Your viewing trip is one of the most important parts of finding and buying your perfect ski home: it’s when you narrow down your list to that handful of home you want to make an offer on. It’s even more important when buying from abroad: you need to compress it into a short period of time, which means careful planning to make the most of it. Here are our top five steps to a successful viewing trip.
1. Decide how to organise your viewing trip
You’ll have two main types of viewing trips. Firstly, you could organise one yourself. This’ll give you a potentially broader range of properties, as you’ll likely use several agents, but you will need to arrange each appointment, transport and so on yourself. This works best if you’re unsure of the type of property you want to see, so you need to view a wide rage.
Secondly, you could use an agent. This is a good option if you’re sure of the type of property you want to see, and you’ve got an agent whose portfolio suits that. Generally, they’ll organise the whole trip for a small fee and arrange accommodation, transport and will introduce the local areas to you, too.
2. Narrow down the list of properties to see
A common mistake on a viewing trip is not deciding in detail what you want to see in advance. Instead, people end up refining their list as they go, which can be highly time-consuming. We recommend asking yourself three key questions:
How will you use the property? Think realistically, rather than ideally. If you know you won’t be able to spend long stretches there, but are looking at weekend breaks instead, then being close to an airport is important. If it’s a month or so at a time, however, it could be worth looking slightly further afield for better value.
What lifestyle do you want? A lot of people list things as elements they definitely want, but would never actually use them – and miss some key ones. Rather than immediately diving into the features of the home, think about your lifestyle in the new place. Do you want to entertain in the evenings after skiing? If not, a large dining space might not be priority. Will you be making frequent, short trips there? Extra storage to leave double of everything will be handy.
What are your absolute must-haves, must-not-haves and ‘nice-to-haves’? If you’re a couple buying, write your lists separately and then compare – it helps to make sure everyone’s on the same page. It also gives you a clear idea of what you would comprise on and what is non-negotiable.
3. Organise your finance before leaving
Making sure all your financial planning is absolutely key to having a successful viewing trip. If you find the perfect home and then have to decide how to transfer your money over safely – or even work out how much your budget in your home currency is in the currency of the country you’re buying in – you could well find someone else has made an offer before you so much as start.
Using a specialist currency broker will give you the option of locking in the same exchange rate for up to twelve months. That way, you can go on your viewing trip knowing exactly how much you can budget for in the second currency, and knowing that you can transfer immediately for a reservation deposit.
Find out more about securing a fixed exchange rate in the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.
4. Check out the local area
Make sure you have a good look around the local area as someone considering living there and not just as a tourist. Is transit easy? Is there access to daily necessities, like supermarkets? Try and visit at different times of the day to get a good feel for it.
Likewise, have a look at the situation of the property itself. Is it in an area that gets a lot of shade from a surrounding mountain? This can make damp much more of a problem.
5. Inspect the property
When you actually view a property, consider firstly its ‘lifestyle’ fit – does it fit your requirements from the list above in person? Is it as you expected? If you’re happy with that, then cast a critical eye over both the interior and exterior quality of the home.
It’s almost impossible to provide a finite list of things to look out for, but key areas include the quality of the interior – do any joints show through, is plasterwork even, grouting neatly finished and is any framework on doors or windows free of damage? Check that all locks and hinges work properly and that there’s good water pressure throughout the house or flat.
Outside, have a look to see that any mortar is evenly finished (a clue is that it’s of an even colour)? Look at the guttering – are there any obvious blockages? Are surfaces for driveways and so on even and complete? Is the roof complete without any damaged tiles?
6. Make an offer
If you find the perfect property, don’t hesitate to put in an offer. This will mean you need to make sure all key decision-makers are on the trip – just needing to talk over with someone back home can mean a big delay in the process.
In some countries, you’ll need to place a reservation deposit to secure the property. You can find out more about the buying process in our free country buying guides for eight key countries.