Want to buy a ski property in France but not sure where? Answer these 6 questions to help you narrow down your mountain location
1. How good are the transport links?
This is a consideration for all French property buyers but it seems to be particularly important if you are buying a ski property. If you’re planning a number of trips across the winter then you don’t want to be spending most of your time travelling to and from your property. Do you want to have to hire a car or pay for an expensive taxi ride to your property? It is also important if you are planning to rent out your ski property to holidaymakers. If you are buying in the Alps then transport is relatively straightforward with the major international airports of Geneva and Lyon and the Eurostar ski train, but make sure you check transfer times to your property. If you’re planning to buy in the Pyrénées then Toulouse is likely to be the nearest airport.
2. How long is the ski season and what is the infrastructure like?
Think about when and how often you would like to ski as this might affect where you buy – ski resorts at higher altitudes and with snow cannons have longer ski seasons than those at lower altitudes. Unfortunately the higher the altitude and longer the ski season the more expensive property prices are so you might have to compromise! Another aspect to investigate is the infrastructure available – the ski lifts, pistes and leisure facilities like restaurants, spas and shops.
3. What will the area will be like in the summer as well as winter?
There has been a focus recently on promoting the mountains as a summer destination as well as a winter one with activities such as hiking, mountain biking and paragliding. So investigate what your chosen area is like in the summer as well as winter – are the transport routes still running, are the shops and restaurants still open?
4. Does the property have rental potential?
There is a trend for property owners to rent out their mountain properties to holidaymakers, although most owners do this to cover their maintenance costs rather than to make an income. If you’re thinking of doing this then location is important – is it a popular resort for holidaymakers, what are the transport links like, could you rent it in summer and winter, is there someone who could look after the property and do changeovers for you? also think about the property itself – how many bedrooms and living areas does it have, does it have a TV and Wi-Fi, is there a ski locker?
5. Have you looked at other resorts and mountain ranges?
The resorts of the French Alps are by far the most visited and most famous ski resorts in France but that doesn’t mean you should confine your search just to them. Do you want to be in a busy resort or would you prefer something quieter and more authentic? There are plenty of lesser known resorts in the Alps but also consider the Pyrénées and, for something really off the beaten track, the Jura, Vosges and Massif Central. 6. What is your budget?
Obviously your budget is going to dictate where you can buy. As you would expect the well-known, popular resorts with excellent facilities and long seasons are among the most expensive areas to buy a ski property. So you might have to look a bit further afield to a quieter resort or you could look at options like leaseback, buying off-plan or buying a renovation project.