Mar 09, 2020 / BUYING PROCESS

4 steps to speed up your home hunt

Discover our top 4 steps to speed up your property hunt.

Hunting for your perfect ski home is an exciting process. However, from that first browse online to finding the right property can be a long process – but it doesn’t need to. Follow our top tips to focus and speed up your property hunt.

1. Build your criteria from your lifestyle

You’ve probably already been told to make a list of what you want: perhaps a large entertaining space, or extra storage or bedrooms, or maybe a sauna. However, from our experience, one of the biggest delayers in a property hunt is when you realise that your criteria don’t actually fit what you want, but only once you’ve seen several houses.

A simple way to skip that part is to start from your lifestyle, rather than features of the house – and work out what would fit that lifestyle. If you’re going to be making frequent short trips, then perhaps it would be better to compromise on space to be closer to an airport. Likewise, if the family are going to be using it regularly, perhaps being further from the resort centre could be well worth it for somewhere with extra bedrooms.

Five-bedroom chalet in St Jean d’Aulps-La Grande Terche.

2. Arrange your finances as early as possible

You need a realistic idea of your buying budget. Firstly, it lets you understand how much ‘wriggle room’ you have in your search. Secondly, and crucially to speed up your property hunt, it shows sellers that you’re serious and means you can place an offer as soon as you see the perfect place. Otherwise, you risk delaying to go back and sort out the money side of things, only to find that someone else has placed an offer.

This means, then, that you need to speak to your currency broker before you go out on a viewing trip. Remember that, unlike buying a property at home, you will likely be dealing with buying in a different currency. If you haven’t worked out how you’ll be sending your money, and you just transfer it when you make an offer, you risk getting less for your money that you might have budgeted for.

Eight-bedroom villa in Verbier.

The currency markets are completely unpredictable – in six months’ time, if the rates have dropped, you could well lose out. For many people, the solution is what’s called a forward contract. Unlike a spot contract, when you send money on the day, you instead agree in advance how much you’re going to spend and secure that exchange rate for the next twelve months. You pay a 10% deposit of the total amount, and then you can pay the rest when it suits you in the remaining period. To find out more about how this works, don’t miss our free Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.

3. Start conversations before your viewing trip

You want your viewing trip to be completely concentrated on finding the property, not on introducing your search to agents. Make use of SnowOnly to enquire on properties in advance and to get in touch with ski real estate agents. Those initial conversations will help to speed up your property hunt immensely; the more the agent understands about your requirements, the better properties they can show you.

Two-bedroom apartment in Alta Badia.

Don’t underestimate their local knowledge, either. They may well be able to suggest areas that you haven’t thought about and will be able to help you get a clearer picture of the market and what you could pay.

4. Don’t delay on offering

Once you see the right property, make an early offer. Sometimes, you’ll hear advice telling you to delay to seem less keen to the seller and encourage them to drop their price, but it’s a risky strategy. You don’t want to risk them putting it off, nor do you want to give someone the chance to counter-offer.

As for how you put in an offer, find out how in your specialist country buying guides, free to download.