Keeping you informed on market statistics, real estate news, and events around town

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hidden Gem in Vail!

Ski in Ski out location in Vail!

Pinos Del Norte M & V


Vail's best kept secret with unparalleled ski-in/ski-out location, this penthouse offers an off the chart setting with views to both east and west. You'll see Chair Six, Gondola One, and International as the backdrop in one direction. Then take in drop dead, direct views of Gore Range in the other. Vaulted ceilings with beautiful dormer windows have been added throughout. French balconies, office/library, loft area, and expanded bunk room add to the volume and views. Master suite with double his-and-her baths, two fireplaces, and four additional bedrooms each with ensuite baths. Two parking spaces, two storage spaces and two slopeside ski lockers offer room for cars and toys. Don't miss out on this rare offering. This exclusive development has turned over only seven resales in 40 years.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Great Location in Avon

Ascent 208


Located at the entrance to Beaver Creek Resort, this 2 bedroom 2 bath condominium offers high end finishes with slab granite counters, hand hued wood floors, and stainless steel appliances. Amenities include ski shuttle to Beaver Creek and Vail, on site management, ski lockers, pool, fitness room and numerous recreation spaces for owners.

Friday, December 5, 2014

December Schedule of Events

  • 5th -7th             Audi Birds of Prey Mens World Cup
  • 12th                  Vail Snow Daze starts
  • 13th                  Lukas Nelson & The Wallflowers
  • 14th                  Vail Snow Daze events
  • 20th-31st          Winterfest in Beaver Creek
  • 20th                  10,000 Maniacs & Rusted Root
  • 21st                  Vail Family Holidaze
  • 22nd                 Michael McDonald at Vilar
  • 25th                  Christmas
  • 27th                  Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk at Vilar
  • 31st                  Vail New Year's Eve Celebration
  • 31sr                  Beaver Creek New Year's Bash

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Great home in Vail

Looking for an alpine setting?

2119 Vermont Rd A
Vail CO 81657

This 4 bedroom 4.5 bath completely remodeled duplex located in Highland Meadows features a breakfast nook, custom stone and hardwood flooring, wood burning fireplace with stone detail, gourmet kitchen and updated bathrooms with a steam shower in the master. Great outdoor space with Trex decking and over sized hot tub only 5 minutes from Vail Village.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Eagle County 3rd Quarter Statistics

Eagle County:

  • Median Residential Price up 6.49% from LY Q3 numbers
  • Multi-family Average Price PSF up 3.65% from LY Q3 numbers
  • Average Residential Price up 4.56% from LY Q3 numbers
  • Average Residential Price PSF up 13.99% from LY Q3 numbers
  • Buyer Profile: 53.87% local, 14.06% front range, 29.78% Out-of-State, 2.29% international
  •  Gross Sales Volume up over 20% in Eagle, Garfield and San Miguel Counties from prior year 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

November Calendar of Events

    • 2nd                 Nora Jones
    • 7th                  Breckenridge Opening Day
    • 9th                  Storm Large & Le Bonheur
    • 21st                 Vail Opening Day
    • 26th                Beaver Creek Opening Day
    • 27th                Thanksgiving
    • 28th                Beaver Creek Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is Vail Valley’s home market ready for a bounce?

From the Vail Daily:

EAGLE COUNTY — The local real estate market continues to strengthen from the depths of the local and national economic slump, but that recovery can be slow at times.
Looking at the most recent numbers from Land Title Guarantee Co., which tracks completed sales recorded with Eagle County, August was a good example of a decent month. Compared to August of 2013, there were slightly fewer sales for the same period this year, but those sales generated a bit more revenue.
August’s numbers reflect the trend seen so far this year. Through the first eight months of the year, overall unit sales are down 6 percent from 2013, while sales volume has increased by 28 percent. Those numbers reflect a couple of trends at work. First, prices seem to be firming up and increasing somewhat. Second, fewer units selling for more money also indicates a relative lack of inventory, especially for units priced at $400,000 or less.
Laurie Slaughter for a number of years has managed the Gypsum office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. Slaughter said that the market is still a bit soft for homes priced at $400,000 or more. That could be due to the fact that homes at that price begin to compete with condos, townhomes and duplexes in the middle of the valley. Those buyers may be choosing the convenience of location over the extra space available in the western valley. On the other hand, Slaughter said she’s seeing couples move into bigger homes in the lower valley once they start having kids or having more kids.
First-time buyers, though, tend to find better prices in Eagle and Gypsum. At the moment, though, there just isn’t much on the market. The foreclosure wave that hit the county between about 2009 and 2012 has crested, so there are fewer homes on the market. The homes that are for sale are generally more expensive than they were a couple of years ago. While there’s a good bit of pent-up demand, Slaughter said not much is being built right now. Some concerted building would probably stabilize prices somewhat, she said. And prices are driving virtually all of the market these days, from first-time townhomes to slopeside mansions.
Jim Flaum is a partner and managing broker at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, the valley’s biggest brokerage. Flaum said at the beginning of this year that 2014 would be the year that prices started to inch up after about six years of declining or flat numbers. Given the Land Title numbers, that seems to be happening. Flaum said buyers today are still focused in large part on price. “In the old days (say, 2006), it was more about the property,” Flaum said. The very high end of the market — from about $2.5 million on up — remains an up-and-down proposition. Those few sales make up a substantial part of the dollar volume every month. In August, there were six sales for $2.5 million or more. Just two of those sales — the two averaged right at $8 million each — accounted for a full 15 percent of the month’s dollar volume. Flaum said most high-dollar sales come during ski season. But, he said, after a “so-so” July and a similar August, several of those high-end sales will wind up in the county’s records in the next couple of months. “We wrote some pretty nice deals in September — for about $18 million on Rockledge Road (in Vail),” Flaum said. “It’ll be interesting to see the numbers when they come out.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

October Calendar of Events

9/26-10/5               Vail/Beaver Creek Restaurant week
10/4-10/5               Vail Valley Cup Soccer tournament
10/5                        Vail Farmer's Market
10/5                        Underground Sound featuring: Cirque Mechanics: Pedal Punk
10/12                      Underground Sound featuring: The Hot Sardines
10/19                      Underground Sound featuring: Honey Honey
10/26                      Underground Sound featuring: Suzanne Vega
10/31                      Halloween
10/31                      Opening Day at Keystone

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Real estate recovery continues in the Vail Valley

From the Vail Daily:

Pre-sold real estate is returning to the Vail Valley, albeit in a small way.
As the local real estate market continues its recovery from its 2009 collapse, 2014 is looking like the best year since the boom times in terms of both transactions and the money generated by those sales.
The most recent data from Land Title Guarantee Co., which uses county records of closed transactions, shows a continued return to health in the local real estate market. Bank sales, which peaked at more than 20 percent of all real estate transactions a few years ago, now account for about 5.1 percent of all sales through July 31. Sales volume, the amount of money generated by those transactions, is more than 30 percent more than 2013’s totals through the end of July. The number of sales through the first seven months of the year is off slightly from the 2013 pace, due largely to a bit of a drop in transactions in July.
Unexpected Dip
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate Vice President Julie Bergsten said the July dip was unexpected. There’s usually a bit of bounce in sales in July she said, and that bounce didn’t materialize this year. On the other hand, Bergsten said sales in August — transactions either under contract or which haven’t yet shown up on county records — rebounded a bit from July, and are at the same levels seen in the same period in 2013. Those sales were aided a bit by pre-sales at Brookside Lofts in Avon. Work hasn’t yet started to convert former office space to residential space in the building along U.S. Highway 6, but Bergsten said eight of the 16 units are already under contract. Those units, which start at about $600,000, are an example of movement in the market for units priced less than $1 million. And activity in the market depends in large part on the neighborhood.
Lack of Inventory
While Vail’s market remains strong, nearly half of all July’s sales were in non-resort areas of the county. And, Bergsten said, the market remains sluggish for single-family homes in Beaver Creek. Conversely, a less-expensive unit such as a condo will probably move quickly, in part because there aren’t many of those units available. The lack of inventory is also being felt in Gypsum. There, units priced at $400,000 or less tend to go quickly — depending on the neighborhood and the unit, of course — primarily because there are so few homes available.
Laurie Slaughter, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties’ Gypsum office, has long sold real estate in that part of the valley. She said the lack of inventory in the lower-priced part of the market is due in part to the fact that the flood of foreclosures and short sales seen a couple of years ago has slowed to a trickle. That leaves fewer units available, although Slaughter said some sellers are trying to venture back into the market. Some of those sellers are testing the market, setting prices that might be a bit higher than buyers are willing to pay.
Trading Space for Convenience
While the lower end of the market sees the few available units sell quickly — for the most part — Slaughter said the Cotton Ranch neighborhood around the Gypsum Creek Golf Course is selling more slowly. Given the options at about the same price closer to the resorts, Slaughter said it’s possible some buyers are trading space for convenience.
Both Bergsten and Slaughter said given the lack of units in more-active parts of the valley, it could be time for developers to start building more homes. Slaughter said the Stratton Flats property along U.S. Highway 6 is a “missed opportunity” for builders right now. “It would have been nice to have homes there for sale,” she said. While the local market has some dips and rises at the moment, Bergsten said that’s a good sign of a healthy, normal real estate market. “This is the kind of market we saw before 2005,” Bergsten said. “Normal markets go up and down from time to time.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August Calendar of Events

  • 2nd              Beaver Creek Art Festival
  • 3rd              Vail Farmers Market
  • 5th               Vail International Dance for $20.14
  • 7th               Beaver Creek Rodeo
  • 8th-10th      Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival
  • 10th             Vail Farmers Market
  • 12th             Hot Summer Nights featuring Lukas Nelson
  • 14th             Beaver Creek Rodeo
  • 15th             Vail Rocks!
  • 17th             Vail Farmers Market
  • 19th             Hot Summer Nights featuring Kyle Hollingsworth Band
  • 23rd            US Pro Cycling Challenge
  • 24th            Vail Farmers Market
  • 26th            Hot Summer Nights featuring John Brown's Body
  • 28th-31st    Vail Jazz Labor Day Festival
  • 29th-31st    Gourmet on Gore
  • 29th-31st    Beaver Creek Octoberfest

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just listed in EagleVail!

1282 Deer Blvd #B


Privacy and views of Game Creek are just two of the wonderful attributes of this home in EagleVail. Backing up to the national forest this 3 bedroom duplex offers hard wood floors, stone fireplace, remodeled baths, new appliances, new carpet, and a 2 car garage.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

July Calendar of Events

  • 1st            Hot Summer Nights featuring Rich Robinson
  • 3rd            Avon Salute to the USA
  • 3rd            Beaver Creek Rodeo
  • 4th            Vail America Days Parade
  • 4th            Vail Independence Day Celebration
  • 4th            Beaver Creek Independence Day Celebration
  • 8th            Hot Summer Nights featuring Big Sam's Funky Nation
  • 13th          Trek to Table
  • 14th          Darius Rucker
  • 15th          Hot Summer Nights featuring 8150 Urban Dance Challenge
  • 22nd         Hot Summer Nights featuring March Fourth Marching Band
  • 24th          Slifer Bravo Shindig
  • 26th          Lyle Lovett
  • 27th          Opening Night of the Vail International Dance Festival

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Remodeling Cost vs. Value

From Colorado Home Connection
All of the DIY (Do It Yourself) shows transform boring and outdated homes to modern, contemporary and appealing homes right before your eyes. The one thing you must keep in mind is that just because you think your remodeling looks good and should add value doesn’t mean it will.
The good news is, for the second year in a row the Cost vs Value survey data by Hanley Woods shows the cost-value ratio is up to 66.1%. This means that if you spent $1,000 on home upgrades on average you would recoup about $661 in resale value.  The top five gainers along the front-range and mountain communities in Colorado for 2014 are:
    • Attic Bedroom Remodel- 95%
    • Two Story Addition- 89.3%
    • Family Room Addition- 87.6%
    • Deck Addition- 85.1%
    • Minor Kitchen Remodel- 83.5%

While three of the five biggest gainers can be very costly, starting with a few affordable DIY-friendly home improvement projects can pay off and make buyers take notice:
Improve landscaping. When it comes to curb appeal, your landscaping can pack a powerful punch, for better or worse. While many people focus their improvement dollars indoors, don’t overlook that first impression that strikes a buyer before they even get out of the car. And you don’t need a green thumb to reap rewards. Simply maintaining a freshly mowed lawn, removing dead plants and branches and adding colorful annual flowers or shrubbery can add 7 to 15% to your home’s value, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Upgrade lighting. While you may have tolerated your dated dining room chandelier, buyers may not be so forgiving. Switching out light fixtures for more updated styles is a low-cost, low-commitment home upgrade. Under-cabinet lighting is another quick-fix. Many home improvement stores now offer easy to install plug-in lights that deliver the look of a high-end custom kitchen, and don’t require electrical work. If you do update lighting that requires wiring, make sure you work with a licensed professional to ensure they’re safely installed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vail Luxury Market is on the RISE

From the Vail Daily
Thanks to a number of high-end sales this winter, real estate closings in April produced the best month thus far this year in terms of dollar volume. Sales in April were also the strongest the county has since July 2008, with $239,411,420 in total sales volume, according to the latest report. The dramatic upswing, up from only $104 million in March, was largely fueled by high-end sales, including the sale of Vail Village’s Galatyn Lodge for $28.6 million. Overall, there were 10 transactions for more than $5 million, said the Land Title Guarantee Co.’s monthly analysis. The two highest residential sales were also in Vail Village, which sold for $19 million and $14.5 million. There were also 11 transactions in the county that sold for between $2.5 million and $4.9 million. These high-end sales created a staggering $1,639,804 average sales price for April. However, the overall median price for property sold in Eagle County was $567,500.

Prices rising
Prices have steadily been making their way up throughout the year, and buyers are beginning to realize that if they want a good price, they need to buy now, said Slifer, Smith & Frampton President Jim Flaum. In some cases, homes are selling at or above 2008 prices. Most of the high-end sales happened in the winter, when prospective second-home owners were in town. Flaum said he thinks the April spike isn’t an anomaly — prices and transactions are generally trending upward — but the amount of the sales was affected by some major transactions and the time of year. “A lot of prospects who have been out there looking are finally realizing that the price of the market is at the bottom and now starting upward. They realized that if they wanted a good price and a choice pick, they had to act,” said Flaum. Most of that activity has been centered in Vail, but Flaum said the rising prices and “buying flurry” were trends throughout Eagle County.

Activity in Vail
Vail led in number of sales in the county with 31 total sales — including 13 in Vail Village and two in Lionshead. The two villages are the focus of much of the county’s real estate growth at the moment, said Slifer, Smith & Frampton broker Led Gardner “So far we’re not seeing similar sales in Beaver Creek. There’s some activity, but the rebound in pricing is in Vail’s core area,” said Gardner. “However, the hope is that this will set the bar for the rest of the valley for the remainder of the year.” Another trend for the high-end market has individuals buying older homes to tear down and rebuild. “We’re seeing a lot more speculative projects. There’s a dearth of land, and we’ve seen several examples of people buying an existing older home, tearing it down and building something for their own use,” said Gardner.

According to the April report, the rest of Eagle County had a busy month as well.

For the first time in a number of months, Eagle and Gypsum were out-sold in the number of transactions. In April, Avon was active with 13 transactions, followed by Arrowhead with 11. Eagle-Vail had five transactions, Eagle had eight and Gypsum had 10.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Great opportunity to own in Vail

Villa Cortina 135


Great location in Vail Village. This ground floor, corner location offers an easy walk to the slopes, dining and shops. Exclusive opportunity to own a 50% interest in #135 and be in the heart of Vail.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

June Calendar of Events

    • 5th-8th                 Go Pro Mountain Games
    • 13th-15th             King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament
    • 14th                      Minturn Market
    • 15th                      Vail Farmer's Market
    • 17th                      Hot Summer Nights featuring Rusted Root
    • 21st                      Minturn Market
    • 22nd                     Vail Farmer's Market
    • 24th                      Hot Summer Nights featuring Anders Osborne
    • 26th                      Beaver Creek Rodeo
    • 27th-29th             Vail Arts Festival
    • 27th                      Bravo Vail Valley Starts
    • 28th                      Reds, Whites & Brews
    • 28th                      Minturn Market
    • 29th                      Vail Farmer's Market

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May Calendar of Events

    • 4th              Cinco De Mayo
    • 7th              Vail Rec Short Track Bike Race
    • 11th            La Sportiva Boneyard Boogie Trail Race
    • 13th            Vail Whitewater Race Series
    • 20th            Vail Whitewater Race Series
    • 21st            Vail Rec 1st Mountain Bike Race of Season
    • 23rd-26th   Feast!Vail
    • 23rd-26th   Brews, Blues & BBQ
    • 26th            Valor Marathon
    • 26th            Memorial Day

Thursday, April 10, 2014


VAIL, Colo. – April 10, 2014 – When the world’s eyes turn to the Vail Valley for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, the premier real estate company in the area, will help ensure that the view is golden.

“We are proud to be one of a select few local companies that are official sponsors of the event,” said Jim Flaum, President and Managing Broker of SSF. “We realize that hosting the FIS World Ski Championships is a significant event for the Vail Valley and we are proud to support our community.”

As an official sponsor of the Championships, Slifer Smith & Frampton is continuing a long-standing tradition of supporting the community through sponsorships of events, monetary and in-kind donations and countless hours of volunteer work. By serving as an official sponsor for the event, SSF will be able to host receptions for the community as well as host the Official 2015 Donor Party.

Founded in 1962, Slifer Smith & Frampton has long been an integral part of bringing events to the area and making Vail and Beaver Creek what is it today. Supporting and participating in historic events like the 2015 World Championships is fundamental to the fabric of the company.

“We know how important it is to bring these types of events to the Valley and we know, from experience, that giving back to the community is only going to make individual businesses and the Valley as a whole more successful,” said Harry Frampton. “This is a once-in-30-years opportunity—they don’t come around that often. It’s important to us to not only support but be an integral part of the event.”

As the sole real estate sponsor of the World Championships, Slifer Smith & Frampton will be aligned with world-class brands like Audi, which is appropriate when considering the level of service and luxury that SSF provides. However, Flaum was quick to point out that SSF, though not a global franchise, has an international clientele that has seen double-digit growth in years following the previous two World Alpine Ski Championships.

“We started in 1962 with Vail Mountain and have grown with resort and the town,” said Flaum. “We know the valley and specialize in the Vail Valley. You go to Audi to buy a car; you come to SSF to buy real estate in the Valley.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

April Calendar of Events

    • 1st               April Fool's Day
    • 2nd-5th        Taste of Vail 
    • 3rd               Lamb Cook off
    • 4th               Mountain Top Picnic
    • 5th               Grand Tasting
    • 5th               Pink Vail
    • 11th             Karl Denson's Tiny Universe with Dirty Dozen Brass Band
    • 12th             STS9 with the Polish Ambassador
    • 19th             Lionshead Easter Egg Hunt
    • 20th             Closing day at Vail and Beaver Creek
    • 20th             Pond Skimming at Gold Peak
    • 20th             Steel Pulse with Bonfire Dub
    • 27th             Breckenridge Closing Day

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

March Calendar of Events

    • 1st                Talons Challenge
    • 2nd               Crawfish Boil at EaglesNest
    • 3rd-8th         Burton US Open
    • 7th                Rick Springfield at Vilar
    • 8th-19th       Beaver Creek Springfest
    • 13th              Randy Newman at Vilar
    • 16th              Jim Gaffigan at Vilar
    • 19th-23rd     American Ski Classic
    • 20th              Aaron Neville Duo at Vilar
    • 27th              Vail Film Festival Begins
    • 28th              Los Lobos at Vilar 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spend Thanksgiving in Vail at a FRACTION OF THE COST!

Vantage Point 116

This 2 bedroom 2 bath condo sleeps up to 6 and offers a large balcony with views of the ski slopes.Building offers easy access to Lionshead, Cable TV, Internet,Common building washer/dryer, sauna, pool & hot tubs. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Calendar of Events

    • 1st            Kick off to 2015 celebration
    • 2nd           Super Bowl Sunday- Denver Broncos
    • 2nd           Beaver Creek Snowshoe series
    • 3rd            Mama Mia
    • 8th            Ski, Ride and Slide Series
    • 11th          Los Lonely Boys
    • 14th          Sweetheart Snowshoe on Vail Mountain
    • 15th-21st  PrezFest
    • 21st          Winter Wonder Grass Festival

Monday, January 20, 2014

Don't Miss Home Tax Breaks

Published: January 10, 2013
Mortgage interest deduction
One of the neatest deductions itemizing home owners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you claim on Schedule A. To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can even be a house trailer or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet. Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home. If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit. If you use loans secured by your home for other things — like sending your kid to college — you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan.
PMI and FHA mortgage insurance premiums

Helpfully, the government extended the mortgage insurance premium deduction through 2013. You can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance as mortgage interest on Schedule A — meaning you must itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later. What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately). If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return). So, if you make $110,000 or more, you lose 100% of this deduction (10% x 10 = 100%). Besides private mortgage insurance, there's government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service. Some of those premiums are paid at closing and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies.
Prepaid interest deduction

Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is 100% deductible in the year you paid them along with other mortgage interest.  If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year. But if you refinance to get a better rate and term or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the term of the loan. Say you refi for a 10-year term and pay $3,000 in points. You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years.  So what happens if you refi again down the road?

Example: Three years after your first refi, you refinance again. Using the $3,000 in points scenario above, you’ll have deducted $900 ($300 x 3 years) so far. That leaves $2,400, which you can deduct in full the year you complete your second refi. If you paid points for the new loan, the process starts
again; you can deduct the points over the term of the loan.   Home mortgage interest and points are reported on IRS Form 1098. You enter the combined amount on line 10 of Schedule A. If your 1098 form doesn’t indicate the points you paid, you should be able to confirm the amount by consulting your HUD-1 settlement sheet. Then you record that amount on line 12 of Schedule A.
Energy tax credits
The energy tax credit of up to a lifetime $500 had expired in 2011. But the Feds extended it for 2012 and 2013. If you upgraded one of the following systems this year, it’s an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability: If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes.
·         Biomass stoves
·         Heating, ventilation, air conditioning
·         Insulation
·         Roofs (metal and asphalt)
·         Water heaters (non-solar)
·         Windows, doors, and skylights
·         Storm windows and doors

Varying maximums
Some of the eligible products and systems are capped even lower than $500. New windows are capped at $200 — and not per window, but overall. Read about the fine print in order to claim your energy tax credit.
Determine if the system is eligible. Go to Energy Star’s website for detailed descriptions of what’s covered. And talk to your vendor. The product or system must have been installed, not just contracted for, in the tax year you'll be claiming it. Save system receipts and manufacturer certifications. You’ll need them if the IRS asks for proof. File IRS Form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms.

Vacation home tax deductions

The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home. If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A. Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Those expenses get deducted using Schedule E. Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than 14 days and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and divide them proportionate to how often you used and how often you rented the house.
Home buyer tax credit

There were federal first-time home buyer tax credits in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
If you claimed the home buyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest. If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, within 36 months of the purchase date, you also have to pay back the credit. Example: If you bought a home in 2010 and sold in 2012, you pay it back with your 2012 taxes. That repayment rules are less rigorous for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who get sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence. Members of the armed forces who served overseas got an extra year to use the first-time home buyer tax credit. If you were abroad for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, and you bought your home by April 30, 2011, and closed the deal by June 30, 2011, you can claim your first-time home buyer tax credit. The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

Property tax deduction

You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement. If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 Settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.
This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Let's go SKIING!

A Snowy Start to 2014 Leaves Colorado with the Best Ski Conditions In North America
  • With over 11,000 acres of skiable terrain open and snowfall 105 percent above average at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, skiers and riders have access to fantastic conditions 
BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Jan. 10, 2014— The new year is off to an epic start with powder days and above average snowfall at all of Vail Resorts’ Colorado mountains including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. Since Jan. 1, our Colorado resorts have received up to four feet of snow, with even more forecast to fall this weekend.
Current snowfall totals as of Jan. 1 and acreage:
-       Vail: 32” of snow with nearly 5,000 acres of open terrain and 30 lifts.
-       Beaver Creek: 26” of snow with 1,776 acres of terrain open and 24 lifts.
-       Breckenridge: 46” of snow with 2,382 acres of open terrain and 33 lifts.
-       Keystone: 21” of snow with 2,328 acres of open terrain and 19 lifts.

Just weeks after the historic opening of Peak 6, and with nearly four feet of snow this month, Breckenridge is more than half way to its average January snowfall total with three weeks still to go! At Beaver Creek, the recent storms have allowed Ski Patrol to open the renowned Stone Creek Chutes, a favorite area of the mountain among expert skiers and riders.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Beaver Creek to get combo Gondola, chairlift

From the Vail Daily:

BEAVER CREEK — Gondola or chairlift? Beaver Creek will be giving skiers and riders a choice next season.

The resort announced plans on Thursday to replace the existing Centennial Express Lift (Chair No. 6) with a new high-speed, state-of-the-art combination lift. The combo lifts, seen at some European resorts as well as at Northstar in Tahoe, Telluride and Sunday River in Maine, are also called hybrid lifts, telecombis, Telemixes and chondolas. The new lift will increase uphill capacity by 35 percent through the use of alternating gondola cabins and six-person chairs and is expected to be in place for the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season. Last season, the resort had announced its intention to replace the Centennial lift with a traditional six-person chairlift. However, after further consideration and discussions with the lift manufacturers, resort officials went with the combo lift, calling it a “more robust, flexible and guest-oriented approach.” The new lift will have the same capacity as a six-person chairlift, but it gives choices to every level of skier. Beginners and ski school kids tend to prefer the less-intimidating option of boarding the gondola, while people who prefer to keep their skis on can board the chairs. Chairs and cabins will be loaded from two separate lines. The new combination lift will transport 3,400 people per hour, up from the current capacity of 2,800 people per hour. “The unique and dramatic benefits to our guests to be able to install a combination lift with gondola cabins and chairs and replace one of the most utilized lifts at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain are tremendous and completely in line with the Beaver Creek brand promise to deliver high-quality guest experiences,” said Doug Lovell, vice president and chief operating officer for Beaver Creek Resort. “After careful consideration, we believe this is exactly the right solution to position Beaver Creek for the future and address the resort’s continued growth and diverse guest needs.”

Coaster changes
Also, by having gondola cabins as part of the new lift, guests will have easier access to the Spruce Saddle area for nighttime and summertime dining and recreational activities. In coming seasons, those Spruce Saddle activities may also include an alpine coaster (named a Forest Flyer), ropes course and tubing hill. The year-round activities had been planned for an area closer to the base at the top of the Buckaroo Express Gondola, but nearby homeowners filed a lawsuit this fall opposing the project, calling it an “amusement park” and eyesore. Vail Resorts also announced on Thursday that they had reached a settlement with the Beaver Creek Property Owners Association and Greystone Condominium Association regarding the project. Under the agreement, the associations will request that the Beaver Creek Metro District purchase a permanent restrictive covenant from Vail Resorts for $5 million. The restrictive covenant will prohibit certain new recreational activities on much of the land at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain in perpetuity. Under the agreement, the metro district must fund the purchase of the covenant through a bond issue that would be subject to approval by voters in May, meaning that the cost of the protective covenant would be passed on to Beaver Creek homeowners and businesses. In return, the homeowners will support an application by Vail Resorts to the U.S. Forest Service to build the project in the area surrounding the Spruce Saddle restaurant. If the bond issue doesn’t pass, then the property owners have agreed to dismiss their lawsuit and not object to the construction of recreational amenities at the base of the resort.

Weighing in
Those are some major upgrades, but the jury is still out on whether the improvements will be a hit with skiers and snowboarders. Avon skier and former lift operator Dan Gorin said he personally prefers to take the chair, but he said there’s no question that the lift needs to be replaced. “If it stops less and gets people up faster, I’m all for it,” he said. “It definitely needs to be replaced. It’s the oldest lift on the mountain and also the most used.” Others said they saw it as a convenience for families with children. “(My kids) are pretty good skiers, so they don’t have a problem with the chair,” said Ann McCormick, of Eagle-Vail. “But especially with a cold or windy day, it definitely would help families out on the ride up to have a gondola.” Still, others questioned if the convenience was worth the cost. One Edwards woman, who declined to be named, said she worried the cost would be passed onto resort guests. “I guess for guests it’s a different thing, but local kids know how to ride a chairlift,” she said. “It’s so expensive to ski here, and I think this is part of the problem. It’s stuff like this and adding escalators that raises the prices. Do we really need that?” Construction on the combo lift is slated to start in June. Resort officials said they haven’t yet decided which lift company they will use, but those details will be announced soon.