Are you planning to buy a property in Switzerland? Investing in a house or a flat is not a purchase to be taken lightly. Before you start visiting properties in Switzerland, here are some tips on how to optimize your search.
You have just found the house of your dreams and the date of the visit is approaching? You need to ask yourself the right questions before making an offer and make sure the property in question meets a number of your criteria. Read all our tips on financing your property and download our “Buying a house Checklist“. All you have to do is fill in the form to make sure you don’t forget anything before you start.
Buy a house in Switzerland – all you need to know
Before you even start looking for your future home, you need to ask yourself the right questions. If you start visiting dozens of houses when the essential criteria are not met, you risk getting lost. Find out the main criteria that will help you to orientate your search for the perfect property.
Define a budget for your property
The first thing to do is to define the total budget you can invest in a property. To give you a general idea of your budget, you can look for properties with a selling price that is about five times your gross annual household income.
For example, for a house with a selling price of CHF 1,000,000, the total gross annual income should be around CHF 200,000.
You can ask your bank for an estimate of the total amount of money you could get for your investment. They will be able to give you more precise information.
Don’t forget that you have to take into account the additional costs such as:
- Mortgage fees
- The cost of any works
- The notary’s fees
Our advice: don’t count on being able to negotiate the sale price with the seller. Properties on the Swiss real estate market are rare and competition is high.
Define a geographical search area
Define an area where you are prepared to plan for several years. Take into account your commute to work, but also to schools and leisure centers if you have or are planning to have children. Are there any surrounding towns with good public transport connections? This can help to extend the search area. Finally, don’t confine yourself to one area as you may only have a few or no properties to visit.
Perhaps there are neighborhoods and communes that you haven’t thought of? Define a few communes within a defined distance of one of the key points mentioned above.
Define a type of property
If you absolutely want a garden, there is no point in keeping the ads for flats. Define a few key criteria for your search. Don’t be too demanding: you may fall in love with a property you hadn’t considered.
Define the following point on the different real estate platforms you find online:
- the type of property you want: house, flat, duplex, loft, etc.
- the condition of the property you want: renovated or new (no work required), rather recent (some work required) and/or old (work required)
- the size of the property: bear in mind that sometimes it is better to have a smaller property that is very well arranged than a large property that is not functional. Therefore, allow for a wide range in the size of the accommodation.
Finally, define two or three additional criteria that are absolutely essential for you: number of bedrooms, garage, open kitchen, number of bathrooms.
If you are not afraid of building work, reduce these last criteria and let your imagination run wild. A wall can be destroyed!
Don’t be too demanding when looking for the right property. This is a first filter that will allow you to avoid wasting time on useless visits. Also assume that you will probably not find a property that meets 100% of your criteria. As with many things, you have to be able to make concessions.
Buy a house in Switzerland – Financing your property
Buy a property in Switzerland with your own money
Anyone wishing to invest in a property in Switzerland for their primary residence must provide 20% of the sale price in equity. If the property costs CHF 1,000,000, you must contribute CHF 200,000 in equity. The savings from your current account and your third pillar are called equity.
Part of this equity can also come from your pension fund (second pillar) and can make up to 10% of the sale price.
Buy a property with mortgages
Once you have contributed 20% of your own funds, you will have 80% left, which corresponds to the mortgages you have with your bank.
The first mortgage, known as the “first mortgage”, can amount to 65% of the sale price. There is no obligation to repay / amortise this first mortgage.
However, the “second mortgage”, known as the second rank, which represents approximately 15% of the sale price, must generally be repaid within 15 years of the purchase of your property. The total of these charges for the purchase of your property must not exceed 33% of your annual household income.
You’ve found the perfect property: Visiting a house
“Buying a house checklist”
The visit to a property is the moment of decision making. So we advise you to have all the keys in hand for this very important moment. Download our “Buying a house Checklist” before you go, hopefully, to your future house or flat. All you have to do is fill in the boxes during the visit.
Questions to ask during the visit
The visit is the time when you should ask as many questions as possible. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises and calculate your costs as accurately as possible.
- Why do the owners decide to sell? You can ask the owners directly. If you feel that there is something wrong with the property or the neighborhood, ask the neighbors directly before making an offer.
- What is the condition of the property? Ask about the roof, the frame, the façade, the floors (are they even?). What is the constitution of the land? Make sure that the property has been properly built and that there is no risk of sudden structural deterioration.
- Is the property up to standard? This will allow you to plan the work input if necessary. Think about the windows, the electrical installation, the heating, and the possible presence of asbestos.
- What are the neighborhood’s plans for the next few years? If the current owners don’t know, ask the municipality in question. It would be a shame to buy a house if an 8-storey building is built the following year and overshadows your beautiful terrace.
The visit went well and you have found the house of your dreams? Now it’s time to plan the move of your belongings. Request moving quotes.