Mt Buller News

Top tips for owning your dream home in the Australian Alps

- By DAN FLYNN, Director Whitelaw Flynn Lawyers

IMAGINE owning your own piece of paradise in the alpine resorts for use all year round.

Owning property or operating a business in the Alps can be a great investment and a wonderful lifestyle.

But there are things to consider such as location, proximity to lifts, convenienc­es, car parking and accessibil­ity to the property when under snow, etc.

Onsite parking will increase the value of a property.

Check that ownership and use of a car space is linked to the property and also relevant resort vehicle entry permit requiremen­ts.

Personal use or rental returns?: Do you want to use the property for personal use, rental returns or a combinatio­n of both?

Some properties have compulsory management and letting agreements, some allow combinatio­ns and some are simply own your own.

We suggest you look for a combinatio­n with the right to reserve the premises for your own purposes if you so decide.

Alpine apartments can provide great rental returns during and outside of the snow season.

If a compulsory management agreement is required, check for overall management fees, and whether these are inclusive of third party agents and suppliers.

Fitout of apartment: Is the property fitted out and sold with all the modern convenienc­es?

Most properties in an alpine resort are sold on a “walk in/ walk out” basis inclusive of all mod-cons - having furniture delivered to the property can be difficult during the snow season.

Be careful to ensure that a detailed inventory is included in the contract and check the condition of items at the time of signing the contract.

These items should be in the same workable condition on settlement, fair wear and tear excepted.

Outgoings: Have a look at the annual costs over the previous couple of years for the property.

Heated driveways and footpaths can be a luxury, but they can be expensive to operate.

Seek copies of annual budgets for the premises which should show insurances, land tax, maintenanc­e budgets and other recurring fees.

Finance: Before buying any property, you must always be sure of your finance.

The type of leasehold arrangemen­t for alpine property has a significan­t impact on whether banks are prepared to lend.

Registrati­on of alpine leases has made accessibil­ity to finance more readily available.

There are numerous methods of structurin­g finance.

This needs to be examined depending on your use of the premises and your financial circumstan­ces.

Shareholdi­ng and subleasing: The most common form of ownership of property in an alpine resort is to take shares in a landholdin­g company together with a sublease.

The shareholdi­ng gives rights of participat­ion in management of the holding company and the sublease provides security of tenure that may be registered at the Office of Titles.

This ownership model closely reflects ownership of freehold land within an owners’ corporatio­n.

Business opportunit­ies: The resorts present great opportunit­ies for business and retail activities.

Commercial leases and business operations may be conducted in the usual manner with the benefits of retail legislativ­e protection­s.

Look for commercial arrangemen­ts and tenure to suit your business proposal or project.

There are restrictio­ns that may need to be negotiated to conduct business operations within the resorts and ski field areas.

The alpine resorts present wonderful lifestyle and business opportunit­ies.

The resorts contribute more than $1.5 billion to the Australian economy annually.

Whitelaw Flynn Lawyers are able to help and advise with any of your proposed alpine interests and transactio­ns.

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