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Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

September 26, 2022
Ahh, Switzerland. With its scenic alps and delicious cheese, it's only natural that you'd want to visit here. Perhaps even live here. Life in Switzerland sounds dreamy, doesn't it? Especially since it's among the wealthiest countries in the world. You'd practically want for nothing when you're here. But first things first, you need your own place! Instead of just renting, why not own a home? Sure, buying property in Switzerland is pretty hard, but it's not impossible. And with the help of this real estate guide, you can easily ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

Can a Non-Resident Buy A Property in Switzerland?

In a nutshell, foreigners can purchase and own real estate in Switzerland. However, the rules are a lot more complicated than that. Regarding your residency status, if you have gained permanent residency or acquired the Swiss C Permit, then you share the same rights with Swiss citizens regarding ownership of a property in Switzerland. So if, say, you're moving to Zürich and you want to own a home here, you have nothing to worry about. But if you're a non-resident, then you have to get a license to purchase. Do note that the criteria for getting a license differ from canton to canton.

What Should You Look For in a Property?

Remember that purchasing a property in Switzerland for sale costs a lot of money. It's a pretty big investment! So don't you owe it to yourself to make sure that the real estate you plan to buy meets all your specific needs? There are many things you need to look for in a property. Its overall layout, floorplan, working utilities, nearby facilities, the security of the place, and more. Before you spend even a single cent of your money, make sure that the property has everything you're looking for. You can also do this by inquiring about the property to the seller but this is further down the line in the process.

Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Costs of Buying Property in Switzerland?

As with any other process out there, buying real estate in Switzerland comes with a few important costs. They include the real estate transfer tax, registration fee, and notary fees. Not to mention the commission you have to pay your real estate agent for their services. And when you apply for a mortgage in Switzerland, that, too, will come with its own set of costs. Fortunately, many of these are covered via the final price of the property. The moment you complete your payment for your new real estate, they'll be paid as well. But some, such as the mortgage costs, are paid on top of everything else.

How Do You Make an Offer to Buy Property in Switzerland?

One of the first steps in buying property in Switzerland is making an offer. But how do you go about it? Do you simply show a number that you can afford and the seller will just agree to accept it or not? Nope! You have to be more strategic than that, especially if the real estate in Switzerland for sale is pretty high in demand. You may not be the only one planning to purchase it. So in this regard, it pays to be smart about making an offer. Always look at what the seller has set as an initial asking price and work from there. Your offer has to be as close to it as possible.

Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

How Do You Get Mortgage in Switzerland?

Let's face it: you're gonna need to get a mortgage in order to afford even a small property in Switzerland. The country is among the wealthiest after all. Not to mention a top tourist destination too. Real estate here is and will probably always be in demand. The prices are sky high and they won't change anytime soon. So your best bet is to get a mortgage in Switzerland even though the criteria for it are pretty strict. Especially to non-residents! Nevertheless, the process is pretty straightforward: approach a Swiss bank, send in your application and required documents, pay the 20% deposit, and wait to get approved.

How Do You Set Up the Sale & Purchase Contract?

Once everything is ready, it's time to draw up and sign the sale & purchase contract. When drawing it up, the notary will include all sorts of details in the contract, such as info about the property, details of both parties, the final price of the property, and more. During this part of the process, you'd do well to include certain conditions of your own, particularly ones that will allow you to bow out of the agreement in light of certain situations. Only then can you terminate the agreement if you have a valid reason to. If not, then doing so after signing it without any conditions will lead to legal and financial consequences.

Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Different Types of Ownership Structures in Switzerland?

As you proceed with your purchase of real estate in Switzerland, you have to decide what your ownership structure for the place will be. The International Comparative Legal Guides states that there are four main types here in Switzerland. The first is full ownership, which reserves all the rights of the property to the listed owner. The second is co-ownership, which distributes the ownership rights to all listed owners equally. Thirdly, there's the building right, which allows the construction of a structure on a property even when it's not their own. And fourth, there's the usufructuary right. This grants a person to make use of a property even when it's owned by someone else.

What Are The Legal Issues in Buying Properties in Switzerland?

It shouldn't really surprise you that the process of buying any property in Switzerland for sale is rife with all sorts of legal issues. Some have already been mentioned previously, such as a foreigner's right to own real estate here to the many property ownership structures. But let's go back to the sale & purchase contract, which is among the legally heaviest parts of the process. Upon signing this document, it will legally bind you and the seller to the sale. And if you didn't set any terms or conditions, you can't bow out of the agreement. If you do, you won't ever see the 10% to 30% deposit that you paid the seller ever again. Not to mention get in legal trouble too!

Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

How Long is The Process of Buying Property in Switzerland?

No one can truly say how long it will take you to buy real estate in Switzerland. But it all depends on how prepared you are at the start of the process. For instance, getting the license to purchase a property in Switzerland can take a long time depending on the canton you're applying in. And then there are the many documents both parties, the buyer and seller, have to gather for the process to begin. If you (and the seller) were already fully prepared at the start, then the process can take as quickly as two to four months. If not, then it can take as long as half a year or possibly even longer!

How Do You Search Properties For Sale in Switzerland?

Now that you know a lot about buying property in Switzerland, let's go to the first step of the process: finding a property to purchase. And in this day and age, the easiest way to do that is to go online and visit the most popular property listing websites in the country. Though there are other ways to find available real estate too, this has become the go-to for many buyers. Particularly foreign buyers who aren't even in the country yet. You can easily find great properties to purchase on platforms like Homegate or Immoscout24. Fortunately, they also cater to international buyers.

What are The Best Tips for Buying Property in Switzerland?

Now, let's end this real estate guide with a few helpful tips! Before anything else, brush up on the different real estate laws in each canton. It couldn't be stressed enough how different one's cantons laws are from another. One part of Switzerland may be a lot more lenient in allowing non-residents to purchase real estate here. While another could have far stricter criteria instead. Such information is very valuable at the start of the process. And when it's time to ask the seller about the information, go for strategic questions. Ones that will leave them with no choice but to share more about the property and in deeper detail.

Buying Property in Switzerland: Our Real Estate Guide

Purchasing your own real estate in Switzerland is no easy feat. The process requires a lot of steps, important documents, and lots of costs to pay. Let this real estate guide show you the ropes so you won't commit any mistakes!

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Zürich, Switzerland
106 $ / night    
1 bedroom1 bathroom2
Zürich, Switzerland
112 $ / night    
Studio0 bathroom0