5 Real Estate Search Tips for Finding the Perfect Colorado Mountain Property
Tip #1 – Get an agent. Maybe not day one, but get one. I know, I am little biased because that is our business. 😉 However, if you want to eliminate as many surprises as possible, you need an advocate that is knowledgeable. The best use of an agent is not to necessarily FIND your property for you. Help with searching can be great but in the end it is a very small part of what a good agent really brings to the table. For example, southern exposure is considered desirable here. It effects snow melt on driveways and home entries. Coming from other parts of the country shoppers are not always aware of that until after they have purchased. Radon test are recommended in our area but not required by law. Property subdividing is not always allowed. Restrictions and recommendations in place here are not necessarily the same as the ones found in another area of the country (or the world). For example, diving a 35 acre track of land to sell off in two pieces later may not even be allowed. (WHAT?) That can catch someone off guard who planned to do just that to fund their building project etc. Just things. Regional ‘need to know’ things. Information that may be unique to an area that a good agent can help get you up to speed on.
To the surprise of many, there is no charge (traditionally) to a buyer by the buyer’s agent. It is FREE! Fees are the seller’s responsibility and most sellers (even FSBOs) anticipate that a buyer will be represented by an agent for some protection and assistance in the buying process.
TIP #2 – Make your search broader than you initially planned.
It may feel counter intuitive at first, but it can save you a lot of frustration in the end. Most of us tend to initially feel overwhelmed if we take on too big an area. So we start with, I like THIS spot and I want to be within xx minutes of this convenience or another. Unless you have a truly good reason for keeping the selected property search area to a tight particular area, other than I have just been here before and like it, go broad! All you risk is finding out that you actually like another area better than the one you initially selected. That would probably be a GOOD thing to discover early! More often what happens is it increases your odds of finding a PROPERTY you love. Best case, you validate your initial selection. I’m just saying, draw your circle larger than your first inclination! It will help you understand the entire area faster and how your new proposed town relates to its neighboring areas. Your understanding of each areas pros and cons will quickly develop. For example, some areas are rich with views and finding one is not hard to achieve where other areas right down the road command a premium for view property. Same for water. A creek is nearly non-exsistant in some areas where they are not so rare in others. So if views or water (or both) were a goal and your struggling to find them in budget, you may just be looking in the wrong pace and 20 minutes away was actually your more target rich environment. Getting educated on each area surrounding your target will just make your investment a more educated one. Besides, it is so pretty here, you will likely enjoy every day of the shopping process!
Use map to locate best general search areas for abundant water, national forest, views etc.
TIP #3 – Always look at the Aerial Maps and check for available Street Views.
This is a good one that is easy to miss. The aerial may become your new best friend! Many people say they would love to find a place with a feeling of seclusion or at least some distance between properties. Want to know how close existing homes are but can’t really tell from the photos which usually do not highlight the neighbors? Aerial Map! Cut the surprises in half with this one tip. Most online search services include an aerial if you look for them. If you are not seeing one, put the address into Google Earth or check to see if there is a Google Street View, if available, Street View can add an entire new ground level perspective to properties you may be considering.
TIP #4 – Investigate Accessibility – Pull the Directions.
This is a great tool for determining a couple of things. (Zillow has this feature built in so you won’t have to move over to a mapping site.). It really doesn’t matter much where you start from, just pick an place and use it consistently (Like this yummy find Florissant, Co. named Costelo’s Coffee House ) As you pull the directions of each property, compare the distance verses the expected travel minutes. This is NOT perfect but it is a tip usually worth taking a look. One of the considerations here, is that some of the properties are so far off the main roads that commute time is added by the the dirt roads to get to them. For example, the milage says 17 miles but the approximate time to travel that 17 miles is quoted at 40 minutes. Why you say?! Well, it is probably because the road to get there is 7 miles of pavement then 10 miles of dirt road. The map services are pretty good at taking note of this and estimating additional time for the difference. Keep in mind that they do tend to over estimate (and exaggerate the actual added time, but still, it’s a real thing to consider.) That may be exactly what you are looking for. So use it for both avoiding travel distance and confirming isolation depending on your goals. In general, deep travel off the beaten path equates to better property deals.
TIP #5 – Request a Custom Search Drip Campaign
Most online search tools simply don’t have enough search filters to really isolate for all the things you may be looking for in a property. Let’s say you are really serious about wanting a Colorado mountian property with BOTH water and VIEWS, maybe even an OUTBUILDING or an EXISTING WELL. You’ve decided you really don’t even care where it is or maybe the opposite of that, you have narrowed it down to a particular street in a particular development. That is going to be a tall order for an online search filter system. Pretty much impossible at this time to get all of that in. However, your agent can set up an automated drip campaign that will send you a list of list of currently available properties meeting that criteria and then as new properties enter the market meeting that same criteria you will get an email alert. Pretty nifty! (We are members of two Colorado MLS services so we can stretch across a very broad range if desired or your search simply moves out from where you originally started.)