Posted by toby | Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Eating out with kids in a new town can be a challenge. Not every restaurant offers an comprehensive menu for adults in addition to a selection of pizza, grilled cheese, and chicken nuggets for the pint-sized.It may be difficult to find such a restaurant that not only offers such an accommodating menu, but also serves amazing food worthy of a four- or five-star review. Luckily, Breckenridge has a lot to offer in the way of family friendly restaurants. After dining at one (or two, or all) of the restaurants listed below, the entire family’s going to want to come back for more.
1. Blue Moose Restaurant
Mom and Dad can enjoy some wake-me-up mimosas, Irish cream coffee, or Bloody Marys at this breakfast joint while the kiddos have tasty pancakes, French toast, omelets, oatmeal from the kid’s menu, and other breakfast classics to choose from.
2. Downstairs at Eric’s
Arcade games, wings, beer, pizza, and flat-screen HDTVs: this restaurant has it all. Kids, teenagers, college students, parents, and even grandparents would enjoy this place with its incredibly large menu that includes burgers, gyros, Philly cheesesteaks, sandwiches, salads, and more. Kids can find hot dogs, mac and cheese and pizza for lunch or dinner - if you can drag them away from the arcade games long enough to eat!
3. Empire Burger
With the incredibly fresh and juicy burgers, outta-this-world hand cut fries, full children’s menu, and outdoor area where families can hang out, you can’t beat Empire Burger for a family burger outing in Breckenridge. It also sports a gorgeous view of the mountain from its deck.
4. Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Parents love the mango duck quesadillas, avocado fritos, and habanero bacon wrapped shrimp. Kids love the chicken quesadillas, nachos, and cheeseburgers. And then we have the delicious Mexican pastries, tres leches cake, Mexican chocolate-plantain bread pudding, and deep-fried ice cream. What more does a hungry family need?
5. The Crown
The Crown offers a diverse menu for adults and children, as well a fun night out for the whole family. In addition to their delicious breakfast and lunch menus, they offer coffee, ice cream, booze, free wi-fi, and board games. Stop by for an after dinner treat and a game of Jenga with the family.
How to Rent Your Second Home for Extra Income
Posted by toby | Thursday, September 1, 2016
If you own a second home in a popular vacation destination like Breckenridge, there are many benefits above and beyond just having a vacation retreat. Of the many different advantages that come with owning a second home in a popular area, one in particular is very exciting- rental income. Renting your second home can help offset many costs of holding the property and provide extra income to you, including:
- Renting your home can help cover your mortgage payments, insurance, and property taxes.
- You may have the ability to deduct your rental expenses on your taxes.
- Rental revenue can help pay for your HOA fees and assessments.
- You have the possibility of your property appreciating in value.
- Property maintenance costs can be offset with rental revenues, which increase your property’s value in the long run.
- Rental revenues can be applied to property upgrades and remodels, increasing your rental revenues and home value.
The average rental property brings in about $28,000 a year and including cleaning, repairs, guest relations, check in and out, and other assorted communication and preparation can take about fifteen hours a week to manage. This figure is higher than average here in Summit County, especially during our very busy winter season. Increasingly, guests are looking for a hotel experience and professional communications during their vacation, which can be a challenge for many homeowners to do well. When a guest is not provided with that experience, they will likely not rent the property again, or worse, leave a scathing review online to prevent others from renting the property. To succeed in renting your property, time and resources must be invested to provide the type of experience todays traveler demands.
Renting your property is a very challenging time commitment. If you’re interested in renting your second home for extra profit, here are some tips to ensure you are positioned for success:
1. Learn the laws and restrictions for rental homes in your state and town.
A good place to start would be to Google “[Your town] rental regulations”. You can also try calling your town’s community or tax office. You may have to apply for a rental permit, business license, pay taxes, and remit forms on a monthly basis to state and local authorities. Many towns restrict or outright ban rental activity. For those that allow rentals, regulations and tax remission are common, so don’t get yourself in trouble by not understanding the legal requirements. A professional management company is set up to take care of all these things for you, and keep in in legal compliance.
2. Read your mortgage agreement
Ensure rental activity is allowed on your property, and your insurance will not be at risk of being voided by the rental activity. Some mortgage agreements include restrictions on renting out the property. You want to ensure that yours allows it. If you’re part of a homeowners’ association, it’s always a good idea to find out if they allow vacation rentals, too. A professional manager will be aware of local HOA restrictions, and can help with ensuring you are compliant.
3. Find a Property Manager
Renting the property on your own is attractive for financial reasons, as there is no commission to pay. However, hiring a professional property manager can eaisly pay for iteself. Some property managers will request a percentage of the monthly rent as compensation. In the end, you will make more money. The professional property manager will pay for itself by reducing your time spent and burden, increasing rentals and decreasing vacancies, better guest service, and the convenience of having a valued manager just a phone call away. Most owners eventually come to learn that a professional property manager is worth much more than the 30-40% they charge.
4. Keep detailed records of your income and expenses for all rental activity.
Keeping a detailed record of every expense associated with the rental property so that you can potentially deduct them when tax season comes around. Most repairs and improvements can be deducted from your personal taxes, but asking your accountant is a good practice to ensure tax compliance. A professional manager can not only keep track of these costs for you, but also account for other items, and prepare reports for your tax professional.
5. Ensure your insurance is the correct type and level for rentals.
You likely have casualty insurance for your home, but ensuring you have rental and liability insurance will ensure coverage for you in the event of any sort of guest related issue. Guests can become injured, or sometimes injure your property, and being properly covered for that can protect you from a financial loss.
6. Prepare the property ready for guests, by providing the first class hotel experience they are looking for.
Removing your personal belongings is a good idea, for both their protection as well as the comfort of the guest. They want to feel like they are in a home, but not your home. Ensuring that the property has enough comfortable furniture will provide a relaxing and pleasurable gathering space for the guest during their time in your home. Stocking the property with a compliment of necessities and amenities will enable guests to relax comfortably, and will provide the type of experience that they desire. Fixing any hazards and deep cleaning the property will give the guest the first impression of an owner that takes pride in their home. A professional management company can take care of all these things for you, and do it at a high level to promote happy return guests.
7. Draft up a list of house rules for your guests to read.
Such rules may include no smoking, no pets, no loud music after 10:00 PM, and no big parties. Don’t forget to include local emergency phone numbers and your property manager’s contact information. Print out the list and put it in an obvious place where you know your renters will see it.
8. Ge ready for your first booking!
Good luck! You are on your way to increased revenue as well as helping other families make vacation memories!
How to Prepare Your Second Home for Vacation Renters
Posted by toby | Thursday, August 25, 2016
So your second home has been given the green light to be rented out to vacationers. Now what?
It's time to whip your home into tip-top shape for your first group of vacation renters.
If you're not sure where to start, we have you covered. Here are five steps to take to prepare your home for vacation renters:
1. Remove your personal items.
The first reason for doing this is to reduce clutter, and make the home comfortable and welcoming for your guests. You don't want your guests to feel like they're staying at somebody else's house. They want to feel like it's their home away from home. Reducing clutter involves removing any personal items or objects, such as picture frames and your favorite art fair sourced stuffed mountain squirrel, which will only cause discomfort to your potential guests.
Secondly, removing your personal items is a good idea because you don't want to leave behind anything that's precious and irreplaceable. Make sure everything you leave behind would not be noticed if it was lost. Everything in the home should have no personal attachment for you, just in case any accidents happen. We suggest keeping your personal and valuable items in an owners closet, so you can display them when you come out to visit.
2. Make sure all of the furniture is clean, comfortable, and presentable.
Todays vacationers have high standards, and expect the 5 star hotel experiences, even on a three star budget. It will be a financial and operational benefit to offer your guests new and comfortable furniture and high-quality bedding. Cleanliness and comfort should be your top priorities. The more comfortable the guest, the more he or she will enjoy the experience and return to your home year after year.
3. Repair any potential hazard.
Homes are full of failures waiting to happen, and accidents just around the corner. The last thing you want is for the water heater to quit working in the middle of a guest's stay, or a rip in the carpet to trip up a guest. Have a professional property management company thoroughly inspect your home prior to guests staying to make sure all the appliances, steps, wiring, and plug outlets are in working order. If they find a potential hazard, they are capable of getting it repaired as soon as possible, and saving you any headaches down the road. A good property management company will inspect prior to every guest, and will act quickly to anticipate and remedy potential issues for you.
4. Have your home deep cleaned.
Cleanliness is the #1 factor in the satisfaction of guests to your home, and is the one thing that can turn a vacation into a trip from hell for many travelers. Your best bet would be to hire a property management company that has an experienced and capable cleaning service. You want your home to start as a clean slate in order to give your guests the perfect experience. You also want your management company to preform 1-2 deep cleans per year, to detail your home, and clean all the areas that are difficult to budget in on a back to back vacation rental clean.
5. Stock your home with the basic necessities.
To ensure that your guests are happy and comfortable, follow this checklist while stocking your home (remember, this is just a start. A good management company will customize a list for you and your home):
|____ Plates, bowls, glasses, and flatware (double the number of guests you sleep)||____ Comfortable seating (enough for the number of guests you sleep)||____ High-quality sheets (two sets per bed)||____ High-quality bath towels (two per guest)|
|____ Coffee maker||____ Large TV||____ Pillows with pillow protectors (four per bed)||____ High-quality washcloths (four per guest)|
|____ Pots and pans||____ Basic cable||____ Extra blankets||____ High-quality hand towels (two per guest)|
|____ Cooking utensils||____ DVD player||____ Mattress pads||____ Hair dryer|
|____ Napkins & paper towels||____ Cards and board games||____ Alarm clocks||____ First Aid Kit|
|____ Dish towels||____ Coffee table||____ Reading lamps||____ Travel-sized toiletries|
|____ Knife set||____ Throw pillows and blankets||____ Feminine sanitary products|
|____ Condiments||____ DVDs|
2016 Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts
Posted by toby | Wednesday, August 3, 2016
BreckCreate, the town of Breck’s organization to promote the arts, culture and creativity, is putting on the second Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts (BIFA) this August 12-21. This event will be 9 days long, jam packed with creative performances such as circus and acrobat performances, installation arts and workshops for adults and kids and film. There will be something for every member of the family at this festival! This year’s theme is Adventure + Play + Creativity.
Here’s a few highlights of what to expect.
Dance, Circus and Acrobatics
STREB Extreme Action Company combines extreme sports, dance and circus acrobatics in one gravity defying performance. In their performance, they do acrobatics with a 21 foot ladder while it rotates. I, for one, had to watch the video to understand this as words cannot do this performance justice! You just have to see it. See the video here.
There will also be a one man circus by Swiss performer, David Dimitri. His performance includes a high wire, a human cannon ball, music and dance.
Sila: The Breath of the World is an experimental form of music where each individual musician plays a tone at his or her own tempo. The only condition is that the tone they play must be played for the length of one full exhalation of breathe. The musicians are dispersed throughout an area and spectators can wander about to enjoy one artist or the combination of all playing together. It promises to be unique, haunting, intriguing and like nothing you have ever heard before.
There will also be 24 pop-up performances throughout the festival, called the Trail Mix Concerts. In short, artists will have concerts on the hiking and biking trails of Breck, allowing you to experience the music in an entirely different setting.
If you prefer the more traditional musical arts, there are also performances by an internationally renown cellist, violinist and an alt-country band with a Spanish flair called Calexico.
Get your creative juices flowing by participating! STREB Extreme Action Company will be hosting a workshop for kids, ages 5 and up, to learn about stunts and acrobatics. Installation artist, Tasha Lewis is also hosting a workshop to create and install her art installation, Swarm, consisting of fabric butterflies. Read more about Swarm here.
This street theater group is sure to be a favorite with the kids. Actors on stilts will don 19 foot dinosaur costumes and perform throughout the streets of Breck. On alternating days, the company will also do a choreographed drumming performance on stilts.
Check out installation arts at your own schedule. Tasha Lewis will have 2 installations, Herd and Swarm, with sculptures of her animals and butterflies in motion. Artists Andrew Dentate and Robert Wertz will also have installations. Most installations will be at the Old Masonic Hall, and will be available for viewing through the festival.
The Breckenridge International Festival of Arts has something for the whole family and is sure to be an experience to remember. Most events are free, but be sure to check the schedule and individual events for more details.
What's the Best Place to Stay in Breckenridge?
Posted by toby | Saturday, July 23, 2016
When it comes to choosing the best place to stay in Breckenridge, there are no wrong answers. From secluded mountain homes, quaint Victorian style homes to ski-in/ski-out condos, Breck has something to offer for every type of vacationer. Nonetheless, choosing the right neighborhood can be daunting if you've never explored Breckenridge.
To help you figure out the best area for you and your family, we put together a list of the Breckenridge neighborhoods and the attributes of each.
The Peaks / 4 o’clock Rd
Most people stay around the Peaks or on 4 o’clock Rd for the access to the resort. This is the biggest selling point for this area. It has close proximity to several chair lifts and borders the trail 4 o’clock. You can ski within a few feet of your front door and many vacationers come back for lunch mid-day.
The downside to this is that town can be a good walk or a bus ride away. Since you are paying for the location, you can sacrifice space, luxury and the rustic atmosphere. Nonetheless, if you are looking for the traditional ski-cation, this is the perfect place to stay in Breck.
Breck Historic District
The town of Breckenridge has an adorable historic district with heaps of atmosphere. The houses are in the traditional Victorian style and the main strip features quality restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The gondola is on one edge of town, a beginner’s chairlift on the other and both a relatively easy walk for most, so access to skiing isn’t a chore. If you are looking for a well rounded vacation experience, with options for even the non-skier in the family, Breck’s historical district is your best bet.
Many prefer the quiet of a neighborhood. Warrior’s Mark is located on the south edge of Breckenridge and is set back from the main street. One one side, it borders Peak 9 and the Village, so ski access is nearby. It is also bordered by National Forest, giving access to the backcountry and great hiking.
This area is a quieter, more traditional mountain feel and just removed from the thick of things. You’ll likely want to take advantage of Breck’s transit, Summit Stage to get to and from the restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The buses stop between 12-1am so if nightlife is your priority, this area may not be your top pick. It is perfect for families looking for proximity, but a quieter experience.
Blue River is the perfect place to stay for the nature lover. This area sports the traditional rustic mountain experience. You are likely to see moose, elk, deer and even bear running through your backyard in this neighborhood! The houses tend to be more “retreat-style” and are nestled in the forest, with lots of space inside and out.
This neighborhood has the Goose Pasture Tarn and a stream for fishing, kayaking and other waterfront activities. You'll want to have your own car in this area, as it is located a few miles outside town.
Baldy Mountain is located on the hill opposite the ski resort. This area is popular with the local community for its amazing views and quieter atmosphere. We have several houses up here that are the quintessential snowy mountain retreat, with all the luxuries and comforts you could ever want.
The majority of the houses are above 10,000 feet, so you will want to be aware of the high altitude conditions. The buses run regularly up here, so access to town and the gondola is simple. This area is perfect for large groups, who want luxury at a decent price and need to appeal to a variety of guests.
Wildflowers of Breckenridge
Posted by toby | Friday, July 15, 2016
Wildflowers are the crowning glory of Breckenridge summers. They line the roadsides and trails and color the landscape. While they hit their peak in late July, different variations can be seen throughout the spring and summer.
Wildflower hikes are a great summer activity for the whole family. Here are a few you are likely to see and where you can find them.
This flower is Colorado's state flower and pride and joy. No matter how many times you see it, its unique shape and coloring continues to impress. It grows to about 12-24 inches tall and prefers shaded areas. There is nothing more lovely than a patch of delicate columbines in the shade of an aspen grove.
In the wild, it is most commonly found in purple and white but many other colors exist in gardens and the wild alike. Coloradans love their columbines, so the best place to see them is in the gardens in town.
This flower grows almost anywhere in Breckenridge, taking over whole hillsides and cropping up along the roads. You have likely already seen it, cheerfully greeting visitors that drive into town. The tiny pea shaped flowers are actually bluish-purple but have white on the underside, giving it a silvery appearance from a distance. To see this flower in detail, hike the Dickie's Trail around Lake Dillon. This trail sports several varieties of wildflowers and is perfect for beginners.
The wild roses are much simpler than their domesticated cousins with only 5 petals. They are most commonly found in magenta, pale pink and white. They grow in scraggly bushes along the sides of the road and trails and are recognizable by their bright yellow centers. To see this flower, hike the Boreas Pass trail. A few are already beginning on Boreas Pass Road!
This bold yellow flower can be found in almost all wooded areas. You can't miss it. Look for the triangular pointed petals in the shaded forests around Breck.
Fireweed is a tall plant with magenta flowers. It gets its name from its ability to return quickly after a wildfire. This flower blooms in ditches, meadows, gardens - anywhere! It blooms a bit later than other wildflowers and is known as a herald to the coming winter.
Scarlet Gilia, Fairy Trumpet
This flower is shaped like a tiny reddish orange trumpet. At closer inspection, there is often white or yellow spotting inside the flower. You'll see it in drier areas, roadsides and open meadows. It's very tiny, so can be hard to spot.
Calypso Orchid Fairy Slipper
The Fairy Slipper Orchid is a rare occurrence and you should count yourself lucky to find it. It is found in forested, well shaded areas, and is usually in small groups of 1-5 flowers. This particular photo was taken on the Illinois Gulch trails and was the only flower of this type in the area.
Whether you are hiking or driving, wildflowers can be found in abundance in all of Breck. If hiking, don't forget to bring the necessary provisions such as water and rain gear. The high altitude climate is known to change weather with little notice, especially in the afternoons. Hike safe!
What to Look for in a Professional Property Management Company
Posted by toby | Thursday, June 30, 2016
Your property is an asset and you've worked hard for it. But does your property work hard for you? A professional property management company can help you get the best return for your investment property.
Here at Breckenridge Resort Managers, we believe that the key to getting the best return on your property are professional property management and guest satisfaction. If your guests are happy, they will return, recommend their friends, and tell others about their experience online. The key to guest satisfaction is no mystery. You need a quality property management company.
But how do you choose a property management company? If you choose solely cut rate commission, the guests will suffer, your revenue will suffer, and your service will suffer. (Don't even get us started on extra fees!) Over the years, we've learned a few things about quality property management, and even introduced some new concepts. To be successful in renting your home short term, here are some strengths you should look for in a professional property management firm.
When choosing a property management company, it's important to find a company that knows their area well and has a solid backing of experience in the vacation rental industry. Each tourist destination has its own unique features and its guests will as well. A professional PM company should have professional credentials, industry leadership, and nuanced expertise in their market and industry.
Ask a prospective company how many years have they been in business, what certifications they hold, what boards are they active in, what leadership experience do they have, what is their staff to property ratio, how long have their employees and housekeepers been with them.
Vacationers expect a lifetime of memories to come from their vacation. They want a smooth and seamless "hotel experience", a prompt and polite communication process throughout the vacation, and the extra touches only a professional property management company can provide. A good company values and respects this guest experience, understanding how crucial it is to success and how to provide it to each and every guest.
Ask a prospective property management company how many and what type of staff is employed full time. What is the staff to guest ratio? Do they have their own maintenance crew or do they use contractors? What are their office hours? Average response time for client requests? What technology do they use for guest communications? How are their employees trained to provide an experience of a lifetime to each guest?
An abundance of quality renters are essential to turning a profit on your investment. Ask a prospective property manager what their tenant selection process is like. What sort of marketing do they do in order to find quality renters? How do they increase their closing ratio? How do they remarket to past guests? What other channels do they use to procure guests? How quickly do they respond to guest leads? What is their average occupancy?
The Relationship between Owner and Property Manager
Lastly, the relationship with your management company must be open, honest, and collaborative to ensure complete confidence that your home is being managed properly. You should get a clear definition of the responsibility of the owner and the responsibility of the property management firm before you sign anything. You should review a proposed management agreement, along with the fee structure and what is included in those fees. Most importantly, ask them who you will be dealing with on a daily basis (owner, manager, and employee). Remember, this is a business RELATIONSHIP. Be careful who you select, and make sure it will be a positive experience.
We know that renting your second home can potentially be stressful and time consuming. The wrong renter, long vacancies or general mismanagement can drastically reduce your profits and enjoyment of your property. A professional property management company will minimize your stress and give you more freedom to do the things you love.
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