Posted on 28 November 2016
If Black Friday is the traditional time to start your Christmas shopping, the first two weeks of December are the best time to look for ski property: after the first dusting of snow, before the crowds arrive and with the best properties available. Buy promptly and you will even get a few ski trips in before the end of the season
Tignes, Val d’Isere, Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez each had between half a metre and a metre of snow at the weekend, enough to get some lifts open and that enervating ozone-y smell of snow into your lungs.
It also means that this is a great time to book that quick trip to the mountains while everyone else is either Christmas shopping or partying and before the mass of skiers arrives. There are plenty of budget flights to the ski resorts over the next two weeks for around £50 return from the UK.
Visit in winter and you can see at first-hand how it copes with the weather, what the access is like and how gorgeous it all looks covered in snow.
When you do go house hunting in the mountains, you can see first-hand not just what a particular property looks like inside and out, in the snow, but also get a feel for the area and whether it is exactly what you’re dreaming of. Some ski property house-hunters prefer to go in summer, when travelling is cheaper and easier, but visit in winter and you can see at first-hand how it copes with the weather, what the access is like and how gorgeous it all looks covered in snow.
Before you set off on your viewing trip though, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you make it as productive and informative as you can:
- Consider the neighbourhood and surrounding area, not just a particular property – what is the village/town/city like? Can you easily get to shops, amenities and services?
- Look at the time and distance it will take to get there from the UK in winter. Is there a choice of airports in case one is closed by the weather or airline arrangements change? Could you take the ski train or drive?
- How rentable is the property and the resort. You will probably want it all just for yourself in the first ski season or three, but down the line you might want to try different areas in which case you can rent your own out.
- Traditional French or more international? Depending on how good your French is, consider whether you want a more traditional French ski resort and community, or somewhere popular with other expats.
- Do you have access to a deposit? If you do find something absolutely perfect for you, can you proceed straight away? are you able to put down a deposit? Many people don’t consider this until the last minute, by which time it can be expensive and slow – increasing the risk that you miss out on the property. Having an account already open with a currency transfer specialist such as Smart Currency Exchange not only means you can access your money fast, but you’ll also get a better exchange rate than the banks.
When you have made a decision on the perfect resort and property, download the Property Guides comprehensive guide to buying a property in France.