big sky Tag

It has been an incredibly busy year on the real estate acquisition front. Our strong recent investor growth was followed by commensurate levels of new real estate acquisitions. That means I travel. A lot. Even though we are in a pandemic. It’s given me an opportunity to send snapshots to my mother of me wearing a mask while flying. She worries. Plus, she always wanted me, her only son, to become a doctor. Mask wearing is about as close as it’s going to get.

Over the past ten months, we’ve acquired nine new residences. Big Sky, Napa Valley, the Florida Keys and Miami were the most recent additions to our residence portfolio. And stay tuned for some new announcements soon.

Wait a minute, Philip. Isn’t this a terrible time to be buying right now? If you’ve been looking for a second home (or third), you might have noticed luxury real estate markets are very competitive. So how do we continue to find gems at the right price? In short, we’ve had nearly fifteen years to perfect our residence buying best practices. Keep reading and I’ll let you in on some of our secrets.

The Perfect Storm Creating This Tight Real Estate Market

Homes aren’t just selling. They are selling at a record-setting pace in some markets. While that’s good news for sellers, it can give buyers heartburn…especially in affluent neighborhoods and the most desirable vacation home markets. I recently had a phone conversation with our realtor in Lake Tahoe to review newly listed homes. Within three days, they were all under contract. Many realtors look and sound exhausted, and they have right to feel that way—it is that busy in many markets. Here are a few articles that I found in a quick Google search:


With unprecedented low levels of inventory and equally low mortgage rates, the market has become competitive to start the year. Coupled with COVID-fueled demand for residences outside traditionally hot metro areas, prices are reflective of handsome appreciation over prior year, and most home listings priced right are getting contracts within 30 days.

In many cases, potential buyers are outpriced in competitive markets or forced to make rush decisions. Not a good formula for new or infrequent buyers. Regardless of how many years down the line you might want to exit, you need a proven way to ferret out good buys if you wish to make money.


The Equity Estates Difference

So how do we do it? How do we continue to find smart buys which will deliver the right travel experience with the right return? Over the years, we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) these three keys to successful acquisitions in any macroeconomic environment.

  1. Understanding investor preferences
  2. Building long-term relationships with realtors
  3. Extreme patience + robust due diligence + stomach for renovations


First, keeping our fingers on the pulse of investors’ destination preferences is an ongoing, purpose-driven exercise. It helps us identify meaningful targets while excluding trendy fads which won’t stand the test of time. We receive regular feedback from our investors. Last month, we asked hundreds of prospective investors where we should buy next. The results, as always, were extremely informative. They validated that we’re currently looking in the right areas plus added a few new opportunities to our shopping list. We have even doubled down with more than one property in certain high demand markets like Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, and Los Cabos.

Second, when we circle in on a new market, we find the right local real estate expert. Sometimes we buy right away. Other times it may not happen for a decade. But we maintain our relationships and keep tabs on the markets we care about. We find partners that get to know us, understand the expectations of our investors, and who are willing to work hard to uncover motivated sellers, i.e., those that want (or need) to liquidate.

We are also very data-driven purchasers who analyze market trends over time on key metrics like price per square foot. Access to this information is critical for us, but not all realtors can (or like to) work on that part of the transaction.

Finally, there’s no substitute to patience and hard work. Short cuts and time pressures often lead to poor decisions. It never ceases to amaze me what doesn’t get caught with a typical home inspection or what fails to get disclosed by a seller (knowingly or not). Don’t be afraid to get into the attic and explore the crawl space like I do. Where we find problems, it gives us an ability to negotiate from a position of strength due to first-hand knowledge. We feel empowered to walk away when we uncover undisclosed impairments which may impact our objectives and goals for a property.

Especially when renovations are planned, going in eyes wide open is important. In certain markets when you can’t check in personally on daily progress, managing renovations can be very challenging. It’s a great way to lose your shirt. This is where Equity Estates leverages our expertise to find long term value—with years of lessons learned now that we are on Fund IV.


Now Is A Great Time To Join

The Phase II Investment round of Fund IV is expected to sell out this month. Wouldn’t you love to diversify your overall holdings with an investment that is both a known hedge against inflation and an enjoyable way to create hassle-free, lasting memories for your family and friends?

We would welcome an opportunity to discuss why now is a great time to invest in Equity Estates.

If you are ready to learn more now, there are incentives for any new investor who acts before the end of the quarter. And if you are not ready, that’s perfectly fine. We will still be here when it’s the right time for you.

Call us at 404.445.8501 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our Investor Relations Team members.

Until next time, safe travels!

Philip Mekelburg
CEO, Equity Estates

 

Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Aspen in the winter is a dream for skiing and other outdoor sports, boutique shopping, eating, or simply sipping a hot toddy by the fireplace and relaxing.

With Equity Estates, the possibilities are endless. We interviewed Sean M, Destination Manager for Aspen, to create a perfect three-day itinerary. There is so much to do in this fabulous destination!

Day One: Explore a Winter Wonderland

For downhill skiing or snowboarding, there is nothing better than starting with Aspen Mountain, known locally as “Ajax.” Catch the Gondola in the village, a short walk from your Equity Estates home. Lunch on the mountain or at the base. Aspen’s Roaring Fork Valley boasts four ski mountains, each offering something for skiers of all levels: bowls, steeps, groomers, or gentle slopes—you don’t have to decide ahead of time as all resorts use the same lift ticket.

Another option for today, allow us to hire a snowshoe guide or rent cross country skis for a different perspective of the area. There are 90 kilometers of free trails in the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System. Take a lesson or guided tour through the beautiful rolling hills and aspen groves of the Owl Creek Trail, the North Star Nature Preserve, or take in stunning vistas of the majestic Elk Mountains. Your private concierge will arrange equipment rental and reserve your guide at the Aspen Cross Country Center (ACCC). Afterwards, relax in the ACCC lounge with a hot drink or head into Aspen Village for the perfect snack or lunch.

If you prefer to explore on your own, sans guide or teacher, trail system maps are available at the Center or online and your concierge will plan a picnic lunch for you from Meat & Cheese Market, a local favorite. Located in the heart of Aspen, the market offers take away or dine in. Soups, salads, sandwiches, charcuterie boards, and desserts, OH MY! Cocktails, wine, and beer may also be ordered to go if the restaurant is not currently seating.

Afterwards, walk around Aspen Village and warm up with a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at Victoria+co. This Australian style cafe is part coffee shop, part bakery, part wine bar. This local gem also serves hot breakfast and hot lunch. For a family style take out dinner, your concierge can pre-order the house specialty, Thai Green Curry.

Your concierge will arrange dinner reservations for Cache Cache, which is viewed by many as the best restaurant in Aspen. The food is unpretentious and delicious—try the Alaskan King Crab appetizer and choose from the restaurant’s over 6000 bottles of wine. Or for the Italian lovers, try Acquolina Trattoria and Pizzeria. A local favorite, savor the minestrone on a cold night. They have a full menu of salads, pastas, and entrees, too. Your concierge can arrange reservations or for dinner delivery if you prefer a night at home for a cozy movie night by the fireplace.

Day Two: Dogsled through Snowmass Backcountry

Ski at Snowmass in the morning and let us plan an afternoon or twilight dogsledding adventure with Krabloonik for a unique Aspen experience. Eight husky sled dogs guided by an experienced musher will pull you through the backcountry for an exciting and peaceful journey. Afterwards have a late lunch in their dining room or head back to Aspen for a bite or happy hour.

A modern Aspen Landmark since 1889 at the height of the town’s silver boom with its Old West vibe, J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome remains the town’s social hub, where local skiers rub elbows with socialites over craft beers, vintage-inspired cocktails, and Aspen’s best burger.

Tonight, dinner reservations at Steakhouse No. 316. Red velvet curtains and leather booths create a warm atmosphere on a snowy night, and they offer a full steak menu with many seafood and fowl options. Or rather, enjoy a five-star dinner in the comfort of your home and allow us to arrange for a private chef. Your concierge will work with you to select the perfect menu including wine pairings. Investors rave about this feature of traveling with Equity Estates.

Day Three: Shop ‘til You Drop and Go for a Sleigh Ride

Aspen offers unique, world class shopping. Spend the day wandering through town in search of treasure, that special statement piece, home decor item or gift.

Shop high end fashion consignment, many pieces are brand new with the original tags at The Little Bird. Discover top of the line Western wear and accessories at Kemo Sabe. Design your own statement piece—custom boots, hats, or buckles— or buy off the shelf and have them brand your initials on the item. The store has something for everyone and is a must-see destination in Aspen. You will not be disappointed. The Daniels Antiques collection is eclectic and to wander the store is an adventure through time and taste. Admire museum-quality antiques and rarities that are 50 years or even a century old. The owners specialize in Swiss Black Wood forest carvings. Inventory also includes French industrial clocks, contemporary art, custom aviation furniture, luxury barware, Louis Vuitton, and 20th century curiosities.

Hit the slopes or town in the timeless style of Gorsuch Ltd. Shop fur boots, luxurious cashmere, wool favorites, and performance wear. Shop Pitkin County Dry Goods for contemporary clothing, one of Aspen’s top retail destinations. This 50-year locally owned business has a loyal customer base from all over the world and when you stop in you will see why. The selection of men’s and women’s fashion is unique and stylish.

Come for the people watching and truffle fries, there is no better seat in town for lunch or cocktails than Ajax Tavern. Warm up with spiced cider or mulled wine at this hot spot, loved by locals and out of town visitors. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain and next to Silver Queen Gondola, this is the spot. Sit outside year-round thanks to their sunny tented, heated patio and during the winter season, they offer dinner and a movie. The cauliflower au gratin will not disappoint. Or if you’re interested in the St. Regis Aspen Resort, then drop in at the Mountain Social Bar & Lounge for handcrafted cocktails and light fare with views of Aspen Mountain.

Let us plan dinner and a sleigh ride for you at Pine Creek Cookhouse for the experience of a lifetime. Beautiful Percheron horses pull classic wooden sleighs to dinner in the nearby Ashcroft Valley. Guided by cowboys, your 20-minute sleigh ride takes you through the aspen trees with breathtaking views of the Elk Mountains on your way to an elegant cabin. Feast on rack of lamb, pistachio crusted caribou, and barbequed flat iron steak. The menu changes daily.

At Home In Aspen with Equity Estates

Equity Estates recently invested $275,000 to upgrade the interior and exterior of our four-bedroom Aspen residence. This has immediately added to the residence’s value and the feedback from our investors is they love it. The spacious living room and open floor plan allow for the entire family to comfortably gather around the fireplace for a cozy night in after a day of skiing or other winter adventures. Have a movie night or choose from a selection of games and prepare dinner in your expansive chef’s kitchen. Your private concierge will arrange reservations for activities and outings, meals out or meals in. She will even pick up your groceries to ensure your kitchen is stocked with all of your favorites from the local market. If preferred, she will hire a local private chef to experience the famous Aspen cuisine in your home.

Travel with Equity Estates for a unique and memorable Aspen experience. If you would like more information about investing with Equity Estates, please reach out to our Investor Relations team at 404.445.8501 or tap this link to schedule a call.

Your Aspen adventure awaits!

If the allure of stunning white sand beaches, warm cerulean water and laidback friendly islands is beckoning you, put the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on your next destination list. Now more than ever, many of us are yearning to travel somewhere beautiful where we can recharge, enjoy time with our family and leave the daily stressors behind. Many destinations are off-limits to visitors due to the pandemic, but the TCI is welcoming U.S. visitors.

As of January 4, 2021, there are no quarantine requirements, lockdowns, or curfews. Visitors aged 10 and older only need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within five days of arrival, have medical insurance and answer an online health questionnaire. Restaurants, shops and attractions are open (some with reduced capacity and mask requirements). And unlike many tropical destinations that require several hours in the air and multiple airports, the TCI is a short two to three-hour flight from many airports along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Turks and Caicos

Day One

The TCI beaches are the #1 attraction here, so from either residence, our DMs suggest easing into your stay by simply walking out your door, and you’ll be on a spectacular beach in moments. At either residence, you can settle into a comfortable deck chair next to an infinity pool and admire the beach sand-free— or dig your toes in the sand and take a dip in the warm, crystal-clear tropical ocean. When lunchtime rolls around, choose from several friendly, tasty beachfront restaurants such as Da Conch Shack or Omar’s Beach Hut. Both establishments have tables right on the beach, so no need to change out of your swimsuit!

Since the world’s third-largest barrier reef borders the island chain, our DMs say the TCI’s second-best attraction is its fantastic snorkeling and diving. Spend the afternoon cruising with Caicos Dream Tours and let its friendly, capable crew take you to remote beaches and snorkeling spots — or if fishing is on your agenda, you’ve come to the right spot! The TCI is a renowned bonefish and deep-sea fishing destination. If you happen to visit a few days after the full moon, another option is to book a Glow Worm Sunset Cruise with Sun Charters. Each month this spectacular phenomenon happens when bioluminescent sea worms carry out a mating ritual by swimming in circular patterns about an hour after sunset.

For dinner, our DMs suggests Seven Restaurant’s private dining experience where you can dine on or near the beach — or indulge in their private Tasting Room five-course, paired wine experience. If French/Italian cuisine sounds appealing, head to the Michelin-starred Provence by Eric.

Sea Turtle

Day Two

If you’re interested in learning to scuba dive or you’re already certified, the TCI offers exceptional diving, and our DMs recommend a private charter with Dive Provo. Another option they like is a trip with SNUBA Turks and Caicos, a shallow water diving hybrid between scuba diving and snorkeling. You don’t need a certification or wear cumbersome gear — you can swim among the spectacular sea life as you breathe through a specialized mouthpiece attached to air tanks that float on the surface.

Once your morning adventure ends, it’s time to refuel. For a tasty lunch, look no further than Cocovan’s food truck (run by the fabulous team at Coco Bistro). Sit at one of their outdoor picnic tables as you enjoy their fantastic fish, steak or falafel tacos and “Big Mac” egg rolls. After lunch, explore Provo’s remote wetlands via private kayak tours with Big Blue Collective. They also offer standup paddleboarding trips, kitesurfing and other adventures. For a more relaxed afternoon, lounge by your pool or the beach until it’s time for “sundowners” (sunset cocktails)! For dinner, let The Kissing Fish Catering Co. prepare and serve you a fabulous feast in the comfort of your residence. If you prefer to dine out, this talented group also runs Bay Bistro, a wonderful oceanfront eatery where you can dine at a private table directly on Grace Bay Beach. For late night fun, head to Casablanca Casino and try your luck at blackjack, roulette, poker or slots.

Day Three

Horseback riding is a fun adventure anywhere, and doing a private ride with Provo Ponies offers an extra perk — in addition to a scenic beach ride, their horses love to wade into the ocean! The well-trained, friendly horses carry you safely into the shallow water, allowing you both to cool your legs off a bit. You’ll have worked up an appetite on this unique adventure, so for lunch, our DMs say head to Bugaloos Conch Crawl, a lively beachfront restaurant with daily live entertainment and outdoor games. They even have tables sitting in the shallow, calm water so you can cool your feet as you eat.

After lunch, grab one more chance to admire the TCI’s underwater paradise on your own or take a guided snorkel trip at Coral Gardens, a well-marked snorkel trail just offshore from the Coral Gardens Resort. You’ll likely see gliding sea turtles, scores of tropical fish and maybe even a barracuda. Keep an eye out for Jammin’ Gelato’s ice cream cart that cruises up and down the beach serving delicious, unique flavors. If you’ve had your fill of water adventures, end your third day with a relaxing spa treatment from one of the TCI’s many luxurious spas.

No beach vacation is complete without a sunset cruise, so let Island Vibes Tours take you on a private luxury cruise and sip rum punch, champagne, beer or wine as you watch the glorious sun sink under the horizon. For dinner, our Destination Managers say Coco Bistro is a must. Dine under swaying palms and cozy lighting as you sample some of the TCI’s best local cuisine.

Thompson Cove

Not One, But Two Fantastic Homes

Best of all, you have two fantastic Equity Estates’ residences to choose from — a luxurious four-bedroom penthouse condo and a fabulous six-bedroom private villa. The expansive 4,500-square-foot penthouse overlooks Grace Bay Beach, which frequently lands on “Word’s Best Beaches” lists. Fifteen minutes away sits Thompson Cove, a divine 7,500-square-foot beachfront home boasting six equivalent master suites with private terraces, a splendid infinity pool and vast amounts of living space. We interviewed our Destination Managers, who, along with our Local Hosts, are ready to help you plan a much-needed, fantastic getaway to the TCI’s primary island, Providenciales (aka Provo). To help you get started, here are their suggestions on how to spend three perfect days in this idyllic island paradise.

Equity Estates can help make your visit to the TCI a delightfully unparalleled experience. If you’re already an investor, your Personal Travel Concierge is ready to assist you with arranging a memorable vacation here.

If you would like more information about investing with Equity Estates, please reach out to our Investor Relations team at 404.445.8501 or tap this link to schedule a call.

The magnificence of our mountain and ski destinations in the summertime is not to be overlooked. “Travelers are looking to escape the heat and commotion of the city and opt outside,” our Equity Estates Destination Manager tells us. “In warmer months, Big Sky, Montana positively revolves around endless opportunities to revel in the great outdoors.”

We pride ourselves on anticipating the needs of our investor families and ensuring that the trips they take to our homes are both seamless and restful. Check out this ideal three-day itinerary for families who are making their way to the beautiful Rocky Mountains this summer.

Day One: Yellowstone National Park

The Equity Estates residence in Big Sky is about an hour and a half’s drive from west Yellowstone and one of the Montana gates. With three hours to and from and ample miles to explore within the park, allowing a full day for this trip is highly recommended. We can book a private tour company for your group to be chauffeured around the wilderness in a Mercedes Sprinter. Your drivers are expert tour guides and will explain the scenery, wildlife and the park’s incredible history in great detail.

Halfway through the day, tuck into a picnic basket lunch at a picturesque stop within the park. Yellowstone spans 3,500 square miles and the Gallatin Range is seemingly infinite. “If you’re traveling with children, this hallmark day trip is one that they’ll remember forever,” the DM shares. “They’ll see Old Faithful, alpine rivers, hot springs and elk, bears, wolves, bison and more. It’s a trip the kids will talk about for months and years to come – true memory-making.”

On the way home, make a stop at the world-famous Riverhouse BBQ. The restaurant bills itself as the “Best BBQ Under the Big Sky” and their Texas-style specialties are so irresistible that travelers even pick up takeout to bring onboard during their flights home. Order a family-style takeout meal of baby back ribs and brisket to share back in the comfort of your residence.

Day Two: Fly-Fishing

If you have ever watched A River Runs Through It and longingly admired the dramatic backdrop in each scene, Big Sky is your destination and fly fishing is the order of the day. A half-day morning trip is recommended for beginners or, if you’re an avid fisherman, a full day with an early morning start is suggested.

Wades and walks in the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers are booked by half- and full-day increments. Gear, beverages and lunch (if booking a full day) are all included in your excursion. Equity Estates is partnered with the most experienced fly-fishing staff and guides in the region. Even if you’re a novice, these friendly guides will ensure you soak up every moment of your experience in the water, hopefully with a catch like a Montana blue-ribbon trout to show for your efforts.

Equity Estates’ Residence in Big Sky features vaulted ceilings and spectacular views

Day Three: Outdoors at Home Base

Our residence is located on Lone Mountain just off of the White Otter Ski Trail. It’s on-mountain and, in the winter months, ski-in, ski-out. In that same vein, your convenient location means that single-track mountain biking and an abundance of hiking trails are available just outside the door. To meander the shops and outdoor patio dining, the mountain village below is a 20-minute walk away.

“I love to research the activities that families are interested in to make their vacation great. Recently a family wanted to enjoy some swimmable lakes in Big Sky and I mapped those out for them. Big Sky is very much down-to-earth, the opposite of pretentious. Families love it here for that very reason.”

Adrenaline junkies can make reservations to zipline or try their hand at archery. Families can take in the scenery at 11,166 feet above sea level – Montana’s highest scenic overlook – by taking a ski chair and an expedition vehicle to this world-famous spot. Just a short drive away, tee times can be arranged at Big Sky Golf Course, an 18-hole par 72 course designed by none other than Arnold Palmer.

At the end of a long day, spread out in the comfort of the residence’s 4,000 square feet or soak in the private hot tub. “Most families will want to linger close to the expansive view from the great room. It might be my favorite feature of the home. It’s a gorgeous view of the Gallatin Valley down toward the mountain village.”

With groceries conveniently delivered before your arrival, your family can play all day and grill steaks at home for dinner. If you prefer, a private chef can also be arranged. Take advantage of the large outdoor dining area to dine under the stars and truly make yourself at home.