A Guide to Purchasing a Ski Property in the Alps
If you’re looking for an amazing lifestyle investment, you should consider purchasing a ski property in the Alps. For anyone looking to find their home away from home where they can spend every holiday season and make unforgettable memories, the Alps are a great location choice.
If you want to buy property in the Alps without giving yourself a headache or jumping through hoops, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information.
3 reasons to buy a property in the Alps
There are many beautiful places in the world where you could buy property, so why should you choose the Alps?
These are the three main reasons:
Amazing skiing opportunities. Skiers who are always looking for the best terrains definitely won’t be disappointed by the Alps. After all, they are home to the best and biggest ski domains in the world. This includes the famous Three Valleys that has 600km of pistes and is the largest interconnected ski area in the world.
More than just the slopes. Skiing might be the main attraction for most people when it comes to the Alps, but there are so many things this area has to offer. In the Alps, you can enjoy amazing local dishes, partake in various winter and summer activities, and simply enjoy the nature surrounding you.
Great investment potential. While you can buy property you can enjoy yourself, there’s also a possibility to buy it and generate income. A lot of people spend their holidays in the Alps and if you have a rental property, it will be easy for you to generate income during the summer and winter months.
Choosing the right location is important for any property purchase if you want to get the most out of the property itself and preserve good resale value. Your location and budget also need to go hand in hand since buying property at world-famous resorts such as Verbier and Courchevel won’t come cheap.
For a lot of people, as they will be spending a lot of money on their property, they want to make sure it meets all of their expectations. They’re looking for the right style, recent renovations, great access to the slopes, the right number of bedrooms, an open plan, and so on.
And while it’s good to know what you want, you should realize that there’s no such thing as a perfect location or the perfect property.
If you want to be realistic, you need to aim for a property that comes with a great ski area and prices that fit well into your budget. But before you can be sure that you found the perfect location, there are a couple of things you need to do.
Firstly, you need to collect information about your preferred location. If possible, visit the resort you’re thinking about buying property in and spend as much time there as you can. Visit it at different times of the year and rent out an apartment or a chalet while there.
Secondly, you need to make sure the resort you choose can be easily accessed. No matter if you’re planning to use it as a vacation home for yourself and your family or turn it into a rental property, having an easily accessed location is definitely a great benefit.
One of the best locations you can choose is Verbier, Switzerland. That is why a lot of people are interested in properties for sale in Verbier and similar resorts, as they attract numerous tourists all year round.
Speaking of which...
As we already mentioned, winter isn’t the only good time of year to visit the Alps. In fact, spending summer holidays in the Alps keeps growing in popularity.
The Alps have a lot to offer during both seasons. With skiing and snowboarding taking over the winter months, during the summer there are a lot of cycling, hiking, and swimming opportunities.
There are many ski resorts in the Alps that have strong summer seasons and the property values in those resorts have increased. This is because dual seasonality appeals to both potential buyers and people who are looking to rent out properties.
What type of property should you buy?
Since there are so many options available, it might be difficult to decide what type of property you should buy. The decision will, of course, come down to your personal preference.
There are two things you need to decide:
Whether you want an apartment or a chalet
If you’re interested in new-build or renovation property
If you only plan on spending a couple of weeks every winter there and renting it out for the rest of the year, a ski apartment would be the smartest investment. On the other hand, if you’re planning on being there more frequently with friends and family, you will need a larger and cozier space such as a chalet.
As for new-build vs. renovation, the biggest difference is the price. While new-build prices are typically 20% higher per m2 than apartments and chalets, they also come with certain guarantees and benefits that come with the newest standards of energy performance, which make for smaller energy costs.
You can also purchase a “leaseback” new-build property that will allow you to use it for a certain number of weeks each year and the rest of the time, a management company will rent it out.
As we already mentioned, it’s very important to be realistic.
First of all, you need to have a realistic budget and realize that your budget might not be enough to cover your expectations. Properties are very expensive in this area and while there are some Swiss mortgages you can apply for, you will still see some high prices when you start looking for a property.
Just because you can afford to spend your holiday in a resort doesn’t mean you will be able to purchase property there. If you’re looking to secure a ski-in, ski-out chalet in Verbier, for example, you can expect a price of up to $10.8 million.
And if you’re realistic about your budget, it will be easier to be realistic about your wishlist. Know how much you want to spend, determine what features your property must have (and which would be a nice bonus), and what resorts you can afford to purchase an apartment or chalet in.
Also, keep in mind that ski-in ski-out properties, as well as renovated properties, often come with a premium. This also goes for spas, pools, and similar amenities.
Consider a lesser-known resort
The prices for property vary greatly from resort to resort, more than some people realize. If you notice that the prices in your favorite resort are too high, you should consider looking at properties in nearby villages. That will probably be a more affordable option that is still linked to your preferred ski area.
It’s important to realize that it might not be possible for you to buy an apartment or chalet in your favorite resorts. This is the case for most prospective property owners. And when they see the high prices, they back out of purchasing any property, but it doesn’t have to be like that.
There are multiple resorts in the Alps that aren’t very well-known but still offer a lot of opportunities and are located in prime spots. Even if you can’t afford to buy your dream apartment in an exclusive resort such as Verbier, you might be able to afford one in a nearby village that still meets all of your needs and requirements.
Don't limit yourself by the price per m2
One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying property anywhere is limiting themselves by the price per m2. Needless to say, you should avoid doing this because there are too many factors at play and you can never get the same price per m2 in different apartments and chalets.
The average price per m2 doesn’t account for how many stars a property has, what position it has in the resort, nor how close it is to a ski piste. When someone is selling a house, the prices also differ for newly built and newly renovated homes, and there are many more factors in play.
There’s also a big issue with calculating the price like this. In Switzerland, there are different methods of calculation used by developers, and there are certain areas where they use their own customs to describe the dimensions of a property. Indeed, buying a property in Switzerland can be confusing to people who are new to Swiss real estate, especially foreigners, but it definitely pays off.
Finally, if you’re looking up the numbers for these prices online and trusting the quotes from big global estate agencies, you need to be aware that those numbers are often wrong.
Research before renting out
If you’re thinking about renting out your ski property as a way to offset some of your costs, it’s a great idea but you should also know it can be complicated. Some communities don’t even allow rental, so before you fall in love with a specific place, research if they allow Airbnb and similar accommodation arrangements.
When renting out a property, you also need to think about so many things. Something a lot of people forget about is the cleaning and how important it is to have a reliable cleaner who will come in whenever needed.
There is a lot of work that goes into researching and buying the perfect ski property in the Alps, but don’t forget this process is also supposed to be exciting for you. When every piece of paper is finally signed, take a moment to rest, relax, and congratulate yourself for making a purchase that will pay off in many different ways. Your new apartment or chalet can be a source of income but also many happy memories.