Apr 16, 2019 / PROPERTY / INVESTMENT / CURRENCY / BUYING

Your five-point guide to letting your ski home

If you’ve bought, or are considering buying a ski home for investment, then you need to plan carefully to maximise your letting return. From working out your yield to choosing the right furniture and safely transferring your income back, find out in our five-point guide to letting your ski home.

1. Choose an area with strong seasonality

First off is choosing where to look for your property. Choose an area with a long season, such as Cervinia in Italy (and partially Switzerland) or Saas-Fee in Switzerland, to give yourself the longest possible period to earn an income.

Alternatively, pick a resort with dual seasonality. You can find out more in our dedicated blog, but the essential idea is that you can take advantage of a year-round rental possibility in areas where there is the possibility of skiing in winter and further tourism-oriented activities in summer, typically mountain-biking, hiking and the like.

Nine-bedroom property in Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

2. Make sure you have a high yield possibility

You’ll also need to narrow down your area by yield. Choosing somewhere that is affordable but offers a very poor yield will only end up proverbially shooting you in the foot. Have a look at average rental prices over the last year, and use this to make the calculation.

To work out yield, divide the annual rental income by the value of the property. Then, multiply this by 100 and you have the rental yield percentage.

3. Decide how to market your home

If you’re letting your ski home, then you need to consider how you’ll find clients. On the one hand, ski properties are in areas that generally are guaranteed a certain amount of traffic of people looking at the resort in general, but on the other hand, it also means that you’re competing with a number of other properties and hotels. This means it’s worth giving it a bit of thought before you strike out.

Four-bedroom condo in Deer Valley.

You have two main choices when renting, although you can mix between the two.

The first would be to use an established agency to market your property. Generally, this will mean a slightly lower income if the same number of days is occupied compared to not using an agency, but it does take the work of marketing and managing out of your hands.

The second would be to work on the marketing yourself. This way, you’d generally be looking at placing it on portals such as Airbnb and would be handling enquiries, check-ins and so on yourself. You’d have greater control and, if you filled the same number of days, would generally see more money in your pocket. However, it would require a more significant time investment, at least until repeat business and referrals begin.

4. Furnish your ski home

Remember that you want to design your interior not just for yourself but also for your guests. Think of how you’d stage a home for selling. A largely neutral interior will appeal to the broadest amount of people, and is often easier to maintain. Think about the furnishings: if something is chipped, or breaks, is it easy to replace? That quirky one-off piece won’t be, so it’s generally better to keep the pieces with personality as accents, rather than major furniture pieces. That way, you still have an element of individuality without making maintenance a chore.

Four-bedroom property in Champery.

For smaller spaces, you can make them seem more spacious with side lighting, rather than one in the centre. Think about practicalities for guests, too – generous storage will always come in handy, as will space for several more suitcases than you might take just yourself to be stowed away.

5. Protect your income stream

If you’re living overseas while letting your ski home, chances are that your income is coming to you in a different currency to your own. This can be a big risk if you don’t plan ahead – you might know in, for example, euros exactly how much your rental is per week. But convert that to, for example, pound sterling and the value will change every day depending on the exchange rate.

The key to this is to plan ahead. Using a forward contract, for instance, means that you can lock in the same exchange rate for a year, so your money is always worth the same amount – and you can budget properly. Find out more in the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency. And, to learn more about the purchase process in your chosen country, have a read of our expert buying guides.