Market Insights: 47 species of birds sell property |

Market Insights: 47 species of birds sell property

Daniel Webster Johnson
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily/Daniel Webster Johnson

These photos were taken last week on the trail along the south side of the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve, which is described on the town of Breckenridge website as “77 acres of wetlands … that provides vital habitat for the state-endangered boreal toad, moose, elk, deer, mountain lion, beaver and 47 species of birds … within a mile of Breckenridge’s Main Street.” And it is rare to see anyone on the trail.

Summit County is frequently referred to as “Colorado’s playground.” And being a playground is why our second-home real estate market is so vibrant (way, way over 50 percent of the market). People come here to play, they buy property so they can play more and some move here to play lots. These photos show one of the many ways to play, hiking, or in winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Easy access to locations like these can increase the value of a property.

And that is the twist. In mid-July, I wrote an article titled “Buyers love views, views, views” and I stand by that point. However, sometimes my colleagues and our buyers focus too much on the most obvious sales features like views. As a result, we overlook the beauty right at our backdoor. Cucumber Gulch is a prime example. I posted one of the photos above on Facebook with the comment, “Evening hike after working on getting a condo under contract in Breckenridge, Colo. Love life, DWJ.”

The next day, a good friend and 16-year resident of Breckenridge, phoned me to say, “You can’t pull my leg – you didn’t take that photo in Breck.” He honestly didn’t believe that I took the photo just a 25-minute hike from my office, which is in the middle of the busiest part of Main Street.

Not only were they taken so close to town, but they were right behind a residential area, Boulder Ridge III, which is a tiny, cul-de-sac, subdivision on your right just before you reach One Ski Hill Place and the base of Peak 8. Yes, a pristine and amazing area right at your back door, literally.

For example, a 0.97-acre of land is for sale (Lot 10, Boulder Ridge III) for $510,000. The buyer of this lot will end up with, literally, one of a handful of homes that backs to the preserve and enjoys 47 species of birds and the amazing diversity of wildlife described above.

And how much is backing onto an area like this worth? I did an analysis by reviewing every sale of a lot in the south end of Summit County in 2012. If this lot was located in a typical neighborhood surrounded by homes, the price tag would be around $200,000 (maybe less).

In today’s hectic, frantic world, it is easy to say that tranquility is priceless. That makes a premium of $300,000 seem like a bargain.

Buyers: Get out of the car. Walk around. Experience the area. Get to know it well. In doing so you are likely to discover the pros and cons that other buyers have overlooked.

Sellers: When marketing, look beyond your property. Search for that “hook” that makes your property unique. On the surface, for Lot 10, it might seem like Cucumber Gulch is the “hook.” However, it really is the 47 species of birds and all the wildlife.

Daniel Webster Johnson has earned the national Quality Service Certified Platinum award, recognition of 100 percent client satisfaction. He is a broker associate at Resort Brokers Real Estate in Breckenridge. Call him at (970) 393-3300. Drop him a line at

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