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Buying a Home in Aspen

Thinking of buying a home in Aspen? Known for its picturesque mountains, world-class skiing, and luxury real estate, Aspen is one of the nation’s hottest housing markets. The high cost of living and prohibitive real estate prices can make it difficult for first-time buyers to enter the market. But with careful planning, you can make your dream of owning a home in Aspen a reality. 

In this article, we will explore some money-saving tips to help you find the best mortgage rate, use a bigger down payment to keep monthly costs down, increase your credit score, and use a commission rebate to save money. These strategies will help you navigate the buying process and get the best deal possible.

Why you should buy a house in Aspen

Outdoor recreation

Set in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and world-class skiing. Aspen also offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and golfing. Natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities make this area a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and a desirable place for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Sophisticated arts and culture

Aspen is known for its vibrant cultural scene, which includes a variety of art galleries, museums, and music venues. The world-renowned Aspen Art Museum features rotating exhibitions and a variety of educational programs. The Aspen Music Festival and School is another significant cultural attraction, hosting a summer-long festival of classical music performances by world-renowned musicians and students. Aspen also hosts the Aspen Ideas Festival, which brings together leaders from various fields for discussions and presentations on important ideas and issues.

Prime investment opportunities

Aspen has a strong real estate market and a robust tourism industry. Historically, Aspen property values appreciate well, fueled by the demand for second homes, vacation homes, and rental properties. Investors stand to gain a steady stream of rental income, while owning a second home in Aspen means you can escape to the mountains anytime.

Best neighborhoods in Aspen

Aspen has many neighborhoods, so check out as many as possible before entering the real estate market. Here are three good places to start.

West End

The West End neighborhood is one of the most desirable areas to live in Aspen. There are quiet, tree-lined streets and Victorian-style homes, and the Aspen Mountain ski resort is nearby. The West End is also home to some of the city's most expensive homes and offers a convenient walk to downtown Aspen.

Red Mountain

The Red Mountain neighborhood is located on the city's east side and is known for its stunning views of Aspen Mountain and the surrounding mountains. The area is home to some of the most luxurious homes in the city and offers a more secluded and private living experience.

Aspen Core

Aspen Core, the heart of the city, is known for its convenient location, walkability, and proximity to restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. The area is home to a mix of older, historic homes and newer properties and offers a more urban living experience.

What to know about buying a house in Aspen

Median house price

In Aspen, the median sales price for single-family homes is very high — $7.85 million as of March 2023. Meanwhile, townhouses and condos sell for a median price of $2.7 million. High housing costs, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses keep living costs high throughout Aspen. Before purchasing, consult a local real estate agent for an accurate picture of the local market. 

Closing costs

Due to the high price of the properties in Aspen, closing costs are higher than in other areas. An agent like PJ Bory can estimate what you can expect to pay throughout your home purchase. Closing costs include mortgage origination fees, appraisal fees, title and escrow fees, property taxes, homeowners inspection fees, and insurance.

Property taxes

Property taxes are determined by multiplying the property value by the assessment rate and mill levy. The assessment rate for residential properties in Colorado, as stated by Pitkin County's Assessor's Office (Aspen being in Pitkin County), is 6.95%.

Requirements for buying a house in Aspen

You have three main options if you plan to finance your home purchase.

Conventional loans

A conventional loan is a mortgage not backed by the government. Private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies, offer most of these loans. Compared to government-backed loans, they may require a higher credit score and a larger down payment, but they may also provide more flexible terms and lower interest rates.

FHA loans

FHA loans are mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). They are designed to assist first-time homebuyers or those with low credit scores or limited funds for a down payment. The down payment and credit score are typically lower on these loans, but they also have more restrictive guidelines and require mortgage insurance.

VA loans

A VA loan is a mortgage guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits are available to veterans, active-duty service members, and certain surviving spouses. They typically require no down payment, no mortgage insurance, and lower credit scores than conventional loans. They are, however, only available to eligible service members and veterans.

Money-saving tips for buying a home in Aspen

Find the best mortgage rate

Buying a home in Aspen at the best mortgage rate is one of the best ways to save money. The interest rates offered by different lenders can differ significantly, so it's essential to compare offers from several lenders. To find the best mortgage rate, you can use online mortgage rate comparison tools or work with a mortgage broker.

Make a bigger down payment

You can reduce your monthly mortgage payments by making a larger down payment. By putting more money down on a home, you're borrowing less from the lender, which can result in lower interest rates.

Increase your credit score

Another way to save money is to improve your credit score. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate and the better the terms of your loan. You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, keeping your credit card balances low, and disputing errors on your credit report.

Secure a commission rebate

Buyers can use a commission rebate when buying a home in Colorado. At closing, a commission rebate is a percentage of the commission paid to the real estate agent. 

Work with the expert of Aspen

​​Buying a home in Aspen can seem daunting, but with careful planning and the right strategies, it is possible to find your dream home at a price you can afford. By shopping around for the most competitive mortgage rate, using a sizable down payment to keep monthly payments low, increasing your credit score, and using a commission rebate if available in your state, you can save thousands of dollars on purchasing your home.

If you're looking to buy a home in Aspen, contact the expert in local real estate, PJ Bory. With his invaluable experience in high-end sales and rentals and a concentration in the Aspen/Snowmass area, PJ can provide all his clients with the most comprehensive real estate service. He will help you navigate the buying process, find the right home, and get the best deal possible. Contact PJ today.
Recommended reading: How to Buy A Luxury Home


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