Chamonix Property For Sale
The Haute Savoie is located to the east of France in the Alps, bordering both Switzerland and Italy. As would be expected from this mountainous region, skiing is a big attraction; yet, it offers much more than just winter sports for those buying property for sale in Haute Savoie.
The town of Chamonix lies in a valley at the foot of one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Alps. It is a vibrant town and rich in tradition, offering not only a whole host of activities, but also numerous shops and restaurants. It is a popular place for Haute Savoie property for sale thanks to its position and status. The nearby ‘Aiguille du Midi’ cable car and the red cog-wheel train of Montenvers climb to the famous ‘Mer de Glace’. Chamonix Mont-Blanc and the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc offer unrivalled sensations for skiers and snow-boarders of all levels with sunny slopes, high altitude skiing in the major areas, and accessible slopes on the valley floor for beginners. The skiing season begins around mid-December, but, depending on snow conditions, the lifts often open much sooner. Natural spring snow allows for great skiing up until the 8th of May, when the season officially ends. There are many picturesque traditional hamlets nearby, set in beautiful scenery of dark pine forests or flowering alpine pastures, and set against the backdrop of nearby glaciers – where better to enjoy the many summer and winter activities than from your own Chamonix property.
Chamonix is also a centre for mountaineering on the high peaks and, especially in summer, the trails through the breathtaking scenery draw hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders. Through deep forests and over mountain pastures, around towering summits and along alpine lakes, past picturesque hamlets and villages, the numerous paths offer a choice for all energy levels. These can be enjoyed, perhaps, in the morning after breakfast from the balcony of a lovely Chamonix property. For the past 40 years, all land lying above 2,000m elevation has been classed as a nature reserve and consequently protected.
One of the many villages in the Chamonix valley is Les Houches. Situated only 6km from Chamonix, Les Houches offers an exceptional panorama of the peaks surrounding the valley. The village is made up of a number of hamlets spread over an area of 5,000 hectares, with oratories, chapels, old bread ovens and farms bearing witness to its past, and being the objects of particular attention today. Each of these hamlets presents a real cultural, sporting or tourism interest making buying property in the Chamonix region all the more attractive.
The lake and the Plaine Saint Jean offer a base for those wishing to visit the Gorges de la Diosaz. The beautiful chapel at the lake and the ruins of the castle are well worth a visit, as are the famous St Bernard dog-breeding kennels. The hamlet of Vaudagne also has kennels, but this time for the huskies used in dogsleighing. Nearby, the hamlets of Les Chavants and Maisonneuve are centres for rock climbing, cross-country skiing, fishing, and tennis. There are also adventure parks for children, and many woodland walks. The centre of the village can be found in Les Trabets, offering all the public services, such as shops, libraries, and so on. There is also a ski-jumping site, ice rink and skate park for the more adventurous. The hamlet of Coupeau harbours the Merlet animal park, an adventure park, and the Carlaveyron nature reserve. Most villages in the Haute Savoie have property for sale, whether it be a house, cabin, chalet or apartment.
The ski domain of Les Houches offers a large diversity of slopes through the forests, for all the snow disciplines, from beginners to world class skiers who meet on the famous 'Verte' piste for the men's Alpine World Cup downhill and slalom events.
Guide to the French Buying Process
1. Signing the Agreement (Compris)
On finding a property you wish to purchase you will need to negotiate the terms, price and conditions of the sale with the owner. The next step, once you are in agreement, is to sign the preliminary contract (Compromis de Vente). This is a legal document and after ten days will be binding on both parties. Rules change frequently in France and it is best to consult with your notary about when this period starts. Generally the compris will be signed in France with the Agent. Variants can be included in the compris, for example an Acte (clause) can be added if the name or names to go on the title deed have not been finalised. If a mortgage will be required to purchase the property, the details for this, including the name of the mortgage company, must be on the compris.
2. Paying the Deposit
Generally the deposit will be 10% of the agreed purchase price. This will normally be paid to the notaire. There are exceptions to this, if the agent holds a carte professionelle, is bonded and fully registered then you may pay them, but do not hand over the deposit to anyone else. If for some reason the purchase does not go through, for example, if you write to the notaire and the agent that you do not wish to go continue with the purchase before the contract is binding (within seven days of signing the compris), then your deposit would be repaid. This would also apply if a condition had not been met, or the mayor or S.A.F.E.R. (a government agency that has the right of first purchase on most rural property that comes onto the market in France) could oblige the purchaser to give way. If you decide after the seven days 'cooling off' period that you do not wish to complete the purchase and pull out of the sale you would lose your deposit. If however the vendor pulls out of the sale then you will receive your deposit back plus the same amount from the vendor.
3. On Completion
Generally it will take around two or three months to complete the purchase. During this time the balance of the purchase money must be paid into the account of the notaire, this must be done well ahead of the completion date. The notaire will prepare the documents, check that the deed of sale (Acte de Vente) is in order and have the legal title ready to be signed over. It is possible to have someone sign on your behalf if you give them power of attorney. An interpreter may be of use at this point if your French is not very good and many Notaires will suggest (or insist) that an interpreter is with you.
Meet Jean-Francois Bouillier, our agent in Chamonix, France.
Current State Of The Market
Q. What is the current state of the local market?
A. The local market for Chamonix property for sale is strong, especially the properties close to Chamonix centre.
Q. How have sales performed since 2008
A. In 2009 it was not so good, but since 2010 it has been fine, the market is good.
Q. Which types of property are not selling?
A. There is no particular type of property that is sticking, sometimes if the location is bad it is difficult to sell, but it is the location and not the type of property that makes them difficult.
Q. Is Chamonix a buyer's or seller's market?
A. Sellers market, definitely.
Q. Which type of property is most popular?
A. At the moment it is apartments with 3 – 4 rooms in the centre of Chamonix, or very close to the centre of Chamonix.
Who Is Buying?
Q. What nationalities are driving the Chamonix buyers market?
A. The majority are French approximately 60% of my clients are French, after that are English people and number three are clients from Switzerland as they have a good exchange rate and Geneva is very close with the motorway.
Q. Are specific areas of Chamonix popular with particular nationalities?
A. I can’t see any link between nationalities and areas. Some people like to be close to the ski lifts, others prefer to be in a quiet area but there is no link between the area and nationalities.
Q. Are clients buying as a single purchase or for a portfolio?
A. The majority of my clients are making only one purchase.
Walkthrough Of The Different Areas
Q. Could you describe the different locations?
A. Les Praz is one of the best locations for Chamonix property for sale, it is near to the golf course and the Flegere Cable Car. The view is fantastic from this area you have all the leisure activities available, the buildings have great character and it is perfect. There is also Les Moussoux which is a hamlet above Chamonix where the Brevent cable car starts and from this area you can do almost everything without your car. Clients looking in Les Moussoux are generally looking for an apartment with 2 or 3 bedrooms, or even a chalet and from this area they can do everything by walking, which is a big advantage. Near the village of Les houche at the beginning of the valley there is a particular hamlet called Les Chavants, it is a very lovely and traditional area with old farms and beautiful views. It is very very quiet, and traditional, more rustic in style, the old mountain style.
Q. What types of property are available?
A. Mostly chalets and apartments.
Q. Are there any new developments or renovations?
A. Not so much as the valley is narrow and there is very little new development. It is possible to find a small piece of land for building an individual chalet and most of the developments are of this type.
Help With The Buying Process
Q. What are the local annual Chamonix property taxes?
A. You have two taxes in France the ‘taxe Fonciere’ and the ‘taxe d’habituation’ that you have to pay every year. It is the same everywhere in France.
Q. Should buyers get a full structural survey?
A. No, it is not required in France. We have some diagnosis, but it is not a full structural survey.
Q. Should buyers instruct a solicitor from their country?
A. We have some Notaries in the area who speak very good English, in France the sale is managed by a Notary and we will recommend some French Notaries who can speak English to our clients.
Q. Do you have any inheritance tax advice?
A. Not really, it is better to refer to the Notary and he will be able to advise you.
Q. Do you translate documents?
A. The sales agreement will have a translation into English. We generally only have the documents produced in French and English.
Q. Are any of your Chamonix properties leasehold?
A. Everything is freehold.
Q. Can you recommend an insurance agent?
A. Yes, we have an English lady who I would recommend.
Maintenance and Renovations
Q. Do you have a maintenance team available?
A. No, but we recommend some local builders.
Q. Do you recommend any local builders?
A. It can be a problem, in France we have special insurance for the work and if the company who does the renovation do not have this French insurance there can be a problem for re-selling the property for the next ten years.
Q. Are there any local grants available?
Visiting To View Properties
Q. Do you recommend an airport transfer company?
A. No-one in particular, we have never been asked by our clients about transfers.
Q. Do you recommend a car hire company?
A. There is only one car hire firm in Chamonix, so we don’t get asked this question.
Q. Do you meet clients at your office or pick them up?
A. We prefer to meet at the office to discuss with them precisely what they are looking for. This gives us the opportunity to show them additional properties, if we meet at the hotel we do not have the keys for additional properties, so it is better for the client if we meet at the office.
Local Area Information
Q. What are your favourite weather months?
A. All the months are the best ! November is the worst as it is too late for the summer activities, and too early for the skiing, but Chamonix is a town, so all the shops are open, the hotels and restaurants and pubs.
Q. Do clients need to speak the local language?
A. There are English people who have lived in Chamonix for years and do not speak the language, so you don’t need to speak French to enjoy living here.
Q. What are the crime statistics for the area?
A. We are lucky in Chamonix, we don’t have much crime compared to the rest of France, so there is no area to avoid, Chamonix is safe.
Q. What schools are there locally?
A. There are no international schools.
Q. What local places of worship are there?
A. There are catholic churches and one protestant church.
Q. What local healthcare is provided?
A. The hospital is only open during the winter season. Out of season you need to go to Sallanches which is 25 k away.
Q. What days are national holidays?
A. French Public Holidays 2014 01/01/2014 New Year 20/04/2014 Easter 21/04/2014 Easter Monday 01/05/2014 Labour Day 08/05/2014 Victory in Europe 29/05/2014 Ascension 08/06/2014 Pentecost 09/06/2014 Pentecost Monday 14/07/2014 Bastille Day 01/11/2014 All Saints 11/11/2014 Armistice Day 1918 25/12/2014 Christmas
Q. Are there any major festivals or events?
A. There is the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc), a world famous single stage mountain ultramarathon which takes place over 166 kilometers around the Mont Blanc range, at the end of August. The Red Bull Freeride World Tour snowboarding event takes place every February in Chamonix.
Q. What are your favourite restaurants?
A. There is a famous Italian restaurant in Chamonix called Casa Valerio that I would recommend and for French food there is the Panier des 4 Seasons, this is very good for typical French food.
Q. What nightclubs do you recommend?
A. The White Hub is the famous nightclub in Chamonix.
Q. Which gym would you recommend?
A. There is one in the sport centre of Chamonix, it’s a big one.
Q. What leisure activities are popular?
A. As well as all the other leisure activities there is a very nice Golf course in Chamonix called Golf de Chamonix.
Q. Are there are any new laws affecting property in Chamonix?
Q. Are there any new transport links being constructed?
Q. What are the red zones in Chamonix?
A. Everywhere in the valley you have red zones and blue zones, we will give information to the clients as to whether the property might be affected.
Q. What is the cost an Annual Ski Pass?
A. For an adult including the summer season it is €1,960 and for a child under 16 years old it is €1,666.
Q. Is there much summer activity?
A. There are more activities in summer in Chamonix than there are in the winter. Hiking, climbing, paragliding there is every type of activity that you might expect in a mountainous area.
Q. Is rental income generally restricted to the skiiing season?
A. There is a market for rentals all year round, there are not enough apartments for yearly renting. For some properties it is better to rent weekly and in different areas it is better to rent annually.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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