Posted by | Sunday, October 15, 2017
Utility and maintenance expenses can be overwhelming when it owning a home. It can be particularly burdensome with a second home. Second homes or vacation homes often function very differently than full-time residential homes. There are some improvements you can make that will help you save money.
On-Demand Water Heater
Traditional tank storage water heaters use energy to heat a tank of water at all times, regardless of whether or not anyone is using the water. The thermostat can be turned down when there is no occupancy, however this is typically a manual action that cannot be done remotely. The thermostat must be turned up before guests arrive to ensure the immediate availability of hot water. An on-demand water heater only heats water when it is being used. You may have to install multiple heaters to accommodate showers and appliances, however you will save considerably, especially if your vacation home is unoccupied for days at a time. On-demand water heaters are more expensive than tank heaters, but according to Energy.gov they last 5-10 years longer than traditional water heaters and save money on your energy bill as well. They typically make up for their added expense.
It can be hard to program a thermostat for a vacation home because while you want it warm and cozy when you have guests, you do not want excessive heat when it is empty. A smart thermostat is more than just programmable. It can be controlled remotely. With a smart thermostat you can adjust accordingly without having to be physically present, saving you considerably on the off days.
The heater takes up a significant portion of your utility bill, especially in cold mountain climates. According to USNews heating can take “up to half of your energy costs.” Make sure your home isn’t letting the heat out. Have a professional check your insulation and make sure there are no leaks letting warm air out. In addition to running the heater less, you can prevent a host of other expensive problems that poor insulation causes, such as damage from ice dams.
Solar Powered Outdoor Lights
Outdoor lights are a great investment for safety and security purposes. A lit sidewalk is welcoming to guests. Lights can prevent injuries from falls on an unfamiliar walkway or porch. Lighting also signals to unwelcome guests that someone is around. Business Insider suggests solar path lights or security lights. These lights run off of a few hours of sunlight and turn on automatically when the sun goes down. This means you don’t have to be present to switch them on. The solar power feature will save you money on your electric bill.
Indoor lighting can be complicated. Guests may have a tendency to leave lights on. You can combat energy loss by installing low energy bulbs (there are a lot of different options available on the market now). You can also put lights in key areas on motion sensors or timers. Bathroom and hallway lights are great places to use motion sensors. During the night they will provide added safety for guests, but will always turn off when not in use. Entry or foyer lights can also be placed on motion sensors or timers. Guests will have light available the moment they enter the home, but won’t have to leave the light on when they leave.
Try these improvements to reduce your energy bills, while still providing a safe and welcoming home for your guests.
Prepping Your Vacation Rental in Breckenridge For Winter
Posted by admin | Friday, September 29, 2017
We love winter in Breckenridge! While all the seasons hold their charm, winter is the main reason people flock to Breckenridge. Since your rental property will be bustling throughout the winter, it’s important to prep it now for the upcoming busy season. The last thing you want is an emergency repair during Christmas week.
Here’s a few shoulder season prep items we recommend for every vacation rental in Breckenridge.
Make sure your furnace and all appliances are in great condition.
Have a technician to check the heating system, replace any filters and ensure that it is in working order for the busy season. Check all appliances for wear and tear. If any are starting to show their age, consider replacing now so you aren’t surprised with a repair at an inopportune moment. A major disaster could ruin someone’s vacation, equal income loss or poor reviews during a busy weekend.
Consider investing in a programmable thermostat or smart thermostat that you can control from your phone. Turning down the heat while you property is unoccupied will save a lot on utilities.
Clean and Inspect the Fireplace, Wood Burning Stove
If your property has a fireplace or a wood burning stove, have the chimney cleaned and inspected. Make sure the flue is in proper working order. Split and stack wood in accessible locations. A warm fire on a cold night is a big draw for many visitors. If you don’t have a fireplace or stove, you may want to install one to attract more renters. Also be sure to include thorough written instructions for use to avoid any mishaps and to make this amenity simple and easy to use.
Inspect the Roof
You should inspect your roof for any damage. Clean out gutters and remove debris. If you see any shingles that need repair, flashing that doesn’t look right, or damage to chimneys or vents, call a contractor to make the needed repairs. By taking care of your roof you will extend its life. Clean gutters and proper insulation can prevent problems caused by ice dams which are formed when heat from the house causes snow to melt. The melted snow then refreezes to make an ice dam. Water can back up behind an ice dam and seep into your home, causing damage to both your roof and your interior. Signs of water damage in the interior may indicate you have a problem with insulation or with your roof.
Hire a Snow Removal Contractor
If you’ve been through a winter here, you know you need a plan for snow removal. If you choose to hire a contractor, be sure to know what their rules are regarding parking during or after a big snowfall. Clean sidewalks and driveways will make your property pleasant for guests. However, guests whose vehicles are in the way can prohibit your contractor from doing their job. Make sure you and your guests have a clear understanding of how snow removal will work.
Winter in Breckenridge is magical. Don’t let a vacation rental that is not prepared for big snows and cold temperature hinder guests from experiencing the magic. Performing minor repairs and preparing your home for winter can save major headaches and expenses later in the year.
Colorado's Best Leaf-peeping Hikes and Drives
Posted by toby | Monday, September 18, 2017
September is Colorado’s golden month. The weather is cool, but sunny and inviting. The aspen put on a spectacular display before the winter. It is the perfect time to head out for a drive and enjoy the high country. Keep in mind that the aspen in the high country change much sooner than those on the front range. You will have to catch these brief blazes of glory by mid-September if you want the best show. The Smokey Mountains offers a fun interactive leaf prediction map for the entire country during the fall of 2017. You can watch the map predict when the leaves will be at their peak where you are. If you plan to head into the mountains, here are three drives that will not disappoint.
An easy loop that will take you from Denver and back again starts on Hwy 285. From C-470 take this highway south towards Fairplay. You will pass through the stunning display while the South Platte River flows down the mountains alongside the highway. The summit of Kenosha Pass offers spectacular views, access to the Colorado Trail, and a comfortable picnic area. Descending the pass into South Park, you will have an exquisite vista of this high mountain plain. Take a right at Hwy 9 in Fairplay to summit Hoosier Pass and drop into Breckenridge. Stop here and enjoy the foliage along the Blue River. Then continue on Hwy 9 to Frisco. Instead of taking I-70 from Frisco, take a right on Dillon Dam Road and savor the scenic views along Lake Dillon. From the Dillon/Silverthorne area you can get back on I-70 and return to Denver. This entire route is paved and is easy for any vehicle to manage.
If you are feeling adventurous, Boreas Pass offers an alternative to Hwy 9 and Hoosier Pass. Take Hwy 285 as you would toward Fairplay. After Kenosha Pass, take a right in Como (before Fairplay) off of Hwy 285 and follow Boreas Pass into Breckenridge. This pass is unpaved for the majority of the route, but is passable for most vehicles. At the top of the pass stop to take a hike on the well-developed Black Powder Pass trail. The aspen and views along this pass are magical. Boreas Pass is closed in the winter, so be sure to go before the snow flies. If you stay in Breckenridge for a day or two, hike McCullough Gulch or take the Gondola to the top of Peak 8 for even more golden vistas.
Aspen is named for the trees that are so irresistible in September. There are several enticing leaf peeping drives in this area and getting there can be another adventure! To take the long way, drive Hwy 285 South all the way to Buena Vista. Go north on Hwy 24 through Buena Vista. The Arkansas River rolls along this road and there are beautiful cliffs and canyons to take in. At In-dependence Pass or Hwy 82, head towards Aspen. This will bring you along Twin Lakes and to the summit for high alpine views of fall foliage. Once in Aspen, The Aspen Chamber suggests driving Maroon Creek Drive and Castle Creek Road. See the famously photographed Maroon Bells in person. Take I-70 home and stop in Glenwood Spring for a soak in the hot springs, or hike the spectacular Hanging Lakes Trail.
Trail Ridge Road
Rocky Mountain National Park is right in Denver’s backyard. For one of the most scenic loops through the park and back, take Hwy 6 through Golden, head north on Hwy 119 towards Black Hawk. Stay on Hwy 72 to Estes Park. Enter the park on the east side and drive the famous Trail Ridge Road across the top of the park. Exit through Grand Lake on the west side. Go south on HWY 40, through the Winter Park area, taking Berthoud Pass back to I-70. Rocky Mountain National Park is extremely busy on the weekends during peak leaf season, so plan to visit during the week, or start out early in the morning to avoid long lines. Remember that entrance to the park will require a fee.
These three leaf peeping trips will inspire awe and wonder as you experience the most stunning views Colorado has to offer. As you head out, keep in mind that early in the morning is often the best time for views. Afternoon thunderstorms can obscures views at high altitudes. Also, be pre-pared for cooler temperatures and intense sun. High altitudes are often much chillier than weather on the Front Range. Don’t forget sunscreen. Even a few minutes of exposure at high altitudes can cause skin damage. With a little planning you can spend a day or weekend enjoying one of Colorado’s most glorious seasons.
5 Tips to Maximize your Property Rental Revenues
Posted by toby | Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Are you getting the most out of your vacation rental property? These five tips will help you achieve maximum revenue so that you can enjoy your rental property even more!
1. Focus on Occupancy to Drive Revenue, Not Rates
One of the more common questions we receive about rentals is- “Should we raise rates and avoid discounting our rates to increase revenue?” Though rates are a very valuable tool in a revenue and dynamic pricing strategy, the short answer is “not really”. The math is simple: a single $300 (that could be lost by not having competitive pricing) will result in more income for you than three nights at $20 more per night. Over the course of a 100 night year, 10 extra $300 nights will equal more revenue than 100 nights at $20 more each. Always remember- Occupancy is the key to more revenue, not rates. Rates are only a tool to increase occupancy. If you want more revenue, book more nights at a lower rate! We are not saying that we should be cheap, or undersell. But we do recommend being competitive with rates, using a dynamic pricing structure based on market data and competitive analysis of similar properties on a daily basis.
2. Professional Photos Pay Off!
Your property may be impeccably clean, full of rustic charm, expensive upgrades, and stunning views, but if the photos in your listing don’t reflect those qualities, potential renters won’t be enticed. Poor lighting, bad angles and otherwise sloppy photographs might cause people to pass over your rental home. A professional photographer knows how to capture the true charm of a property, and tell its unique story through a lens. Though many people are able to capture very nice photos on point and shoot cameras, photographers use very expensive equipment to increase the color and light spectrum, and use techniques to accentuate the composition. In addition, most of the magic in photos occurs after the shot, on a computer, so editing capability is very important. Even a mid level property can look brand new and appealing with professional photography. Your photos are the first point of contact for your property- make them stand out!
3. Upgrades and Amenities- Don’t get lost in the crowd
Breckenridge is host to some 4,000 short term rental properties, and making your property stand out from the pack is fundamental to maximizing your revenues. With each purchase you make, upgrade you implement, and addition to your property keep in mind that you must focus on differentiating your property from the thousands. One way to stand out is to be creative when it comes to amenities. Every rental home will have internet and TV. Most properties will have laundry available. Many will also have a hot tub. All of these amenities are attractive to renters, but they don’t set you apart, as these have become expectations of most travelers. To capture the attention of more guests, consider adding more unique amenities such as, unique and useful kitchen appliances, a lounge area with hammocks, snowshoes and bikes and other outdoor activities equipment, an attractive fire pit, a game or theatre room, streaming movies, or even a massage chair. While these items may seem simple, they will set you apart from other rentals, driving guest interest and overall occupancy. Be sure to highlight these amenities in your description of your rental property, and build excitement when guests are looking at your property online. Remember- you only get one change to make a first impression.
4. Employ a Professional Property Manager
While renting on your own or with a limited service/cut rate company may be appealing, nothing will drive overall revenue to your property more than hiring a professional and experienced property manager. Breckenridge Resort Managers is a leader in the Breckenridge property rental market and the global vacation rental industry. In addition to our Internet marketing company that looks after our overall internet marketing bundle (SEO, SEM, SMO, email, PPC), the owners are competent marketing experts as well. They have experience as past board members of the Breckenridge Tourism Office, Breckenridge Central Reservations, Chair of the Vacation Rental Management Association Marketing Committee, and Treasurer of the VRMA. BRM’s credentials are unrivaled in Breckenridge relative to marketing, and we use that knowledge to assist our owners in outperforming the competition. We utilize a vast distribution network of many types of lead generation services and travel partners, a professionally managed internal email marketing, an in office marketing strategy, and a comprehensive SEM/SEO strategy to not only drive visitors to our site but convert them. Managing a short term vacation rental can be a time consuming endeavor and a professional property manager will take out the headache of that process for you and drive revenue to your property at levels not possible for an individual owner. Remember- just like the changes at VRBO put many owners in a difficult situation, changes in the global rental market must be watched closely to anticipate changes, react, and keep your revenue one step ahead of the competition.
5. Rent when rates are high, and enjoy when rates are low
It might be tempting to use your vacation rental during Christmas or New Year break, but in Summit County, these periods account for the highest rental rates of the year. Rental properties are in high demand during Spring break, Christmas break, and much of the summer. If you are using your home during these peak times, this will prevent you from renting it for maximum rates. To make more revenue, and avoid the traffic, come early or late in the summer, and directly following Christmas break. Late in the ski season such as the second or third week in April, is also a good time to use your home rather than rent it. Remember, when rates and occupancy are high, that is the time to cash in.
These five tips will help you get the most revenue from your vacation rental property. Contact Breckenridge Resort Managers to find out what else you can do to get more from your property.
Posted by toby | Friday, August 25, 2017
Don’t miss one last opportunity to party in the streets of Breckenridge before the snow flies. Soon everyone will be looking for epic runs, but this fall you will have a chance to enjoy sunshine, food, beer and golden leaves. Oktoberfest in Breckenridge will be held September 8th-10th. While the street party will be downtown, there will be celebrations and events throughout Breckenridge.
The Street Party
The street party will take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the afternoon. It will include German food vendors, beer, live entertainment, traditional costumes, and polka! Each year party goers get their commemorative stein to enjoy drinks and keep as a souvenir. You can order this year’s stein ahead of time, and you should because they often run out. While this event is centered around brews, there are also games, face-painting, and entertainment for kids.
Leave Your Pets at Home
Unlike most other events in Breckenridge, this festival doesn’t include dog friends. The abundance of food and drink makes it too challenging to create a safe environment for pets.
The Brewmaster Dinner will be held at 10 Mile Station. It will include four courses paired with carefully chosen beers. Each course will feature a traditional German dish from appetizers to dessert. Reservations are required for this decadent event.
If you would like to get a workout before splurging on sausage, spatzel, and Bavarian brews, join the 5K trail run. You can enjoy local trails and cross the finish line in time to celebrate all afternoon at the street party.
You could also start out your day on Saturday with a brunch hosted by Breckenridge Brewery. Savor local craft beers and relish creative and artistic dishes over a several course meal. This event also requires a reservation.
Check Out the Leaves
In addition to all of the festivities in town, the aspen leaves will be at their peak. Wander down trails under a thick canopy of golden leaves. Take scenic drives or go for a bike ride. This will be an ideal weekend to take in all of the best sites and spectacular views that the mountains have to offer.
Oktoberfest is the perfect opportunity to get away for the weekend. Enjoy friends, music, tradition, food, and beer. Take in stunning vistas and revel in the last golden days of the season. Check out Breckenridge Resort Managers to find a comfortable condo or house to share with friends in a convenient location for the weekend. For a full schedule of events, to order steins or make a reservation for an event go to Go Breck.
Photo Credits: Breckenridge Tourism Office
5 Must Have Amenities for your Rental Property
Posted by admin | Friday, July 28, 2017
Are you thinking about renting your investment property in Breckenridge? Wondering how to make your property stand out from the many other properties in Breckenridge?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your short term rental desirable. But there are a few easy things that you can do to make your vacation rental inviting and entice guests to come back, year after year. A return guest and positive referrals can significantly increase the amount of days your property is rented.
Here’s a few amenities that will make your renter’s stay unique and memorable, ensuring guest satisfaction, positive reviews and repeat visitors.
Tripping cites a survey that found wifi and internet was the most important amenity to travelers surveyed. Many vacationers won’t even consider a place that doesn’t have wifi available. People work on the go and almost everybody connects with friends to share their adventures. Staying connected is significant to your guests, so make sure your internet connection is fast and easy to use.
Fully Stocked Kitchen
Vacation rentals offer the advantage of being able to cook meals - something a standard hotel room cannot offer. Make your kitchen convenient by stocking items that most people wouldn’t want to buy for a weekend of meal prep. Basic spices are important, but also consider items like sugar, flour and cooking oil. Keep cereal, tea, hot cocoa, and coffee on hand. Storage containers are also a convenient touch. Small appliances, such as a slow cooker, blender, and mixer also make the kitchen easy to use for meal prep.
Outdoor Fire Pit
Everyone enjoys lounging under a starry sky around a warm bonfire. Create an inviting space with seating provided. Make sure your permits are clearly posted, as well as any important regulations such as fire regulations. If a fire pit isn’t a possibility for your location, any kind of deck or outdoor seating will be attractive. Hammocks, rocking chairs, or a porch swing also make a positive impression.
Adventuring can be messy. A great amenity to have on hand is in-unit laundry, at no additional cost. Families in particular appreciate this amenity. Go above and beyond and provide laundry soap to truly make your guests feel cared for.
Games, Sleds and Insider Info
And lastly, it’s important to do what you can to make your guests have a memorable and fun-filled vacation. Stock the house with board games and playing cards, sleds for family winter activities, brochures about various activities or recommended restaurants. Anything you can do to make your guests feel more at home in a new place and help them create memories. Some owners even choose to have a Netflix or Hulu account attached to the TV and ready for use by the guests.
The Small Touches
It is often the smaller, thoughtful touches that make the biggest impressions on guests. These six amenities will help your guests’ trips go smoothly and allow them to thoroughly enjoy your vacation rental. When you need help managing your vacation rental don’t hesitate to contact Breckenridge's professional property managers, Breckenridge Resort Managers to find out how we can help you offer the best possible stay for your guests.
Beginner Mountain Biking Trails in Breckenridge CO
Posted by toby | Thursday, July 20, 2017
Mountain biking is a thrilling way to experience the beautiful views, stunning wildflowers, and wildlife that Breckenridge has to offer. However, if you are new to the sport, it can be a bit intimidating. Breckenridge offers a wide variety of trails ranging from easy to very difficult. Many of them can be accessed from town so there is no need to load up your bike and drive.
As you bike, keep biking etiquette in mind. Most trails are open to hikers and horseback riders. Some trails even have off road vehicles. Mountain bikers should keep an eye out for and yield to hikers and horses. Bikers going uphill also always have the right of way. If you are unsure about what to do, just stop for a moment and say hello.
What to Consider
When you are looking for trails to ride be sure to consider the elevation gain, type of trail, whether it is road, dirt road or single track, distance, and if it is a loop or an out and back trail. This information will help you decide whether or not a trail fits your comfort level. For tips, recommendations, and even rentals you can always stop into one of the many bike shops in town. They can alert you to any unfavorable trail conditions and let you know what the best trail for your skill level would be.
Three Trails to Try
These three trails are great trails for beginners to get started in mountain biking. Don’t forget to bring water, a snack, a pump, and an extra tube. You never know what might happen out on a ride and it is important to be prepared.
This is a four mile loop of single track. You can get to the trail from a parking lot off of Tiger Rd. You can access trails to Keystone off of this loop if you are looking for a longer ride. To stay on the loop keep to the left at the intersections. Bikenridge offers more explicit trail instructions.
Blue River Trail
This trail is a simple out and back trail covering about three miles. You can look for it on the first big curve on Boreas Pass Road or you can find it from the Little Mountain Trails near the ice arena. The trail is primarily single track, but there are two short stretches of paved road. It includes a few short climbs, however, the trail only climbs 320 ft. total. This is a very comfortable and rewarding trail that is accessible from town. More detailed directions, pictures, and information are available from MTB Project.
Sallie Barber Trail
This trail will take you past some historic mine sites, alongside streams and through aspen groves. You can ride to this trail from town. It includes paved road, dirt road and single track. The route is about 12 miles long. Go east up Wellington Rd. until it turns into French Gulch Rd. At about 6.7 miles up French Gulch Rd. look for Sallie Barber Rd. that curves to the right. You will look for the single track Barney Ford Trail, follow signs toward Moonstone Tr. and finally take Carter Park Trail back into town. For more detailed instructions see this article from Summit Daily.
Whether you have an hour or a whole day, you can find a trail near Breckenridge that can suit your abilities and time constraints. If you are concerned about starting out on your own, there are also several guided rides and courses offered throughout the summer to learn basic mountain biking skills. Get started biking today!
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