One of our most critical goals upon arriving in Steamboat was to find a “permanent” place to live. We were open to renting long term, but with rents being so high here and the way Steamboat and the state are growing, we leaned more toward the investment of purchasing a home.

We’ve been staying in a vacation rental condo at Trappeur’s Crossing and as much as we’ve loved being called Mr. & Mrs. Bowman by the resort staff and schmoozing with vacationers, we’ve been excited to get into our own home.

Ryan has been diligently scouring the real estate market here in Steamboat for over a year prior to our arrival. In fact, we were under contract on a home in West Steamboat back in March. After a lot of work, this deal fell thru due to inspection issues. However, we felt OK about it and it helped dial us in on what we really wanted.

Steamboat Springs is separated into a few different areas as you can see below on the map. It seems that most vacationers stay in the mountain area and south valley area which is where our condo rental is. Many of the townies, especially those with young families, seem to migrate towards the downtown area. The problem with downtown is that it is the priciest area to live by far, usually double the price per square foot of the other areas.

Overall, Steamboat Springs is extremely expensive for real estate. We knew it coming here but still experienced a bit of sticker shock realizing a smaller house than what we had in Hoffman Estates would be double the price. Luckily, property taxes are about 20% of Illinois so that takes away a bit of the sting.

Steamboat Areas

Wishlist

  • Low maintenance home (preferably with homeowners association managing exterior)
  • Amazing views
  • Walkability to downtown shops, restaurants and grocery stores
  • 3-4 bedrooms, Room for guests!
  • Family friendly neighborhood
  • Close proximity to mountain or bus stop
  • Something that could be home for our family but also be a vacation rental or long-term rental in the future

Our realtor showed us 15+ properties in our first several days in town and we easily narrowed it down to the top 3. As is usually the case in house hunting, it was is difficult to get everything we wanted in our price range, but we think we ended up with something pretty close…. Which do you think it is?

 

1. DOWNTOWN PARK PLACE

Just like the Monopoly board game property, this place was all about location. A spacious 10 year-old 4-bedroom townhome on a pleasant cul-de-sac in the downtown area. It is 8 blocks from Main Street downtown, just 1 block from the school Elliot would attend, and the small circle of homes boasts 15+ kids ready to be friends. We never thought that any property in the downtown area would be financially within reach, and although this one was at the top of our price range, the lure of community and location got us thinking… We didn’t jive with the interior of this home as much as we loved the location and neighborhood feel. It was certainly workable though. Other major cons: the views were not the best from this home with the kitchen sink facing directly out into the siding of another home, and the one car garage was detached. This home also could not be a vacation rental in the future but could be rented long term.

 

2. SPARKLING EMERALD TOWNHOME

Ryan had seen one of these new townhomes in the Fish Creek area during a March trip and had a feeling it would be Kathi’s favorite once she saw it. When we walked into this pristine townhome, even though it’s still very shiny and new, something about it just felt like home. Just constructed 2 years ago, the finishing was higher-end than other homes in the price range. The home is also very efficient with plenty of space for us but without a lot of extra wasted square footage that raises the price. The loft on the top floor would be a perfect hangout spot for the girls, and Ryan would have a separate office set up on the lower level. The back faces out towards Emerald Mountain with a fantastic view of Howelsen Hill. There is a large deck on the front side of the house facing Mt. Werner (the Steamboat Ski Resort) although there are some power lines obstructing that view. It is not walkable to downtown but could be an easy bike ride.

The main con for this one: oh yea, it is not really for sale…details. Our realtor knew our interest in the community and asked the builder to allow us to tour his unit that he rents, and there we go just falling in love with it. Unfortunately, we were not able to come up with an offer he couldn’t refuse.

 

3. MOUNTAINTOP DUPLEX

Our realtor also knew another builder who is currently building a 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom duplex unit farther up the mountain still in the Fish Creek area. The 3 bedroom unit was already sold, but we took a look at the 4 bedroom unit which was still under construction. The thought of buying new construction was obviously appealing since we would be able to influence the finishes. The selling point of this unit that really took our breath away was the amazing view of the valley.

The upper level had a two sided balcony dedicated to taking in this view. The primary con of this home (aside from also being at the very top of our price range) is its proximity to some very large power lines. There is a large power line that marches right through the Fish Creek area and over Emerald Mountain on the opposite side and this home was practically underneath it.

 

So which did we pick?

All 3 had some unique pros and cons and some very distinct differences. Ultimately, after pursuing each one, we were empty handed. The downtown townhome received an offer, and after viewing it again, we decided we didn’t want to compete for it. The Emerald Townhome owner would not give into our begging to let us buy his home. And we made an informal offer on the duplex below asking price and the builder was not budging.

Ugh.

Plot Twist! Thanks again to our realtor’s connections, we had been in touch with owners of another unit in the same subdivision as the Emerald Townhome.  We had been trying to make a deal with this family for their home a few weeks before we left for Colorado, but the home they were supposed to buy fell thru so they didn’t accept our offer. We had this home in the back of our mind while looking at other homes but were trying to not rely on it too much because it was not a sure thing.

Lucky for us, right around the time we were at the end of our ropes with the 3 homes above, they found their dream home and were ready to sell their townhome to us!

We closed on this house in the last week and will be moving in around August 8th. The red arrow on the map above marks the spot which is a prime location between downtown and the mountain area. We’re excited to give you guys an official “tour” once we move in.