The French Alps, while always a popular holiday spot amongst winter sports enthusiasts, is now a desired destination for skiers who want to live amongst the best slopes in the world. Ski season is full of recreation and entertainment, but even the warmer, summer months come packed with fun and adrenaline fueled outdoor pursuits. For buyers who aren’t going to be in their ski chalet year-round, there are numerous properties that will appeal to seasonal renters.
Here are eight questions to take into consideration when searching for your perfect French Alps property.
1. How will you use your property?
Your first step is to decide exactly how you’re going to use your property. Will you be living there full-time? Will you only be visiting on the weekends or holidays? Will you rent it out when you’re not there? Knowing how you’re going to use your property will determine everything from the style and amenities you need to security measures for when you’re not there and what potential renters will be looking for. If you plan to rent your property while it’s not in use, make sure to have photos of the interior and exterior taken by a professional real estate photographer. Also consider having your home professionally staged to showcase how idyllic it can be when your renters are there on holiday.
2. What type of terrain are you looking for?
There are all types of ski resorts in the French Alps, including low-lying resorts close to villages and high-altitude resorts specifically for avid skiers. Your ski level, and the levels of the rest of your family members, will determine which ski runs you want to be closest to. If you have a varied range of skiing abilities in your family or if you’re going to be renting your property out, look for terrain that can suit all levels of skiing. Typically, the more terrain the ski resort has, the more variety there will be. This is also helpful if you plan on inviting guests to your home for a ski weekend. Keep in mind that higher altitude properties are less prone to low snow reliability; even if overall snow cover rates go down in France, high-altitude slopes are still likely to have snow.
3. How will you get to the slopes?
If convenience is essential, look for a ski-in/ski-out property, which will let you access the slopes right from your front door. These can be found in high-altitude resorts, like Courchevel 1850. This will also make it easier to rent out your property. Excellent skiing can also be found in the Tarentaise Valley in the Savoy region, home to the world’s biggest, fully-linked ski range; Les Portes du Soleil; and Les 3 Valées, which has over 600 km of ski runs and tons of luxury chalets to choose from.
Even if you love a resort that doesn’t have ski-in/ski-out property, you can still have easy access to the slopes. If you’re going to be spending a lot of your time skiing, look for properties that are near to ski stations or to bus routes that go directly to ski stations. The major benefit to purchasing a property that doesn’t have ski-in/ski-out capabilities is that you’ll be able to choose from larger homes.
4. Do you want access to other winter sports besides skiing?
There’s much more to do in the French Alps than skiing, especially if you love taking part in other winter sports or extreme sports. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a great setting for diverse adventure activities like Alpine mountaineering and extreme skiing. Snowboarding is big in the French Alps as well, with snowboarders regularly heading to the Tignes mountains, which has a challenging terrain park to play on.
5. Do you want an après-ski scene?
Even if you’re going to spend most of your time skiing, you may want more entertainment once you’re off the slopes for the day. There are exciting après-ski scenes in Chamonix, Grenoble and Meribel, where urban nightlife is brimming and the mountains are still close by.
6. What will you do during the summer?
Unless you’re going to head back home during the summertime, you want to make sure you can keep busy during the off-season. Several resorts in the French Alps offer summer activities like biking, canoeing, fishing, golfing, trekking and white water rafting. Both Chamonix and the Grand Massif have plenty to keep you busy during the summer months. Also note that if you live high enough, you can still ski even during the summer.
7. Are there any development plans in the works?
Before settling on your French Alps property, find out if there is going to be any construction in the near future. Not only could this affect how easily you get to and from your home, but it could also discourage rental clients from choosing your property. However, there is an exception: if your resort is being connected to another one that’s nearby, this could be appealing to renters.
8. Should you seek help for the legal and tax aspects of buying property?
The answer is always yes! Find a notaire who understands both the legal and tax issues of purchasing French Alps property. This will help you better understand the process. Plus, the professionals who are involved in the purchase of the property will expect you to have a notaire by your side.
Not only can living in the French Alps be a dream come true, it can also be a smart investment. While some considerations for purchasing property in the French Alps are similar to those when purchasing property elsewhere in France, many are specific to the location. Ski conditions, transportation and the rental market should all be considered when searching for French Alps property. HOMEHUNTS estate agents are able to select gorgeous, luxury French Alps property based on your specific search criteria.