Expert Says 1

Tye Stockton, Vail homeowner and real estate professional with Liv Sotheby’s International Realty, explains what to look for when buying your vacation home in the mountains.

When a 6’2” man and a 5’6” woman look through the same window from the same place, they might not see the same thing. This has nothing to do with gender, everything to do with perspective and is just one of the nuances to consider when buying a vacation home in the mountains.

Back it up.

“The first question I ever ask any of my clients is ‘what do you want to accomplish?’” Tye Stockton, one of Vail’s top-performing real estate brokers with Liv Sotheby’s International Realty, says. “I ask them what the day in the life of their family in the mountains will look like. Are they big skiers quick to get up and get out the door? Do they spend big chunks of time in the house and, if so, what times of the day are they there?”

See, buying the right vacation home or condo in the mountains presents some unique challenges mostly because the experience of being in the mountains, in a vacation home, is not an average experience.

Consider your shoes. In the mountains, there is a pair for every activity. You have your ski boots, snow boots, snowshoes, ice skates, running shoes, hiking boots, bike shoes and, of course, your going-out shoes, summer shoes, favorite shoes and shoes you bought and are waiting to wear. That could be up to 50 pairs of shoes needing to be accessed at any time from the entryway.

“It is easy to get caught up in the grand things about a house and forget about such basic things as storage,” Stockton said. “It is one of the most common mistakes I see. Living in the mountains comes with a range of toys. The importance of garage space, a good mudroom and storage can’t be understated.”

There is a great old saying about having a house in the mountains, and it goes, “Having a house in the mountains is almost as good as having had a friend who has a house in the mountains.”

The saying explained? Plan for visitors.

“You might consider an open floor plan,” Stockton says. “Something with enough space for three or even more families to gather in an informal way works really well here. The mountains are a place to gather with friends and swap stories. You might also want to think about a place where you can sit and drink wine, have dinner or sit in a hot tub.”

Then there are the views, bringing us back to the 6’2” and 5’6” couple so patiently waiting as they stare out the window. While she might see a cloud-capped mountain range, he might see the neighbors’ roof. Let this be a clue to the importance of detail.

“Eventually, you have to prioritize, and you do that by allowing yourself the time to gain perspective,” Stockton says. “Those little things like the vibe of the neighborhood, the view out of a hallway window, the coziness of rooms all matter.”