Ultimate guide to buying a ski property in the French Alps
18th October 2022
The French Alps are a world-renowned destination for winter sports enthusiasts. If you're thinking about buying a luxury ski chalet or apartment in this beautiful region, this guide from Unique Living will tell you everything you need to know, in conjunction with our local team in the French Alps, our office in the United Kingdom will help you with your search from your initial enquiry to the point you move into your new overseas property.
We'll cover the background on buying ski chalets, apartments and other types of properties in the French Alps including plots to build. We'll also give you some tips on what to look for in a prime location, as well as what to avoid. Finally, we'll walk you through the steps of finding and purchasing the perfect type of property for your needs.
The French Alps are renowned for their excellent skiing, breathtaking mountain views and sunshine. If you're thinking about buying a property in this picturesque region, there are several things you need to consider. In this guide, we'll cover the following topics:
Types of Properties: Ski Chalets, Apartments, and more
When it comes to purchasing a property in the French Alps, you have several options. Whether it is a luxury modern multi million euro chalets, traditional ski chalets in need of renovation or cozy one bedroom apartments that can accomodate four people, t's important to decide how much space you need and what features are most important to you before beginning your search and the reasons you are looking to buy, whether it is to relocate, retire or find a second home or holiday home in the French Alps.
Ski-in/ski-out properties are another popular option for those who want easy access to the slopes. These properties are typically more expensive than other types of properties, are easily rented and they offer convenience and ease of use that is worth the extra cost for many buyers.
Mountain views are another feature that many buyers look for in a property. While all properties in the French Alps have stunning mountain views, some properties have better views than others. If having an unobstructed view of the mountains is important to you let us know, you will find that there are certain features that will increase the long term value of the property. We will be sure to ask your specific requirements in our initial meeting and advise on the best type of property to suit your needs.
Prime locations vs peaceful locations vs centrally located locations
There are three main types of locations to consider when purchasing a property in the French Alps: prime locations, peaceful locations, and centrally located areas. Prime locations offer easy access to skiing and other winter sports activities. They tend to be more expensive than other types of locations but offer convenience and close proximity to amenities that many buyers find appealing. Peaceful locations are typically farther away from the slopes but offer tranquillity and seclusion that may be appealing to some buyers. Centrally located locations offer a mix of convenience and peace and quiet but may not be as close to skiing as prime or peaceful locations.
Apres Ski & Cuisine
Two important factors to consider when purchasing a property for sale in the French Alps are apres ski (the social scene after a day on the slopes) and cuisine (the local food). The French Alps are home to some of the best apres ski bars and restaurants in the world. If you're looking for a lively après-ski scene, be sure to ask about it when viewing potential properties. The French Alps are also home of some Michelin-starred restaurants serving up exquisite local cuisine. If fine dining is important to you, make sure your potential property is located near some of these top-rated restaurants. The music scene in some mountain resorts is becoming far more popular with outdoor music festivals becoming more of a feature, some top international DJs have been seen and heard performing in recent years.
4 Steps to buying a luxury Property in the French Alps
Now that we've covered some of the background information on buying a property in the French Alps, let's walk through the actual process step-by-step so you know what to expect.
The first step is finding the right property. You can search our portfolio of properties for sale and select those that intially interest you, most properties in the French Alps are on advertised on shared mandates so you only need to work with one company like Unique Living who specialise in French Alps property for sale Our portfolio currently extends to Courchevel, Megeve, Meribel, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val d'isere, and Chamonix. We also have access to descretly advertised properties for sale, many owners prefer this method of marketing their property for confidentiality reasons, especially when selling prestige estates.
After selecting the properties, Unique Living will organise your viewing itinerary during your trip, Once you've visited the properties and found some potential properties that meet your criteria, it's time for step two: shortlisting. To shortlist means to create a list of your favourite properties from your initial search so you can further research them later. We always recommend a second viewing usually at a different time of day so you can see where the sun is located.
After you've chosen your top properties, it's time for step three: selecting a property. This is arguably the most important step in the process because it's when you'll actually purchase your dream ski chalet, apartment or penthouse. When selecting a property, pay close attention to historical data, resale value, rental licenses, zoning restrictions, building codes, environmental regulations, construction quality, HOA dues, insurance costs, monthly maintenance fees, utility costs and tax implications. All of these factors will play into how much your monthly expenses will be once you own your new Alpine retreat. Also an important consideration is to conduct a structural survey on the property as this is not a legal requirement when buying in France. Always include this requirement as a condition of purchase. Don't worry if this sounds like a lot imformation to digest, we will guide you through this process and tackle each element at the appropriate time.
The final step is financing your purchase. If you're planning to take out a mortgage to buy your Alpine property, it's important to know that mortgages aren't easy to come by in France. Banks generally require buyers to put down at least 30% of the purchase price upfront before they will approve a loan.
It's also important to be aware of potential tax implications when buying property in France. Capital gains tax (CGT) is levied on profits made from selling real estate investments held for less than six years. CGT rates range from 19% - 34%, depending on how long the property was held and other factors.. In addition, buyers are also responsible for paying VAT (value-added tax) on new build properties equal to 20% of the purchase price.. Finally, annual property taxes (known as "taxe foncière") are also levied on all real estate holdings in France. If you require a mortgage always include obtaining finance as a condition of purchase, this will mean if you do not get a mortgage you have the right to withdraw from the sale.
We hope this guide has given you an insight into what you need to know about buying a property in the French Alps. Purchasing a ski chalet or apartment in this world-renowned region can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With careful research and due diligence, you're sure to find the perfect property that fits all of your needs, at Unique Living we will guide you through every step of the purchase and ensure no alpine stone is left unturned so get in touch today. Bonne chance!