Before you make the final decision about your dual purpose French ski property, it’s time to work out how you’ll make the most of it in terms of rental yield.
It’s important to think about this before you buy; the amount of time you want to spend on management and marketing will play a big part in the choices you make about which type of property to buy. As well as a great property you’ll need top quality housekeeping, efficient booking management and excellent marketing. Deciding whether to undertake these things yourself, choose to use the skills of a professional, or to do a bit of both will have a big impact on the success of your venture and it’s worth having a solid plan in place before you make your final decision.
What to expect from a professional rental management service
If you can’t afford to spend time on management and marketing, choose a property that includes this type of service. You’ll generally pay around 25-30% of the yield for the service, and you can expect it to include
- Drawing up of rental contract
- Advertising on a range of platforms
- Booking management
- Guest care, including taking bookings, reception services and contact during their stay
- Cleaning services
- Provision of linen, toiletries and extras such as a welcome pack
It should be noted that this is different to a property management service which would cover things like maintenance and general care - this may of course be available, but would generally be a separate element of your ownership.
Could you do it yourself?
It’s certainly possible. You’d need to consider whether you would use a local firm to manage aspects like key holding and cleaning, but booking management and marketing can easily be done remotely. It’s important to have a sound grasp of the legal aspects of vacation rental as well as your responsibilities as an owner and the local town hall is a good starting point to help you understand guidelines for your area.
In terms of marketing, be honest with yourself about your skills - creating a steady stream of articles and social media posts takes time and effort. Do a little research into what’s involved, the challenge of managing the various algorithms and how to write engaging posts to be sure you get off to a flying start. Great photographs are essential too - look at images of properties you’d consider renting and try to understand what makes them stand out. Simple things like capturing the way the light falls on the balcony in the evening, or taking care to stage the dining area make an enormous difference to whether someone chooses your home to rent.
VAT rebate scheme - reclaim 20% of your purchase price
As well as basics like management and marketing, there are ways to maximise your investment such as the VAT rebate scheme. Put simply, the VAT rebate scheme allows property owners to reclaim 20% of the purchase price of a new build property, providing they meet the following criteria.
- Provide 3 out these four services : check-in, breakfast, cleaning or linen change
- Issue and receive invoices
- Provide a furnished property - see below for exact definition
- Make your property available for rent all year round
- Sign a contract of at least three years with a property rental management company
Preparing your property for rental
Preparing your property for rental means looking at it through guests eyes. You’ll need to step back and try to see the highlights and lowlights of your property so you know what to improve and what to sing about. There are various laws and guidelines too, which ensures continuity of experience for guests.
What is a furnished ski property ?
In accordance with the 2014 Loi Alur, a furnished ski apartment or chalet must have the following:
- Bedding - including duvets or blankets
- Shutters or curtains
- Stove or microwave
- Cutlery and cooking utensils
- Table and chairs
- Storage such as shelves
- Ample lighting
- Cleaning equipment
This list is very basic and you’re likely to include extras such as welcome packs and plush interiors to deliver a more luxurious offering.
Simple tips to make sure your ski chalet or apartment is rental ready
Each property is different and individual requirements will vary, but here are a few basics to help you get started on renting your property
- Make sure your ski chalet or apartment will have the right space to bed ratio - a four bedroom apartment with a tiny living space will hold little appeal to holiday makers
- Avoid the temptation to cram in as many beds as possible. It may increase your initial yield, but if guests feel overcrowded they may not enjoy their stay, which will have a negative long term impact
- Zip and link beds are a great way to maximise flexibility for your guests
- A lockbox is an easy way to offer maximum flexibility when it comes to check in
- Good WiFi is essential for almost everyone these days
- An area that can be a workspace will increase your home’s appeal
Understanding costs and how to set a nightly rate for your ski apartment
Costs of this kind of project can spiral and it's important to get a good feel for your outgoings at the start of the project. A little work at the beginning of your new venture will save any surprises further down the road, and make the rental aspect of your beautiful new ski home really straightforward.
Initial rental and running costs of a ski property in France
- Interior design
- Dressing and setting up the property
- Utility bills
- Ground rent and other apartment fees
- Wear and tear
You’ll also need to allow for tourism tax and service fees - these are absorbed into the rate paid by your guests but constitute an up front cost.
What should I charge for my French ski property?
Your rental agency will give you a good idea of what to charge, as will looking at similar properties in the area. You may need to start at a slightly lower rate initially, until you build up a stock of good reviews to encourage guests to choose your property.
Pricing will vary according to season. Obviously winter is the high season in the alps, but it’s also worth keeping an eye on things like local holidays and festivals that will attract more visitors. Many properties set a minimum stay and designated check in days to help with management, although this may be more flexible out of season.
Ultimately a dual purpose ski property is an excellent way to fulfil your dreams of living in the mountains while making enough money to cover the costs of the property, as well as your own holidays. A French ski apartment or chalet is a great investment for the future, and the mountain lifestyle will be a welcome retreat for years to come.
Property alert service
Finding your ideal ski chalet or apartment in France can seem daunting, which is where SnowOnly can help. We’re a dedicated ski property portal which means we have access to dozens of agents and private sellers so 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 lots of useful tips to help you with the buying process and help you get ready for the ski property rental market.