French Alps: Buying Blind | Athena Advisers

Buying blind

"Charlie and the team helped me decide on Champagny, the only problem was I'd never been there before!"

Having skied for almost all of his life, across Switzerland, France, Italy and the United States, Armando Vallini decided it was time to own a ski property.

“Switzerland is expensive and only off the beaten path is it cheaper, and I have properties in Italy, my home country already,” commented Armando. “France has great skiing, large domains and is not too expensive, it was the logical place to look for a ski property. I only have 10 years of good legs left, so it felt like now was the time.” 

“I didn’t want a very high altitude resort above 1600m as I intend on spending long periods of time there, but I did want access to high altitude skiing within a good sized domain, so after much deliberation with Charlie and the team, we ended on Champagny en Vanoise [SEO LP] in La Plagne and the Paradiski. The only problem was I’d never been there before!”

Armando had planned to visit in early 2020, but the coronavirus travel restrictions put a stop to Armando’s plans to view Champagny en Vanoise, the property and ski domain, so he had to rely on technology to understand the resort, the property and the location.

Quality can’t be guaranteed on paper

“The amount of information I looked at remotely was extensive, but quality can't be guaranteed on paper,” continued Armando. “A series of videos and extensive photography was created for me showing the location, the plot, the resort, the orientation, the views, everything. There were also 3D plans and extensive calls and correspondence. But ultimately, I felt comfortable with the team helping me as well as the opportunity and we pushed ahead.”

“We also employed video calls to view things in real-time too, commented Charles-Antoine Siaelli, Head of French Alps at Athena Advisers. “Many of our clients in the middle east or far east are used to investing remotely, but for those from Europe it is relatively new and in these different times it’s important to utilise technology to immerse yourself into the location, especially as you may not be able to visit in person. 70% of our clients bought remotely, without visiting, during 2020.”

“The budget was important as I did not buy with an intention to let, but to live there for extended periods.”

Space and value, within a large domain

Armando wanted a good sized space and functional design for when his family visits the property during the winter or summer, which was another reason why ended up choosing Champagny en Vanoise. Compared to resorts like Méribel and Courchevel, it is much more affordable.

“The budget was important as I did not buy with an intention to let, but to live there for extended periods in winter and summer,” adds Armando. “Space, having a sizable terrace and comfort were therefore important aspects, and with no intention to incur debt via taking a mortgage, Champagny seemed to fit the purpose.”

“Prices are competitive in Champagny, added Charles-Antoine. “With an average price of around €7,000 per square metre in a resort that is just 15 minutes from Courchevel [SEO LP], part of the huge Three Valleys domain [SEO LP], where similar properties are easily north of €20,000 per square metre, Champagny offers good value. Even for the Paradiski it is good value for money.”

Champagny is a quaint resort that offers the ultimate mix of alpine charm and superb skiing. La Plagne, the immediate region, boasts over 200km of slopes and 80% of the runs here are blue or red which makes this resort perfect for intermediate skiers. In addition, Champagny-en-Vanoise is an excellent destination for cross-country skiing as the Vanoise National Park, the oldest in France, is close by too. Across the entire Paradiski, which takes in both La Plagne and all the levels of Les Arcs, there is 425km of piste available. 

Surety through experience

“In addition to all the information and correspondence, it was clear that they are an experienced team,” added Armando. “Charlie listened to my prerequisites around location, altitude and budget, and worked with them instead of seeing them as barriers to get over and gave careful considered responses.”

“Charles-Antoine carefully chose options in the area once we’d selected Champagny and Margaux and Mathilde in the Client Relations department went through the in’s and out’s of every detail in the contracts. They even helped arrange terrace strengthening for a hot tub, customise the interior layout and rearrange the payment structure slightly to reduce costs on transfers. I fully recommend Athena Advisers to anyone looking for a suitable ski property in France.”

Armando bought a two-bedroom apartment in the Les Terrasses de la Vanoise development, just four blocks from minutes’ walk from the charming centre & ski lifts.