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Buying leaseback apartment chapel/les gets advice!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi I’m new here! I am looking to buy an apartment in les get or chatel in 2021- advice appreciated for any developers to avoid- pros/cons of each resort etc. I plan to rent it out and also use it myself. I’ve been advised I’ll get about 3% annual yield after all is payed out. I’m looking to spend around £380k - I’m 42 so after somewhere with life but not too young and rowdy ! Les gets was my first choice but chatel cheaper although les gets better skiing (reds) but then gets too busy? Thanks!! Xx
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I have run chalets in les gets and chatel. Les Gets is a very pretty village and quite a practical one but i would disagree that it has better skiing than chatel. There are perhaps several things to prefer about les gets but if you like 'reds' or are even a half decent skier the skiing accessible from chatel is more varied and extensive with much better access to the pds as a whole. Les gets is good /better for family skiing so it depends on requirements.

Both towns are good but les gets is better for bars, both have good restaurants- chatel has some really good ones. There are too many cars and buses around chatel centre but i left les gets 2 years ago and that may have more now too. Les Gets is prettier and more 'user friendly.'

Property is cheaper in chatel but it is quite spread out and most people drive a lot.

They are both good ski towns so it does come down to what you want. Chatel better skiing, les gets better town in my view. Les gets was getting pretty pricey when i left 2 years ago though and there is a lot of development.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Don’t buy a leaseback apartment and if you search on this site you will find plenty others who share this advice .
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Welcome to snowHeads snowHead

A safe return of 3%, when bank rates are at a historical low? If it looks too good to be true......
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
A recent article on leaseback in The Times.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-french-timeshare-bombshell-zqjwx66l7

This recent thread, the OP started out thinking about leaseback and then as he did more research, concluded against it. He was very clearly misled by one of the developers he spoke to. There are views from both sides.

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=153273

Personally, in the current financial climate, I wouldn’t go near it. Mortgages are almost free, so why you’d want to have a debt via a third party, with a contract that seems to mean you buy the property but then give the developer/leaseholder all the rights to it, and the contract is overridden by statute which appears very favourable to the developer.
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pam w wrote:
A safe return of 3%, when bank rates are at a historical low? If it looks too good to be true......


£11,400 pa return after costs. No chance.

Must be some swanky apartment at that price. 50% of that would get you a very decent one with three bedrooms
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
better off investing in property in the UK
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
There is only one reason developers offer these sale and leaseback arrangements and that is that they make more money with them than straightforward develop and sell, which should tell you that that the purchaser will make less.
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I would be very wary of leaseback arrangements.
Access to the wider ski area would be better from Chatel than Les Gets.
There was so much apartment building going on in Les Gets it was a little worrying.

Lovely village - we were very happy in Les Gets for nearly twenty years in a chalet we built in 2000 and sold two years ago so we had the benefit of many holidays there while we were still working and then spending
much longer periods there with lots of friends visiting in latter years, and our family used it frequently and it was a joy to see the eventual grandchildren setting off and flourishing on skis.

OP needs to amend title to Chatel rather than Chapel
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Fightfilly You need to look through the thread archives and do a bit of reading-around the topic, as there's a lot of very useful discussion on them that may help your decide on a strategy. Otherwise, you'll just get a subset repeated on this one.

It would be useful to understand what has led you to chose this particular location, out of all the thousands on offer across the Alps. You must have a clear set of criteria you're applying if you've gone for not just a specific location but a specific financing mechanism (leaseback) too.

A bit of background (within the constraints of anonymity, obvs) will help in providing more focused advice. For example, you say you're looking to spend £380K and the title mentions leaseback - how much do you have as a deposit? Do you have equity in a UK home that you could draw on to buy outright instead? You say you're being promised a 3% profit (my view is that this would be challenging if not impossible to deliver, if you intend to use the place yourself) so are you depending on this to fund the purchase? Have you considered funding via a mortgage in France?

I'm going to risk the ire of a number of owners who are happy with their leasebacks and say that I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole in the current circumstances. Not unless I'd explored every possible alternative method of funding, done a cost/benefit/risk analysis, and conclusively decided it was the best and most viable option. Actually, not even then, because for me, the risks would be too high. Which at the time we bought, was why I financed our apartment through equity in my UK home, and then transferred to a mortgage from a local Swiss bank, given their better interest charge rate.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

I'm going to risk the ire of a number of owners who are happy with their leasebacks

I don't think we have many of them, and I don't recall anybody who has bought a leaseback, and subsequently sold it, and worked out a positive rate of return on their initial investment.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
"OP needs to amend title to Chatel rather than Chapel"

Funnily enough, I initially took the title to refer to Chapelle... (d'Abondance)
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
And I read the last bit as being "..let's get advice.." Wink
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Ricky B, so did I.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@julietp,

Hi, Any advice on La Chapelle d'Abondance? I am also looking at new build there, but was wondering if it SISO and what is the village like in winter and summer. In summer is anything even open? Chatel is also an option, but prices look higher cf Chapelle. Many thx
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Vendo987, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead
La Chapelle is lovely.
We normally go from there at 1/2 term and Xmas when its busier elsewhere.
Connects into Chatel and Chalet-Neuf, then onto Morgins or PLJ depending on which way you go.
There's a nice little boarder-X, plus you can easily get to the Torgon fun-park.
Couple of nice resto's on the piste, plus amazing food in the village for such a small place. Les Cornettes is still great despite the chef dying a couple of years ago, l'Atelier de Jacky also very good, and my fave is le Fer Rouge microbrewery and restaurant.
Its popular in the Summer, and like most places, only closes in the inter-season, but even then is better than Avoriaz, as its still a proper little village with bakery, medical centre etc...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Personally, unless you like drag lifts I would not recommend chapelle d'abondance for ski access. It is a bit of a schlep into the pds and the skiing around chapelle is pretty limited. It is a nice town but you would probably end up driving to Chatel to access the PDS conveniently. Fer rogue is great though! Depending on the price differential, I would say Chatel is a better investment and also a better base. Just my view though!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Vendo987, welcome.

We have had an apartment in Chatel for over 20 years and really like the area. That said if I was buying again I think I would go for La Chapelle. Local ski areas are nice and if you stay local the lift pass is cheap. Plenty of restaurants in addition to the good ones @WindOfChange mentions and access by car to Pre La Joux or Linga is almost as quick as from Chatel once you deal with the congested centre.

Very nice summer walking along the river and access to Mont de Grange or Les Cornettes de Bise.

The area called Le Ryz would be my favourite I think.
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Thx for the replies, very helpful, so it sounds like it is not a complete 'ghost town' in summer, like I hear some resorts might be (other threads I read). I accept local slopes will be limited by I have 2 young ones (<10ys) so good place to start, and we can always take free shuttle up to Chatel to explore PdS. In terms of geography does anyone know when you lose the sun in the Chapelle village (winter). Aspect wise I am looking at South but could go West facing, the location is 600m north of the first chair lift (Breni or something), it looks like farmland so not one in front of me (for now I guess). Many thx
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I thought the OP was renovating a Methodist chapel?
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@Vendo987, Hi. First of all.....La Chapelle is lovely! IMHO it’s a better location than Chatel in summer as access to walking is easier. It’s busy during summer and winter. If you want to ski from Chatel you can drive or get the shuttle bus.

If your prospective apartment is 600m north of Cret Beni you might lose the sunshine after about 14:00 in mid Winter. I’m about 150m up the south facing slope of the valley and once we are past January we get sun until 16:00 or so.

If you google https://www.onthesnow.co.uk/northern-alps/la-chapelle-dabondance/webcams.html the ‘Les Contamines’ webcam is on the valley floor about 600m north of Cret Beni, which is the ski run you can see on the left of the picture
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Matt1959, that is exceptionally helpful.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Vendo987, Glad I could be of help! Let me know if you've got any other questions or if you'd fancy a chat. If you want to let me know the name of the apartment/chalet you are looking at I can give you a bit more info.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Here are my thoughts, that will probably create a fair amount if discussion. If you are going to buy somewhere, either outright or leaseback and are considering the long term you need to choose a high resort with a long season and good snow record. It’s different if you only go for a week, at say feb half term when all resorts have good snow. But if you are going a few times a year and want to maximise rental income I’d suggest one of the high resorts such as 3 valleys, eSpace Killy or Paradiski. The snow will be pretty good even at the end of the season.
And the way things are going I don’t see there being more snow around in 20 years time.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I'd echo @Topperski with respect to casting your net a bit wider and taking into account other factors like proximity to airport links and public transport, or summer activities and summer lift opening dates. And I'd also say no way should you be doing this remotely: it's much better to do some field work first, especially in the low seasons and ideally in the low and summer. When we were searching, we did two longer trips out and on each went 'round a number of places, in some staying overnight. We talked to the Tourist Office and the hotelier if we were staying over, to get the widest background about the various resorts. I appreciate that under current circumstances, this is really not feasible. But what I wouldn't do is buy at a distance: there are too many factors involved. Apologies to @Fightfilly if you've already done all the groundwork, but it's just that the posts don't read as if you have. And there's always going to be confirmation bias if you ask for feedback about a specific resort - no one is going to say "I wish I'd bought somewhere else.". The only regret I see regularly is that people often wish they'd bought somewhere a bit bigger: because of the CGT hit, most people don't find it economic to trade-up if they find they're later able to afford, and/or want, an extra bedroom, larger kitchen, closer to the lifts, a parking place etc.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Mon 11-01-21 12:23; edited 2 times in total
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@Topperski, @LaForet, those are good points, and are echoed in many other threads I have read. Similar to @Fightfilly, I am at initial due diligence stage. With respect to new builds (circa 6k psm) it seems clear to me that (net) yields are closer to 1-1.5%. My cashflow forecast 'at best' will just cover interest and routine running costs, stress testing the rental I could be down 3-4k per annum in net costs. And this is with big deposit (at least 50%). This also seem to chime with threads from other owners who have been doing this for many years. Hence eyes wide open, this is about lifestyle and +ve convenience yield while trying to limit downside risk (like no snowfall in 20yrs Crying or Very sad ).

The challenge I have is finding good value for money, which inevitably is a trade off btw location and price. I am also looking at Linga... which is an interesting location, better value than Chatel and more space but smaller and not as 'popular'. Any thoughts on Linga most appreciated... cheers all.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Linga is a great location in Chatel. The telecabine links to super Chatel and pre la-joux/avoriaz. It is only a 15 minute walk to Chatel centre and all the buses stop at Linga. They are also moving the main bus station (buses to thonon to connect to GVA) from Chatel centre (place d'eglise) to Linga. Excellent location. Home run to Linga is a fast fun red.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
One thing that might affect your nearness to lift versus £/m² calculation is if there are facilities at the lift station for you to store your kit. This wasn't the case when we bought, but now, with a new build at the base of the lift, we could hire boot/ski storage cabinets in the heated room in the new underground car park. If you can walk to/from the lift in standard boots, then change, it might extend the range of your search. So worth doing some investigation for any candidate destination about whether this is available. But the storage has to be modern, with ventilated and heated cabinets in an heated underground room - not a locker in the freezing semi-outdoors.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Vendo987, Linga is a great location as far as access to skiing is concerned, but I think that little or no sunshine reaches it during the winter months.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Great feedback all, thx. @Matt1959, I am half expecting you to send me another skicam link! Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Vendo987, Ha ha! I’m the La Chapelle correspondent. You can’t expect me to know my way around the webcams all over the place.

But there is a serious point here. When we bought one of our decision criteria was that we wanted somewhere that we would enjoy staying in as well as just skiing from. Partly because my wife doesn’t ski but also because there are 8-9 months when there won’t be skiing. Sunny terrace and a good view were key to us.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Agree, the winter sun is very low, even in Chatel yesterday (very sunny day) the webcams show maybe 4hrs sun on the west facing slope above Eglise (11.30 to 3.30pm), you can just make out Linga in the distance (shaded all day) - looks like the peak of Pointe du Midi completely blocks the sun in the East (Linga chalets being more East facing, while Chatel West facing). I guess you can't have everything, but sun hours are usually spent skiing or having lunch up on the piste. Hopefully in spring the higher sun does better... any views on that welcome.

https://www.onthesnow.co.uk/northern-alps/chatel/webcams.html?id=411&dayEp=18637
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
https://m.webcam-hd.com/chatel/village

better version with split screen and time elapsed, by early Feb the valley floor to Linga is sunlit lit from 10.30/11am... better than I thought.
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@Vendo987, See how useful those webcams are!

There used to be one on a chalet down our road and we used it to see if we would need chains. New owner has removed it ☹️
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