ALPINES HOMES NEWS AND
EVENTS IN THE SWISS AND
AUSTRIAN ALPS

Follow our news and events about what's happening in the Swiss and Austrian real estate market. Alpine Homes will keep you posted!

07.01.2019

How to sift through the 'for sale' chalet heap: our Verbier Case Study

Choosing the right chalet for you from a plethora of ‘for sale’ items can sometimes be nerve-wracking. So much so that you might end up not buying at all and then regretting it each time you feel like hitting the slopes. This is why we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to choose the best chalet for your needs, so that you can attain your dream of owning a snow-toppled home in the heart of the Alps. And since one always learns best by force of example, we thought that a case study would best illustrate our tips. The natural choice for this was Verbier - one of the most sought-after ski resorts in the world. Without further ado, let’s take a step-by-step walk through our guiding points.    

  1. Location 

We’re starting our journey assuming that you have already picked out a resort in which you’d like to settle. But if you are still having trouble deciding, you can check out our article offering  general advice on buying ski property for some tips in choosing the resort. For all intents and purposes, we will be looking at Verbier in this article. However, Verbier is a not a single point in space and there are many locations one can settle for, depending on his or her needs. When filtering through chalets, you should first think about how close to the piste you would like to be. If you cannot stand having to commute even for a little bit, then finding a chalet that is within walking distance of a gondola is a must. Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that the closer you are to the ski slope, the more expensive the house will be. But it pays to have the comfort of hopping straight into a gondola. If closeness to a ski-piste in Verbier is what you are looking for, then the luxurious Residence Agate could be just the choice for you with its 5 en-suite bedrooms and private sauna. Even though Residence Agate is a penthouse and not technically a chalet, its roominess make it a strong rival for any chalet on the market. 

If, however, you don’t minding taking a short ride with a bus shuttle to reach the gondola or you are fond of walking through the snow for a bit of exercise, then you should filter out properties closer to the slopes and only look at those that are slightly further afield. One such choice could be the beautiful and cozy Chalet Vermont.  

When considering the location of your future chalet, you should also ask yourself what you intend to use the chalet for. Do you want to go there only during the winter or do you wish for a year-round house? If the former, then a chalet closer to the piste might be better for you. If the latter, you should explore chalet locations that are slightly further from the main skiing attractions, but closer to hiking trails or areas where one can enjoy other types of summer outdoor activities. You should also consider whether you’d like to cook your own meals most of the time, or whether you prefer to always dine out. In that case, you should choose chalets located in the heart of the Verbier resort, which are closer to restaurants. One such example is our Valentine 210 property, located at the center of Verbier and part of a complex that offers a Spa area, a sauna, a Hammam, a gym and a games room. Or, Belle Neige, which features a smaller kitchen, ideal for those that do not want to waste any space for facilities they will not utilize.  

2. Number of bedrooms  

The second item on your filtering list should be the number of people that you want your chalet to house. If you are a family of two, then you could settle for something smaller in size and opt-out on the chalet, focusing on a mountain apartment, such as Le Kid 118 that features cozy interiors and stunning mountain views.  

But if your family will increase, you should bear that in mind and choose a more spacious chalet that has at least 3 bedrooms. At this point you should also consider whether you will be vacationing only with your close family or whether you will be housing extended family as well. Or perhaps you are an outgoing person that likes to throw parties and have many friends over. If that’s the case, then a spacious 4 bedrooms+ chalet is what you are looking for. Chalet Corniche with 4 bedrooms and en-suite showers for all of them, including an en-suite bathroom for the master bedroom is the perfect choice. Another option is the previously mentioned Residence Agate that features 5 luxurious bedrooms.  

3. Interior design  

And speaking of luxury, another thing to consider when looking to buy a chalet is its interior design. Do you prefer an extremely luxurious feel or are you more of a down-to-earth person that prefers to feel the rustic style of the mountain side? Depending on your answer to these questions, you can easily rule out properties that do not fit your choice of style.  

When looking at the interior design of a chalet, you should also consider the modern vs traditional dichotomy. Not every chalet has a rustic, traditional style, some come fitted with modern furniture and finishings, making them ideal for a modern person.  

Chalet Vermont or Residence Agate are ideal for modern style chalets, while for a more traditional look we recommend choosing the spacious Fleur de Lin or the tranquil Montigny 24.  

But what if you want a bit of both? Then try a mix of modern and traditional, such as the one displayed inside Le Fayard that combines a crisp and clean white colour with classic wooden pieces that are reminiscent of traditional German houses.  

4. Facilities  

Last but not least on your list of filtering items when choosing a chalet, are the facilities it comes equipped with. Some people are really keen on every bit of comfort that a chalet can offer, while others are more restrained. Either way, you can easily rule out property if it does not cater to your needs. For example, do you want to enjoy a relaxing sauna moment after being out in the cold without having to share it with anyone? Then look only at properties that have this type of feature. Would you like to have heated-boot warmers in the hallway to warm up your feet before heading out into the snow? Then choose the above-mentioned Le Fayard. Is a ski room essential for you in order to store your gear? The answer could be Residence Agate. Are you just as fond of swimming as you are of skiing? Make sure your chalet has an indoor pool like the ten-meter one with swim jets inside Chalet Corniche.  

Whatever your preference, make sure you take it into consideration before deciding on a property. This way your decision process will be much easier since you will be ruling out everything that does not absolutely fit your most important needs. To go over the list again, you will have to decide on a location in Verbier, on the sizing of the house, on the type of interior design and on the types of facilities the chalet has to offer. If you’ve run through all of these, step-by-step, you will reach a decision in no time. Good luck!

 

20.12.2018

Merry Christmas from the Swiss Alps

The Alpine Homes Team wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Swiss Alps!

We look forward to assisting you in your alpine property search in 2019,

Warm wishes,

Marjorie, Elyse, Jonathan and Larry

29.11.2018

Alpine Winter Season Celebration

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting an Open Event at the Chestertons Knightsbridge on the 4th of December to celebrate the opening of 2018/19 Alpine Winter Season! Come speak with our experienced and professional staff to discuss properties in the Alps. 

Time and Venue:

5 - 7 pm, 4th December 2018

Chestertons Knightsbridge, 31 Lowndes Street, Belgravia, London SW1X 9HX

Please RSVP to events@chestertons.com

08.11.2018

Take a Look at the Luxury Ski Chalets of Verbier that are for Sale

Verbier is first and foremost a luxury ski resort. One could even say it is THE luxury ski resort since many tourists would claim that there is no other like it. Being graced not only with the presence of celebrities such as James Blunt or Richard Branson, but also with that of British Royal Family members such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, together with their cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York, Verbier is a top choice when it comes to looking for a chalet location in the Alps. While its popularity amongst royals and celebrities is a factor to consider when thinking of purchasing a luxury chalet here, there are plentiful of reasons why it should be your first pick.  

Why choose Verbier  

First, as a luxury ski resort par excellence, Verbier offers some of the best ski slopes in the world with snow lasting most of the year. Up to 1999, one could even ski here during the summer. Nowadays, this is no longer possible, but Verbier is also a busy resort in the summer with amazing outdoor activities such as mountain biking, paragliding, hiking, etc.  

Second, ski pistes aside, Verbier also offers some great opportunities for off-piste skiing. So all the powder hounds looking for hidden and untrodden skiing locations should consider Verbier with the backside of Mont Fort or the valley of Vallon d'Arby with its tree skiing and steepy and bumpy itineraries.  

Third, facilities are paramount when looking for an alpine location since most people look for easy-access to slopes and effortless post-skiing relocation. Moreover, great luxury restaurants and nightclubs are not a bonus, but a necessity to most luxury skiing lovers. As such, Verbier lands on both feet with a great plethora of the world’s finest dining experiences and excellent facilities.  

Last, summer activities abound in Verbier and for someone looking to make the most out of his or her investitions, this makes the location ideal for buying alpine property. Amateurs or daredevils will be both satisfied by the Verbier Bike Park with 12 km of downhill tracks, 213 km of enduro and more than 500 km of cross-country tracks. If biking is not quite your thing, you might consider hiking. With lifts taking you to the remotest of places, you can enjoy hiking trails that would otherwise be more cumbersome. Add to that a summer pool, golf, or paragliding and you have all the reasons to take a look at our top picks for luxury ski chalets in Verbier, which you can find below.  

  1. Valentine 210  

An exclusive development, found in the heart of Verbier, Valentine 210 benefits from the private facilities of the ‘Victoria and Valentine complex’ - a Spa area, complete with sauna, Hammam, gym and a games room.  

If you’re not a fan of properties that span in height and prefer one-floored ones, then Valentine 210 is the choice for you. All the more so if you have a family, since out of the three bedrooms, one is a quad bunk room. While bunk rooms aren’t synonymous with luxury, the minimalist and clean touches of the old wood finish created through masterful carpentry all throughout the chalet and most notable in the kitchen, will make you feel like the privileged patron of coziness.  

The open plan living, invaded with natural light through the French windows hosts a modern fireplace, ideal to sit in front of while sipping hot cocoa topped with lavish marshmallows. If the preferred environment for hot cocoa tasting is the ravishing scenery of the Alps, then the roomy wrap-around terrace offers an unhampered view of the mountains.  

The apartment also comes with 2 internal parking spaces, cave and ski locker, ensuring facilities are topmost on the list of priorities when it comes to chalet features.  

  1. Le Fayard 

Le Fayard is a luxurious abode, accessed via a private flight of stairs and bathed into a crisp and clean white colour, reminiscent of traditional German homes. Tradition however, blends seamlessly with modern touches and finishes. The up-to-date furniture mixes with cozy sofas and classic wooden pieces to create a wonderful blend of new and old.  

A spacious living area boasts plentiful of light coming in through the ceiling-to-floor windows and an impressive stone fireplace that has a unique and modern structure. Add to that the terrace with panoramic views of the mountains and there’s little left to be desired.  

No mountain vacation is complete without the privacy of an en-suite bathroom, and the master bedroom features a stunning wooden barrel-style bathtub and a separate steam/Hammam shower.  

But the crowning feature of this ski chalet is represented by the heated boot-warmers that greet you in the hallway when preparing to leave the house for an energizing ride down the slopes.    

  1. Agate Penthouse 

The crown jewel of renowned “Les Trois Rocs” residences ensemble, located in the heart of Verbier, the Agate Penthouse will satisfy the pickiest of luxury lovers. The duplex penthouse apartment occupies two floors and, even though not technically a chalet, does feel like one, and a roomy one at that. With 5 en-suite bedrooms and a private sauna for the master bedroom, Agate Penthouse features more luxury and space than most chalets, even those of Verbier. 

Sometimes space is the epitome of luxury, other times it’s the closeness. Agate Penthouse mixes the two with full-height ceilings and colossal, exposed roof ruses and the proximity of the ski slopes which are a stone’s throw away.  

Accessibility is also a feature of the house indoors, with the vast wrap-around terrace reachable from most of the rooms. This same terrace, together with the entire house, benefits from abundant sunlight, due the SW orientation.  

Natural stone and old wood use creates a unique experience throughout the house and adorns the carefully-crafted living room fireplace. And if you are wishing for the same kind of coziness, but whilst waking up or going to bed, Agate Penthouse does not disappoint with an intimate fireplace in the master bedroom that will put you to sleep in no time.  

Add to that your own private spa area, Hammam and shower, and private ski room and your skiing and mountain vacation desires are fully-satisfied.  

  1. Chalet Vermont 

A family chalet first and foremost, Chalet Vermont is located in the region of Patier, very close to the centre of Verbier and with easy access to the Navette bus which will take all ski lovers to the best pistes.  

Since no one would even think of calling a small wooden cabin a luxury chalet, luxury means space. And Chalet Verbier has that plentifully. With 4 bedrooms equipped with ensuite showers or bathrooms, you get both privacy and room for a wholesome mountain experience. The spa/TV room inside the chalet could also be employed as a 5th bedroom, so if unexpected friends drop by, there will be nothing to worry about. A worriless life is also indicative of luxury. While we can’t guarantee you will be worry-free year-round, your stay at Verbier should pose little problems in terms of stress.  

All the more so since you will benefit from your own private garden terrace, complete with a sunken hot tub and some breathtaking mountain views which you can enjoy while being surrounded by warm water or while lounging on the balcony. Speaking of balconies and windows, space is nothing without light. And so, while you are warming up in front of the centerpiece fireplace in the living area, you will be bathed in light coming in through the generous windows. Chalet Verbier is your very own sun trap.    

  1. Chalet Corniche 

A sumptuous property, in the vicinity of the Savoleyres lift station, Chalet Corniche is the epitome of luxury, cabin-style. 3 floors snugly fitted with wooden panels, together with a separate ski-entrance, a boot room, and a guest toilet, make this space the ideal one for having friends staying over or just popping by for a quick change before heading to one of the restaurants downtown.  

En-suite showers for the four bedrooms and an en-suite shower and bathroom for the master bedroom will guarantee privacy and enough room for you to feel quite at ease and unencumbered by worries or shabby fittings. And there’s nothing shabby about the stunning dining room and fireplace that warms up the entire house.  

But we’ve saved the best for last - your very own private spa, found on the lower floor, where you can also enjoy some steam in the sauna. A Hammam, a gym and a ten-metre pool with swim jets top this luxury chalet in Verbier.    

If you enjoyed our pick of the luxury ski chalets of Verbier, revisit our article from time to time as we will be updating it with our most desirable and attractive alpine properties.

 

 

 

 


04.10.2018

Best Advice When Looking for a Ski Property for Sale

You’ve thought about it, dreamt about it, actually considered it as feasible, maybe even started looking for some ski property for sale, and now you’ve finally decided that it is time to become an Alpine home owner. While the desire to become a homeowner in the Alps is strong, you shouldn’t rush into a decision without first considering some important aspects. This is why we’ve put together our best advice when looking for ski property for sale. Here’s our top 5 tips.   

  1. Research popular resorts 

This seems intuitive when looking to buy property in general. Researching the market should always come first, but in the case of ski property for sale, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to research. Popular or high-demand resorts are most obviously the first place to look, but don’t mistake popularity for luxury or high price. Extremely expensive resorts aren’t always the most popular or the only popular ones. While well-known and advertised skiing locations in the Alps can be a sure deal when buying property, the purchasing of a chalet in one of these resorts might also mean a higher price paid when buying, but not a higher income from rent. As such, the best tip when looking for ski property for sale is to research those resorts that are not as expensive, but still quite popular with the skiing aficionados.  

2. Consider up-and-coming resorts  

If you cannot find any property at a reasonable price amongst the popular but less expensive resorts, then try a different market research technique. Dig deeper and see what the trends are. Which is the most likely resort to become the next big thing? Find a couple of locations that are the best candidates and start looking for property in the Alps. But since this isn’t a sure deal, there are risks. While the gains might be big since you caught on the trend early and bought your house at a reasonable price, you might also end up with a chalet that isn’t faring as well as you hoped because the trend turned out to be just a fad. So bear in mind that when going for up-and-coming resorts, you might not necessarily strike gold.  

3. Off-season opportunities  

Buying high-altitude property in the Alps will ensure better slopes, but it might also mean fewer opportunities for renting or using off-season. If you are acquiring a chalet with the intention to spend as much time as possible there, even during late spring and summer, then you might want to consider properties at lower altitudes as these generally offer more opportunities for outdoor activities during the warmer months. In terms of ski slopes, you might have to rely on snow cannons for late and early winter, meaning inferior-quality snow. But not everyone is as picky when it comes to the piste on which they are sliding down and it might be worth the risk. This way you will have a chalet that can be used or rented year round. If you are interested in this type of property, be on the lookout for chalets that have nearby picturesque lakes, stunning landscapes, multiple hiking trails, and outdoor activities.    

4. Match the resort’s visitors with the property  

When choosing to buy property in the Alps, it is also essential to know the type of visitors specific to your designated resort. For example, some resorts are more popular with families with children travelling alone or accompanied by family friends, while others cater more to the needs of younger couples or groups of friends and to the needs of younger generations such as millenials. Depending on your location, you should look for property that matches the visitors to make the most out of your chalet. If your chosen resort is extremely popular with families, then invest in a bigger chalet that has amenities fit for a family of four or more and includes a separate space where children can play without disturbing the adults, with a big garden where they can run around all summer long. No point in buying an intimate couples retreat.  

5. Beware of hidden costs  

When looking at ski property for sale, you should always take into account the hidden costs of owning that chalet. Ignoring all the expenses that pertain to the actual purchasing of the property, you should always bear in mind when calculating your budget all the maintenance costs. You won’t be there year round to take care of everything and a leaky roof, a window that doesn’t close properly anymore, or the central heating system not working will be a nightmare for your tenants and for yourself. Consider things carefully before buying, so that you have enough money left for maintenance if needed.  

If you need more information pertaining to purchasing property abroad, you can find useful advice on the gov.uk website. Make sure you seek out all the advice needed before committing to anything and there will be nothing standing in between you and your dream property in the Alps.

 

27.08.2018

Top 12 Most Beautiful Chalets in Switzerland

What are the first things that pop into your head when you think of Switzerland? Chocolate, expensive watches, banks, the Swiss army knife? Maybe all, maybe some of these things. But there is something that will always be on that list - the Swiss Alps. If Switzerland were to have a nickname, it should probably be “home of the Alps” with 65% of its entire surface area being covered by this mountain range. It’s no wonder then that some of the world’s most beautiful chalets can be found in Switzerland.  

With a plethora of ski slopes, mountain trails and scenic views of world famous mountain peaks, this country is an ideal retreat for anyone looking for respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life - whether that respite is a quiet, nature-infused vacation or an action-driven one spiced with late-night partying. And if you are to choose a mountainous retreat, then the natural step is to enjoy it to the fullest by relaxing in a picturesque chalet set on top of the world. Whether you’re a prospective client looking for a stunning chalet acquisition or whether you just want to enjoy browsing through beautiful homes, here are our top 14 most beautiful chalets in Switzerland.  

17.07.2018

Why Alpine Property is a Great Investment

When most of us think of owning alpine property we are imagining a lifestyle change involving refreshing holidays in the heart of the Alps, filled with mountain activities such as skiing and snowboarding or hiking and lake swimming in the summer. But some of us are also thinking of getting a nice return on our investment. After all, property investment is property investment even at 2000 meters altitude. And, for now, alpine property is still the most sought-for mountain retreat location, with Austria being the most popular country when it comes to buying. Switzerland is close behind as a top choice since both these countries have the highest participation rates when it comes to skiing activities - over 35% of their populations are active skiers. You can’t get more authentic than a lovely Swiss atmosphere on the slope and within the resort.  

Regardless of the alpine country one chooses, alpine property is an investor’s dream. But why is that? Why do so many people invest in this type of property and how do they make the most out of it? If you’re thinking of investing in alpine property, then this article will tell you why you should contact our alpine estate agents as soon as you can.    

  1. People look for it 

The simplest reason why you should look into alpine property investment is because other people are also looking for it. This means that 1) if you change your mind and want to resell it, you have a decent time window in which to do so, and 2) you can have a decent return on your investment from renting.  

Let’s see what the numbers are telling us. First, the Alps are the home of 44% of all global ski visitors and, as such, represent by far the world’s most popular skiing and winter sports destination. If you are going to buy mountain property anywhere in the world, then this is the place.  

In terms of winter sports infrastructure, the Alps could not do better in comparison to other locations - 10,000 lifts spanning the entire length of the Alps ensure easy access to ski slopes. While France isn’t doing too bad when it comes to modern equipment, Austria has seen a recent revamp that makes its lift infrastructure the most modern in the industry (heated ski lifts, complete with WiFi). Bearing all this in mind, it’s no wonder everyone wants to go to the Alps for their skiing holidays. Why would you settle for anything but the best?    

2. Your own comfort  

Renting aside, you might just want to invest in alpine property for your own comfort. After all, it is your property we’re talking about here. If you are an avid skier or you are considering a lifestyle change that implies active holidays, then money spent on expensive hotels close to the slope might be quickly drilling a hole in your pocket.  

In that case, the solution is not choosing mediocre ski slopes and mildly pleasant resorts, but investing in an alpine property that can host you and your family during your holidays, while also storing your ski gear. This way you don’t have to rent skiing equipment and you can enjoy the comfort of having ski items that fit you to a tee and that are yours and only yours.  

3. Renting  

We’ve mentioned this before, but now it’s time to tackle it in its entirety. When it comes to property, renting offers the biggest investment return and in an area that is as popular as the Alps, the renting revenue won’t fail to disappoint. So, if you’re worried about the rest of the year when you’re not holidaying in the Alps, just remember that you can always rent your chalet. And, if you really want to make the most out of your property in terms of rent, you can travel yourself off-season and rent it during peak season.  

When it comes to renting there are two possibilities:  

  • Buy expensive. Settle for a top resort, close to the slopes, something such as the popular and luxurious Zermatt in Switzerland, home to 2017’s World’s Best Ski Chalet. While the prices here will be high to very high, the higher the price you pay for your property - the higher the rental value. All the more so if the property you acquire has various facilities that make it desirable - such as a sauna, a ski equipment room, or just a great view over the mountain ranges. With more expensive resorts, your property will also be located at a higher altitude. This means that you don’t have to rely on snow cannons during the winter and even the pickiest of tourists will find the slopes to their liking.
  • Buy cheaper. Address those possible rental clients that don’t mind taking the bus to the slopes, or skiing on a slope with snow-cannoned snow and prefer paying less on rent. You can also take advantage of these properties found at lower-altitudes to rent them during the spring for alpine walking. Since spring will set in sooner in these areas, these properties are more appealing to people who want to engage in different mountain-side activities. And with a growing trend of younger tourists that prefer an active lifestyle, this type of investment might prove extremely rewarding.  

Austrian resorts have recently capitalized on this growing market trend. Here’s what a recent report from AlpineMarketing says: “The Summer market, which has always been strong in Austria due to its favourable altitude, has developed even more in recent years. Mid-altitude resorts are buzzing all year round. Ski lifts run all day, offering access to green pastures, hiking routes, and beautiful mountain huts. Tourists and homeowners are drawn by mountaineering, beautiful flower meadows, and stunning Alpine lakes.” If you’re thinking about Switzerland and biting from a savory chocolate bar while summer trekking in the mountains, then Villars is the right choice for you. This resort will offer stunning vineyard views and a refreshing vista over Lake Geneva.    

4. A worry - Aging skiing population  

A growing concern in the alpine property industry is the aging skiing population. Switzerland is already dealing with this issue and more and more people are starting to wonder whether or not the younger generations will be as thrilled as the past ones when it comes to spending their money in winter resorts. But as recent studies have found, while the skiing population might be declining, there are far more people interested in off-ski season alpine activities. This might mean, in the long run, a much better opportunity for investment, since longer periods of the year will be buzzing with tourists. No need to rely solely on the maximum four months of winter-related activities. So, take advantage of this and have a look at what the Swiss alpine property market has to offer.  

Worries aside, alpine property represents a sound investment for the future, offering both comfort to you as the owner and great returns if you are considering renting. With summer activities also on the rise, you might see yourself making a nice sum of money all year round by contacting alpine estate agents and acquiring an alpine home, neatly hidden between mountains of snow.