Monday, December 17, 2012

Following Vail Real Estate

Who has time to sift through the huge amount of homes for sale in newspapers or even the big real estate websites like Trulia or Zillow. Slifer Smith & Frampton makes it much easier with all of the online resources to search for a home and learn about the Vail lifestyle. 

The SSF Facebook page is a great way to hear about any happenings in the Vail Valley as well as some great giveaways. If you go to our Facebook page we offer many giveaways for liking certain posts so check it out every day! 

To find out more about weekly activities in the area keep an eye on our twitter handle, @vailoriginal, and our Pinterest page. From there you can see the things our brokers are doing for fun as well as some great real estate news and updates. 

To keep an eye on new homes on the market or other Vail Real Estate news head to our You Tube channel and blog. These are great places to find out about the real estate in the area through virtual tours and photos as well as Valley updates on things like the new gondola at Vail. 

Another way that Slifer is a great innovator is our amazing iphone app. Vail Real Estate Search can provide you with up to date listing information, maps, photos and contact information for every home on the market in the Vail Valley. The app allows you to search by price, area, recently reduced, new homes on the market and more so you can personalize it to search for your needs.

All of these great resources allow you to stay in touch with the Vail real estate market as well as our amazing lifestyle from anywhere. With our iphone app and other websites you can keep your finger on the pulse of Vail on your mobile phone too. 

For any questions that may sprout from keeping an eye on the Vail Valley please contact me anytime!

Call to Action

Fiscal Cliff Puts Mortgage Interest Deduction in the Cross-Hairs

With the White House and Congress trying to bridge the gap between what they spend and what they take in, many changes could be coming to our tax code including adjusting some long standing deductions. Our country's beloved mortgage interest tax deduction (MID) is being threatened as we approach the "fiscal cliff." 

This deduction has been a part of our tax code since 1913 and changes in it could alter long held homeowner and home buyer mindset when purchasing their home. With our housing market just now showing signs of recovery from "The Great Recession", a change or elimination of the MID would only drive up the cost of home-ownership and set back the recovery. Although no specific legislation has been introduced, the common consensus among economists and political pundits is that the MID will be on the negotiating table to bridge the debt gap.

President Obama's proposal is to limit the total amount of principal eligible for deduction  from $1,000,000 to $500,000 as well as making second homes no longer eligible. These are two limitations that directly effect real estate in the Vail Valley with our average home prices being around $850,000, and the percentage of second homeowners staying around 50%. Because of our market it is more important than ever to protect our MID. Please contact your Senators and Congresspeople by clicking the link below to send a letter. This call to action will only take 30 seconds but will have a lasting effect on making the goal of home-ownership a possibility for future generations. 

Please contact me with any questions on the MID or other real estate questions you may have. Enjoy the snow!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Vail Valley is once again lucky enough to host the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships. Over 2 weeks the best skiers in the world will be competing in our backyard with us and 50,000 of our closest friends there to cheer them on. This provides limitless opportunities for business owners in the valley but many challenges as well for them to get ready for the influx of people. There are some big changes coming to both Beaver Creek and Vail mountains and Vail Resorts is leading the charge.

Beaver Creek Changes

While Beaver Creek has hosted the Birds of Prey World Cup Ski Race annually for many years for the 2015 World Championships they are changing the woman's race course. They started cutting a new trail at the beginning of this month that will be skiers right of the usual Birds of Prey course. If you head to Spruce Saddle at the top of Centennial lift you can see them working on the new course that will be ready for racers in 2013 for the Birds of Prey. Along with changing the course itself they are completely re-doing the finish area. They will be constructing new buildings for spectators and permanent structures that will be able to accommodate the growth of Beaver Creek in the future. Watch this video to see the proposed changes.

Vail Changes

Vail will not host any competition races in 2015 but they will be bustling with other activities. Vail will host the opening ceremony, some of the qualifying races, and the medal ceremony; but their daily activities and nightlife is where they will draw the crowds. They will be having many vendors and daily activities for skiers to enjoy as well as free concerts at night.  One of the main changes Vail will be highlighting is their new Epic Discovery that will provide many more summer activities for visitors. By having many of the attractions in place for the huge winter crowd to see, it will get them excited to book their return trip in the summer. Vail Mountain plans on adding a new hiking and mountain biking trails as well as more adventitious activities like zip-lines and an alpine slide that will run on raised rails. For more information click here.

These new changes will provide for the long term success of the world class resorts in our backyard. With Vail Resorts focusing on both winter and summer activities it can ensure that there will be visitors coming to our lovely valley for years to come.  Watch this video for more information on the changes and coming races.

Please contact me for more information on these changes or any questions you may have about the Vail Valley!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A new version of The Tortoise and the Hare

Recently Darren Hardy wrote an article where he takes a different look at the fable we all know from growing up. He reassesses the story of The Tortoise and the Hare to look at with a not so final ending; he looks not at the results of the race but the reaction to the results by it's participants. Read the article below.

Tortoise vs. Hare. Who Wins? Think Again.

If you read The Compound Effect (hope so!) you know I am a fan of the story of the tortoise and the hare and the lesson it teaches about how hardworking, consistent and steady-paced people (or reptiles) will eventually overtake the fast, talented, experienced but complacent people (or mammals).
Someone recently shared with me an adaptation of the story that makes a poignant leadership point.

It goes like this…
After getting his hare butt kicked by the tortoise so many times, the hare finally wised up and realized it was because he was being overconfident, unfocused and inconsistent (maybe he read The Compound Effect; hey it’s possible!).
Newly enlightened he decided to make some changes and challenged the tortoise to a rematch. The tortoise accepted his challenge.
This time, the hare ran with all his might and didn’t stop, relentlessly and persistently until he crossed the finish line. This time the hare won!

The moral of the story?
If you think focus and consistency is amazing when applied to the slow and steady, imagine what’s possible if applied to the fast and talented.

But the story doesn’t end here…
This time, it was the tortoise that did the soul searching and he realized that if the hare didn’t stop, there is no way he could beat him…. unless! He thought.
He decided on a different course and he challenged the hare to another rematch. The newly emboldened hare, of course, agreed.
With the lessons learnt from his previous failure and his new disciplines in mind, the hare kept on running once the race started and didn’t stop until the route led him to the bank of a river. He was taken by surprise and he did not know what to do, since he could not swim. There were no bridges in sight and no one to ask for directions. As he racked his brain, thinking of ways to cross the river, the tortoise strolled slowly along, dived into the river, swam across it and ultimately, finished the race before the hare.
The moral of the story? Know your strengths and take on your competitors in areas of your core competency.

But that’s not the rest of the story…  
With the hare and the tortoise spending so much time together racing, they became rather good friends. They also developed a mutual respect for one another as they realized that they are both different and they have different strengths. They decided to race again, but this time, as a team.
As the race started, the hare carried the tortoise and they sped to the riverbank. There, they switched positions and the tortoise ferried the hare across the river. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they crossed the finishing line together.
They completed the race in a record time that both of them could never achieve if they were to do it alone. They also felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they’d felt earlier.

The moral of the story?
It’s good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies but unless you’re able to work in a TEAM and harness each other’s core competencies, you’ll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you’ll do poorly where someone else does well.
Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership. And being supportive team members is necessary for a team to advance.

There are more lessons on teamwork to be learned from this story…
Note that the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could, but was not doing as well as he wished.
Imagine how long it will take the hare to learn how to swim! Or for the tortoise to learn to run fast. In this day and age when the environment changes at lightning speed, we have to learn to work with people who have strengths in areas that we do not.
It is the same in business, if we can collaborate with people who are experts in areas that we are not familiar with, we will realize that our market and opportunities suddenly becomes bigger.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Here Comes the Snow

With beautiful Fall colors abound, we were blessed with snow on the top of Vail Mountain as a reminder that winter is just around the corner. Start waxing you skis and stretching the legs for a fantastic year on the mountain! If you have questions about how you can come to Colorado to live this lifestyle, or where you should book your winter stay, please get in touch with me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is the 3.8% Tax on All Real Estate Sales Correct?

The short answer is no. While you may have seen the emails or editorial pieces that are floating around the internet which state the contrary, there are some key facts missing. While this tax will apply to some home sales starting January 1, 2013 it is only for a small group of people. Those with an AGI of $200,000 individually or $250,000 if filling jointly qualify for the additional 3.8% tax. The tax will only apply to the amount above the $200,000/$250,000 income limits. And with that, the tax won't apply to the first $250,000 of profits from the sale of a primary residence or $500,000 if a married couple.

With the convoluted nature of tax code it is easy to see how this rumor got started, especially in our market. In the Vail Valley we probably will have a higher rate of people this tax effects because of the higher incomes and non-primary residence homeowners.  Another thing to remember is that this is not a tax solely on real estate transactions, it covers all investment income.

Here is an example...If AGI for an individual is $275,000, the excess over the threshold of $200,000 is $75,000. This person also has a net investment income of $60,000. The new tax only applies to the lesser of the two amounts, so they will pay the 3.8% tax on the $60,000.

You will need to be aware of your personal situation and possibly talk with your accountant about what tax ramifications you may encounter when selling your home if you anticipate a profit. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or to refer you to a few real estate lawyers or accounts that can help you out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Colorado Wildfire Help

With the recent fires in our state many people are wondering how they can help the victims. Here is a list of ways you can do your part to help out our Colorado neighbors.

Donate Money

The best way to help out in these situations is to donate money to the correct organizations and let them handle how to use it best. Through the website you can make donations to the organization of you choice from the Red Cross to local humane societies.

Donate Things

Another way to help is to donate unused things to a local charity. The victims will need everything from clothes and blankets to cooking supplies and toothpaste. Most of the local charities are working with the organizations helping the fire victims so this is a 
great way to get it to them without having to go there yourself. Also, at you can sign up to donate. They have a great system where you let them know what you are willing to donate and when they need those things they contact you. This eliminates the time they would need to take to process donations as well as making sure they're getting what they really need.

Donate Time

Many people out there may not have extra money or clothes to give but can afford to spend a weekend helping out by volunteering their time. While you never want to simply show up to a disaster and ask to help there are some more structured ways to do something like that. Again with the help of the great website you can fill out an application to volunteer. By giving your skills and other basic information they will match you up with the groups that need your help.

Other Ways to Help

-By going to you can purchase some great looking t-shirts where 100% of the proceeds go to wildfire relief efforts across the state.

-Animal shelters are almost always accepting volunteers. The large animal shelter at Norris-Penrose Equestrian Center in Colorado Springs needs volunteers. Contact them at 719-520-7773.

-Text HIGHPARK to 80108 to donate $10 for fire relief in northern Colorado through The mGive Foundation @

-Hold a yard sale or put on a fund-raising event and donate money raised to a voluntary organization responding to this disaster.

These are a few simple but very effective ways to help out those in our state that need it. Every little bit will help them adjust and cope with the horrible situation they are fighting. We all need to keep them in our thoughts and help any way we can. If you have any questions about donations or volunteering please feel free to contact me. Pray for rain!

Friday, June 29, 2012

July Fun!!

I can't believe it is already July, what happened to June? Although the summer is flying by, there are still plenty of activities and events that you need to be filling you and your families down time with. July seems to be the month of concerts, with Bravo! coming to town and all the free concerts in Vail and Eagle it is a concert goers dream. 

Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival

This year is the 25th anniversary for the Bravo Music Festival and they are rolling out all the stops to make this year fantastic. The Vail Valley will be host to the Dallas, Philadelphia, and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, plus world-class chamber musicians, composers,  and the brightest new ensembles . They will be having shows and events almost everyday in July so this is your chance to see some world class musicians right here in your backyard. For more information or to purchase tickets go to their website.

Fourth of July

Even though there will be no fireworks here in the Valley there are still plenty of fun things to do for the holiday.  On the 3rd of July, Avon has canceled their famous fireworks display but are still having bands on their main stage and activities for the kids everywhere else. They have a bouncy house, carnival games, face painting and balloon sculptors. Vail is also keeping the festivities going on the fourth with the regions largest Independence Day parade starting at 10AM in Golden Peak. In Lionshead they will have arts and crafts for the kids and music for everyone to enjoy too. For more information visit their town websites.

LA Sportiva Hill Climb

For those who are looking for a strenuous activity this month Vail Mountain is having their 7.5 mile hill climb up 2,500 feet on July 7th at 8AM. Voted the best trail race in 2006 and 2011 by Colorado Runner, this will definitely be fun and challenging event for those who enter. The Eagle Bahn Gondola will be running for spectators and family to cheer on their runners.

Triple Bypass Bicycle Tour

This one will be a challenge, but a fun one. On July 14-15 there is a daunting 120 mile ride with over 10,000 feet of elevation change. The ride starts in Evergreen and climbs over Squaw pass to Idaho Springs and on into Georgetown. From there, it climbs over Loveland Pass to Frisco and over Vail Pass to the finish line in Avon. Come to Nottingham Park to cheer on the finishers.  If you are still feeling good after your ride you can do it again the next day to ride back to Evergreen! For more information go to

It appears there is something for everyone this coming month. For the active people out there we have bike and running races; if you want something of a slower pace we have many concerts to attend. On top of the Bravo! series, Vail still has their free concerts every Tuesday and Eagle does a free concert every Thursday. If you have any questions about other things that may be happening in our beautiful valley please give me a call. Enjoy all the fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Town of Eagle New Website

To get ready for the summer season, the Town of Eagle has launched a new website to keep you informed about all that is happening! The site, is a user friendly page that filled with details about hiking and biking trails (including detailed maps), ideas for fishing holes, and places to get food when your done playing.

When on the site, (looking for something to do on my day off), I can find great descriptions of the bike trails I want to tackle. They also give a brief run-down of the ride and difficultly so I know if I'm getting in over my head. They provide parking info, elevation change, and even similar rides if you find you enjoy your time out there. I enjoy having the information before the ride so I know what to prepare for.  

This site is a must if you are planning any weekend activity or just an evening dinner. The one downfall of this site is that it is only covers Eagle activities and not the rest of the Vail Valley. It is set up so well it has to only be a matter of time before this template catches on.  Please contact me with any questions you may have or suggestions for things that are not on this site. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


After the real estate meltdown in 2008-9 the financial industry cracked down on their lending standards making it more difficult to get a loan. With theses changes many first time homebuyers assumed that they could no longer qualify for a loan because of the strict standards lenders were adhering to. While it has become more tedious, that doesn't mean it has become impossible. There are many programs available now that can provide borrowers with the assistance they need while not letting them get in over their heads like in the early 2000's. Here are a few options available with the low interest rates banks are providing these days:

I love the Rural Housing Program provided by the USDA. This program is perfect for Eagle County buyers. The Rural Housing Program can assist buyers with down payments but also provide 100% financing in many cases. This program can also provide financing for other closing costs which will fully eliminate or greatly reduce the out of pocket cash a buyer needs to close. 

Another great option is the Community Development Mortgage Program. This will give borrowers less-demanding income and debt guidelines helping borrowers to get a loan even with limited credit history. A great aspect of this program is that it doesn't require mortgage insurance. Many lenders that don't require down payments want some sort of premium to help guarantee their loan, but this program allows for the low down payment without the added expense of Mortgage insurance.

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) is a great option for many aspects of obtaining a mortgage. They provide assistance for down-payments, refinancing, and easier credit qualifying. Their Teacher Next Door program provides teachers with a great way to buy a home with only $100 down payment.  FHA also has many options for the non-teacher crowd providing up to 97-100% financing on new buyer loans.

These are only a few of the options available for you if you're thinking of making your first home purchase. Please contact me and we will explore the multiple options available for your situation and find the one that fits. Also if you are interested in refinancing your existing mortgage there are many options available to you.  As you can see there is money available for buyers at historically low rates making this NOW the time to buy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

High Mountain Gardening

With the Vail Valley having such a beautiful natural landscape, you will want to keep your own yard consistent with the natural fauna. Because of our low humidity, fluctuating temperatures, and possibility of high winds we need to take every precaution we can when planting. Planting with native species will not only give it a better chance of success but it is also better for the environment.  Those species won't need special soil brought in or watering every day like another non-native species. Here are some great suggestions from local landscapers:


Officially we are in USDA growing zone 5 and sunset zone 1A. What does this mean? Well, it means we are in one of the hardest growing regions in the US...but its not impossible!  The mild days and cool nights provide a great climate to prolong flowering on plants and small shrubs. Perennials are widely suggested for planting in our region for this reason.

Penstemons (Blue Strictus)-   I am sure we have all seen this one before. This flower has over 250 species and many colors.

Rodbecka Fulgida- A champion plant, winning "Perennial Plant Association 1999, Perennial Plant of the Year." It is very forgiving with soil conditions and sunlight so it will look beautiful wherever you would like to plant.

Erigeron- This is a versitile flower that will thrive in our high sun and dry soil conditions, but also has the flexibility to survive in wetter areas.

Shrubs and Small Trees

These types of plants will require lots of TLC in the first year of growth but that extra care will provide you with many benefits for years to come :-)

Rocky Mountain Juniper- This is another common but beautiful plant for the area.  While it prefers full sun it is a very resilient tree/shrub so will succeed almost anywhere.

Russian Hawthorn- While it's name is deceiving this is another species that has success in Colorado High Country.  It has small thorns and smaller leaves but it will also give off some stunning what flowers with some red fruits during the summer season.

Big Sage- This is another aromatic Colorado classic. While very common it can provide the subtle accents to your landscaping that will look great for many years.

While I have only provided you with a glimpse into planting with native Colorado plants I hope to have given you some insight into the subject.  If you would like more information on how to plant or the costs contact me and I can provide you with some local landscape companies that will fit your needs. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Is Here!!

With the months quickly sliding into summer, and away from the slower mud-season, we all need to get ready to fill our calendars with the many great activities that happen in our beautiful little valley. From the active events like Tough Mudder to the lazy days relaxing at an outdoor concert there is no shortage of activity for anyone around Vail this June.  Here are some events I will surely be attending.

Summer Teva Mountain Games
May31st-June 3rd

This is a great afternoon activity for the family or a fun night trip with some friends. Becuase of the wide range of activities there is something for everyone at the Teva Games.  Come during the day with the family to watch some of the mountain biking events, try a fly fishing casting clinic, or watch the dog dock dive.  Then drop the kids off with a baby sitter and come back for some of the great free concerts at night. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights they are holding a free concert at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail Village. For more information check out their website for complete schedule and event locations.

Tough Mudder
June 9th-10th

If you didn't get enough adventure sports with the Teva Games you can get more than your fill with the 2012 Tough Mudder held on Beaver Creek Mountain.  With 25,000 participants last year and around the same expected this year it makes for a fun weekend in Beaver Creek. While the racers are out killing themselves on the course there are many booths set up in the village with food and apparel for the spectators to enjoy. They also have a band playing during the day to welcome back the racers and entertain the more sane non-participants.

Eagle Farmers Market
Every Friday from 4-8PM

Starting June 15th and going through mid September the farmers market will give you a nice evening activity for the family here in Eagle. New this year, the markets will be held in Eagle Ranch on Capitol St. and will have many things on top of great locally grown and made food.

Free Concerts
July Thursday Nights in Eagle

The Town of Eagle is continuing this popular weekly event with the free music and a host of kids' activities to keep the whole family entertained! All concerts start at 6:30 at Eagle Town Park. Feel free to bring a picnic, lawn chair, cooler or a leashed dog to this great community event.

Eagle Flight Days
June 22nd-24th

This classic Eagle community event is returning for it's 51st year with everything from fighter jets to pancakes to karaoke. While the town doesn't have it's full schedule out yet for this event if it is anything like years past we know it will be great fun. 

Beaver Creek Rodeo
Thursdays starting June 28th

Who doesn't like a good ol' rodeo. This event is perfect for all ages.  It has the classics like bronco riding and calf roping with some great new activities like mutton busting (if you don't know what this is click here) and a mechanical bull.  They also have pony rides and great BBQ for the whole family. Held at the Beaver Creek Rodeo Arena in Avon every Thursday through mid August with gates opening at 5PM.

These are just a few of things that make us locals so glad that we came for the winters but ened up staying because of the summers! If you need any more information on any of these events please contact me.  There will be many more to come so I will do my best to keep you in the know. I hope to see you out there this summer!