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What you need to know when shopping for a luxury condo in Telluride, CO

Shopping for a luxury condo

From its bright wildflower trails in the summer to its snow-covered peaks in the winter, Telluride’s magical landscapes seem to come straight from a storybook. Many find themselves so enchanted that they end up trading cityscapes for dreamy alpine sceneries.

This quiet haven is listed as one of the most beautiful places to live in Colorado, and needless to say, there is great demand for high-end properties in the area. Luxury condominiums, in particular, have become a popular housing option for comfort-minded individuals who want to make Telluride their permanent residence or go-to holiday destination.

If you, like many others, are enamored with the idea of owning a piece of this paradise, luxury Telluride condos for sale may be worth the investment.

Why choose Telluride when you purchase a condo

According to local legends, Telluride’s name was derived from the phrase “to hell you ride,” a warning that foreshadowed the treacherous journey travelers at that time had to endure. Whether or not there is some truth hidden beneath folkloric speculation, Telluride today is far from hellish. If anything, it is heaven on earth for ski enthusiasts and outdoor lovers.

Are you an adventurous soul hoping for a fresh start in a new town? Or are you an investor looking to turn Telluride condos for sale into rental properties? Whatever your plans for the future may be, Telluride is a small town with a lot to offer.


Telluride is nestled away in a box canyon in a remote corner of Southwest Colorado. Surrounded by the majestic San Juan mountain range, it sits against a backdrop of 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks, making it one of the most photogenic spots in the Rockies. Ghost towns and mining ruins are also scattered around Telluride— remnants of the Colorado gold rush in 1875.

Once a mining town steeped in history and culture, Telluride is now a renowned ski destination that also oozes with Wild West charm. Victorian-era architecture is found throughout town and, in 1964, the downtown area was commemorated as a National Historic Landmark District due its significant role in America’s mining boom.

Perched above the historic district is its more modern companion town, Mountain Village. While Downtown Telluride is distinguished by its Old Western heritage houses, Mountain Village is better known for its European-style luxury resorts and hotels, as well as upscale condo complexes.


Telluride and Mountain Village are linked by a scenic gondola ride that offers 360-degree views of the San Juan Mountains. It is the first and only public transportation of its kind in the whole country. Free, pet-friendly, and handicap-accessible, this 12-minute ride is also a popular tourist attraction. The gondola grants access to areas such as Telluride Ski Resort, San Sophia Overlook, and the Uncompahgre National Forest.

Telluride also funds the Galloping Goose Transit System, a free public bus that follows a fixed route around town. Every 15 to 20 minutes, the bus loops around important local landmarks such as the gondola, the Wilkinson Public Library, the post office, the medical center, the local high school, and Telluride Town Park. The bus, while modern, has its own historic roots. The Galloping Goose is named after the gasoline-engine railbus built by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad in the 1930s.

Locals and tourists alike look to Telluride Town Park as the heart of the community. In the summer, visitors can access the park’s campgrounds, playgrounds, picnic tables, athletic fields, a skate park, a public outdoor swimming pool, a kid’s fishing pond, and various biking and hiking trails. In the winter, visitors can enjoy skating in the park’s ice rinks, Nordic skiing in the groomed trails, or sledding down Firecracker Hill.


There are a multitude of attractions to explore and activities to do in Telluride. Whether you’re roaring for excitement and adrenaline or searching for some peace and quiet, you’ll never run out of things to do all year round.

  • Ski down the slopes — Telluride has achieved worldwide recognition for being one of the best ski towns for a reason. The wide-open slopes, coupled with consistent snowfall and pleasant weather, make for some legendary skiing experiences.

    There are six areas available for cross country and Nordic skiing: Telluride Town Park, Mountain Village, the Valley Floor, Trout Lake, Priest Lake and Chair Ten. The balanced variety of terrains can accommodate skiers of different skill levels, promising a fun time for beginners and experts alike.

  • Explore hiking trails — Winter may turn Telluride into a pristine white wonderland, but the landscape during summertime is just as breathtaking. There are over 90 hiking trails in the region, ranging from quick morning jaunts to multi-day backcountry excursions.

    Some of the more popular hikes include Bear Creek Trail, Jud Wiebe Memorial Trail, Lewis Mine Hike, Ajax Peak, Sneffels Highline Loop, Imogene Pass, Blue Lakes Trail, Ballad Mountain Trail, and Silver Lake.

  • Ride whitewater rapids — As spring melts away the snow, the San Miguel River becomes a haven for whitewater rafting enthusiasts. The narrow waterway cuts through winding redstone canyons, from high alpine forests to unique desert terrains.

    Rafting season usually begins around late May and continues through October. With Class I-III rapids, the San Miguel River offers an exciting but moderately challenging experience. Kids ages 8 and up can join this family-friendly adventure.

  • Drive off the beaten track — The intertwining roads etched across Telluride’s rocky landscape are imprints leftover from the town’s mining past. These old mining roads lead to some of the highest mountain passes, offering unmatched views that make every drive worthwhile.

    Bridal Veil Falls, Smuggler Mine, and the Tomboy Ghost Town are some of the most popular spots for guided off-road tours. If you’re a thrill-seeking off-roader, Black Bear Pass is a dangerous but scenic dirt road unsuitable for the faint of heart.

  • Camp in the great outdoors — Sleep under the stars and wake up to the morning alpenglow by camping overnight in the Telluride wilderness. There are several campsites in the area, including Sunshine Campground, the Priest Lake Campground, and Lizard Head Pass.

    If you cannot bear to be away from modern comforts, designated campsites like the Telluride Town Park offer easy access to showers, bathrooms, and various activity areas.

  • Take a dip in a hot spring — Located a mountain away from Telluride, the Dunton Hot Springs is a romantic 18th-century ghost town reincarnated as an exclusive resort and spa. Its natural hot springs are rich in calcium bicarbonate and has a strong concentration of dissolved iron and manganese, with a tiny dash of lithium.

    The temperature of their indoor and outdoor thermal pools ranges from 85°F to 106°F. Bathing in unfiltered hot spring water is believed to soothe sore muscles and detoxify one’s skin.

  • Ride a horse-drawn sleigh — Traverse green meadows atop a wagon or dash through the snow on a sleigh as a team of trained horses take you on a ride like no other. For a truly unforgettable night, opt for a ranch-to-table dinner experience — the perfect end to a family outing or a romantic date.
  • Get into a festive mood — Your social calendar will never be empty when you live in Telluride. Despite being a small mountain town, everything from mushrooms to yoga is a cause for celebration.

    One of the most anticipated events of note is the Telluride Balloon Festival. During the summer season, locals and tourists gather to watch colorful hot air balloons take flight against the backdrop of the picturesque mountain valley.

    The fall season ushers in another major international event: the annual Telluride Film Festival. Every year, for four days, celebrities, filmmakers, and cinephiles come together to watch nearly 90 film entries from 25 countries.

  • Listen to live music — Just like the arts, music is woven into the town’s cultural tapestry. In fact, summer music festivals are a staple in the area.

    Whether you’re a fan of bluegrass, jazz, rock, blues or Americana, Telluride hosts intimate live concerts that can be enjoyed by everyone.

  • Go sightseeing downtown — If you wish to learn more about the town’s mining heritage, a self-guided walking tour is a wonderful way to pass the time. After all, Telluride is only 12 blocks long and 8 blocks wide — the perfect size for a day’s worth of exploration.

    Shop for souvenirs in candy-colored boutiques with clapboard storefronts. Take a gander at Popcorn Alley’s bordellos and soda parlors. If you’re a proper history buff, visit the Telluride Historical Museum and check out its collections and outdoor exhibitions.

    If you need a place to rest your feet, cap off your day with a cocktail at the New Sheridan Hotel. The stained glass windows and mahogany bar slabs remain unchanged since 1895.


While it is clear that Telluride goes to great lengths to preserve its past, the town is also moving forward with the future in mind.

In 1978, a master plan was envisioned to prevent haphazard developments that might endanger San Miguel County’s ecosystem. Unlike other ski resort towns, Telluride’s surrounding areas are under federal control. Even privately owned grounds are obliged to adhere to strict local regulations.

In order to protect environmentally sensitive lands, regional zoning plans imposed a limit on the number of commercial and residential properties in the area. This has fueled a controlled growth in the marketplace, resulting in competitive real estate prices and high-return investment properties.

In addition to this, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historical & Architectural Review Commission work to preserve the town’s architectural integrity. Both parties oversee building applications to ensure the designs and materials follow Telluride’s distinct Victorian-era aesthetic.

A great boon that comes with investing in a heritage town is that you no longer have to worry about a decline in interest or tourism. As an investor, you can rest easy knowing the town’s natural and architectural beauty will forever be preserved and protected by the law.

Things to consider before you buy a luxury condo in Telluride, CO

Thanks to years of thoughtful planning and development, Telluride has never lost its spirit or character. The town invests a lot of resources into its preservation efforts. In return, property owners are expected to do their part to achieve the community’s goals.

A condo in a premier tourist destination is a wonderful investment, but it does come with some responsibilities. Here are some things you need to consider before buying Telluride condos for sale.

HOA rules and regulations

As circumstantial as it may seem, it’s important to pay attention to a building’s homeowners association (HOA). After all, it’s responsible for enforcing rules and regulations upon the condominium’s residents.

Purchasing a property within the association’s jurisdiction obliges you to adhere to their covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). They have legal power that extends to enforcing fines to those who are non-compliant.

For example, some Telluride condos do not allow pets. There are even residential buildings that forbid owners from renting out properties despite being free from zoning restrictions. In adherence to municipal codes, some may impose a maximum occupancy limit for every unit.

Every community is different, so before you purchase a unit, be sure to check the HOA’s rules and regulations. You want a condo you can fully enjoy, not one that will hamper your lifestyle or business interests if you’re an investor.

Local real estate ordinances

If you’re interested in getting a condo as an additional source of income, you also have to be familiar with local real estate ordinances to make sure that your investment pays off.

For instance, in an attempt to regulate housing prices and maintain the safety of residential spaces, Telluride imposes rental limits on certain residential zone districts: Residential, Historic Residential, Hillside Transitional, Hillside Developing One, Hillside Developing Two, West Hillside, and Medium Density Residential.

Short-term rentals (less than 30 days), in particular, require a business license to operate. The fee costs $330, with an additional $44 per bedroom. They are also taxed at a rate of 15.15%. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 8.65% Sales tax
  • 2% Town Lodgers’ Tax
  • 2% Town of Telluride Excise Tax
  • 2.5% Town of Telluride Affordable Housing Short-Term Rental Tax

Types of luxury condos for sale

If you’re new to the real estate game, the nuances of vacation home ownerships may elude you. Turning your luxury condo into a vacation rental calls for a better understanding of the different types of properties in the area so you can figure out which option best suits your needs.

  • Condominium — A condominium is a property complex composed of multiple units, typically owned by separate individuals. A condo unit owner has a vested interest over shared community areas. Therefore, they are generally required to pay the homeowners’ association dues. The upkeep and maintenance of the unit itself falls under the responsibility of the owner.
  • Condominium Hotel — Like a regular condo, a condominium hotel is composed of several units, most of which are owned by different people. A condotel, however, has better shared amenities and offers concierge and cleaning services. Unit owners can also opt to join the hotel’s rental program and rent out their property to paying hotel guests.
  • Timeshares — A timeshare is a shared ownership model between multiple parties. Buyers purchase exclusive use of a property for an allotted amount of time each year. This f
  • ractured ownership model is often used for vacation properties such as resort villas or condominiums.

Why buy now?

If you conduct a quick search of available property listings online, you’ll come to realize that there is a limited number of Telluride condos for sale. The town’s low inventory is currently struggling to keep up with its thriving real estate market. Because of this, median property prices are expected to continue its upward trend.

San Miguel County addresses this issue with its updated master plan. Based on their projections, future plans for residential developments will consist primarily of second home condominiums. Construction for single-family homes will be allowed to continue throughout the region, but only at a moderate, steady pace.

Since single-family housing doesn’t seem to be the county’s top priority, purchasing Telluride condos for sale is the superior investment opportunity. Buying a condo now actually poses less risk than trying to time the market amid rising property prices. Striking while the iron is hot is crucial in such a competitive landscape.

Use Team TD Smith’s mountains of experience when buying a luxury condo in Telluride

Nobody knows Telluride, CO real estate better than Team TD Smith. It’s led by none other than TD Smith, who co-founded Telluride Real Estate Corp., and subsequently became the first elected president of the Telluride Association of Realtors. In recognition of his pioneering efforts, the organization honored him with the “Lifetime Achievement Award”.

As a real estate broker of over 50 years, TD Smith stands by his philosophy of building lasting relationships with his clients. His expertise in upscale properties, whether for leisure or investment, is unparalleled in the industry.

Live your dream life in Telluride

Discover the best Telluride condos for sale with the help of Team TD Smith. Give us a call at +1 970.729.1577 or send an email

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