Designated to help: Steamboat real estate brokers use continuing education to better serve buyers |

Designated to help: Steamboat real estate brokers use continuing education to better serve buyers

Twenty-one of the 23 residences at the Cimarron Townhomes off Medicine Springs Drive in Steamboat Springs are second homes. Like three other brokers in town, Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty broker Molly Hibbard has earned a resort and second home property specialist designation to better serve Steamboat buyers interested in second home purchases or residences to run a location-neutral business. Hibbard facilitated sales for two Cimarron residences in 2015.
Courtesy Photo

— The abundance of second-home purchases and location-neutral business owners in Steamboat Springs is leading some real estate brokers to focus their continuing education on how to best serve that clientele.

According to Yampa Valley Data Partners, about 45 percent of residences in the greater Steamboat Springs area are second homes, and a growing population of professionals who work remotely from their homes are also choosing to live in Steamboat.

Broker Molly Hibbard of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty is one of only four Steamboat brokers with a designation as a resort and second home property specialist — a credential that has helped her better understand the needs of second-home buyers and location-neutral business owners versus buyers looking for a primary home.

While primary home buyers will place a high value on the home’s location in relation to schools, access to services or convenience to town, second-home owners or those looking to work from home will have other priorities.

“A buyer who is looking to buy a second home is likely going to be thinking about the location to the recreational opportunities and the amenities that are being offered at the property,” Hibbard said. “Many of these buyers will look for a space in that home that they can utilize to conduct business when they are away from their primary home, but even having access to a business center in a condominium complex might suffice.”

Hibbard said the knowledge she gained through her RSPS designation has helped her better understand different financing options or tax implications for buyers based on how their home might be used.

“Getting an RSPS designation focuses on resort and second-home owners, which is obviously very appropriate for Steamboat,” Hubbard said. “You learn about tax-deferred exchanges, different financing options depending on how you will use your home and many other things that will help you be a better salesperson.”

RSPS is one of seven designations held by Hibbard, who also is the first broker in Steamboat to earn a seller representative specialist designation, which helps her enhance the way she represents sellers.

Brokers are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education for every three-year period they are licensed, but some also choose to pursue additional designations to elevate their knowledge base.

Financial and tax implication instruction made up the bulk of the coursework for the RSPS designation, according to broker/owner Eliese Pivarnik of Colorado Group Realty, who earned the credential in 2008.

Pivarnik said the information she learned about 1031 exchanges, which allow investors to defer capital gain taxes when reinvesting in a new property in some cases, has allowed her to make sure buyers are well informed before making a purchase. Because of information she learned through the RSPS designation, Pivarnik said she’s able to point buyers toward an accountant, tax professional or lawyer for more information when necessary.

She also learned that many condo purchases aren’t eligible for Fannie Mae loans, another helpful piece of information for buyers.

“If buyers aren’t paying cash, it helps that they know their options before beginning their search because financing options may limit what types of properties they are able to buy,” Pivarnik said.

Sotheby’s marketing director Nancy Ihlenfeldt said that while advertising and marketing of a home are key to generate interest, having an educated realtor who understands the intricacies of a property is the most important element of a successful sale.

“The value of your realtor is the most important cog in the wheel,” Ihlenfeldt said. “Sellers who use a real estate professional make 16 percent more on the sale of their home than sellers who go it alone.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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