Selling your property in the Alps

This post is also available in: Français (French)

So, your life is moving into a new phase, or the family no longer want to spend Christmas together in the chalet, or the time has come to spend some of the cash tied up in your property. The decision to sell your ski chalet can have any number of triggers, but whatever the reason, let’s assume you have reluctantly decided to put your much-loved ski property on the market. Hopefully with us at Alpine Property.

Chalet for sale in Samoens

Maison des Billets, Samoens, for sale for 600,000€ in February 2014.

Selling your chalet in the Alps is one of those things most people do just once in a lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those things where practise makes perfect. So, what are the dos and don’ts of putting your property on the market in France?

Most important of all…………..

DO price the property realistically. First talk to us! We would say that wouldn’t we? It is tempting to take a look at similar properties for sale with Alpine Property (or other agencies!) to gauge current asking prices, then decide on a price for your property yourself. This comes with risks. For example there are a number of properties on our books that have been there a while and it could be that they are not realistically priced. The second home market is different from other markets, the properties are regarded as “assets” by the owners and often they’d like to sell but they don’t NEED to sell. So if the property is overpriced they are happy to sit and wait. We base our valuations on actual sales figures including data from the notaires, which therefore reflect a more accurate market price.

Talk to us so we can work together on a price that will represent good value relative to the other properties. This way you will almost invariably achieve a higher selling price. Let me explain. Properties which are priced realistically sell very quickly and often a deal is struck within a month. Properties which are priced too highly only sell after sitting for a long time on the market and undergoing a series of painful price reductions. The reason for this is that buyers watch websites like ours at Alpine Property constantly and are surprisingly clever at identifying properties which have been for sale for some time. These properties are perceived to have something wrong with them and are unattractive to a buyer. Buyers, like early birds seeking a juicy worm, are instinctively drawn to properties which are new on the market. Thus there is a brief window of opportunity to get the best price for your property when it first goes on the market. Price the property too highly and that opportunity is lost.

Our agents are experienced in the prices actually being achieved in the market and will be very happy to advise you on a realistic price. Take a look at our Sell Property page for more practical advice

DO NOT Listen to an agent who suggests testing the market with a price at the top end of the price range you had in mind. His strategy is to get your property onto his books first and worry about selling it later. He will no doubt come back to you in three months time and suggest a substantial price reduction. By this time your property will be stale.

DO make every effort to help us present the property well. The property photographs we take are obviously vital. We use the best equipment to produce good quality views, but it’s up to you to ensure the chalet is clean and tidy. Homestaging is well worth the time and effort. We work with several people in the area that can help with this. The same applies when we make visits. Buyers will only buy an untidy or dirty chalet if it is being sold at a substantial discount. I’ll write another post on the best way to present your property for sale.

DO put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Often a client looking to buy a chalet within a certain price range has seen many properties priced similarly and has an instant idea of what is reasonable and what isn’t. Though we advise caution on advertised prices not always being an accurate reflection of true value, it can be an eye opener to go ‘internet shopping’ and seeing if you can find a better property than yours for the same money. If you do, then you can be sure that these properties will sell first and yours will remain on the market.

DO keep in touch with your Alpine Property agent. We monitor all our virtual visits of your property listing, log all enquiries from our buyers and are happy to provide feedback at anytime, including after visits. If you’re not getting any buyers looking at the property, then we’ll probably have an idea as to why, and can advise you accordingly. This is the case with any other agency you are using too, particularly if they have given you a high valuation. Once again, it is all well and good them saying your chalet is worth X, but it is then reasonable to challenge them as to why it is not getting any interest.

DO make sure that you are clear as to your Capital Gains Tax liability. The tax situation for second homes has recently seen some flux in France so a visit to a local accountant or Notaire is a must if you are not sure where you stand. Meilleurs Agents can be a good place to get the CGT table for France. Don’t believe everything you read on the web though!

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