If you’re investing in a chalet, you may be wondering whether to purchase an existing property or build your own.
This decision will depend significantly on how specific your vision is. You can either choose to search for your dream chalet or create it yourself.
Building your own chalet allows you to have greater autonomy than buying an established home, but the cost to build a chalet can be high and the process can be lengthy.
So, how much does it cost to build a chalet? Ultimately, there is no fixed price – the location, size and materials will all play a part, plus certain unexpected factors may require your budget to be flexible. In this post, we outline the associated considerations and costs of building a chalet in the French Alps, to help you decide which approach is best for you.
Pros of building a chalet
- You build a home exactly tailored to your needs
- You should be able to get a loan for the cost of building the chalet
- Chalets on the market may be outdated and not to your taste
- You can create a more energy-efficient property from the outset
- Building a chalet yourself represents a significant saving if you can do the work yourself – however, it’s rare for people to have all the correct skills and equipment
When you build your own chalet, you get the opportunity to apply your own exact layout, size and specific criteria. There’s a cost-saving element compared to buying an existing chalet, which will be marked up, or come with limitations when buying from a developer. However, there’s the cost of bespoke, personalised features such as ski rooms to consider when building your own.Chris Nixon, CN Solutions
Cons of building a chalet
- You need to be able to commit fully to the project in advance and ensure your budget covers all the costs
- Language barriers in your chosen location may make things more difficult – this is where architects and project managers can help
- Wait times are much longer, and unforeseen obstacles can impact your original plans
The cost of building a chalet in the French Alps
What do you have to budget for?
1. Buying the plot of land
Buying the plot of land is the first obvious cost. Without the land, there’s nothing to build your property on.
Of course, the cost of the land is going to vary considerably depending on the size, location, demand, aspects/orientation, views, etc. To help reduce future costs, consider purchasing land on flat terrain to reduce groundwork costs later down the line.
What are the main criteria to consider when buying a plot of land?
When purchasing a plot of land in the Alps, there are many factors to take into account, including…
- PLU (Plan Local d’Urbanisme) or RNU (Les dispositions impératives du règlement national d’urbanisme)
- PPRN (Plan de Prevention des Risques Naturels)
- The slope of the land
- Soil composition
I would recommend being assisted by an architect during a final visit before signing the contract. I offer this visit free of charge, with a view working together.Frédéric Gougeon, Atelier Canopée
2. Architect fees
Architect fees vary depending on the agency you choose, the amount of work to be carried out, and the build cost.
For example, Frédéric Gougeon from Atelier Canopée proposes a fixed price for his projects according to the required work.
For instance, for the construction of a chalet costing 1,000,000 € (the total cost of the work excluding the purchase of the land, taxes, etc), he would charge around €100,000 excluding tax, which represents 10% of the overall cost of the work.
Different agencies offer different packages, but to give you a rough idea, as part of his service, Frédéric will include…
- The first visit to a plot of land/property to be renovated
- All of the pre-project studies
- The building permit and its follow-up
- The general design project and the consultation file with the companies
- The call for tenders and the contracts with the companies
- The follow-up of the building site
- The reception with a follow-up until 1 year after the delivery of the building site
He’ll also take care of all the administration, including the building permit and prior declaration, etc, as well as follow up on the instruction, the posting on the site and any other findings.
3. Project management
In some cases, buyers may choose to hire a project manager.
However, many architects take on this role, so they have a complete overview of the project.
Hiring a separate project manager will incur additional costs, and it may be easier to have one person manage everything.
Being an architect and therefore project manager, I offer a complete solution with all site monitoring included. .Frédéric Gougeon, Atelier Canopée
4. Construction fees
Construction costs will change a lot depending on the materials you decide to use.
A very rough estimate is 2,000-2,500€/m2, (for the structure), however this number will go up a lot depending on heating solutions and eco-friendly features that you may want to include.
Bear in mind that some resorts have strict aesthetic guidelines to follow, meaning you may not have total autonomy when it comes to your property’s design.
In some cases, resorts will supplement the additional costs of building materials to ensure consistency, but this is a very important consideration when it comes to buying land.
Make sure you research this thoroughly or work with an architect to avoid any nasty surprises later down the line!
Materials and labour generally cost the same from one resort to another, but land prices will differ depending on factors such as the desirability or whether plot is located on or off piste.Chris Nixon, CN Solutions
5. Summary of expected costs after purchasing land
Here is a list of the main costs to be expected after purchasing the land:
- Architect fees
- Surveyor fees
- Soil study
- RE2020 study and certification fees after completion
- Building permit fees
- A bailiff to check the display of the construction permit sign
- Building damage insurance
- Risk assessments/ CSPS (which stands for ‘coordonnateur en matière de sécurité et de protection de la santé’, meaning safety and health protection coordinator)
- Trade costs
- End-of-construction cleaning costs
Whether you’re thinking of purchasing land/property, undergoing construction or renovation, or have a property ready for rental – OVO Network can help you run a successful business and maximise your revenue.
We advise on property optimisation, pricing, interior design, marketing and more. Plus, we provide insights into the complexities of the financial and legal requirements.
Try our short-term rental income calculator to see how much you could earn or get in touch to discuss your plans…