To say that buying real estate in Switzerland is a good investment is a huge understatement. Anyone would kill to have their own place here. The country is beautiful, wealthy, and has a lot to offer in terms of food, culture, and more. Who wouldn't want to own a place in such a destination? Even the world's elite has their own residence or vacation homes here. It's why apartments, chalets, and houses in Switzerland are so expensive. If you ever plan on making this investment, you need to go about it wisely. Follow tips like knowing the laws in your canton and preparing a huge budget to ensure that you will get that property in Switzerland
no matter what!
Know The Laws in The Canton
Switzerland is a country divided into 26 cantons. Zürich (ZH), Bern/e (BE), Uri (UR), and Schwyz (SZ), to name a few. Though they all belong to one country, their laws differ quite a lot. Especially when it comes to real estate. So before you start purchasing a place here, check the real estate laws where the property is located. If you're moving to Zürich
, for instance, the real estate laws here are far different from those in Glarus. Depending on your residency status, it may easier to purchase a property in a different canton.
Apply for A License to Purchase
Can foreigners, specifically non-residents, purchase a property in Switzerland? The short answer is yes, they can. But in truth, the laws are much stricter. If you're a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you face no restrictions. The same goes for foreigners who've gotten a Swiss C permit. If you don't fall into any of these categories, your best bet is to apply for a license to purchase real estate in Switzerland. And as already mentioned, the laws and criteria surrounding this vary from canton to canton. Overall, you have a higher chance of getting the license if you intend to purchase a place you'll use as your residence for at least five years.
Conduct The Important Surveys
Generally speaking, property surveys aren't that common in Switzerland. It's up to you to handle them and it'd be in your best interest to do just that! Why? Because sellers are not obliged to disclose any issues regarding the property to you. It's up to you to take the initiative to find out the true state of real estate in Switzerland. Fortunately, a valuation is usually part of the application process for getting a mortgage here. But if you don't have to go through that process, you can always hire a third-party company to do it for you. It'd also help if the real estate agent
you hired also provides such services.
Hire A Trustworthy Notary
You shouldn't need anyone to advise you that you have to hire a trustworthy notary for this process. Their role is vital for your purchase of a property in Switzerland. Essentially, it's their job to make every step of the process legal. If not, then everything you've done so far would have been for nothing. With such a heavy responsibility, it's only natural that you need to hire a trustworthy professional for this position. Luckily, some cantons provide public notaries for this sort of thing. They're your best bet to ensure that everything goes smoothly and each step made is legal!
Get All The Required Documents First
As with any other process out there, purchasing real estate in Switzerland required a few important documents. They include the title deed, the appropriate license (for non-residents) or residency permit, proof of identification (a valid passport will do), and financial papers that prove that you can, in fact, afford to buy the property. Though this may not be a lot, you'd do well to get these ready even before you approach a seller with an offer. Some of these, namely the licenses/permits, may take a long time for you to get. If you don't want a long purchasing process, then prepare all of these documents beforehand.
Prepare A Huge Budget
To say that buying a property in Switzerland is expensive is a huge understatement. Let's take a look at the real estate costs in Zürich
, for example. Properties located in the more central parts of the city cost around CHF 10,000.00 to CHF 16,000.00 per square meter. Meanwhile, if you plan to buy a place near the outskirts of the city, that'll cost you approximately CHF 5,005.22 to CHF 12,000.00 per square meter. And don't forget the other costs in the process too such as the real estate transfer tax, registration fee, notary fees, and mortgage costs. With so many to pay for, preparing a huge budget is a must!
Make Sure to Ask The Right Questions
As already mentioned, sellers are not obliged to disclose information on the property during the purchase. Instead, it's up to you to ask the right questions to know if the place has any defects, needs repairs, and any potential harm to you and the environment. It's here the seller then has to answer as honestly as they can under the Swiss Code of Obligations. They have to comply with the duty to act in good faith or else they'll be liable for any defects discovered after the sale. But again, this will only happen if you ask the right questions.
You Become Liable The Moment The Property is Sold
When do you become liable for the property then? The moment the sale is complete. When all the contracts are signed and notarized and the ownership has been transferred to you in the Land Register, you'll now be responsible for that specific real estate in Switzerland. If anything happens, you'll be the one who has to fix it. With that said, it makes the task of asking questions to the seller more important. Because if you discover any defects after the sale that the seller did not disclose the liability can still fall to them under the duty to act in good faith in the Swiss Code of Obligations.
It's pretty easy to get confused when buying real estate in Switzerland. Fortunately, you can follow these tips to make sure that everything goes smoothly and you'll have no problems to deal with at the end of it all!