Hot tubs are hot commodities for rentals, homeowners in Summit County
August 15, 2016
Though separated in time, culture and continent, there was one thing that the ancient Egyptians, Japanese, Greeks and Romans all agreed upon — the value of hot tubs.
Of course, they weren't called hot tubs back then, and they came in a variety of types, from natural hot springs to wooden tubs to manmade public gathering places, each serving its own purpose.
That popularity continues today, particularly here in the High Country, where days spent on the mountain turn into nights spent relaxing in steamy, hot water while the snow falls all around.
To buy or not to buy
“I can’t think of one owner that says, ‘Oh, that was a waste of money, I never use it.’ I’ve never, ever heard that.”
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You'd be hard pressed to find someone in Summit County who doesn't have a hot tub that they frequent from time to time, whether it's at their house or someone else's. And for nearly anyone coming up for a holiday or a short stay, it's practically a necessity.
"Even in the summertime, we get requests from people coming in that want to make sure the hot tub is clean and ready to go," said Tony Harris, assistant manager at River Ridge Rentals, a property-management company in Summit County. "Surprisingly, we have guests that say the only reason they rented from us is because of the hot tub."
All 42 of River Ridge Rentals' properties have hot tubs. It's high up on the checklist of what the renters are looking for.
"If you're really trying to rent out your home, having a hot tub is a huge plus," Harris said.
It's the same at Paragon Lodging.
"It's one of those amenities that people expect," owner Johna Rice said.
Doing it right
Deciding to get a hot tub is just the first step. There are a number of factors that homeowners should take into consideration once they know they'll be installing a tub.
First, it's not necessary to get a hot tub right away. As long as the builders and electricians know you're interested in having the capacity in the future, you can build your dream house and give yourself a few months to pick out just the right tub and location.
Electricity is a big part of hot tub functionality.
"Different hot tub brands require different kinds of circuits," said Karen Wray, design coordinator for Mountain Log Homes & Interiors in Frisco. Before going to pick out a tub, she added, potential buyers should make sure they understand their electrical capabilities.
Another important thing to understand is water rights.
"It is illegal if you only have a well permit for interior use to wash your car with that water, to water flowers outside your house with that water or to fill a hot tub with that water," Wray said. "People on wells need to find out what their situation is to be legal."
If a homeowner's current water rights do not include hot tub use, there are a few options. They can choose to pay to extend those rights to hot tub use, or they can pay a service that will come and fill up the hot tub for them.
"People do need to look into their own town, to see if they need a permit. Most do," said Michael Swartz, owner of Heavenly Times Hot Tubs and Billiards in Dillon.
Once all of that is out of the way, then it's time to pick a place to put it.
Location, location, location
Wray's favorite place to put a hot tub is under the deck.
"We try to put them under decks whenever possible, so they don't get as much snow built up on them," she said.
Another benefit is privacy. While being on top of a deck might offer more views, it's also a more exposed location, to both the elements and others' eyes.
Placement of the hot tub in relation to the house is not to be overlooked. Wray recommends having quick access to a bathroom, which makes it easier to change clothes and doesn't expose carpet to dripping chlorine water.
Having a door to a common area as the main path to the tub is also preferred, Wray said, "so you don't have to go through somebody's master bedroom to get to the hot tub."
Wray recommends checking in with your homeowners' association before finalizing a location for a tub. Some of them have rules about visibility of hot tubs from the street, which might require landscaping or choosing a different placement.
Simple to extravagant
Hot tubs have come a long way since the simple wooden tubs of the 1950s. While there are plenty of basic two- to four-person models to choose from, other options include pool-sized tubs that can fit 15 people. Additions run from colorful lights, sound systems and TVs to waterfall set-ups.
Most of all, though, people want hot tubs just as a place to relax after a long day of playing on the mountain.
"I can't think of one owner that says, 'Oh, that was a waste of money, I never use it,'" Wray said. "I've never, ever heard that."
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