5 things to consider before buying an alpine retreat

Posted on 13 March 2017

For a nation that doesn’t experience a great deal of snow – and grinds to a halt when it occasionally does – Britain is teeming with winter sports enthusiasts. And it’s easy to see why: some of the finest slopes and resorts in the world are just a short flight away, and you can even drive to many popular mountain ranges if you fancy a scenic road trip. If you want your alpine fix on tap, you might be considering buying a ski property. To ensure you make the most of your investment, take these five factors into account:

Look at resorts that are investing in infrastructure

According to a recent report from Knight Frank, the decisions of ski resort home-buyers are being driven by financial investments made by resort owners.  And your thought process should be no different if you want to cash in on the alpine dream. Find out if there are plans to create a wider ski domain, if the lifts are to be upgraded, if luxury brands are leasing retail space or if new hotel groups are exploring key sites. By investing in progressive resorts your property will become increasingly desirable and is more likely to appreciate in value in the long-term.

Dual seasonality

When the snow eventually melts you’ll be left counting the days until the first dump of the next ski season. Rather than leaving your alpine retreat empty while you continue to pay the mortgage, why not be proactive and rent it out during the summer months? To do so effectively you’ll need to choose a destination with dual seasonality. If your chosen destination ticks this box and attracts visitors throughout the year, its rental potential will rocket. Chamonix is a great example of a 12 month resort, where an ongoing investment plan has enabled it to become a multipurpose year-round resort.

If you’re ready to put this advice into practice, click here to download the FREE guide to buying a home in France

Consider your property’s resale prospects

If you want to cash in on your investment one day, take some time to consider how much your home might be worth when the time comes to sell up. Thankfully, you won’t need to dust off your crystal ball to calculate this. As already mentioned, the level of investment in the local area will come into play. Other factors that will swell your coffers when the time comes to sell up include access to an airport and amenities, as well as the resorts location. Opting to purchase in high-altitude, snow sure destinations such as Val d’Isère or Tignes will ensure the local property market remains buoyant. Don’t forget to give your property a little ongoing TLC inside and out to keep it looking spick and span.

Take advantage of low interest rates

We have become accustomed to living in a world of low interest rates since the global financial crisis in 2008 – making borrowing money far cheaper. A prime example of these favourable conditions for overseas property buyers can be found in the Eurozone, where rates are set at historically low levels. This has enabled Brits to lock in low mortgage rates that swell budgets. You may be able to afford an extra bedroom or even live higher up the mountain as a result.

Use a currency specialist

Buying a ski property in Europe will expose you to currency market volatility, whether it’s mortgage payments, rent repatriation, maintenance costs or all of the above. By seeking the assistance of a currency specialist, you can prevent exchange rate fluctuations from having a negative impact on your plans. You will be assigned a personal account manager who can work with you to devise an effective currency strategy. This dedicated expert can explain how you could secure the cost of your dream home by fixing a current exchange rate for up to 12 months, using a forward contract.

For a step-by-step guide to buying a property in France, download the France Buying Guide by clicking here.

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