Posted on 17 June 2021
When you’re buying a ski property, the aspects and features you would consider vital if you were buying elsewhere are different. To make your property hunt easier, we’ve decided to give you our top tips for buying a ski property this summer.
After all, property purchase is becoming an increasingly online process, so distance isn’t a problem for property hunters anymore.
So, you’ve decided to look for a property in the Swiss or French Alps. You’ve been looking through the listings, admiring the beautiful Alpine decor, huge balconies, and facilities available in your dream chalet. The next step is to visit, but that’ll need to wait until later in the summer. Still, you’re beginning your property hunt and it’s the perfect time to consider our top tips for buying a ski property.
Location, Location, Location
When you’re looking for a ski chalet for sale, and you’re studying the listings, you might not notice how far it is from the centre of town. There are several large, spacious chalets on the edge of a resort that all look beautiful in photographs, but they’re difficult to get to in practice.
If you want to be close to the centre of the resort or the pistes, you will need to make sure you look for the actual location of your property. The centre of a resort is rarely the place you’ll find whole chalets for sale. If being right in the thick of the action is what you want, you might find yourself looking at ski apartments instead.
Being a little way out is no problem as long as the resort bus service is good, or you’re planning on engaging a shuttle service for yourselves and any guests you might have. It is, however, something you’ll need to think about.
Create a Checklist
It’s a good idea to fully consider what you want from your chalet or apartment in the Alps. Creating a checklist of features, location, resorts, and size will enable agents and companies to find you properties that fit as many of your requirements as they can manage.
As is often the case when you’re buying property, you might find you need to compromise on some of the items on your checklist. This can be due to budget or availability. Our top tip within these top tips for buying a ski property is to order your checklist according to which features you’re willing to compromise on.
Your property hunt will go that much smoother if you’ve got a checklist; knowing what you want is vital when you’re buying a ski property.
Look for Square Metres
The French Alps are filled with tiny Mazots that look for all the world like their larger counterparts. Buying a chalet is no guarantee of size, which is why one of our top tips for buying a ski property is to pay attention to the property’s square metres.
As the French Alpine property market has grown, modernised, and shifted as building practices have changed means you have far more options than you would have once. There are semi-detached chalets, duplex, and triplex apartments, in addition to the classic detached chalet and small apartments.
Where do you Normally Live?
When you’re used to a sprawling family home in the countryside, you might find that a two or three-bedroom apartment in the Alps feels positively pokey. Alpine property is built differently than those in the UK and elsewhere; bedrooms tend to be very small and often dark. The third of our top tips for buying a ski property is to temper your expectations.
This is because an Alpine home is designed around the living and dining area, which is normally light, spacious, and usually offer the best views. Builders and developers in the Alps do not expect you to spend much time in the bedrooms, so they’re not designed to be a feature.
The Investment / Lifestyle Split
Are you looking for a ski property purely for personal use, spending time in the mountains with family and friends? Is this an investment for you to rent out, and use only occasionally? Do you fall somewhere in the middle? This is an important question to think about before you start searching for a chalet in the Alps.
That’s not to say that renting your chalet or apartment out is impossible when you buy a property more suited for personal use. If you’re further out of the resort you’ll need to be sure of where your chalet or apartment is located, what the ski bus schedule is like, and this location will affect the rental yield. By comparison, a ski-in ski-out property near the centre of town will likely be much smaller than a chalet or apartment further out. It will, however, fetch a premium on the rental market.
Where you buy affects more than just how long it will take you to walk to dinner!
Get to Know Alpine Property
There are some extra considerations that you might want to keep in mind during your ski property hunt. These include knowing a south-facing aspect will only be important if you’re planning on spending time in your chalet or apartment in the summers. This is because light reflects off the snow during winter and keeps even north-facing properties light in winter.
Floor plans in France don’t include ‘dead space’ where the ceilings are too low for the space to be useable, so chalets and apartments are often larger than they seem on paper. Elsewhere, you might find a ‘coin montagne, ‘cabine’, or ‘dormitory’ on the floor plan, which denotes extra beds. This is especially useful for rental properties, as you will be able to charge more for the additional beds.
Families might find that a dormitory bedroom can be a great addition. You’ll find two sets of bunk beds in a dormitory room, which is a great way for the whole family to holiday in the Alps without needing to look into three-bedroom properties.
Top Tips for Buying a Ski Property: Small Considerations
After Brexit, buyers from the UK face similar rules and regulations to those elsewhere in the world. This means that buyers will now need to consider more than just the actual property purchase. French law states that you must apply for a Carte de Sèjour to live in France full time, along with switching to a French driver’s license.
There is a secondary resident’s permit for holiday homeowners, but you will not be able to live and work in France using this permit.
Workers with a reliable income will have no problems with attaining the Carte de Sèjour, as the process has been simplified. You will also need to apply for your Carte Vitale. This is your health card and requires you to have your birth certificate on hand. You will need the help of a local translator if you aren’t fluent in French, as it can be tricky to complete all the paperwork correctly.
Wherever you are interested in buying a ski property, take a look at our selection of ski properties for sale. If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch either by email or telephone. We hope our top tips for buying a ski property has helped you on your property hunt. Good luck!