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Old 18.09.2007, 00:43
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purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

We are currently looking to buy an apartment, and the real estate agent has asked for a deposit of CHF 30,000. Does anyone know if we can attach conditions to this deposit, such as having the deposit refunded if we are unable to get financing, etc? If so, what are the standard conditions?

We would be grateful for any advice.
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Old 18.09.2007, 10:44
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

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We are currently looking to buy an apartment, and the real estate agent has asked for a deposit of CHF 30,000. Does anyone know if we can attach conditions to this deposit, such as having the deposit refunded if we are unable to get financing, etc? If so, what are the standard conditions?

We would be grateful for any advice.
It is very normal to talk and discuss your financing before you start to look for a house so you have an idea how much you are able to spend. I would guess this deposit is non-refundable to stop time wasters... With respect to this there are no real standard conditions - there are several ways this can work but usually there is some form of deposit or official promise ie from a bank.
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Old 18.09.2007, 11:17
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

Thanks, Richard.

We have had difficulty finding information on how to go about buying property here. In some countries, you can secure a property with a deposit to the real estate agent, and then have 30 days or so seek financing and conduct searches on the property (such as a title search, bankruptcy search, etc).

Here, it seems that you have to seek financing before you even lodge a deposit to secure a property. But in seeking financing, you have to obtain various documents to give to the bank/financier (such as photos of the proposed property, building plans, land register deeds, etc). Hence, it seems that quite a bit of time can be lost in seeking financing as the process appears to be reversed in Switzerland.

Further, you can only seek financing in relation to the proposed property - you can't seek a "pre-approved loan" which will let you purchase any property within an approved limit by the bank.

Is this how things are in Switzerland?
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Old 18.09.2007, 11:38
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

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Thanks, Richard.

We have had difficulty finding information on how to go about buying property here. In some countries, you can secure a property with a deposit to the real estate agent, and then have 30 days or so seek financing and conduct searches on the property (such as a title search, bankruptcy search, etc).

Here, it seems that you have to seek financing before you even lodge a deposit to secure a property. But in seeking financing, you have to obtain various documents to give to the bank/financier (such as photos of the proposed property, building plans, land register deeds, etc). Hence, it seems that quite a bit of time can be lost in seeking financing as the process appears to be reversed in Switzerland.

Further, you can only seek financing in relation to the proposed property - you can't seek a "pre-approved loan" which will let you purchase any property within an approved limit by the bank.

Is this how things are in Switzerland?
Sorry I think you misunderstood me a bit. The first thing to do is go and talk to your bank manager or in fact any bank manager about receiving a loan for the purpose of house purchase. Here you can talk around the options available to you and the amount of finance they would be prepared to provide. You then have an existing relationship with the banker and can go looking for property with the knowledge that as long as the house is correctly valued ie not over priced then you can buy up to the figure x and it is unofficially approved. You then choose your house ask for the bank valuer to be able to visit and then await his outcome. Once you are so far down the line you can often put the estate agent in touch with the bank manager who will basically state that as long as the house is correctly priced you will be able to receive financing. It is then a race to put the money on the table - if there is any other party interested that is. That will only happen on rare occassions though as the Swiss are verrrrryyy slow at purchasing property. It is indeed normal to see adverts selling with a move in date 18 months in advance
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Old 18.09.2007, 12:21
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

Regarding the deposit this is my own experience in the last six months.

You sign a reservaton contract (in my case 15k on a half million property) and this does not yet commit you to buying the property. As usual in Switzerland the conditions are loaded to the benefit of the most powerful party: the seller. You can be entitled to a refund (without interest) if the seller can't proceed with the sale. In my case the property was being sold by a family after the death of a family member and approval hadn't yet been received by all family members.

Once having signed the reservation contract you are then of course priovided all the etailed documents you need (versus marketing documents available from an estate agent) which should match the checklist given to you by your potential mortgage provider. It's in the interest of the seller to provide this if they wanna sell. Alternatively you can go to their bank where they already have the documents and proceed from there.

So you have time to raise the finance against that specific property. It's not like the UK where you get a decision in principle and view many places making many unbinding offers and seeing which you get. (Except in Scotland of course).

The time period between the initial reservation/deposit and completion was 6 months and I move in in 2 weeks. It all went smoothly and I eventually got 4 different financing offers from Postbank, ZKB, CS and UBS so was able to pick the best deal for me. The final step is meeting in the Grundbuchamt of the local gemeinde and going through the contract of sale effecting the transfer of the land registry from them to you. Ensure the contract reflects the situation. In my case the proposal (Entwurf) didn't accurately reflect that the property was still rented out and therefore a condition was that it was to be vacated by the seller. There were other interesting conditions.


Hope this helps. Now that I've been through it all I wish there wasn't an anti speculation law and one could speculate like in the UK or Ireland.
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Old 18.09.2007, 18:19
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

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Here, it seems that you have to seek financing before you even lodge a deposit to secure a property. But in seeking financing, you have to obtain various documents to give to the bank/financier (such as photos of the
No. We saw a place, made an offer, paid a retaining deposit to block the sale so that nobody else could bid higher. Then we trundled around the banks and got several offers. We signed the purchase contract before finalizing the finance and then finally chose one bank for the mortgage. There don't seem to be any real rules other than once you've signed a document saying you will pay X by time T, then you'd better make sure you can raise it.
[Erratum]. Actually, when we signed the contract, we had appointed one bank so the notary knew we were going to be able to pay.
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Old 19.09.2007, 01:07
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

Indeed you can't effect the purchase unless you have proof of funds to show the Notary.
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Old 21.09.2007, 15:22
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

Magyir: 6 months seems a long time... What was the biggest delay? The reason I ask is because I paid reservation at the end of August and am still waiting on the Verkaufsauftrage (sales contract) to be drawn up by the notary. Did this step take a long time for you?
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Old 21.09.2007, 15:24
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

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Magyir: 6 months seems a long time... What was the biggest delay? The reason I ask is because I paid reservation at the end of August and am still waiting on the Verkaufsauftrage (sales contract) to be drawn up by the notary. Did this step take a long time for you?
Verkausvertrag you mean... You can actually go and visit the notary to see how he is getting along. Most are very pleasant and it could well be that they have not received the "Auftrag" to do this yet...
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Old 21.09.2007, 17:11
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Re: purchasing property - paying a deposit to the real estate agent

Thanks Richard. (I haven't quite mastered the terminology in German yet). You were right about the notary - very quick to respond and helpful. Turns out the agents were delaying passing it on to me because the seller wanted to see it first, but I have it now.
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