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Buying a Ski property

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Think this has possibly been mentioned before but does anyone have any thoughts/experiences regarding buying a ski apartment or chalet? I've been looking at the leaseback option but it appears to be a glorified timeshare? I would probably prefer to buy outright and rent to friends & family. Any comments appreciated.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Apartments of round 25qm - sufficient for 2comfortably, 3 just, and perfectly ok for a couple of weeks are ca45k Eu at Pierre Blanche in Les Arcs 1600. Yu won't get mch cheaper in a main resort.
The price will vary from 35Eu to as much as you've got.

Price depends on size, resort, alt; obviously.
Watch the taxes / agent fees - up to an extra 30% in France, somewhat less in Germany / Austria.

You will most likely (definately in France) need a local bank a/c if you want a mortage.

Plenty of info on the web - do a google search. Plenty of organisations willing to help (for a fee!).


Biggest tip - research, research, research - and see before you buy.

(Not all bull - have investment property in Europe, so have some experience of this).


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 8-03-04 19:50; edited 2 times in total
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My experience in France... I wouldn't go into it thinking it's a money-spinner - unless property prices rise, you'd be lucky to make anything worth speaking of on rental alone. Altitude is pretty key, they are some increasingly delapidated resorts at lower levels which are obviously no longer attracting any investment. In France, in the resorts themselves, I wouldn't look at anything under 1800m. The problem here is that in some places prices have rocketed recently - inflation of rates in the Savoie property market I read are among the highest in France, above Paris even.

There are small, studio 'boxes' everywhere. I was advised to get a larger apartment (say 2 beds +)... firstly if I could afford it and secondly, if I was lucky enough to find one. The latter fact alone shows that the bigger places are in demand.
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Depends on the area in terms of property prices increasing. We've more than one and, as a comparison, I reckon the place in the Grand Massif has gone up more in value in one year than our place in St Gervais has over the last 5 years. We're getting some overspill from Les Get and the PDS into the Grand Massif which is pretty unfortunate in my opinion but the upside is the increase in price I guess.

My guess is that in parts of the Alpes prices have become linked to UK prices, in terms of the fact many UK based people are getting second mortgages and buying in the Alpes. Some of the constructors, like MGM, are pretty sharp in their selling technique and take advantage of guillible Brits.

As above, research is good. I sat near some Brit punters in the local restaurant a few weeks back who were clearly attempting to broadcast their purchase of an MGM place, they spoke not a single word of French and didn't know the difference between fondue and raclette, no wonder prices are going up Very Happy Our new neighbours at one of the flats are a case in point, not a single word of French, I know for a fact they've not read the coproperty regulations and they presumably signed a contract they didn't understand as well. My own French is far from perfect but you really need some basic grasp to have some sense of what the documents and correspondance you're going to get is about. That said, do the sort of people I mean understand contracts in the UK or finances of any complexity? I suppose not Very Happy

My own experience is that I can't mix real rental with my use, partly because I use our place a couple of times of month but mostly because I don't won't arrive and watch my girlfriend having to clean up the mess Very Happy

We are able to purely commercially rent and not bother with personal use or the discounted family and friends rates, but the finances and return on investment are fairly knife edge though. If you can afford for that not to be a problem then great, the other angle is to consider the value you'll ascribe to personal utility, call it a couple of thousand a year sterling and it makes all the difference to the finances. If you want to buy property for pure investment I'll bet the UK is a better bet

Any idea where you'd like to buy ? I imagine people here have some local market knowledge possibly.
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Nick, Leaseback isn't just a glorified timeshare, it's a Goverment iniative to encourage tourism through 2nd home ownership in certain areas. in fact the French are using the scheme as a means of building a property portfolio as a pension. I know one guy who has bought 4, check out the rate of return it can be as high as 14%. I echo the comments about research, research and research. There are some old small studio's and 1 pieces around but they are on the market because no-one wants them. MGM have a new development in Les Echerts a district of La Rosiere 1850 which are all 2 and 3 rooms at least because that's what the market wants now. Last year, Intrawest sold out the first trance of their Arcs 1950 development in 8 hours and 80% of the purchasers were non French. It's had the effect of pushing up prices all around the valley. You need to get some good advise before you even think about buying property in France. The legal system is very different, Code Napoleon et al. I'd recommend talking to a good lawyer who understands how the French system works. You couldn't do better than talk to stephen smith oif Stephen Smith France Ltd in Ipswich, his number is 01473 437186. Stephen is the author of a number of books on buying and renting property in France. Doin't forget French lawyers have no primary duty of care to their clients, their primary responsibility is to the state as tax collecters and French banks aren't a lot better. If you need any more advise you can email me at Tracks Vacations ltd.
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When I mention MGM I should qualify that although they're a litte sharp, the properties are built to a good standard and the prices in line with the local market.
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I've looked at the MGM properties in La Rosière, very nice too (although I thought in this instance rather more expensive than other developments). But then again La Rosière is one of the resorts mooted as the place to invest (with the Val d'Isère lift co taking a majority share, real potential for some major improvements... much needed when you look at the main chair from the resort!).

Everything David@traxvax mentions ref. the gulf between the UK & French systems is spot on. I've seen British investors, seemingly astute people, come a major cropper when investing in the area I used to live in - Provence).
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PG wrote:


Everything David@traxvax mentions ref. the gulf between the UK & French systems is spot on. I've seen British investors, seemingly astute people, come a major cropper when investing in the area I used to live in - Provence).


What did you think about ISE's comment that French and UK property prices are linked in many areas now? Where my parents live in the Dordogne there are virtually no French people left. It is all Brits who have properties in the UK that have rocketed to huge levels and have remortgaged. It seems to be similar in the Alps. I assume when the UK market inevitably crashes there will be blood on the streets of the alpine resorts?
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The other way it's getting like the UK is that all the restuarants are full of people from Essex discussing how much their properties are worth. Actually, I may see if I can get a franchise for the Daily Mail, should be quite lucrative Razz
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It would be bound to have an effect, but probably less so in the likes of the 'top' Savoie resorts where demand for quality properties considerably outstrips supply (not talking about shoebox studios in low altitude 1970s residences here). Plenty of demand from other European nationalities too, not least the Eastern Europeans, and of course from the French themselves... My feeling is that the higher, well established resorts have a good future at least medium-term. People will be increasingly worried about investments in areas more vulnerable to the global warming threat (true or not). A lot of lower level resorts are going to suffer as a result - you can already see the lack of investment in local infrastructure, and the long lists of properties on the market at a fraction of the prices in the Savoie. Only a fool wouldn't ask himself why!

So as for ISE's comment, there's bound to be a link, but there's a lot of other factors that can affect the situation (such as whether the French government gets around to its proposed liberalisation of planning regulations in order to alleviate housing shortages in some areas... and of course global economics, they're already talking about a renewed threat to European recovery from the brink of recession if the US economy falters again, as has been mooted)
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I did say in some parts of the Alpes, closer to Geneva I meant really. Portes du Soleil, Grand Massif, Mont Blanc Massif etc, in these areas the English (and I do mean that, not Brittish) are the dominant group for better or worse. Second mortages provide most of the finance I judging by the shouted converstaions I hear.

I'm also talking about the kind of English who are going to have no idea whatsoever about the issues PG's talking about, unless the Daily Mail/Mirror/Sun started covering them.
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If I remember this correctly, French properties attract VAT if bought as a second home. Add 20% to the price due to this.
UK ones should too, because they're a luxury item, but that's off topic.
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Lots of excellent stuff here! - thanks. We are looking at the Oz/Vaujany area or possibly the quieter parts of ADH. Although the investment angle is obviously an issue the flexibility when travelling with 2 children aged 3 & 4 and the guarantee of doorstep skiing and comfortable accommodation are major factors.

Although a reasonable sized 2 bed apartment would suit our own needs I am concerned that even renting out to trusted friends and family to help recoup some costs is then limited to small groups, anyones experience of this low level renting would be gratefully received.
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A 2 bed apartment is often sold as sleeping 6 (convertible bedsettee). But they've built some pretty tiny boxes especially up in the French resorts where 6 people would be really on top of each other. The 3 bed place I've got down in the town of Bourg St Maurice is 98m3, but some up in Les Arcs claim 3 beds totalling 60m3 - really cramped.

You can get an idea of rental charges from the resort websites - I know Les Arcs has one where you enter no of beds, date etc - helps to see the changes in rates charged through the season. Trouble is the best times to rent out at the highest rates is usually when you would like to use it yourself, especially if you have kids - ie during the holidays.

Renting out other than to family and friends can be a pain - especially of bigger properties. This is because they attract large groups of 'kids' (to me that's sub-22 years old) who haven't a clue about respect for others, often make loads of noise, and as for their idea of cleaning up the place before they leave... well, no comment. Couples in studio flats are often ok.
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We are currently looknig for property. We have plenty of friends who ski and would rent. and also could advertise through our professional magazine. Does anyone know of a company who will clean and see to the property between lets. We will probably use it ourselves maybe one week per month. Is there an alternative to a property agency?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
PG wrote:
A 2 bed apartment is often sold as sleeping 6 (convertible bedsettee). But they've built some pretty tiny boxes especially up in the French resorts where 6 people would be really on top of each other. The 3 bed place I've got down in the town of Bourg St Maurice is 98m3, but some up in Les Arcs claim 3 beds totalling 60m3 - really cramped.


Ditto, the place in St Gervais is around 55m2 (and I presume you mean sq m not cu m ?) and two bedrooms, the three bedroom in Morillon is 100m2 or more I think I can't quite recall.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Where, Helen? In Bourg St Maurice Les Arcs there's a company or two that do nothing else (the ones the agencies subcontract the work to), as well as individuals who may or may not declare their revenue! While we just have a couple of properties to let, it's a real hassle cleaning up (we've done it ourselves so far for the last six weeks). The problem is that no matter how specific you are in the contract that the property must be left in the same condition as the lessees found it, we've come to the conclusion that no one under 20 has come into contact with a mop before in their lives. It's vital to have a clause whereby you can retain a fixed sum from the deposit for cleaning purposes if (or more often when) the apartment is left in a state. Property agencies do sting you a bit. And they often demand exclusive contracts (won't let you do any letting on the side).

We've been looking at setting up an alternative ourselves, something that's fair all round.
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ise, LOL, 60m3 would really be a bit on the small side!
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PG, at the moment we are looking in Serre Chevalier, going out there at Easter to check it out. Having used website of French connections, many of them ask for a breakage/cleaning deposit. We then got it back a couple of weeks later. Letting thro our professional journal, would eliminate most under 20's, maybe the deposit would also help?
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Helen, if you let to a targeted market through the likes of your journal you would be far less likely to have problems. We never intended to let ours at all - having bought them for elderly parents, but who were unable to take up residence. So last minute rush to cover costs ensued, and the only option was the 'Central Reservation Office' you find in most resorts. Give them their due, they're efficient enough, and don't take too large a %, but they really don't give a damn who they let to. After all to them it's quantity not quality that counts.

Yes, make sure you draw up a contract that covers absolutely everything. As of this week we've added a special, separate paragraph, in bold red, leaving no room for misunderstanding as to what would happen if the flats aren't left spotless (and we've defined what spotless means!). A large deposit is vital. And we don't accept pets.
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Helen Beaumont wrote:
PG, at the moment we are looking in Serre Chevalier, going out there at Easter to check it out. Having used website of French connections, many of them ask for a breakage/cleaning deposit. We then got it back a couple of weeks later. Letting thro our professional journal, would eliminate most under 20's, maybe the deposit would also help?


Clearly it helps but you're relying on the quality of the inspection process. If you personally inspect after each rental before returning the deposit the it's going to work. Since you probably can't do that then it's a question of how you much you trust your agent.

In practice you've got to accept and anticipate a certain amount of wear and tear and, as far as possible, price it into your rate only falling back to the deposit for special cases.

PG has an ideal situation, he's nearby and can check each rental and the aftermath. I could do that but, to be frank, it's 2 hours in the car and I don't want that amount of hastle so I have to trust the local agent to an extent and be comfortable our rates cover us.

If you're renting to a closed community, i.e. family and friends, then you can rely on their feedback about damage both their own and the state they found it in.

For us, we rent via a agent and keep a place for our own, sole personal use and that works for us. Possibly not an option always though.
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Has any one got any information about the process in Austria or Switzerland. Like, is it at all possible?
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Not sure about Austria, Switzerland however is complicated, there are certain areas that non residents can purchase property but exactly what you can purchase varies from one loaction to the next, as an example in Wengen (Jungfrau Region) it is possible for non residents to normally purchase only appartments, although there is the odd entire property in the resort which is available due to it already being owned by a non resident, in Grindelwald however (same region) I understand that non residents can only purchase entire properties ! On the other hand should you wish to permanently move to Switzerland and assuming you are a British or EU subject things just recently became easier, if you do this you can get a residency permit and buy pretty much what you want.
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I looked at the French market and the language barrier was one thing that put me off. Also it wouldn`t surprise me if some kind of extra tax will be introduced for foreign ownership as a lot of French people are unhappy with the current situation.

I ended up buying in Whistler. There is no language problems and management of the unit is fairly painless using the internet.

Given the current strong pound maybe the states would also be worth looking at.
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D G Orf wrote:
Not sure about Austria, Switzerland however is complicated, there are certain areas that non residents can purchase property but exactly what you can purchase varies from one loaction to the next, as an example in Wengen (Jungfrau Region) it is possible for non residents to normally purchase only appartments, although there is the odd entire property in the resort which is available due to it already being owned by a non resident, in Grindelwald however (same region) I understand that non residents can only purchase entire properties ! On the other hand should you wish to permanently move to Switzerland and assuming you are a British or EU subject things just recently became easier, if you do this you can get a residency permit and buy pretty much what you want.


Austria is hard, the Austrians are rightly concerned about half of Germany buying everywhere in Austria. As a result they've a derogation of the normal property purchase conventions that would normally cover EU nationals. I think St Anton have some especially hard core restrictions for example. My understanding is that you need to have 6mths tax paid in country for all of Austria.

As for Switzerland, I own a house in Switzerland so I reckon I've an idea what's happening Very Happy First, getting a residence permit is nothing like as easy as suggested above, without a job you need to demonstrate a considerable net worth to get a B permit. There's a scheme for residence permits for 'retired' people. For the rest of us you really need a job to get a B permit or be married to someone with a job. It's easier for EU nationals certainly but you can't just get one by return of post even with a job and there's quotas. Without a residence permit you just can't live in Switzerland, period. Being from an EU country gives you no right of residence whatsoever, I know a number of EU people who have expired L permits and they only get to stay at the pleasure of the canton that issued them once they expire. B permits, on the other hand, last 5 years period.

What's easier for EU nationals is to get a B permit if they've a job, it's nearly automatic now. Previously, and for non EU, you need to demonstrate special skills, educational background etc. Obviously it's Switzerland so money does just fine instead Very Happy

Without a B permit or better in the cantons I live and work in then you can't buy property. Something different does go in some holiday areas but the restrictions will be there to stop you actually living there without a full permit, holidays would be fine of course. I'm not an expert in Swiss property law as it pertains foreigners, I hold a full permit so I can buy whatever I want anywhere I like.

However, my understanding is that there a limited number of permits for foreigners to purchase property, about 1500 per annum I think. You need to apply for these permits and it takes a while for them to come through. Even then, there's a restriction on the locations in each canton you can buy, typically tourist stations, so forget any thought of buying a chalet in an undiscovered corner of Switzerland Very Happy Some cantons have blanket restrictions on the type of property you can buy (as D G Org suggests) i.e. only chalets, only flats etc and even this alters area to area in the canton. I'm told your best bet is the Vaud canton as a foreigner, they're pretty relaxed there apparently. Further, there's varying restrictions on resale basically to avoid foreigners driving local prices up, in some cantons you can't resell for 5 years for example (no restriction in the Vaud)

Also bear in mind Swiss mortgage lenders will expect a 35% deposit or more.

And Grindelwald and Wengen might be in the same region but that counts for little, it's the canton that matters which is Bern of course.
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I figured ise would know a bit more about it than I do, yes I should have made it clear you need the B permit to get a residence permit but as he also point out the B permit is now easier for EU nationals to get, as a holiday maker you can only stay in your property for I think a maximum of 3 months at any one period and I can't remember if it's 4 or 6 months in total that the Swiss will allow you to stay per year.

I do like the 5 year before you can resell idea (I seem to recall that there are certain special excemptions that can be applied in the event of deaths etc) It certainly seems to help stop the galloping house prices that we get in this country
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D G Orf wrote:
I figured ise would know a bit more about it than I do, yes I should have made it clear you need the B permit to get a residence permit but as he also point out the B permit is now easier for EU nationals to get, as a holiday maker you can only stay in your property for I think a maximum of 3 months at any one period and I can't remember if it's 4 or 6 months in total that the Swiss will allow you to stay per year.


Sorry, I'm giving the wrong impression (one way or another) then, it's not easy to get a B permit.

You've got to have a real job, one where the contract is more than one year, you must have a legal domicile in Switzerland. The employer must satisfy national priority, ie there can't be a Swiss national or full permit holder who won't do the job.

What's got easier or is easier for EU nationals ?

- For EU nationals the requirement to be of graduate level or above education is gone.

-EU nationals are also allowed to enter the country for a period of three months to look for work, they can get an L permit at the end of the period to remain a further 3 months. This isn't much use though, you can't buy property on an L permit and you may even struggle to open a bank account.

- Partners, girlfriends etc are now treated equally to wives (more or less) provided you can prove a period of cohabitation.

- For EU nationals a B permit is nationwide, not limited to the canton.

For the massively wealthy pretty much anything is possible Very Happy
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ise given the previous restictions getting the b permit is easier, it is also now possible for the self employed to get a b permit provided they can prove a reasonable level of income, something that was impossible before, by the way all this applies to EU nationals only.

Anyway my guess would be that most people here would look for holiday property so the b permit situation wouldnt come up, I on the other hand am self employed snowHead

For the massively wealth pretty much anything has always been possible, unfortunately I dont fall into that catagory Sad
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D G Orf wrote:
ise given the previous restictions getting the b permit is easier, it is also now possible for the self employed to get a b permit provided they can prove a reasonable level of income, something that was impossible before, by the way all this applies to EU nationals only.


I'm not sure where you getting this from but you might want to get some more information before making any major life decisions Very Happy I really don't think you have this right at all. Unless my clock is badly wrong then it's 2004 and we're in the "transitional period".

For self employed EU citizens you can get a 6 months permit to set-up your business, at the end of that period they'll review if the business is up and running. That's a pretty high bar in fact, they'll want all kinds of documentation and accounts.

This will change at the end of the transitional period and again in 2012 when the full freedom of movement comes into force. The political climate here is changing with regard to immigration. This is all part of the Bilateral Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the EU signed in 1999 and ratified by the EU and in Swiss referendum in 2000. For myself, I'd doubt the referendum would pass today for what it's worth, it goes to another referendum in 2007 so it'll be interesting to see what happens after EU enlargement in particular.
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I agree but I wasn't planning anything for the near future anyway, by the way I have all the likely documentation and accounts (I'm VAT registered so I have to keep everything under control) and I've had my own buisness for nearly 10 years now. I've actually been offered (without me asking) a couple of slightly different jobs in Switzerland, I am educated to university level (yes I know it's not important any more) and I could also just about scrape into the sufficient funds catagory, however at the moment I also have a situation here in the UK that is not likely to be resolved in the near future in that my mother is suffering with alzheimers so I couldn't really go and live in Switzerland and leave her here on her own. Anyway my German and French language skills would need a lot of polish first. As I don't like the way things are going in France with the Brits moving in, I happen to think that Switzerland has it about right with the restrictions they place on people moving there and I'd like them to continue, my suspicion is that the opening up of EU borders could be a huge mistake but I guess we'll see as time passes weather I'm right or not.
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I've dug out a link that'll interest you then :

http://www.europa.admin.ch/pub/best/e/eu_in_ch.pdf

I recall reading it when we were looking at coming here. Your about right for future in what you say pending the outcome of the 2007 referendum of course.

I don't want to be rude, but if your business is the UK IT contractor limited company scam then the Swiss won't be impressed, that's not self employment in their opinion or most other tax authorities in Europe. My apologies if you're not an IT contractor , I only mention it since the skier/IT combination is not uncommon Very Happy

Your UK records would do you no good here though as I understand it, the test is about the business you do after arrival.

You have Switzerland about right though, it may possibly be last civilised country in the world. I've lived in the UK (obviously), France and Germany and I love Switzerland. As for language skills, depends what you're going to do of course, it's not an absolute requirment for some jobs and not so many Swiss really do or want to speak both French and German.

In population terms German is the dominant language and the easiest place to find work Zurich which would not be such a bad place to live. Learning Swiss German must be hard in the UK, I speak some German German and half the time I've no idea what they're saying in the next village Very Happy I can never work work when I turn Radio Bern on if it's satirical sketch like Pete and Dud or Smith and Jones or serious, sounds like the Swedish chef from the Muppets speaking German to me. Worse, they just make words up I swear. We ski at Gstaad quite a bit and I'm convinced they just make stuff up for a laugh when I speak German German to them to order lunch.
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ise I know exactly what you mean, my greatest regret was never sticking with my Swiss German, aged 10 I could actually hold a passable conversation even if it was a little on the slow side, age ... well lets just say I pick out just about enough to sometimes be able to work out the gist of what's being said but not the detail Sad

I think I know what you mean with regard to the IT buisness, I deal mainly with engineers and architects, I'm a qualified mechanical engineer and I mainly do 3D design and visualisation work that those companies either can't manage in house because they haven't the staff or equipment or because they have two much work on sometimes the work is more technical sometimes more artistic. If you saw how much I have to spend out each year on Hardware and Software you'd wonder how on earth I manage to go skiing !

Just occasionally I also train people in how to use their software to do the same stuff.
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D G. Once had one of those B permits, although it expired some time ago, never got the property sorted though, much to my regret. Don't think I have much chance of getting one now. If you get the chance go for it. Chances like that are once in a lifetime.... Ah well!
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Fortunately I have a couple of contacts in Switzerland who have said that were I ever to want to come to live there they would happily employ me, which is nice to know snowHead
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GBoswood, Not too many language barriers in Meribel/Val/Les Arcs either Wink Taxes targeting EU owners would be illegal in my opinion. There is a bilateral tax treaty that means UK residents declare their entire income in the UK, and vice-versa. Ok there are differences in tax payable during the transaction itself etc, but as things stand there are no barriers to ownership by EU citizens and certainly no discriminatory taxation. The biggest tax burden falls on actual French-residents (more than 6 months per year), particularly with regard to inheritance laws.
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Hi PG

Agree there is currently no discrminatory taxes but wonder what the future will hold? Its well reported that the mayor of Chamonix has urged residents not to sell to the English. It may be illegal but weren't the nuculear tests that were performed in the South Pacific also declared illegal?

Don`t want to put anyone off but language and cultural differences need to be considered very carefully.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I wouldn't make too much of all that, the alleged anti-British sentiment has been blown up out of all proportion, especially by certain UK 'newspapers'. I've lived in France for 15 years or so all in all, and I've never had the slightest problem, nor do I know anyone else that has - just so long as you extend the same courtesy and respect to the locals as you would wish for from a visitor to your own country. I have however heard of a number of cases of 'Little Englanders' who believe they can transport themselves and their culture to France without making the slightest effort to integrate, and frankly, they deserve all they get!

With reference to cultural differences, I've always felt that the British have a little more in common with their fellow Europeans than with Americans, despite the language barrier. The similarities outweigh the differences, I reckon.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It seems to me that the Haute Savoie has been partly destroyed by speculative construction projects fuelled by speculative investment. The accommodation is largely filled by the self-drive market, causing immense air pollution. No investment in electric train transport up to the high villages has been made. Much of the architecture is grossly insensitive to its context. Sherman-Maier mentioned on another thread that hundreds of trees were felled for the Arc 1950 project, so what is the 'ski business' (in which we're all spending money) up to? Destroying what we want to enjoy in years to come?

I'd urge everyone to stay out of speculative investment in Alpine property. Let the local people run their own economies, rent from the local people, use their restaurants and specialist food shops. Otherwise, all we'll end up with is property inflation, rent inflation and environmental ruin.

I'm not surprised the Chamonix people are up in arms.
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Well that's actually not particularly accurate David. The people of Chamonix and the Savoie in general are only too aware that the economy is virtually entirely driven by the ski tourism trade in many areas, and a large number of the locals wouldn't be here in the first place to look for accommodation, expensive or otherwise, if it wasn't for the employment opportunities the business has brought to the region.

Furthermore you should bear in mind that without the locals selling their property and land to investors in the first place the prices would not have been subject to anything like the level of inflation we have seen. They chose to do so because they would make more money that way, simple as that. It's the same phenomenon elsewhere, such as in Provence - I've seen local farmers grumbling about the costs of housing for locals then in the same breath the moment a Brit offers them 20% above the going rate they sell in an instant.

Speculation? I'd agree there. Investment is a side issue to owning property in the Alps. The principle aim should be to have a home, or a share in a home, for your own use during your own holidays.

Bourg St Maurice has invested in a funicular railway. I pay a sizeable amount in local tax to help pay off the debt! I would argue that the public transport infrastructure in France is in a league of its own compared to the UK.
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PG. The funicular is great. I've used it. But how many people using the Intrawest apartments in Arc 1950 will use the funicular to Arc 1600 only?
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