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Old 23.09.2011, 21:56
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

Yes, Lizzie was in her prime when our house was, extremely well, built- and it will outlast the Monarchy, I'm sure.
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  #42  
Old 23.09.2011, 22:06
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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If you are buying house/apartment which is older than 5 years, count on at least 500.000 CHF extra to the starting price to get the house running.
What on earth are you smoking???? 500K extra just because the house is over 5 years old? Are the houses made of paper maché? Our house was 20 years old with original appliances. Sure, we have sunk some money into it, but absolutely nowhere even close to 500K....

I think you need to qualify your statement and tell us exactly what the parameters are for making such a statement.
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  #43  
Old 23.09.2011, 22:32
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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I'm having a bit of a rant as the people that did our place did, on the whole, such a bad job that I could have done better myself with no experience. In fact I did have to sort out their problems.

So, for all those into DIY, as long as you conform to the regulations and have confidence in your work, go for it.
I love that round house! Funny, my uncle built his own house having had no experience. He did have help. But what really made me laugh are your pictures. He really wanted to build a round house. He kept saying he could get more m2 that way. We all thought he was crazy.

Thanks for the pics. He & I didn't really get along that well but your message made me smile with a good memory of him.

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  #44  
Old 23.09.2011, 22:34
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

Uncle Hobbit, cute
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  #45  
Old 23.09.2011, 22:41
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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How much is X and how long does it take to get to x, and what does one do when concrete cracks like this?

I never knew it was as fragile as you seem to be suggesting.

I've got money invested in a concrete framed place so this isn't just a passing interest.
Concrete is not fragile, don't go calling the presses. It is in its nature to get micro fissures. Concrete is basically sand together with glue, usually with a metal skeleton. A concrete structure is therefore not homogenous and not static. It responds to floor vibration, being it from earthquakes or simple passing of a car. The vibration spreads differently inside the metal than inside the sand-glue mixture, and this provokes the fissures. This is expected, natural, and nothing to go panicking about. Buildings made by Le Corbusier in 1940 are still standing, though the concrete was at the time not the best.

I didn't give you a precise measure because it depends on the concrete itself. You use different concretes in the same building, which in turn differ from the neighbour building. Usually, on regular buildings, cracks that are no thicker than 2 millimetres are no reason to panic. They are usually not visible because over the concrete wall there is a layer of... no idea the name in English - "putz" - which is then painted or covered with wallpaper. Both the putz and the elasticity of the paint itself help covering those cracks, but they are still there. Sometimes those cracks are actually bigger but since they are hidden by the putz and paint, you only get to know about them too late. Some of these cracks are purely aesthetically unpleasant, some are signs of dangerous problems that need to be attended to. Finding out which costs time and money.

Concrete is, though, one of the most amazing materials for construction, and one of my personal favourites.

Usually construction guaranty ends after 5 years. Serious structural problems caused by whatever reason show in the first 2 to 3 years, which is the period it takes for the concrete to "sweat" the interior humidity. But sometimes those problems take a bit longer to show, hence the 5 years.


I don't mean to enter a debate of old construction houses (wood/stone blocks) compared to modern type houses. Both have their merits and defects. Both can last for centuries, but still demand maintenance. Some of the most common points brought to us that end on those 500k is old houses from the 70's or older whose insulation no longer works properly or was never enough (and the climate changes affect this). Other problems have to do with houses that, though they look perfectly fine inside, with a new coat of paint and a beautiful old styled kitchen, you get to know the foundations have been damaged by water/weather/etc. Tubbings, for example, need to be checked every 10 years and depending on the calc concentration of the water of that region, it might be very much possible you might need to change the tubbing every 15 years or so.


Each case is a case. That is why every time people ask here in the forum about what they can or not change, I tell them to consult the Gemeinde because there are just too many variants. And, of course, renovating an apartment is in theory cheaper than a house. The 500k is a median in houses bought in kanton Zürich, mostly between the 1.4 and 2.5 million (which incredibly is not extraordinarily expensive here), most in quite good visible state. In one case they started changing the furniture in the kitchen and found a pretty serious problem on the tubing. In another case, they simply wanted to add a roof window and found out they had to redo the whole roof because of insulation problems.

I did not intend to stop people from buying houses by giving this number, or to make anyone panic. I just wanted to make people aware that when you buy a house, there is a lot of this house you can't see, and most sellers are either not aware themselves or not interested in telling you. And that is why you really should have the possibility to add some extra money sooner or later, hopefully never, in case things turn worse than expected. Things in Switzerland are expensive and if painters ask 600CHF to paint a 2 room apartment, it shouldn’t be difficult to understand prices can get quite high when you need to handle with façades or similar (having costs that include insurance, fees in the Gemeinde, workers, materials, etc)

Hope this brings you back your sleep for this night! If you need more information on concrete itself, I can try to check out some literature at work for you.
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  #46  
Old 23.09.2011, 22:54
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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I'm having a bit of a rant as the people that did our place did, on the whole, such a bad job that I could have done better myself with no experience. In fact I did have to sort out their problems.

So, for all those into DIY, as long as you conform to the regulations and have confidence in your work, go for it.
I agree. I have also seen people suffer long (and I mean 2 years plus) disputes with builders here. Stress, arguments and standoffs. And if there is a dispute, you cannot touch the work that has been done until the dispute is settled. So crap bathroom installation must stay crap until said dispute is resolved. We all make mistakes, experts also. If you do it yourself and realize you made a bit of a boo-boo with some aspect, then there's no dispute with anyone (other than family). You just understand what you did wrong and fix it, with the expenses being the replacement materials.

If you have the correct tools, know how to use them properly, understand the job in hand, know the regulations and know your own limits, you can do the job with as good a finish as any professional. I fully renovated my house in the UK to a rather high standard and, for example, the heating system cost £1500 (material cost) and that was really quite an advanced system, which worked extremely well. The one thing I could NOT do was plastering areas of wall >0.005m2...

For electrical stuff (UK house aside), the last electrical installation I did was install monitoring sensors directly on the phase terminals of five 415MW hydro-generators, followed by a permanent install of all associated monitoring equipment that used these sensors, full network and server installation, including remote station over rat-infested 25km fibre optic network.. And this was by the Zambeze river in Mozambique with a notoriously difficult customer :-)

Anyway, as said, I just want to be sure that any work I do do myself does not infringe any laws or affect any insurance, or cause future problems if we have to sell. And for that I need to do my research.

As an aside, our house purchasing activities are based upon us remaining in Switzerland for the foreseeable future, i.e. not with the outlook of buy now with a clear view to selling in 5 years or so, as done in the UK.

Cheers,
Chris
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  #47  
Old 05.01.2012, 13:55
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

Thank you for this thread and the useful posts. I just need to clarify some of the issues raised on this thread and others as it is highly likely that we will be purchasing a property in the Zurich or surrounding area in the next year or so.

Firstly will I be able to communicate with the Gemeinde in English?

Secondly am I right in assuming that whilst you won't necessarily make money renovating you wont lose money either should you need to sell unless there is a dip in the market?

If there is a dip in the market I have found that having renovated protects you to some extent in the UK, would this be the case in Switzerland i.e due to the upgrade your property value never dips below the purchase price? ( I don't factor in the costs of some renovating if it has come out of monthly income as I am only concerned about maintaining the capital I have accumulated for my deposit or long term when my children leave home and I can downsize, hope that makes sense)

Thirdly many houses are sold as apartments and a previous post mentions converting back two apartments to a single property. In UK this would not necessarily affect the value of a property but we don't do apartment living in the same way that Swiss people do. We may need to do this as we have a large family so I need to know what effect if any it would have on the property value?

Lastly and apologies if this has been asked in another section but as has been mentioned there are a lot of threads and I may have missed it. When you get a mortgage in Britain for a property that needs upgrading the mortgage company will often hold back some of the monies until the work is completed. Is this the case in Switzerland or alternatively will they lend extra money over and above the purchase price to enable renovation work to be carried out on the basis of the future value of the property once upgraded?
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Old 05.01.2012, 14:21
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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Firstly will I be able to communicate with the Gemeinde in English?
Depends on who is attending you. In some Gemeinde you might be angrily frowned upon if you try English, in others people might be happy to help. Just be polite, and you might be lucky.
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  #49  
Old 05.01.2012, 15:27
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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Firstly will I be able to communicate with the Gemeinde in English?
Most likely, No. And certainly not to all the people you will need to talk to.

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Secondly am I right in assuming that whilst you won't necessarily make money renovating you wont lose money either should you need to sell unless there is a dip in the market?
You can never assume you won't lose money! I find that in Switzerland you can EASILY spend more on the renovations then you will ever be able to recoup. That is why, in my opinion, there are so many places that need renovations still on the market.

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If there is a dip in the market I have found that having renovated protects you to some extent in the UK, would this be the case in Switzerland i.e due to the upgrade your property value never dips below the purchase price? ( I don't factor in the costs of some renovating if it has come out of monthly income as I am only concerned about maintaining the capital I have accumulated for my deposit or long term when my children leave home and I can downsize, hope that makes sense)
This is not the UK. 30 years ago the house prices went down more than people paid for them. I don't think it will happen again, but others on this site think it will.

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Lastly and apologies if this has been asked in another section but as has been mentioned there are a lot of threads and I may have missed it. When you get a mortgage in Britain for a property that needs upgrading the mortgage company will often hold back some of the monies until the work is completed. Is this the case in Switzerland or alternatively will they lend extra money over and above the purchase price to enable renovation work to be carried out on the basis of the future value of the property once upgraded?
Yes. But it's not easy, in fact, it's very difficult.
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:09
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

I just want to change an exisiting light switch with a dimmer switch. Pretty straight forward change in the electrics.

Can I do this myself??
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:12
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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I just want to change an exisiting light switch with a dimmer switch. Pretty straight forward change in the electrics.

Can I do this myself??

Dunno, can you??

Officially you can do it yourself, if you have the skills to is another question
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:15
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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Dunno, can you??

Officially you can do it yourself, if you have the skills to is another question
open, remove 3 wires (noting the colours). Replace unit with dimmer unit and place 3 wires in their respective positions. Done.
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:18
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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open, remove 3 wires (noting the colours). Replace unit with dimmer unit and place 3 wires in their respective positions. Done.

buzzzzzzzz wrong ! if you're using a new dimmer unit here it will probably only have 1 wire (live in / out)

just like most light switches here only switch live

eta2 - it gets really complicated if the light is on a multi switch, eg 2 switches for one light
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:20
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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Lastly and apologies if this has been asked in another section but as has been mentioned there are a lot of threads and I may have missed it. When you get a mortgage in Britain for a property that needs upgrading the mortgage company will often hold back some of the monies until the work is completed. Is this the case in Switzerland or alternatively will they lend extra money over and above the purchase price to enable renovation work to be carried out on the basis of the future value of the property once upgraded?

Our bank where quite happy to do this, they put the 'extra' in another account and didn't even ask what we where going to do with it. we sent them the bills, they paid them.

This was there suggestion to avoid us having to use some of my pension pot.
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:52
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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buzzzzzzzz wrong ! if you're using a new dimmer unit here it will probably only have 1 wire (live in / out)

just like most light switches here only switch live

eta2 - it gets really complicated if the light is on a multi switch, eg 2 switches for one light
Im sure if after opening I saw 2 wires instead of 3 I wouldnt freak. 2 is even easier. The principle is still the same lol
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Old 26.01.2012, 16:58
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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Im sure if after opening I saw 2 wires instead of 3 I wouldnt freak. 2 is even easier. The principle is still the same lol

swiss wiring is pretty unique coming from the UK I almost had a heart attack when I saw how our place was wired
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Old 26.01.2012, 17:15
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Re: Buying a house - (DIY) renovation rules and regs.

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swiss wiring is pretty unique coming from the UK I almost had a heart attack when I saw how our place was wired
Me too. For our new build. Especially when nothing worked as it had all been wired up incorrectly!
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