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GLOSSARY

Some useful terms to assist you during your ski property purchase:

Acte authentique de vente

The final contract, or deed of sale, for the completion of a French property sale, signed by the vendor and buyer, and certified by – and in the presence of – a notaire.

Canton
Regional state in Switzerland, eg Graubünden.

Commune
Local municipality or council in France, overseen by a mayor (maire) . Eg, Les Gets is a ‘commune’ in the Haute Savoie department.

Compagnie des Alpes (CDA)
Europe’s largest ski resort/ ski lift operator, controlling around 22 per cent of French resorts.

Compromis de vente
The first legally binding purchase contract in the French buying process, drawn up once an offer is accepted. Signed by the vendor and buyer, it typically requires the buyer to pay a 5-10 per cent deposit.

Cooling-off period
The week immediately after the signing of the ‘compromis de vente’ when the buyer has the right, by French law, to pull out of the sale without losing their deposit.

Dual season
Offering activities and amenities for tourists during the winter and summer months.

Duplex
Apartment over two storeys.

FAI (Frais d’Agence Inclus)
Indicates that agency fees are included in the advertised price of a property in France. Typically seen next to the listed price of a property.

Gîte
Self-catering accommodation in France available for holiday rentals and usually furnished.

Leaseback
A type of purchase contract, introduced by the French Government, which requires an owner to lease their property back to a holiday management company, which maintains the property and offers it as tourist accommodation. Leaseback owners can opt to receive a set number of weeks’ personal usage each year.

Lex Weber Law
Switzerland’s law that restricts the number of second homes allowed in a resort to 20 per cent of the total number of residences.

Maintenance charges
Fees property-owners in a complex or résidence pay towards the upkeep of communal areas and on-site facilities, including swimming pool, garage, gym and structural insurance of the building.

New-build
Newly constructed property yet to be purchased by its first owner.

Notaire (notary)
A legally qualified representative of the French State legally required to oversee and certify all property transactions. Notaires’ fees are set by the Government.

Off-plan
Buying property in a brand new ski development before it is constructed, typically requiring the buyer to make staged payments and settle the final balance on completion.

Property management agency
Firms employed to manage and look after ski homes on behalf of their owners. Services include key holding, cleaning, managing changeovers for rentals, and managing rentals and bookings.

Resale
Property offered for sale by an existing private owner, as opposed to new-build or off-plan property sold by a developer.

Résidence du tourism
Building containing leaseback properties, typically suites or apartments, and any communal facilities used for tourist accommodation.

SCI (Société Civile Immobilière)
A company set up exclusively to purchase property.

Service charges
See ‘Maintenance charges’.

Ski-in, ski-out
A property or accommodation with ski-able access to and from the slopes or a ski-lift.

Tax Foncière
French council tax due annually on every property in France and paid by the owner. Half goes to the local ‘commune’ and half to the French State.

Tax d’Habitation
French council tax due annually and based on residency of a property. Usually owners pay this tax, even if their property is a largely unoccupied second home, but if a property is let on a long-term basis, the tenants cover it.

Triplex
Apartment over three storeys.

TTC (Toutes Taxes Comprises)
Indicates that all taxes are included in the advertised price of a property, typically seen with off-plan and new-build property.

TVA (Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée)

VAT (Value Added Tax).

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