Nov 28, 2022 / INVESTMENT

Dual Purpose ski property - what they are and why you need one

A ski property in the French Alps is at the top of many people’s life goals. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, along with spectacular skiing, legendary food and layers of interest that continue to build as you get to know the alps and their communities.

If you like the idea of having your own gorgeous retreat, and generating a little extra income then choosing to invest in a holiday let could be a great opportunity. This article gives a few pointers about what to look for and where to look as well as an introduction to the ins and outs of holiday letting in the French alps.

What is a dual purpose ski property? 

A dual purpose ski property is a term for a ski chalet or apartment that you choose to use as a personal holiday home and a commercial holiday let. Whilst the principle is incredibly simple, there are a few things you need to know to help you get the very best for your holidays as well as maximising your rental yield. 

Reasons to buy a ski property in the French Alps

3 Bedroom Apartments in Morzine

France has some of the best ski areas in the world

Places like Portes du Soleil, with some 650km of pistes, 200 lifts and views of the one and only Mont Blanc, or Les Trois Vallees, with 600km of pistes, 15 summits and 6 glaciers offer some of the most varied skiing in the alps, with excellent facilities for families and a sound infrastructure that makes for strong appeal to the holiday rental market. 

As well as these iconic ski areas, France has a wealth of hidden gems that will appeal to those looking for somewhere a little different and could give you an opportunity to create a unique holiday offering. This level of choice means maximum appeal for a maximum range of visitors. 

There are superb things to do in France when you’re not skiing 

The French alps also offer a superb range of things to do when you’re not skiing. The food of course is outstanding, with everything from some of the most chic restaurants with Michelin stars and the latest in innovative cuisine, all the way to traditional places serving the most delicious fondue and raclette you can imagine. 

There’s plenty of ways to burn off all this gorgeous food outside ski season, with thrilling downhill MTB, a criss-cross of hiking trails as well as rafting, kayaking and even golf if you prefer a more leisurely type of exercise. People come to enjoy the healing atmosphere of a mountain spa, take part in art holidays, write retreats, explore heritage or simply enjoy being in the unique ambience of an alpine town. In short, a well located holiday home in France can be a magnet for visitors all year round. 

French ski resorts have ongoing investment

Dual season appeal means great investment potential and resorts continually strive to maximise their visitor offering. These can be high level investment such as a €10 million investment in the Grands Montets ski area which will see the creation of a specialised beginners area as well as the addition of two state of the art chairlifts, or more simple initiatives such as the creation of a heritage trail or family friendly hiking guide. Understanding the type and scale of investment will help you understand whether this is a resort that will suit you as a long term rental generator, as well as a long term holiday home. 

Chalet located in Argentière

Top four things to think about when you’re looking for a dual purpose ski apartment in France

  1. Location

This is an obvious one, but always worth mentioning. If rental is your main goal, then its essential that your property is easy to reach by air, and increasingly by rail. Ski-in ski-out is the ultimate when it comes to convenience and rentability, but a beautiful property in sensible reach of the lifts will still have strong appeal to visitors. 

The other aspect of the dual purpose rental is of course thinking about what you want from your holidays. Do you love to be in the centre of the action with the liveliest apres ski on your doorstep? Or are you hoping for a more tranquil, nature soaked experience that offers a place of absolute relaxation? If you need the latter, then there may be less obvious demand for the property as a rental, but a little research and marketing will offer good results.

  1. What type of property? 

Next you need to think about the type of property you need. Do you want a new build? Resale? What sort of size? What level of facilities? Again, this is a point where you need to consider the priority - rental appeal or personal preference. 

Benefits of choosing a new build property in France

  • Lower notary fees than resale properties
  • VAT rebate which can save 20% on the purchase price
  • No need for renovation
  • Opportunity to customise
  • Can offer services such as restaurants, bars, spa facilities
  • Can offer services such as rental management

Benefits of choosing resale properties

  • No need to wait for completion
  • Established property means established rental market
  • Opportunity to see in person before you buy
  • Opportunity to get a feel for the property and the surrounds before you buy
  • May offer facilities such as bars, restaurants, spa
  • May offer property management services
  1. What is the resort like? 

This is one of the biggest factors in choosing your dual purpose apartment. The ambience of the resort will impact both your enjoyment,and the type of guest you can expect. It makes sense that if you’re hoping for a space that will work for your growing family, or to share with your grandchildren, then there’s little point choosing an apartment in an area known for incredible nightlife such as Val d’Isere or Courchevel. If you’re hoping for somewhere with a chilled out feel then Saint-Martin-de-Belle-Ville or Samoens could be perfect and families can look out for places designated as Famille Plus Montagne resorts. 

  1. Long term prospects

If your intention is for this to be a long term investment then it’s worth getting a feel for how the resort will develop over the next ten years. Our investment guides give a good overview of potential infrastructure improvements and many of the resorts themselves give good detail of new investment as well as events calendars and new tourism initiatives. 

4 bedroom apartment in Joseray

  1. What sort of apartment should you choose? 

Choosing something for yourself is straightforward - just put together your wishlist and find the perfect match. Choosing something with rental market appeal is a little different - that old adage of pleasing all of the people all of the time springs to mind. There are some common factors that can maximise your chance of success though. 

  • Capacity

Make sure your guests will have enough space- the general guide is 12m² per person, as a minimum. 

  • Bedroom to bathroom ratio

Bedroom to bathroom ratio is important - one for every bedroom and a spare is ideal for maximum rental yield. 

  • Outdoor space

Balconies, terraces, gardens - these make a huge difference to the appeal and rentability of your apartment. Consider proximity to neighbours too and think about how you can make the space more private. 

  • Glorious views

A stunning mountain view can be the biggest draw of a property - it brings the dream of a mountain retreat to life. 

  • Added extras

These are the details that make your property stand out. Can you create a space that would double as a remote office? Somewhere that is the perfect reading nook? Is there a gorgeous fireplace or a chef worthy kitchen? Anything that brings a little extra to your guests’ experience will command a higher price and higher occupancy - and of course they’re pretty nice for you to enjoy too. 

It’s also worth considering an apartment in resort style development. These offer a superb range of facilities including onsite bars and restaurants, state of the art spas and pools as well as concierge services. 

Remember it’s your holiday home too

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new business venture, but the key premise of a dual purpose ski chalet or apartment is that it doubles as your own mountain retreat. When you’re considering the style, location and feel of your new property keep a tight focus on what will make you happy. Whilst a sleek apartment in a buzz filled resort like Courchevel might offer the most obvious rental potential, if your dream is a more remote chalet in a village brimming with authenticity then that needs to be a driving factor. If it’s your dream, chances are others will share it - you may just need to seek a little further to find them. 

Property alert service

Choosing your dual purpose ski chalet or apartment can be easier with our help. SnowOnly is a dedicated ski property portal. We have access to dozens of agents and private sellers which means you can find your ideal property without trawling countless websites. Our property alert service means you can tailor your search and our useful buyers guides and articles give you mountains of information to help you breeze through the buying process.