Many buyers new to Mammoth are uncertain if they want to buy a house or a condo. Typically the first question I ask them is “Do you want to rent the property out when you are not using it?” If the answer is “yes” then I know that a condo is the best match for them. Very few houses are zoned Resort in Mammoth which is the only zoning that allows single-family homes to have nightly rentals currently. (See the zoning map under Resources on my website to learn which neighborhoods are zoned Resort.) If the answer is “maybe” or “no that is not important to us” then a house may be better.
Let’s talk about homeownership in Mammoth first. Structures at 8000’ need a lot of maintenance. Snow removal is the primary focus during winter. This means hiring a snow removal service to keep your driveway clear during the winter or doing it yourself if you are there full time. These services charge either a flat rate for the whole season or by the plow. Metal roofs typically shed snow well however, composite roofs do not. Depending on the snow accumulation that season your roof may need to be periodically shoveled. The horizontal cracks you see in the drywall in most Mammoth homes are typically due to heavy snow loads on the roof during a big winter. Also, keeping decks clear of snow is important so water doesn’t seep in over time. Unattended homes typically get some sort of water damage if large snowdrifts sit for too long on balconies. In addition, lower windows of a home need to be covered if snowdrifts get high to prevent breakage from ice dams that build upon the eaves of roofs. Altitude also means more UV damage to exterior wood. Keeping a fresh coat of stain or paint on wood surfaces that are exposed to sunlight, especially those south-facing, is another must-do. Finally, Mammoth is surrounded by forest. Keeping your home free of dead trees, limbs and shrubs is the homeowner's responsibility. Tree removal can be very expensive however critical to your home’s safety in a wind storm or potential threat of fire. Needless to say, owning a home Mammoth requires a lot of upkeep however, the reward is privacy and freedom. There are no shared walls or HOAs determining what is allowed in most neighborhoods in Mammoth. (A couple of neighborhoods do have some rules.)
Owning a condo in Mammoth frees you from having to deal with any of the exterior maintenance of a home. The HOA (Home Owners Association) will typically have a manager on site that does all of the snow removal and exterior repairs. Your monthly HOA fees typically pay for trash service, common area maintenance (pools, hot tubs, saunas, recreation rooms, tennis courts), landscaping, snow removal, and exterior building insurance. It is important to note, owners still need to get homeowners insurance for the interior of the unit and coverage for their belongings inside. Often water will be included in the HOA fee as well. Most condos allow for nightly rentals. There are very few complexes where the HOA has voted against them so it’s always important to double-check with your agent if this is important to you. The beauty of owning a condo is knowing that the place is being cared for when you are not around and that you won’t have to spend valuable time on exterior projects. If you decide to purchase a condo one thing to consider before making an offer is to find out if the complex has any upcoming assessments. An assessment is a one-time fee placed on owners to cover a large expense that they don’t have enough money for in the HOA reserves. Perhaps a new roof, siding, windows, or a major remodel of common areas. This type of information should be disclosed to you as a buyer however it is your responsibility to read the HOA documents carefully and do your due diligence prior to committing to the purchase. Sometimes these things are decided by vote after the purchase is made however it is always good to be aware of the possibility. Typically, when an assessment is in effect, the building needs it and it is money well spent but it is never something you want to get blindsided with as a new owner. The obvious drawbacks to owning a condo are shared walls and common areas. Sometimes the noise and parking can be an issue. Most complexes have a set number of parking spots for each owner and overflow is on a first-come first-served basis. All in all, do your homework before committing to a purchase. Learn about the complex and management. In general, condos are in high demand in Mammoth as the pros heavily outweigh the cons for most people and resale has been easy for most in the past. The market is always changing so stay in tune and sign up for my Mammoth Monthly Market Pulse so you are in the know.