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  #101  
Old 05.04.2011, 07:43
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

Am I missing something?

One of the main reasons of wanting to buy (after renting all my short life thus far) is for the ability to make significant changes to the house/garden without requiring permission. Here in England even painting the rooms may not be allowed, let alone knocking walls down (or splitting rooms). I don't think wanting to do this is all that unusual, but I doubt that would be possible in a rental, even a 10 year rental in CH.

We for instance want a "lifestyle block" of around 3-4 acres to grow our own fruit/veg, have some livestock and maybe a farm shop. We'll probably end up building our own environmentally sound house for this as well. We're probably atypical (and sounding rather batty) but I can't see us avoiding the significant investment of home ownership. I just know that our "lifestyle block" dream will not be possible in CH so will have to look at Germany or somewhere else.

Anyway my point is the ability to make significant changes to a place that you live in is one of the advantages of buying. Whether it's worth the hassle is another story.
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  #102  
Old 05.04.2011, 08:54
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

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Am I missing something?

One of the main reasons of wanting to buy (after renting all my short life thus far) is for the ability to make significant changes to the house/garden without requiring permission. Here in England even painting the rooms may not be allowed, let alone knocking walls down (or splitting rooms). I don't think wanting to do this is all that unusual, but I doubt that would be possible in a rental, even a 10 year rental in CH.

.
This was also one of our main motivations. We rented a house for 10 years here in Switzerland. The house was 23 years old and no major renovation work had been carried out so the kitchen and bathrooms were pretty outdated and no longer met either our needs or aspirations.

Our Landlord did decide to do some work on our house, although this was all outside and not the renovation we would have chosen if we had been given the choice. The garden which was large and on several layers was made more manageable and a nice decked area we already had was enlarged and improved. Unfortunately the rent then went up by CHF1,000 per month to reflect these changes.

Basically, we wanted to feel in control of our own property - not reliant on someone else to decide when and how to make any improvements or undetake renovation work that is not a priority for us whilst leaving other work undone that would improve our lifestyle.

I also never felt quite settled whilst renting. Our house was owned by a private individual who was quite elderly. On his death the property will transfer to his 2 children, one of whom would wish to live in the house herself. Its good to know, now, that we are not living on what felt like "borrowed time".
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  #103  
Old 05.04.2011, 09:07
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

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Am I missing something?

One of the main reasons of wanting to buy (after renting all my short life thus far) is for the ability to make significant changes to the house/garden without requiring permission. Here in England even painting the rooms may not be allowed, let alone knocking walls down (or splitting rooms)
Yes, this is important to a lot of people, but you are missing one key aspect. You need 'permission' for everything here, especially your own house. This includes everything on the outside, and a lot on the inside as well. Change a wall here or there, add a room, it all needs permission.

And depending on the commune regulations, you may not even be able to build the type of house you want, ie. it has to fit with the surroundings, meet certain requirements like pitch of roof, colour, etc. A new type of house with a lot of non-traditional aspects may indeed not be allowed at all.
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  #104  
Old 05.04.2011, 09:23
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

Yes one does need a permission for lots of things, but the general idea behind it is that the architecture of the surroundings doesn't change too much.

So to built a really modern building (think Norman Foster) in a area with old farm houses, would not get the approval.

My experience is that the commune or Gemeinde is rather fair than difficult.
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  #105  
Old 05.04.2011, 09:26
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

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Yes one does need a permission for lots of things, but the general idea behind it is that the architecture of the surroundings doesn't change too much.

So to built a really modern building (think Norman Foster) in a area with old farm houses, would not get the approval.

My experience is that the commune or Gemeinde is rather fair than difficult.
I don't think they're strict at all. Everywhere I look I'm seeing big rectangular boxes of concrete and glass being inserted between picturesque old buildings. Something that blends in? Never heard of the concept.
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  #106  
Old 05.04.2011, 09:34
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

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Am I missing something?

One of the main reasons of wanting to buy (after renting all my short life thus far) is for the ability to make significant changes to the house/garden without requiring permission. Here in England even painting the rooms may not be allowed, let alone knocking walls down (or splitting rooms). I don't think wanting to do this is all that unusual, but I doubt that would be possible in a rental, even a 10 year rental in CH.

We for instance want a "lifestyle block" of around 3-4 acres to grow our own fruit/veg, have some livestock and maybe a farm shop. We'll probably end up building our own environmentally sound house for this as well. We're probably atypical (and sounding rather batty) but I can't see us avoiding the significant investment of home ownership. I just know that our "lifestyle block" dream will not be possible in CH so will have to look at Germany or somewhere else.

Anyway my point is the ability to make significant changes to a place that you live in is one of the advantages of buying. Whether it's worth the hassle is another story.
I agree with you, and that is an attractive lifestyle concept that can only work if you actually own the place. However, most people live in cities and the most they are likely to change is to replace one tacky old kitchen by a slightly less tacky new one. I work hard all day (well, besides being on the EF most of the time) so when I'm at home I want to have quality time for myself and my family and not spend big chunks of it on home maintenance or changing stuff. Time is more valuable than money and if I can pay somebody else to take care of general upkeep that's a good deal for me. I live in cooperative housing. The company doesn't make a profit and all excess is ploughed back into maintenance and improvements. We get to discuss and vote on all major decisons and the rent is very low, much lower than what I'd be paying the bank in interest to buy such a place. Some of my neighbours have been living here for 40 years so I don't think I'm likely to get evicted at some point. I'd be mad to want to move out.

Meanwhile. whereas buying mean taking on a huge debt that I'd never repay in my lifetime, I can actual save money. That is also a form of freedom. I could maybe even stop working for a year or so to pursue my hobbies or do something for charity and live off what I've saved. With the bank and their mortgage looming over me that would be suicide.
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  #107  
Old 05.04.2011, 10:08
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Re: Explanation for the Swiss Housing System?

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I don't think they're strict at all. Everywhere I look I'm seeing big rectangular boxes of concrete and glass being inserted between picturesque old buildings. Something that blends in? Never heard of the concept.
Boxes are ok. The Disney World Castle would not be ok.

The idea is to keep the landscape optically "together" - at least in cities. If you are out somewhere in the sticks, the commune is more flexible.
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