City, UT so I’m very well acquainted with her strategies and work. In fact, she helped me find my first rental in Park City. Being that she is based locally, local examples will be used, but the principles apply anywhere.
Any good agent will want a clear understanding of your goals. So when a client tells Nancy they are interested in purchasing a vacation rental property, she asks a lot of questions to ensure no stone is left unturned and that the client finds the best home for their situation.
Regardless of the client’s personal goals, all successful vacation rental properties share these same characteristics.
We’ve previously covered tips for choosing the best location, which focused on local elements; local landscape, the surroundings, and understanding if nearby businesses and homes are complimentary to your intended experience.
Nancy actually helped me navigate some of these topics (i.e. the water main situation at my Park City rental), so I knew she’d have additional input on choosing the best location:
[Nancy Tallman] Best, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, so again, it’s important to understand the goals of my client. Do they plan to spend any time in the rental property? Is this a property my client hopes to live in one day? If the answer is “yes” to either or both of these questions, then the client’s lifestyle and personal taste come into consideration.
If the property is going to be rented 100% of the time, then we are looking at a pure economic decision. Economic decisions are always a dance between the price and income the property is expected to generate.
In my experience, the exact location may not be the strongest indicator of return on investment. For example, the rental differential on a ski in/ski out property may not be sufficient to justify the higher purchase price. An older condominium project with a low price and HOA dues could have hidden costs if there is deferred maintenance and planned owner assessments.
Take time to understand your intent (and financial needs) for the vacation home, so your chosen real estate strategist can better work for you.
[Nancy Tallman] In Park City, just like in any other town, the location will drive the appreciation. Appreciation is based on supply and demand. There is always going to be a limited supply of properties in walking distance to Historic Main Street, the ski slopes, and other amenities. There is also strong demand for new construction, which has seen strong appreciation even when located further from amenities.
The “average” annual appreciation in the USA is about 3%. In hot neighborhoods, we have seen 10-20% annual appreciation in the past couple of years. For some investors, cash on cash return is more important than appreciation. It depends on the goals of the client.
Positive Economic Signals
[Nancy Tallman] Property investors look at unemployment, job creation, population migration, economic stability, housing prices and rental yields when deciding where to buy. An unfortunate negative example of the above factors moving in the wrong direction is Atlantic City, New Jersey, where casinos are closing and people are losing jobs.
On the other hand, Park City has all of these factors moving in the right direction. Park City is just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City, which has one of the strongest economies in the USA, and is one of Park City’s major feeder markets for resort real estate. Vail Resorts recently took over 2 of Park City’s 3 ski resorts and has promised to make a “significant” capital investment in both resorts this year. The Sundance Film Festival also inked a long-term agreement with Park City, which means we can expect the world famous film festival to continue to draw vacationers to Park City for years to come.
[Kris Getzie] Driving maximum profit starts with a detailed understanding of your home’s location as well as the economy, as we described in planning for vacation rental success.Ideally, it is best to purchase an investment property when the economic indicators first turn in the right direction to purchase before prices have been driven upwards.
Reasonable Vacation Rental Costs
[Nancy Tallman] Costs can vary significantly from home to home or condo. It’s easy to detail fixed costs, such as the mortgage, property taxes, HOA dues and utilities as the previous owner can typically provide records for the past year(s). However, the cost of maintaining and managing the vacation property will vary; if the property is part of an HOA, some or all of the utilities and maintenance may be covered.
The costs unique to owning a vacation rental can be more difficult to figure out. They may include marketing, furnishing, property management, listing site subscriptions and website development costs. I refer clients to Kris to help them wrap their heads around these variables.
[Kris Getzie] It’s really important to have your real estate strategist help you determine the property specific costs. A good agent has worked with many types of properties and buyers and can easily dig into the details (HOA logistics, for example). After all, you don’t know what you don’t know so it can be hard to ask!
[Nancy Tallman] The expected income and expenses of owning a property will determine the profit. For some clients, spending Christmas with their family in their vacation property will be more important than the income they are giving up.
Even a property with a negative cash flow can be profitable when considering tax savings for depreciation and the property’s appreciation. On the other hand, if cash flow is important, vacation rental properties have the potential to generate tremendous income relative to their cost if they are managed like a business with a high level of customer care and an outstanding presentation.
The Park City Board of REALTORS held their November luncheon at the Montage Deer Valley on Thursday, November 20th. I had the privilege of sitting with our speakers, Bob Wheaton, President and General Manager of Deer Valley Resort, Blaise Carrig, President of the Mountain Division for Vail Resorts, and Bill Rock, COO of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons. Each provided an update on plans for their respective resorts. A lot of this information is new and worth sharing with my blog readers. Much of it is highly relevant to someone looking to invest in Park City real estate.
Deer Valley® Resort
Bob Wheaton announced that Deer Valley was pleased to note that season pass sales and lodging are both up over 20% from last year. He wasn’t sure of the reason, but thought that it could possibly be due to the “Vail Effect”. With the recent cold temperatures in Park City, Deer Valley’s snow making is about 10 days ahead of this time last year. Deer Valley has recently purchased 5 snow cats and continues to improve its snow making capacity.
Steve Issowits, Director of Real Estate and Resort Planning for Deer Valley Resort, noted the new Brass Tag restaurant located at the Lodges at Deer Valley. This restaurant is committed to upholding the high Deer Valley standard and even makes its own bitters for the bar. Steve said that Deer Valley continues to work on a plan for a gondola that would be based at the Park City Transit Center in Old Town and would link Main Street and Silver Lake Village. Deer Valley is working with the University of Utah School of Architecture on a study.
Steve also touched on the eastern (Deer Crest) side of the resort. That part of the resort will definitely house a military hotel. The Mayflower land tract could change ownership by early next year, which would open additional possibilities for development on that side of the resort. He also mentioned that Deer Valley purchased Solitude resort because it has the same intimate culture as Deer Valley. No changes are expected there for this season.
Park City Mountain & Canyons
Blaise Carrig noted that since Vail is a publicly traded company, he could not publicize capital plans for the resorts until they are approved by Vail’s board at their December 5thmeeting. He advised everyone to look for a press release after the board meeting.
Vail uses the same marketing model as casinos. They are all about the on-mountain experience and make their profit by providing excellent lifts, ski schools and restaurants. They sell 400,000 season passes in 40 states and 80 countries. He told us to expect new visitors from across the country and across the world.
Because Vail took over Park City Mountain Resort so late in the summer, he cautioned that we should not have high expectations for the “Vail Experience” this season, but hopefully by next season. Vail made some needed improvements at Canyons, including an expansion of the Cloud Dine restaurant, doubling its size and making it a permanent structure. They did not make their typical capital investment at Canyons because they wanted to wait until the lawsuit was settled and make changes to both resorts at the same time.
Vail is committed to investing in a “pretty aggressive capital package” at PCMR. Blaise noted that Vail normally makes a big capital investment when they take over a resort. For example, they invested $50 million at Heavenly and $30 million at Northstar. (It is interesting to note that Bill Rock, the COO of PCMR and Canyons, came from the Tahoe area where he was responsible for both of those resorts.)
In my opinion, once Vail makes its capital improvement announcement after December 5th we are going to see an uptick in value and pricing in Park City, especially for the properties located in the PCMR and Canyons resort areas. Now is a great time to get in on what could be the last good real estate deals of the season.
You’ve probably been hearing about the ski resort changes in Park City for quite some time now. It’s hard to escape the topic in local publications and conversations alike. But Vail, Deer Valley and buzz about One Wasatch aren’t the only new topics up for discussion in Park City this year.
Where do I start? Park City is still the same town that you know and love, but when looking around you may have noticed business is booming; and it is booming everywhere. Seemingly overnight, new trails, farms, restaurants, film studios and stores have popped up pretty much in every single neighborhood. Here is a short rundown on changes in Park City for 2014-2015.
Tanger Outlet Expansion
A logical starting point may be the entrance into town from the west. Even before you reach the Kimball Junction exit on I-80, you’ll notice the Tanger Outlet Mall is undergoing a huge expansion. There’s a new coffee shop in the complex, Clockwork Café, so you can stay energized while you shop! New stores include Under Armour, White House/Black Market, Michael Kors and more.
⇒ Real Estate Effect: The additional shopping opportunities will add continued value to the already bustling Kimball Junction area, and surely keep long and short term visitors coming to the area to spend their money, a tax benefit to us all.
Except for skiing, there’s almost nothing a Parkite loves more than his or her trails. Thus it comes as no surprise that funding for trails continues to be a priority for both the local government and the residents. This summer and fall we have started to see three new notable trails take shape. First, a paved trail from Kimball Junction to Jeremy Ranch Elementary School along Rasmussen Road is now complete, including an underpass to the school. Second, if you frequent Highway 40, you’ll notice construction as the pedestrian and wildlife underpass is being completed. Finally, we are loving Dawn’s trail, which connects Armstrong and Spiro a couple of miles shorter than HAM trail.
⇒ Real Estate Effect: The neighborhoods which will specifically benefit from these trails, many of which are connecting trails, include Jeremy Ranch, Promontory and more. Of course, everyone who owns Park City real estate benefits from trail changes like these.
Bill White Farms
As you get off the exit and head toward Park City, you may notice a stylish farm on the right. Brought to you by restaurant mogul Bill White, Bill White Farms is a restoration of the 1938 Hixon Farm. This landmark will be used for producing locally grown foods while the barn will host cooking classes and community events. The venue also preserves a pond and water habitat for local water fowl and other animals.
⇒ Real Estate Effect: The restoration helps tremendously with the beautification of nearby neighborhoods Bear Hollow and Ranch Place. Locals and second homeowners benefit from the deliciousness factor that is sure to be upgraded at Bill White Restaurants.
A Local Favorite Gets Fried
Buzzing into town there’s a new epicurean gem, Bird & Barley. This little place has scored a lot of stars. Specializing in fried chicken and beer, it is said to be easy on the wallet and quick as a whistle. Sounds like a great stop after a day of skiing! Bird & Barley is located a few doors down from its owner’s flagship Sammy’s Bistro.
⇒ Real Estate Effect: Families rejoice. There is finally a meal in Park City that’s quick to grab and can feed a family of four for under $30. For $26, you get 8 pieces of fried chicken, a rotisserie chicken or a rack of ribs. You also get to choose from four delicious sides. This change is small but can effect families who are vacationing here as well as longtime locals.
White Castle, or Something Like It
Heading out of town on Highway 248 you might notice a big white castle. Well, it’s not actually a castle, and you certainly can’t order sliders there. It’s a film studio. To be precise, Park City Film Studios, LLC. After a temporary pause, construction has resumed.
⇒ Real Estate Effect: This is just another example of how Park City is adding commerce and diversifying its portfolio. Establishments such as this one, help make it so that our children can have careers in Park City which are not in the ski or hospitality industries.
That’s just the tip of the Park City iceberg. Stay tuned for updates on more expansions and their effect on Park City real estate. And start getting those ski legs ready! Things are shaping up to be an incredible year.
The Park City Board of Realtors just released its Quarter 3, 2014 data. I’ve studied the Press Release (my name is on it as President-elect) and I have attended two separate analyses of the information presented. You can view it here. Below is my analysis of the data and the Park City real estate market for the third quarter of 2014.
This data compares Q3 in 2014 to Q3 in 2013:
Sales of single-family homes are down 12% overall, 20% in Park City 84060 and 14% in 84098.
The overall single-family home median price is up 2.1% (but has been stable since January, 2011)
The median single-family home price in 84060 is $1.3 million and up 4%.
The median single-family home price in 84098 is $767,000 and up 4.2%.
A lower inventory usually means higher prices, but the overall median price has been stable for over 3 years!
I have been studying Quarter 3, 2014 reports from other “sister” markets around the country. They are all seeing the same phenomena of record low inventories, but these markets are beginning to see greater increases in sale price.
“As the third quarter of 2014 came to a close, total sales across all areas were down by an average of 11% from the same period in 2013. Is it an indicator of a slowing market? Not likely. The health of any market is not determined by the past but the present and future.”—Rob McGarry, South Bay Brokers, Manhattan Beach, California
A Segmented Market
Part of the reason for Park City real estate’s stable overall median sale price in light of record low inventories is that our market is highly segmented. Some neighborhoods are seeing flat or decreasing prices, while others are seeing enormous appreciation.
“Prices have stabilized and are improving slowly for our overall market. However, price appreciation is highly dependent upon property type and area.”—Rick J. Klein, Wells Fargo Private Banking, Park City, Utah
The median price in Silver Springs rose to $767,000, Pinebrook increased to $715,000 and Trailsideincreased by $90,000 to $600,000. It is no surprise that these markets all have record low inventories. The average inventory for Park City’s single-family homes and condos is 7.1 months. In Silver Springs, that number is 0.78, Trailside is 3.25, Kimball Junction is 3.43 and Sun Peak is 3.72. Expect to see appreciation in all of these neighborhoods in the coming months.
The condominium market also has its hot spots. Silver Springs has 2.0 months of inventory, Jordanelle has 3.6 months, Pinebrook has 3.79 months, Kimball Junction has 3.83 months, and Jeremy Ranch has 5.14 months. What do all of these neighborhoods, excluding Silver Springs, have in common? These neighborhoods all are composed of affordable and newer condominiums, which are very much in demand.
The “Vail” Effect
Vail announced its purchase of Park City Mountain Resort on 9/12/14. A study of pended properties between 9/12/14 through 10/31/14 compared with the same time period the previous year revealed a 43% increase overall, with a 71% increase in condominium purchases. There is definitely a Vail effect and as Vail invests into improvements at the resort and surrounding neighborhood, expect to see a further impact on the real estate market.
Advice if You’re Considering Listing
Current buyers have become so anxious to find the right property that many only pay attention to the new listings as they come out. This means that coming out with the right listing price when you first come to market is critical.
“I think to most sellers, the idea that a $1 million asking price would result in a sale price of $990,000 is counter intuitive to the level of negotiation that has always been associated with real estate. Now more than ever, asking prices must be realistic and carefully chosen to maximize the value of the property.”—Stan Ponte, Sotheby’s International Realty, New York City
Advice if You’re Looking to Buy
It is critical to work with an agent who understands the diverse Park City neighborhoods and who has connections with other listing agents so that a hot property can be previewed before it even hits the market. There may also be deals lurking on the active list, especially those properties that have not sold within the expected timeframe of their neighborhood.
“The properties stagnating on the active list likely came out with prices supported more by wishful thinking than data. After a few weeks, many of those sellers are not sure what to do. An opportunistic buyer can likely get a deal.”—Rob McGarry, South Bay Brokers, Manhattan Beach, California
The Park City Real Estate market is complex. There are excellent opportunities to invest in that perfect dream home, vacation home or investment vehicle. It’s critical to obtain expert advice when navigating our marketplace.
Rich Sonntag, Managing Director of Operations for Promontory in Park City, recently presented an update on the community. For those not familiar with Promontory, it is a 6500 acre development on the eastern border of Park City’s unincorporated area (zip code 84098). Every home and amenity at Promontory has been built since the community first opened in the early 2000’s.
Promontory’s home owners and developers have constructed custom homes and amenities according to cutting edge and ever-evolving mountain design trends. The photos below were provided by Promontory and are the best representation I have seen of the evolution of mountain design and architecture in the Park City real estate market. Check them out:
Last week was a 4-day weekend for my kids. Many of you may know this as “UEA Weekend” if you live in Utah. This year, my daughter and I headed south to Torrey, Utah and Capitol Reef National Park. We stayed at the Torrey Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast, which is one of my listings. It took us 3.5 hours to reach the Torrey Pines Inn. From there, the park was just a few minutes away.
Please take a look at each of the 1-minute videos of our trip and vote for the video you like best here. When you vote, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing for a Park City dining gift certificate. In the videos, you’ll see Erika, the proprietor of the Torrey Pines Inn and her friendly co-hostess, Schatze. You’ll also see some incredible scenery and hikes. The trip to Torrey, UT is a quick one and highly recommended. Even though the town was full during the 4-day weekend, Whitney and I experienced a sense of solitude on most of the trails.
If you are planning to travel during the fall or winter, call ahead, as much of the town of Torrey shuts down during the shoulder season.
My home was built in 2000, the year my 14-year old son was born. We have lived there since 2003. When I compare my house to many others I show and sell, I regularly come down with a case of house envy. I have learned that styles change about every 5 years and even a newer home can become dated in a hurry. When faced with this situation, how do you decide whether to remodel or sell? Here are some points to help with that very decision.
When to Remodel
This would include remodeling your own home or investing in a dated home and then remodeling.
When the location is difficult to duplicate. In my case, I have panoramic views of all 3 ski resorts and the Olympic Park and we back to open space.
When the floor plan makes sense. We love the vaulted ceilings and open floor plan of our home. Each child has their own bedroom and sink. They share a jack-and-jill bath.
When you like the neighborhood and the neighbors. I enjoy retreating to Jeremy Ranch after working in town all day. It’s also an easy commute to the airport for my husband, a frequent flyer. We have a great homeowners’ association and wonderful neighbors.
When the proposed remodeling upgrades make sense for the neighborhood. As a rule, you don’t want to have more money invested in your home than it would fetch if you suddenly needed to sell it and you don’t want to own the most expensive house in the neighborhood.
Over time, we have changed most of the light and plumbing fixtures, upgraded the countertops, replaced most of the carpet, replaced the kitchen appliances, and painted many of the rooms in our home. We also gutted our master bath and added an outdoor deck and fireplace.
When to Sell
This includes selling your home instead of remodeling or pass on purchasing a home that needs updating.
When the location doesn’t make sense. Maybe you live on a hillside but really want a yard; perhaps your home backs to Highway 80 and the noise bothers you; or you are located outside Park City School District and have a 4-year old. In these circumstances, it may not make sense to invest money into a location that you don’t love. No amount of remodeling is going to change the location.
When the amount of remodeling required will make the home too expensive for the neighborhood. If you need to move walls, the ceilings are low or the floor plan is too “choppy”, you are looking at big time expenses that could be difficult to recoup. If you are purchasing a home with deferred maintenance, get estimates to make sure the amount needed to bring the home up to snuff is in alignment with the purchase price.
I encourage my clients to buy homes that need cosmetic updates. These are usually the least expensive improvements that are sure to increase a home’s value. Examples include new flooring, paint, countertops, appliances, and light fixtures. These improvements also have the most visual impact and allow buyers to customize a home in accordance with their taste and lifestyle.
What are your thoughts or experiences with remodeling vs selling?
It’s easy to get lost online when searching for a real estate agent to represent you in the sale or purchase of a Park City home. When doing a search for “Park City Utah real estate agent reviews” on Google, the following websites came up in the order displayed below. How useful are these sites in finding an experienced agent who specializes in the Park City market? Read my comments on each.
Park City Real Estate Agent Reviews Case Study
The entire first page of Zillow displayed agents who work for brokerages outside of the Park City area. It wasn’t until I got to page 2 that I found 2 agents from my office who are big time Zillow advertisers.
I could not figure out the criteria used by Yelp to rank agents, but at least all the agents on page 1 were genuinely Park City agents. One brokerage that has been out of business for several years was also featured, which makes me question how often information is updated.
I did not want to “join” Angie’s list so I can’t comment on the accuracy of its data. All I know is that 16 Park City agents are on the list.
Better Business Bureau
This site was outdated, as it showed real estate groups that are no longer in practice. I couldn’t find anything useful on this site related to reviews of Park City agents.
When you search for a Park City realtor on realtor.com, you get an alphabetical list sorted by first name, A-Z. The site offers a lot of information about the agent, including a tab for all his or her current listings, biography, open houses, and a “recommendations” button. One would have to do quite a bit of digging to find an agent with a number of good reviews. Agents whose first name starts with an “A” are at a serious advantage here.
This site was really fascinating to me. The agents are ranked in order of who has had the most listings posted on the Trulia site and “claimed” them via Trulia’s back end. At least all the agents on the first page were truly Park City agents.
YP (Yellow Pages)
Mostly brokerages are listed. There is a space where one can submit a review, but it looks like no one has reviewed any of the brokerages listed. There was an opportunity to “claim” a business, but it doesn’t appear that any of the brokerages listed have taken that opportunity.
Linkedin did not appear from the Google search, but many real estate agents have asked their clients to submit reviews on their LinkedIn pages.
How useful are the reviews on these sites? I have asked clients to review me on Zillow and they declined because Zillow requires them to provide their email address. Let’s be honest. Most of the recommendations on these online sites were made at the request of an agent. The real estate agent reviews are not as “honest” or spontaneous as those you will see on sites such as tripadvisor.com or opentable.com.
What are your thoughts on agent reviews? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.
Welcome to Park City, where every neighborhood has a park, a selection of trail heads and beautiful views sun-up to sun-down. To put it simply, you can’t go wrong in choosing a neighborhood for retirement in PC. That said, there are some areas that will be more appealing to a retiree; like one with fewer schools, little or no commuter traffic and brimming with enjoyable amenities. Whether you are planning to retire in Park City on a full-time or part-time basis, you’re sure to love any neighborhood.
It’s hard to beat Deer Valley’s velvety smooth ski terrain. When Utah boasts “the best snow on earth” this is why. Gorgeous views and the tastiest, toastiest lodges in town, and that’s only in the winter. Deer Valley has some of the best and most varied bike and hiking trails, and an amphitheater that hosts world class concerts from the Symphony to Bluegrass (and everything in between). This is a peaceful mountain retreat where you will never get bored.
Sun Peak is situated smack dab in the middle of everything. Canyons ski and golf resort is to your right, Willow Creek Park straight ahead and the Utah Olympic Park and all the shopping and restaurants of Kimball Junction off to your left. There is a gorgeous neighborhood hiking trail that meanders through the area and connects to an extensive trail system. The Sun Peak Community Center includes pool, tennis, and clubhouse. Membership is included in HOA dues and is one of the best values in town! Views of Snyderville Basin are out your door, and mountains of the Uinta National Forest are off in the distance to the east. You’re about equidistant to the quaint history of old town and the new bustle of Kimball Junction.
Old Town living speaks to the adventurous foodie and the cultural curator. There are a lot of stairs and quarters can be a bit tight, but you are rewarded with the lively spunk and spirit of one of the West’s oldest silver towns. Wonderful restaurants and lively watering holes are situated throughout Old Town as are art galleries, coffee shops and a stunning museum. The local Egyptian Theater presents throughout the year, and you’ll enjoy a number of art, music and wine festivals. Walk to the Town Lift and you will be carried to the ski hill or hiking trail of your choice.
If you’re interested in the newer side of Park City, check out Newpark, conveniently located at the Kimball Junction exit off of I-80. Whether you are more of a city person or need frequent airport access, this locale couldn’t be more convenient. There are various town home and condominium complexes where you can avoid mowing the grass and plowing the driveway and simply focus on enjoying your retirement. Nature lovers can mosey over to the Swaner Nature Center or hop on the McCloud Creek Trail in any season. There are also a variety of coffee shops, grocery stores and other amenities within walking distance. Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery is a local favorite.
These are just four of the incredible neighborhoods Park City has to offer. Whether you play tennis competitively or throwing the tennis ball to the dog is more your speed, Park City is a wonderful community awaiting you in your retirement.