Posted on 19 May 2021
As vaccine rollouts ramp up, and the prospect of getting on an aeroplane begins to look like less of a far-away fantasy, we at skiingproperty.com have turned our attention to visiting a property in the Alps. So, here’s how to visit a property in the Alps once travel is back on the agenda.
Assuming once you reach this point you’ve got a shortlist of resorts, and properties you’d like to look at within those resorts, you’ll already have figured out whether you can visit all of your potential new homes in one trip. If you’re looking at resorts you don’t know very well or have never visited before, it can be best to stick to one resort per visit.
Here are our top tips for re-visiting ski property in the Alps.
Visit in low season
If you’re wondering how to visit a property in the Alps and get yourself an accurate gauge of what the resort is like, timing your visit for the low season is a good idea. It sounds a little counter-productive, I know, but the low season is the best time to see the true character of a resort.
How much does it remain liveable during quiet periods? Does it turn into a ghost town, or are people living there throughout the year?
A resort can seem like a lively and bustling place to buy during February, but that’s no guarantee that you’ll visit in November and still think it’s somewhere you want to spend months of your life. The Alps can feel like an isolated, lonely place outside of the main season, and you want to know for sure whether a resort suits you before you buy a property there.
That’s why visiting property in the Alps can be most effective during the low season if you’re buying a property to spend significant time living in. A resort that you love in winter, might be utterly desolate when the tourists and seasonaires disappear at the end of the season. If you’re planning on staying there for more than just winters, that’s something you will need to consider.
As Geneva is a large, busy airport, there are regular flights to and from most of the countries in Europe, and the UK too. Right now, you’ll need to check the COVID guidelines to get an accurate gauge on how to visit a property in the Alps, but as the number of vaccinated grows and restrictions lift you’ll find normal service will soon resume.
Certainly, by the end of the summer, you will be able to fly in to take a look at your property shortlist without too much hassle.
The French airports are a little easier to fly into at the moment, so it’s unlikely there’ll be many flights out to Chambéry, flying into Lyon or Grenoble might soon be possible. From there, it’s easy to drive over to Alpine resorts like Courchevel, Val d’Isere, and Meribel. The pretty resort of La Clusaz, which is a popular summer destination in addition to being an easy, weekendable ski resort, is only two hours from Lyon.
Potential buyers wondering how to visit a property in the Alps might want to consider driving too. After all, if you hop into your car for the whole journey you really are minimising the number of people outside your bubble you interact with! This is one of the few times when the long drive might be appealing.
Whether you decide to wait for the Swiss border to open fully, drive out to the Alps, or look into flying to a French airport, it’s still very much possible to get here. Make sure you investigate all your options if you want to visit a property in the Alps and you’re not sure how.
Visiting Off-Plan Property
Under normal circumstances, you might visit a developer, see work done by the same architects and builders, and tour the site before buying off-plan. Currently, when it comes to how to visit a property in the Alps when it’s not yet been built, you may want to consider doing the bulk of buying off-plan at a distance.
What then, I hear you ask, is the point in visiting?
Firstly, visiting a resort to buy property is as much another chance to get a feel for the resort as it is to find a property. Nobody wants to buy a chalet, only to find they hate the resort it’s in! Secondly, you may have other properties nearby on your wish list. Thirdly, if you visit the resort, you’ll be able to walk past the site and work out how close you are to the slopes, the centre of town, and where the nearest bus stop is. It’ll make envisioning your future property that much easier!
Visiting Key-Ready and Resale Property
Unlike buying off-plan, buying key-ready and resale property means you have a property that you can tour around. That means meeting with a local agent, and visiting properties. You’ll need to be a little more careful than you normally would, to minimise risk for the property owners and local agencies.
This may mean showing your vaccine certification or taking a quick test before visiting any properties you might want to view. Fortunately enough, tests in France are free at the pharmacy and the hospitals! That means it’s relatively easy to get tested while you’re in town.
Whether the local agent is free to do all the tours in one day, or over several different trips, it’s worth sticking around for a while to make sure you’re choosing the right resort.
If you’re looking at buying a key ready property, the process will go from how to visit a property in the Alps, all the way to exchanging contracts very quickly! For buyers who want to move fast, and get their hands on a beautiful new ski chalet or apartment by the time next season arrives, buying a key ready property will get you there as fast as possible.
How to Visit Property in the Alps, and Stay Safe
When it comes to visiting a property in the Alps, when you’re thinking of how long to wait, when will be a good time to visit, and how to navigate visiting at this time, it’s best to do your research. Weighing up the risk is something only you will be able to do. As such, it’s best to find as much information as you can in advance of your visit.
As the Alps have a comparatively lower year-round population than cities, the number of COVID cases is comparatively low. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk, and waiting until you’ve been fully vaccinated before planning your visit is a good idea. Switzerland and France both have different rules and regulations for travel at the moment, so you’ll need to look up the specific country you’re travelling to.
If you’re at all worried about how to visit a property in the Alps safely, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. While we’re firm believers in visiting properties and resorts before you buy, as you’re far more likely to make the choice that’s right for you, we know safety is important right now.