Mountain town rentals for ski bums

5 Replies

Hi all,

I live in Denver and my wife and I have found that there is a shortage of affordable rentals for permanent residents in ski towns.  We are considering whether to find some cheaper housing to rehab with dorm room quality construction (i.e. highly durable with no frills) and cater to the people who are focused on smoking pot and skiing.

I'm not concerned about finding renters but I am concerned about whether the renters are going to remember to pay.  Is this a genuinely underserved market or are people staying away for good reason?

I would be concerned if it's legal to house a bunch of people in a SFR. Check the zoning of any property you purchase. The other concern is the potential for turnover, seasonal workers etc..

If you can figure it out it's quite the niche! 

I have some experience in Park City Utah which is also a huge ski town. You usually have to bend some zoning laws if you want to pack enough people in to be profitable. Bending zoning laws is always a risk. I found if you're going to get something in close proximity to ski slopes its in your best interest to create an airbnb or vacation rental. Your returns will be so much higher it just doesn't make sense to go the route you're looking at.  Just my two cents and in a different area. 

@Carl Miller It is really tough to make money renting to people that don't care about your property. Until you have done it, you can't imagine the things that can be broke by someone who doesn't care. They are under served for a reason. You can't make money from them. The other cost is turnover and then vacancies during the mud season when there is no skiing or hiking. You might be able to do it as boarding house if you had great onsite management and were very selective about who you allowed in.

@Carl Miller

I like your idea but implementation may be difficult, unless you or a management company can be there often. I had a house in Park City, Utah a couple years ago. It was in more of a family area and a bus stop nearby led to the slopes but it was a couple miles from the resorts and downtown. I held it as a rental for 2 years and then put it on the market in the summer and got a good offer in August.  It fell out of escrow in the fall and I looked into alternative rental ideas. 

The resorts hire a lot of out of state (and out of country) help for the winter. I rented the 5 bed, 3 bath home to 10 employees from the Canyons Resort for $400 each. The resort offered me 20 free day passes to the slopes and begged me for more rental units! I didn't have anything else available but it was nice to see the demand. My tenants were 7 Jamaican housekeepers and 3 British ski instructors. I showed up on the 3rd of each month to collect the $4,000 rent in cash.  I also paid for all utilities and cable TV. I furnished 10 air beds and a kitchen table with chairs, as well as 2 small TVs. I had 2 sofas for the living and family room too. I didn't have any problems with partying or complaints from the neighbors. 

I put the home back on the market the following April and it sold quickly! It was a great experience but it was certainly more effort than a standard rental.

Hope that helps a little.  Have fun and keep us posted!