The last time investing in Park City property made this much sense was right around The 2002 Olympic Games held in Salt Lake City. Park City was recently named Outside Magazines Best Town in America for 2013 and last year we earned the IMBAs (International Mountain Biking Association) first and only Gold-Level status for mountain biking. Were the only town in the world with that IMBA status and its officially put us on the map as a year-round destination. Every year I see more and more people out on the trails and with these recent accolades the competition for the best property in town is going to keep heating up.
We have 3 world-class ski resorts within 30 minutes of each other, the Sundance Film Festival, over 350 miles of non-motorized recreational trails, a Waldorf Astoria and a St. Regis, amazing local restaurants, and you want to know what the best part is? The community. All of the businesses and residents are in it together. We maintain open spaces and a small town feel like no other resort town has. Your kids can even ride the free bus here without you worrying about them. Seriously.
I want anyone who invests in this town to be successful and here are some of the things you need to know in order to get started.Realistic Expectations
Set them. Buying property in a resort town is great investment as long as youre clear on what youre getting out of it (just like any other investment). The first question you need to ask yourself is... Are you or your family going to use the property? This will help you get clear on your expectations and determine things like the type of property you buy, how you rent it out, and what part of town you invest in. No matter what you decide, youre going to need a good property management company, but well get to that shortly.
Long-Term RentalsIf you or your family wont be using the property, keep in mind that this will be a long-term investment and youll stay in good shape. Focus on a property that makes sense and is affordable for long-term renters who would want to sign a year lease(or more). You can choose to rent it out in short-term increments(nightly and weekly) but the competition is high and I wouldnt recommend it, unless we can find you the perfect location. Itll be much harder to generate the revenue you need for the property to pay for itself if youre not using it and decide to rent it out short term.
Its more common for people to use the property for themselves and their families (and way more fun too!). Youll need to figure out a short-term rental plan that works for you. Going this route, youll be able to at least pay your property taxes, property management fees, HOA fees, and make some money back sometimes. Realistically, you can expect your property to be empty for about six weeks in the Winter (December-March) and you should try to get a 3 month rental in the summer. This gives you and your family plenty of time to enjoy the property at the best times of the year and generate the revenue you need.
Property ManagementLike I said, you need one. Ive had personal investments saved from catastrophic damage by Sarah Berry and her company Silver Peak Properties. Dont just call someone in the Yellow Pages. Shell help you figure out how to set prices for rent, advertise the property for you, find reliable tenants, and take care of anything that comes up so you dont have to do it. Winter presents a unique challenge and paying for snow removal and winter maintenance is a necessity. If you ignore this you can end up with collapsed decks, water damage inside the home from ice dams on the roof, and unusable driveways. Your property manager will help you pay for proper maintenance so you dont end up shelling out more or losing potential revenue later.
Hottest Rental AreasWith three resorts so close together, there are no bad locations, but resort condos, Old Town properties, and any ski-in-ski-out properties are always in the highest demand because they plug you right into the heart of the mountain town. There are also plenty of options right beside the resorts that arent ski-in-ski-out but put you within a few minutes of the lift line that are fantastic. Park City has many unique neighborhoods that offer different combinations of benefits. Its not like Vail, where you have a small village area to work with. Plenty of the homes away from the base of the resorts are on a free bus route that connects them all to the rest of the town, so its hard to go wrong here.
Now you know enough to be dangerous (to other investors). Im happy to help fill in the blanks , make recommendations, and answer any questions you may have. Give me (Scott) a call at 435.901.4309 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill help you out. If youre a Park City business and have anything to add to the conversation, please comment or share. Id love to feature your business in an interview or blog posts on future topics.