Finding the perfect ski home really comes down to identifying the basic elements that are most important to you. First question right out of the starting gate should be: where? I think this should relate back to your ski ability level as you don’t want to purchase a home right on the double black diamond trail, if you’ve only been snow skiing 2 times in your life. It would be far better to be a little less ambitious, and select properties that are more in keeping with your current ability level (or a little higher). If you enjoy skiing the mountain now, its likely you’ll keep on enjoying even though your ability will probably improve.
Next up: Lifestyle. Do you want to be where all the action is? Or do you want a more solitary retreat? Do you want a ski chalet with 10 bedrooms and 5 baths? Or do you want a more modest dwelling like a ski condo? Do you want to be part of the international jetset crowd? Or do you want to hang out with the locals in a more informal setting? That’s just a few examples of the questions that should be going through your mind when trying to identify your next ski property purchase.
After narrowing down the above of where (Aspen, Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, etc), and what (chalet, home, condo, cabin, etc) – the next question that should probably pop in most persons heads is: price. You need to identify what you can afford. In general, most properties that are more expensive, look nicer and have more features than cheaper properties (yea, I know. who would have thought it?). So, you don’t want to go looking at $2 million ski chalets, when your budget only affords you to be able to swing a $1 million property.
After this, you need to think ahead in regard to what your goal is for the property. [I'm sure some of you are asking now: "Goal? What goal?!?! I just want a place to sleep, eat, and ski."] Its important to recognize your exit strategy for the property for when you intend to sell. It doesn’t matter if you are planning on selling it in 6 months, or 60 years, you should at least have a game plan as to how you intend to deal with the property. You don’t want to place a sign in the yard saying “ski home for sale”, to have it sit on the market for months/years and then take a big loss on it. So you need to take this into consideration when considering make your ski home purchase. Do you intend to generate profit at mitigate the cost by renting the property to others when you aren’t there? Do you intend to sell the property in the short term (under a few years)? Do you intend to hold the property for the long term? etc. All of this can make an impact on appropriate ski property selection.
And lastly, you need good representation: a Realtor. Real estate laws and customs vary tremendously from place to place and you will want to ensure that you have good & competent representation when making your ski home purchase. Determining if there are any valid leases on the property (i.e. did the current owner rent out his property for the 2 weeks during the Olympics thats taking place 3 years from now) is just one example. A competent real estate agent can help provide guidance to avoid these types of pitfalls so that you have a full understanding of what you are purchasing, and helping to ensure that your best interests are being addressed.