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Buying a Ski Home

Rather than continue to dump thousands of dollars and countless hours of planning into your vacation each year, why not consider buying a ski property yourself? Ski eGuide has compiled a list of reasons why now is a good time to buy a ski home along with some tips for those who are in the market.

Buying a ski home
flickr image by Our Home At

Why Invest in a Ski Home?
For starters, the popularity of ski properties alone makes now the perfect time to invest. Historically, ski properties are a stable investment, and in the past few years, their popularity has been growing. This means a few things for the would-be home buyer.

First, a soar in popularity means that finding the right property to rent during your ski vacation may be more difficult than usual. In particular, the holiday weekends may be fully booked, meaning that unless you plan way ahead in advance, you may not wind up with exactly what you were looking for.

Alternatively, even if you are lucky enough to find that perfect place to rent, it will likely come with a price tag. High demand always means price inflation.

By investing in a ski property, not only can you eliminate the hassle of looking for the right accommodations and high cost to rent them, but you can actually come out on the profitable side of this deal. As a ski home owner, you will have your house during the weeks that you want it, and rent it out at premium rates all other times of the year. Many ski properties are such lucrative rental homes that the revenue actually covers the mortgage costs, themselves.


Tips for Buying a Ski Home

When it comes to buying a ski home, the single most important thing to determine is the location. Perhaps most obvious in selecting a location is that you will want to buy in a ski community that you absolutely love. From the slopes to the town, you should pick a place that you'd want to frequent.

In addition to personal preference, you'll also want to choose a location that is practical. For example, consider how convenient it is to get to, and how frequently you're likely to make that trip each year. Many ski resorts are in really remote locations, so they may not be the most viable option. Alternatively, a secluded resort may be ideal and not a hassle, for example, if you're traveling in your own personal jet or if you have lots of time for vacationing.

Another thing to consider with respect to location is what the property market is like in that area. With a little market research, you can determine whether or not property values have been on the rise or not within each community. There are a number of excellent websites to help you scope out the buyer's market.

Along these same lines, some home buyers are interested in buying in an already established market. In these areas, while the prices may be a bit higher, all of the amenities that you'd want in a ski community will already by intact. In other words, you'll know exactly what you're getting yourself into.

Tips for buying ski homes
flickr image by Tim in Sydney

On the other hand, buying in an up and coming market may be appealing, because you can like get more bang for your buck. Conversely, the downside is that this comes with some uncertainly with respect to how the community will be developed. Meanwhile, you may also have to sacrifice some of the perks and comforts that fully developed ski towns have to offer.

If you're planning to rent out your ski property, it's also wise to research what the typical rental prices have been like at various times of the year. For many ski towns, summer tourism may be as popular as winter, thereby generating revenue for you year-round. In the same vein, properties that are closer to the resort or near a vibrant downtown will rent for more than those further away.

Beyond the location, the next decision to make is what type of property you want to buy. Many opt for apartments or condos, because they're more affordable and arguably easier to manage. For instance, most apartment complexes have property managers that can not only take care of the property when you're not using it, but also negotiate and administer all rental exchanges with vacationers. This eliminates a lot of hassle and puts home owners at ease when they're out of town. The flip-side of this coin is that home owner associations (HOA) can come with a lot of rules regarding renting out a home and be very costly. Be sure to understand the fine print and do some research to know what is a reasonable HOA fee for the area.

Single-family homes and luxury chalets are obviously preferable to apartments just due to the fact that they're bigger, more private and feel like a real home. For a full-fledged single-family ski property, a home buyer is probably looking at spending at least $1 million, depending on many factors, such as proximity to the ski resort, size and the quality of the property itself. Ultimately, buying a single-family home will depend on budgetary considerations. Also, if you can afford to purchase a single-family ski home, don't forget to factor in the costs of hiring a property manager to look after your home and potentially administer rental agreements.

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