Breaking Down HOA Dues and Other Costs in a Keystone Condo
Photo showing condos in Keystone, CO
How do HOA dues differ for a mountain condo than a home along the Front Range? Check out this deal analysis to find, plus see what it takes to break even.

On its face, buying a mountain condo as an investment property seems like a great idea.  You’ll get a guaranteed place to stay when you want to spend some time in the mountains, and you can rent it out when you’re not using it.  But when it comes to buying a condo in Keystone and other mountain communities, there are a lot of factors to consider, especially the difference in various dues and fees.  We talked to real estate agent Amy Nakos to learn more about what it costs to buy and maintain one of these properties. 

One factor many buyers don’t consider when buying in the mountains is that most properties are in communities with homeowners associations.  The monthly HOA dues on mountain homes like a Keystone condo are much steeper than you’ll see along the Front Range.  On the plus side, though, dues usually cover all utilities, in addition to snow removal and exterior maintenance. 

How do these dues affect your returns?  We looked at a 2-bedroom condo in Keystone that’s within walking distance to the slopes.  Because of its location, this is a higher end condo in a building with its own pool and parking garage.  The condo is priced at $955K, and HOA dues run $1K a month.  When we factor in short-term rentals throughout the year and including peak times of Christmas and New Years, property management, and other expenses, the condo produces negative $2K a month cash flow.  In order to break even, we’d have to make a down payment of 63.96%, or $610,810. 

Is this a good investment?  It depends on your priorities!  Check out our podcast with Amy to learn more about the factors to consider when buying a mountain property, plus hear another deal analysis on a Breckenridge condo.

Keystone Condo by the Numbers

We used Amy’s spreadsheet to see how this deal plays out.

Table with Operating Data on Keystone Condo
Operating data with a 20% down payment
Table with Cashflow Data for Keystone Condo
5 years of cash flow assuming a 20% down payment
Table with Cashflow Data on Keystone Condo with higher down payment
5 years of cash flow with a higher down payment of 63.96%, or $610,810

Notes About This Deal

  • The cost of property management in mountain communities is higher than the standard 10%.  PMs generally charge 30% in the mountains, and they manage properties differently than in a normal home. 
  • Mountain community HOA dues like in this Keystone condo are much higher than in other areas, but they cover more utilities because it’s a better deal for the buildings and owners.
  • The difficulty of procuring a short-term rental license.  Depending on which area you’re in, the wait list can be 30 years! 
  • Why buying a mountain property is different from other investments: you’re making a lifestyle choice in addition to a financial one.
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Authors
Chris Lopez
Chris Lopez is a Denver area real estate entrepreneur and investor, as well as the host of Bigger Pockets’ House Hackerz and the Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast.
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