Buying a Ski Chalet: 5 Top Tips

French Ski ChaletFrench property expert and ski enthusiast, Ed Scott shares his top 5 tips for property investors looking to buy a ski chalet.

With over a fifth of France covered in mountains, it’s no surprise that many of the world’s finest ski resorts are located in the French Alps. From the mega resorts of Chamonix, Val d’Isere and Meribel to the hidden gems of Avoriaz, La Rosiere and Sainte-Foy Tarentaise, skiing is big business generating over $10 billion each year.

For over half of Britons, France is the number one choice for a skiing holiday capitalising on the reliable snowfall, hundreds of kilometres of runs for all abilities and ease of accessibility from the UK. But for many snow bunnies just visiting for a few days each year is not enough and owning a ski chalet is high on Santa’s wish list.

But with hundreds of resorts dotted across the Alps and thousands of properties to suit every taste and budget, the choice can seem daunting. How do you find the perfect ski chalet?

French property expert and ski enthusiast, Ed Scott shares his top 5 tips for buying a ski chalet:

1. Choose the right resort -Think about what you want from a resort: the reliability of the snow (check the altitude), variety of runs, access to off-piste, number of ski lifts, cost of ski passes, availability of lessons and the all-important après ski facilities. If possible take time to visit your favourite resorts, speak with local residents and other property owners to get a feel for what life is really like in the area – both in winter and summer.

2. How are you going to get there? The volcanic ash cloud earlier this year affected many skiers travel plans with flights from the UK to popular Alpine access airports such as Geneva and Grenoble suspended. Reaching your ski property by air is often the cheapest, easiest and quickest way however owning a home near train stations such as Moutiers, Aime-La-Plagne or Bourg St Maurice which are served in only 7 hours by the Eurostar ski train direct from St Pancras International offers you and potential renters greater flexibility.

3. What to buy? The Alps offers a wide range of property types from purpose built apartments to grand chalets of traditional design. Of course what you choose to purchase will be influenced by your budget but most buyers opt for affordable apartments located in purpose-built developments close to the resort. A typical studio apartment will sleep 2 people and a one bedroom, 4 people with kitchen, bathroom and a ski locker for storage. Consider the location of the desired development; is it truly ski-in ski-out? How far is it to the lifts and essential amenities?

4. Maximise your investment – Unless you are relocating to the Alps, your ski property will most likely stand empty for some periods of time. Why not maximise your investment by renting the property out either directly or via a management agency? Purchasing a leaseback ski property is a very popular option as it allows you to enjoy personal usage as well as a guaranteed income as the property is rented out by experienced management companies to holiday makers year round.

5. Consider finance options – Contrary to popular belief, owning a ski property in the Alps can be affordable. Mortgages are widely available through brokers such as Athena Mortgages who arrange 1 in 5 mortgages for property in the Alps. Leaseback properties also offer finance packages, in some cases up to 100%, this combined with the rental guarantee makes them even more attractive to buyers.

Ed Scott can be contacted at Experience International on +44 (0) 207 321 5858 or www.experience-international.com.

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