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Buying an Airbnb Vacation Rental in Crested Butte

Buying an Airbnb Vacation Rental in Crested Butte

“Crisp mountain air, a crunchy layer of yellow aspen leaves, snow capped hills, hiking trails....” Is reading this making you want to buy your next vacation rental in the mountains?

The mountain atmosphere, surrounded by nature's giants, is most certainly unparalleled! Attaining the summit, taking in the epic scenery along the way, feeling weightless on the descent, being in awe when being immersed in the wilderness - If you relate to all this, it's exciting to know that you are now at the right place at the right time!

The process of Buying an Airbnb Vacation Rental in Crested Butte can be very intimidating, especially when you’re buying into a luxury market. We are going to walk you through on a list of things you should consider when buying a property in Crested Butte.

Looking To Buy Property In Crested Butte?

The uniqueness of Crested Butte

The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Crested Butte one of its "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" in 2008, which recognizes areas that shed light on the country's history. The Crested Butte Creative District was also recently designated a “Certified Colorado Creative District” adding more significance and value to the real estate market.

Old Town Charm

The picturesque 1880s mining town of Crested Butte is Colorado's wildflower capital, authentic, open, and uncrowded. It's a Registered National Historic District and a quaint little town. Crested Butte has a tangible and unique energy that is evident at every turn. When people experience this place's perfection, they get a taste of the good life and can't bear to leave. Owning or renting a piece of Crested Butte property is the first step to living this extraordinary life and is the perfect setting for an Airbnb vacation rental.

An Overview of Seasonal Changes

Winter In winter, Crested Butte, known as "Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town," is a place where skiers and snowboarders revel on thousand-plus acres of terrain. Other popular wintertime activities include Nordic skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing to name a few.

Summer In summer, Crested Butte is the place to enjoy all of Colorado’s outdoor recreational activities: epic mountain biking, hiking in alpine and aspen forests, fishing in pristine rivers, lakes and streams, and whitewater rafting and kayaking in class II–IV rapids. Camping is also available in the Gunnison National Forest. Boating and water sports can be enjoyed on Colorado's largest lake, the Blue Mesa, part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. The Rocky Mountains offer some of the best scenery in the world when you go horseback riding.

So what are you waiting for? Let's Dive into the details!

Benefits of Buying a Crested Butte Vacation Rental

Mountain real estate has emerged as an increasingly appealing option for people looking for a second home or property managers looking to upscale their portfolio. Let's take a closer look at some of the reasons to invest in Crested Butte and begin to capitalize on all of the benefits that these properties afford.

1. Diversify Your Portfolio

Buying a rental property or single-family home may be something you should consider as investing in real estate is one way to diversify your portfolio. By investing in property in different locations, such as the mountains or coastal property, you protect your wealth further in the event of a negative event in the market.

Pro Tip: Speak with your financial advisor so they can recommend their expertise on what type of asset is best for you.

2. Tax Benefits

Real estate is one way to gain tax benefits, making it another reason to invest, since certain properties, such as rental properties, qualify for specific tax breaks and deductions. Investors may also be able to deduct their mortgage interest on their primary, and sometimes secondary, property as well.

To learn more about local laws and taxes, click here.

Pro Tip: Speak to your tax advisor for clarity on this point so they can render their expertise.

3. Flexibility in Your Investment

When you invest in a Crested Butte property, you can enhance it in a variety of ways to maximize your return on investment.

  1. Remodel the property home making use of modern design elements and features that will improve its value over time and would be helpful if / when it's time to sell.
  2. Rent the property out and use it to generate passive income.
  3. Design a customized luxury condo that includes distinctive features that are likely to appeal to buyers in the future if you decide to sell.

4. Lower Cost

Real estate in the mountains is often less expensive than in the city. Your budget will go further and your investment will be maximized. Buying a larger home or lot may be an option. Furthermore, the cost of living in the mountains is also lower than in urban areas, which is a big plus.

5. Long-Term Return

Mountain real estate will only appreciate in value over time since it is prime real estate. In areas where property demand is on the rise, you will see your property value rise. A long-term investment like this will yield greater profitability since you will see greater returns in the long run. Thus, when you invest in a property, especially in Crested Butte, you can be rest assured that your decision will yield a return on investment in the future. Guaranteed!

How To Choose The Best Crested Butte Vacation Rental?

Crested Butte is home to some of the best resorts. When compared with single-family homes, condos offer the perfect mix of benefits and amenities. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding to buy a vacation home in the mountains:

1. Price

There are several factors that affect mountain properties' prices. Ski-in/ski-out is without a doubt a highly sought-after feature. Clear, unobstructed mountain views may come with a price premium of 20% to 30% over equivalent units without views. Condos tend to be less expensive than single-family homes, with the exception of some very rare units.

2. Location

Location is crucial when it comes to real estate and vacation rentals. The property is one aspect that cannot be altered.You should definitely consider

  • Primary motivation to purchase the property?
  • Which amenities would you look for?
  • Do you want a slopeside or golf course?
  • Can the free shuttle be accessed easily?
  • Do you prefer being right in the middle of the action or do you prefer a quieter and more private setting?

3. Plan and Prep your Property

If you are looking to purchase a second home as a vacation rental you will need to think about the following :

Further reading : Choosing your Vacation Rental Tech Stack

4. Luxury Amenities

Condos typically come with association fees, which in most mountain condo developments will offer access to world-class luxury amenities like ski-in/out, direct access to hiking and biking, hot tubs and pools, saunas — you name it, they have it. Luxury amenities are not only desirable to owners, but also to renters, and short-term rental websites allow and encourage customers to filter properties for amenities. Owning a mountainside condo can mean direct access to mountain activities and, often, proximity to resort-area restaurants, bars and shops.

5. Calculate costs

Purchasing and maintaining a property in the mountains have different considerations than living in the city, which is part of the price that property owners have to pay to maintain a peaceful and quiet abode. The factors mentioned above are crucial in determining these costs. This will help you decide whether or not buying a property in the mountains would be practical for you.

Further reading: Financing & Fundraising For Vacation Rental Businesses

6. Market segment

Since you are dealing with a luxury property, and quite possibly a second home, you will be doing business with people who have a lot of money at their disposal. Ski resort property markets tend to be more predictable, so identifying your potential clients will be easy.

7. Estimate the resale value

Should you decide to sell the property in the future, it is critical to consider whether the property will appreciate or depreciate in value. Investing in a property is always a good idea, and you should always choose investments that will pay off.

8. HOA Dues

Every property has their own Homeowners Association, and they have their own rules, regulations, covenants, and schedule of dues. Some associations cover just about everything; Others offer more limited services. Some associations have extremely high dues, and others are more reasonable. Either way, these dues will increase your monthly payment and need to be factored into the affordability of the property.

9. Short Term Rental Ordinances

In June of 2017, the town of Crested Butte passed a short-term rental ordinance limiting the number of short-term rentals allowed in town. They created two types of licenses; an unlimited license and a primary residence license. If you are looking at a property in the town of Crested Butte for the purpose of short term renting it, you should learn all the rules and restrictions of the new ordinance. In 2020, Mt. Crested Butte also implemented a licensing system, although there is currently no limit on the number of licenses available. Additionally, some HOAs have prohibited or greatly restricted short term rentals.

When Is It The Best Time To Buy A Vacation Rental In Crested Butte?

Fall is the best time to buy a property in the mountains.The summer is usually the busiest time for the real estate market. When you wait until the beginning of the ski season to buy, you will face more competition. Additionally, the geographic location must be taken into account. An increasingly popular property may yield higher transaction values and shorter market time. After September, the housing market cools down, along with outdoor temperatures, so it's the perfect time to start shopping for your mountain getaway.

How Much Do Properties In Crested Butte Cost?

Crested Butte - Housing Market

The median list price of homes in Crested Butte as at August 2021, is $1,357,000 trending up 27.9% year-over-year. The median listing price per square foot is at $629.

Rental Market Info

Average Daily Rate $356 Occupancy Rate 71% Median Monthly Revenue $5075 Crested Butte currently operates over 963 active rentals with a 26% listing presence on Airbnb Platform.

Current Airbnb Rental Strategy in Crested Butte (Average) 1 ROOM $2,327 2 ROOMS $2,285 3 ROOMS $5,420 4 ROOMS $5,756

What Are The Best Neighborhoods In Crested Butte?

Gold Link

The Gold Link neighborhood as the name suggests for those familiar with Crested Butte Mountain Resort, this neighborhood is adjacent to the Gold Link chairlift. Homes in this area therefore have easy ski access via the Homeowner’s trail to the chairlift, and a few of the homes in this area can even be considered true ski-in/ ski-out properties. This small subdivision contains roughly 30 homesites, of which roughly half currently have a home built on it.

  • This subdivision encompasses attractive high-end homes and luxury homes befitting the prime location.
  • Comprising views, including the amazing East Face of Gothic Mountain, the far-off peaks of the Ruby Range, Whiterock Mountain, as well as Teocalli Mountain.
  • Hikers and mountain bikers have easy access to trails such as the world-famous Snodgrass trail and Crested Butte Mountain Resort trails including Lower Meander and Prospector.
  • Wintertime enthusiasts can enjoy backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing at the Snodgrass/ Gothic trailhead.

Mount Crested Butte

The town of Mount Crested Butte is located three miles away from the much older coal mining town of Crested Butte, the two towns are linked in many ways, including the free year round bus shuttle. As one might expect from a town that grew up surrounding a ski area, Mount Crested Butte retains a resort feel in a spectacular setting.

  • Near the base area, you can find most properties as condominiums, hotels, or commercial properties that cater to visitors.
  • Many ski in ski out opportunities are available in this area.
  • Downhill skiing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and other activities are popular in the winter.
  • Mount Crested Butte is almost always warmer than Crested Butte, due to temperature inversions that keep wintertime overnight lows 10-20 degrees warmer.
  • Activities change over to hiking and mountain biking in the summertime.

Meridian Lake

Crested Butte’s Meridian Lake neighborhood is located up the Washington Gulch valley a short drive from either the ski area or the town of Crested Butte. Many of the lots feature views of the namesake lake (actually a reservoir), Crested Butte Mountain Resort, or up-valley to peaks such as Baldy and Gothic. The upper lots are nestled in a mature aspen forest.

  • Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking (including private access to the Snodgrass trail in some cases), biking
  • A short hike will bring you to the mile-long shores of Long Lake

Meridian Lake is one of Crested Butte’s finest real estate offerings with great affordability.

Saddle Ridge Ranch

Saddle Ridge Ranch is located roughly halfway between Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte. The location between the two towns makes it convenient to either head into Crested Butte for shopping or dining, or a day of skiing or mountain biking at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

  • One unique feature is the shared horse stable and horse pastures, making Saddle Ridge an ideal choice for horse owners who wish to be near town.
  • The views are some of the best in the area, and include the ski area, the town of Crested Butte, Whetstone Mountain, and Red Lady bowl on Mount Emmons.
  • The scenic Lupine trail, which has quickly become a local favorite, begins at Saddle Ridge Ranch.
  • The trail winds through meadows and aspens before dropping down to the scenic Slate River valley near the mouth of Oh Be Joyful creek.

The Saddle Ridge subdivision has 18 homesites, very few of which have been built on.


The fifteen year old Pitchfork community is located on your left as you first approach Crested Butte Mountain Resort, just past the “Welcome to Mount Crested Butte” sign. Indeed, Pitchfork can rightfully claim to be one of the most popular areas for year-round residents.

  • Featuring a mix of Townhomes and single family homes, this neighborhood has the feel of town but is close to the ski slopes, and boasts year round bus service to Crested Butte Mountain Resort or down to the town of Crested Butte.
  • The paved recreational path passes right by Pitchfork offering easy hiking or biking opportunities and is also a popular nordic trail in the winter.

A small handful of home sites remain, but for the most part Pitchfork is built-out.

Consider These Issues Too When Purchasing A Crested Butte Vacation Rental:

Private Roads.

Whilst scouting for your perfect property, ask your Realtor whether the houses you are viewing are on public or private roads, what the road maintenance agreement looks like and how much they collect per resident, per year. If you are going to finance your home with a mortgage, most lenders want to know that there is a formal, operational road maintenance agreement in place before they lend.


The top of the mountain offers solitude and great views, but there are challenges as well. Chief among them is year-round access to the house. The higher the elevation, the more snow and ice accumulates. In the winter, take into account how much sun the roads will get and which side of the mountain the property is on. Who will clear the roads? How steep are the roads and the driveway?

Soil Stability.

Consider soil stability in the area where you want to buy your property. Human activity and water erosion can affect the soil stability and sometimes, gravity sometimes gets a vote. Roads, driveways, and homes can be damaged or destroyed. Property in the mountains is more likely to be struck by typhoons, floods, and landslides. This will require a fortified home that can withstand these natural events and you should consider the cost and insurance that will help to mitigate this.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the area in which the property is located, in order to make an informed buying decision. Purchasing a property in the mountains at a cheap price is not worth it if the place is known for constant landslides.


Think about what your parking requirements may be before you start looking for that perfect house. How many cars will you need space for? Where will guests park? Can you turn around in the driveway or do you need to back out? Make sure you look at the parking situation as much as you do the house.

Shared Wells. Shared wells are not uncommon in the mountain region. Wells are expensive to drill and the higher up the mountain you go, the further down a well driller may have to drill to get a good well. If your property has a shared well, don’t be scared off, but do ask some questions;

  • Is the shared well agreement recorded at the courthouse?
  • Is there a fee associated with the shared well?
  • What is the agreement for well maintenance?
  • How strong is the water pressure?
  • Can you fix the pipes or well head if it is on someone else’s property?
  • How many homes are on the shared well?

Shared Septic Systems.

While less frequent than shared wells, shared septic systems do exist and you should find out the answers for the following to be well informed.

  • What kind of septic system is it?
  • Whose land will the shared septic be located and do you have a right to fix the system if it is on someone else’s property?
  • How will costs be shared?

Septic Permits vs Bedrooms.

Oftentimes, terrain and lot size will limit the space available for a septic system. Make sure you check out septic permits when you are buying a home. Occasionally, the septic permit cannot be located. Buyer Beware in those cases!


Due to the rugged terrain and the lower population, the infrastructure can be very limited. The Internet, television, and cell network coverage can be very limited in some cases. Before deciding where to buy, consider your needs, what options are available for those services, and their costs.

Closing Notes

The demand for property outside urban areas is increasing worldwide and in the current period. While mountain property ownership can be challenging, there are also many benefits you can gain besides the potential income you could earn in the long run plus the property value that will increase as the years go by.

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

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