Buy a ski retreat with rental potential

Posted on 02 May 2017

The sun has got his hat on, the flowers are blooming and the snow is melting. Normally this would be cause to rejoice: not if you’re a snow sports enthusiast. Once the ski season draws to a close you will be counting down the days until the next dump of snow on the slopes. If you’re considering buying a ski retreat, the long snow-less summer months could leave you in possession of an empty home. Even in the winter month’s work and family commitments may not permit you to be in residence on a permanent basis. Rather than leaving their property dormant, many alpine home owners choose to cash in by renting out their prize possession.

In agent lingo a ski property often ‘needs to wash its face’ by generating enough rental income to either cover its maintenance or fund the family’s biannual visits. But entering the rental market isn’t easy money; so you’ll need to consider these important factors to make it a sound investment.


For anyone truly serious about shredding powder, altitude is everything. Buy a property above 1850 metres – Val d’Isère, Tignes, La Plagne – and they will come. Not only will the guaranteed snowfall extend the ski season by as much as six to eight weeks, you’ll be well placed to command a more profitable weekly rental price.

Want to buy  a property somewhere in the Apls that offers rental potential? Click here to download the FREE guide to buying a home in France

Dual seasonality

You may want to purchase in old faithful: that same resort that you and the family have holidayed in for years now. But doing so could mean you are being short-sighted when it comes to the bigger picture. If you want to rent out your home in the summer months you’ll need to buy further down the mountain where outdoor activities that don’t rely on snow abound. Somewhere visitors who don’t just want to roast on a beach can take advantage of the dramatic verdant landscape and kayak, canoe, mountain bike and hike to their hearts content. Chamonix is a prime example of a year-round resort offering visitors a plethora of non-ski activities.

Size of the ski area

Bigger is better as they say. And this is certainly true when it comes to the size of the ski area that will be your new pads back garden. A wider terrain will ensure there’s something for everyone and your property will hold more appeal for all levels of skier and snowboarder, from families to experts. The obvious candidates here are huge lift-linked areas like the Portes du Soleil or the Three Valleys. Be warned, such world-famous domains tend to be pricey, so be prepared to settle for a mid-size resort with access to around 150 kilometres of slopes if you’re working to a tight budget.

Type of ski property

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a luxury chalet, then ski-in/ski-out apartment developments – of which there are plenty in the Alps – and chalets offer excellent rental prospects. If they are well located, both in terms of the local skiing and their proximity to amenities, they are likely to get picked up by tour operators who will rent them for a whole season.

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

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