When Kevin Griffitts’ employer mentioned relocating him to Colorado and a town called Avon, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He had never been here before and loved to ski. He was also aware of the area’s reputation as among one of the premier resort areas in the world. So he said, “Sure. Sounds like a nice opportunity and adventure.”
Relocating from Bend, Oregon, where he owned a home on a couple acres of a land outside the city limits, he anticipated that finding something comparable was going to be a challenge. Not really knowing what to expect, he decided he would go into the process with an open mind, consider his options open and see what the area afforded in terms of lifestyle and amenities.
Upon his arrival in June and having found an apartment to rent while he looked for a place to buy, he started thinking it might also be time for a change in terms of living in a place closer to a community and his work. Avon Crossing was the second place that came up in his search with broker associate Liz Hasley.
In speaking with the seller, Liz learned of the new MiCasa Avon funding program that provides deed restricted down payment assistance for buyers as long as the residence is used for a 30+ hour Avon employee. “The process was very easy,” said Kevin. “There was one form that included showing proof of employment and a pay stub. There is no limit on re-sale value. The city retains 12% ownership and the home/condo needs to remain primary housing for a local employee.”
What helped you make the decision to buy at Avon Crossing?
I have to admit, the process was so much better because of Liz. She was really easy to work with, knows the area and is familiar with most if not all of the communities and housing complexes. She definitely understands pricing. It was really nice bouncing ideas off of her when it came to negotiating price and the pros and cons for different complexes. I loved that it was a top floor unit and also a fixer upper, because I’m a DIY kind of guy. Also the location. I’m within a mile or two of work, skiing, stores, Nottingham Lake and the Westin gondola to Beaver Creek. I pretty much ride my bike most of the time. The MiCasa support allowed me to put enough down so I now only have to work one job instead of the two, which I had to do in Bend to afford my mortgage payments.
What are the updates you are doing to the condo?
I’m painting everything, installing solid hickory wood flooring and putting in new countertops in the kitchen. Replacing some lighting. I am also a homebrewer, so have also added a small refrigerator and tap. I keep coming up with new ideas but at some point I need to make myself stop. I also have a lot of friends and family who say they want to come visit. I want to make sure it’s comfortable for them when they do.
What got you into homebrewing and what kind of equipment do you need?
I was watching YouTube with my brother-in-law and we got hooked from the get-go. We had a larger brewing system in Bend, which could produce 45 gallons at a time. A little more than what I need as a single guy so I am downsizing to my old system to do five to 15 gallon batches. While I haven’t had time to brew at home since moving to the valley, I have been told there is a store in Silverthorne where I can get supplies. Looking forward to making one my favorites, Lizard Lager.
Any favorite food and beer pairings?
I love a good barrel aged stout and steak. I also like to support local brewers and have become friendly with the brewmaster at Bonfire Brewing in Eagle, who is also from Bend. I also own a smoker and enjoy cooking with that as smoked meats go great with beer.
What do you like most about living in Avon and the Vail Valley? Any pleasant surprises about the lifestyle here?
I can’t say there is one thing as there is a lot I like about living in Avon. So far, this includes: being able to walk or ride my bike to work, the grocery store, restaurants, Nottingham Lake and the gondola (from The Westin) for skiing. I’m really looking forward to finding what life is here without COVID. If I had to pick one thing I like the most it’s how friendly everybody has been since I moved here. It was one of the things I initially missed about Bend and is definitely not lost here. You could even go as far to say it is more friendly.
Having gone through the MiCasa and condo search process, any recommendations or tips you would give to other buyers?
The best thing about MiCasa is that I believe any residence in Avon qualifies as long as it’s a primary residence for a local employee. Consequently, it’s like searching for any other home but with purchase assistance from the city. My tip would be about the same as anybody looking for a home. Start with your mortgage broker and figure out your limits. Also spend a little time online figuring out where you want to live and what’s your base needs are. Then find a good realtor who knows what they are doing and who will work with you – like Liz.