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Old 08.09.2012, 17:31
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Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

I wonder if anyone can help with the following please? A close relative is interested in buying an apartment in Switzerland (she is Swiss, so no resident permit restrictions, etc). The owner of the property, non-Swiss, lives abroad (USA we think) and has a Swiss court order outstanding against him for non-payment of debts. He is willing to sell his property, but states that he cannot come to Switzerland to sign the contract de vente! Is he able to sell his property by proxy/procuration with someone signing on his behalf, after all his debts have been settled of course! We are seeking legal advice in the next few days, but I am just wondering if anyone here would have any knowledge of this please?
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Old 08.09.2012, 18:32
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

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I wonder if anyone can help with the following please? A close relative is interested in buying an apartment in Switzerland (she is Swiss, so no resident permit restrictions, etc). The owner of the property, non-Swiss, lives abroad (USA we think) and has a Swiss court order outstanding against him for non-payment of debts. He is willing to sell his property, but states that he cannot come to Switzerland to sign the contract de vente! Is he able to sell his property by proxy/procuration with someone signing on his behalf, after all his debts have been settled of course! We are seeking legal advice in the next few days, but I am just wondering if anyone here would have any knowledge of this please?
He can give a power of atourney to anybody he wants, who can sign on his behalf, really very easy.
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Old 08.09.2012, 19:20
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

As FMF says: yes, a power of attorney can be given.

One thing to get nailed down and set in stone - especially as the seller has a judgement for non-payment of debt - is the payment of Grundstückgewinnsteuer.

The tax is attached to the property, not the person. So if the seller does not pay the tax, the buyer becomes liable. In a normal sale you both sign the contracts and then the Notary frog-marches the seller down the hall to the tax department to arrange for the payment.

Make sure you understand how this is going to be done with a power of attorney situation. I'm sure that all will go well - but given the seller's history, I'd just want to be a tad cautious. Speak to the Notary.



ETA: My experience is in SZ. As always, YMMV by canton.
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Old 08.09.2012, 20:21
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

Yes, sounds like you need to be extremely careful. I would recommend you insist the proceeds are held by the notary in escrow until such a time as he has definitive proof the property is totally un-encumbered.
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Old 08.09.2012, 21:09
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

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Yes, sounds like you need to be extremely careful. I would recommend you insist the proceeds are held by the notary in escrow until such a time as he has definitive proof the property is totally un-encumbered.
Well if the notary holds on the funds none of the debts can possibly be paid off, the sale is required to pay the debts which could of course exceed the value of the property.

I looked at a house where the 5 mortgages exceeded the market value by a huge sum, the seller in effect may have to pay you a few hundred k to take the property of his hands, which was the situation, of course he was skint!
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Old 08.09.2012, 22:20
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

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Well if the notary holds on the funds none of the debts can possibly be paid off, the sale is required to pay the debts which could of course exceed the value of the property.

I looked at a house where the 5 mortgages exceeded the market value by a huge sum, the seller in effect may have to pay you a few hundred k to take the property of his hands, which was the situation, of course he was skint!
Vendors problem, or allow the notary to settle the taxes on account.
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Old 08.09.2012, 22:40
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

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Vendors problem, or allow the notary to settle the taxes on account.
Not if somebody wants to buy the property it's their problem, the seller probably has nothing to loose, unless he returns to CH, which he refuses to do.
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Old 08.09.2012, 22:49
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

I would advise the buyer not to let it become their problem.
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Old 08.09.2012, 23:17
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

You should also ensure that the seller's creditors don't have a lien over his assets. Otherwise your relative could be buying a property to which the creditors have a stronger right.... She should think very carefully before getting involved in someone else's can of worms
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Old 09.09.2012, 16:45
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

Thank you all for your input. Our lawyer/notaire is excellent (think of a Valaisan equivalent of Margaret Thatcher) and I'm sure (know) she will sort out the nitty gritty. And I know when she is told that the vendor does not want to return to Switzerland, she will immediately exclaim "why not"?! She has acted for my husband and I on two occasions, and she was absolutely marvellous; we won both cases thanks to her. I'll keep you posted - it should be an interesting ride!

My thanks once again!
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Old 09.09.2012, 17:00
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Re: Is It Possible to Sell a Property by proxy?

Just wondering if this property is THAT much better than everything else out there? So much better that your relative would want to even bother with the possible (probable?) legal entanglements? If so then best of luck and let us know how it shakes out.
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