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-   -   Can we buy a house???? (https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-general/21037-can-we-buy-house.html)

glendamwm 22.03.2008 01:10

Can we buy a house????
Hi, Can anyone help, we will be moving in July to Kanton Aargau as husband has permanent job there with b permit, we are both from UK, is it possible for us to buy a house rather than rent as it seems we can get more for our monthly payment this way. We wonder if it is possible how do we go about sorting out mortgage etc?

Any help is much appreciated.

stuartq 22.03.2008 02:07

Re: Can we buy a house????
Have you tried the search facility as you will find a lot of information on this subject.

You cannot buy in every Kanton and those that you can have limits as to how many non swiss can purchase property (I think this applies to B permit holders but not C permit holders).

From my limited knowledge, I believe for example that it's not possible to buy in Geneva and I think the same applies to Zurich.

You can buy in Vaud, Ticino and Valais but do not know which catagory Aargau comes into.

You will also be restricted on the size of the property, 200SQmtrs being the Max living space and there is also a limit on the parcel of land too.

There are a number of property websites to look at.
Try: www.immostreet.com

If you contact any estate agent they will advise you on where you can buy.

There a few other websites that many forum users recommend which you will find with a little research.

you will find that most people recommend that you do not buy, unless you know you will be here for at least 5 years.

There a few reasons for this.
1) Capital gains tax: Very high and applies to property sold within 5 years unless you buy another property for the same amount or more.

2). Prices: Property prices rise quite slowly in CH, so do not expect to make great price gains in a short period of time.

Many members of the forum Such as "Abfab", "Richard" and "Lob" are very Knowledgeable on this subject and know a great deal more than I do.

You will also find information on the various banks for mortgages and info on forum members ecperiances.

As far as i know you must put down a minimum of 20% deposit, though I have read on the forum where members have managed to buy without a deposit.
if the property is not you main residence then they expect 40% deposit.

Remember: buying property in Switzerland is a long-term proposition. If in doubt search these forums for Grundstuckgeweinsteuer and Eigenmietwert as well as other advice. It is not recommend to buy unless
you really expect to stay for at least 5 years.

Good Luck


jbrady 22.03.2008 02:33

Re: Can we buy a house????
We bought a house in Kanton Aagau 4 years ago. I had a C permit at the time. It has been an expensive project with many unexpected bills and procedures over the years. However, I think it has been worth it as I hated living in overpriced rented apartments and having to share the washing machine etc.
I do not think there are any limits in this Kanton especially if you are also going to be resident here.
I have an english friend in Brugg (Aargau) who is trying to sell his home and it has been on the market for over a year.
Personally I would wait a minimum of 6 month to see how the new job goes and to see if you like living here on a permenant basis before making such a big commitment. Also, it may take a while to find an area where you think you could life for many years.

22.03.2008 08:54

Re: Can we buy a house????

Originally Posted by glendamwm (Post 193589)
Hi, Can anyone help, we will be moving in July to Kanton Aargau as husband has permanent job there with b permit, we are both from UK, is it possible for us to buy a house rather than rent as it seems we can get more for our monthly payment this way. We wonder if it is possible how do we go about sorting out mortgage etc?

Any help is much appreciated.

Do you have 25% up front for the down payment?
Most homes are Fr. 600 000. and up, so I would say if it is temporary, don't buy. It took us 8 months to sell our old place AND at a loss (10 months mortgage loss plus 30K in renovations AND lower than our original purchase price.) :eek: :msncrazy::msncrazy: :msnsad:

glendamwm 22.03.2008 10:27

Re: Can we buy a house????
Hi thank you all for your replies, in answer to your questions, we are selling our house in the UK and will have min 30% deposit to put towards property is Aargau, we are renting for 6 months first to make sure it is for us, but do not want to have to move around a lot as have two children to settle in Swiss school too.

What is the situation with the min 5 yrs? Capital Gains Tax etc..

jbrady 22.03.2008 11:03

Re: Can we buy a house????
This is only a problem if the house prices rocket - which is doubtful - and the capital gains is minus any money you spent on accepted improvements (in certain catagories). Also, the capital gains percentage goes down incrementely the longer you live in the house - this is diferent on a kanton by kanton and Gemeninde by Gemeinde basis.
At the end of the day, if you stayed in the house for 20 years you may make some money your whole family will have probably settled into Switzerland 100 percent by then and you still need to live somewhere.
It is not the same as the UK - easy money by sitting in a house for a few years.
If you fancy a total lifestyle change then it it not so bad.

sharon 23.03.2008 22:13

Re: Can we buy a house????
I think another problem is that there aren't that many properties on the market - though from looking around there seems to be lots cranes so more seem to be coming on the market

Also have a think about multifamily houses - if you are bringing over all the money from the UK you may be able to buy one of these and can rent out the other house / appartments to help pay your mortgage (rates are lower here than in the UK and its beneficial for your tax rate not to pay off your mortage). Do speak to a lawyer though to get all the info on this (you have to live in one of the appartments etc)

We're from the UK and bought too so I can understand where you are coming from - but do make sure you are here for a while as properties do take a while to sell

smbuzby 24.03.2008 09:10

Re: Can we buy a house????

I am from the UK, and my girlfriend is from Poland. We had no issues buying a house in Canton Zurich.

Some advice:

* be prepared to wait - the best houses dont come on the market, you need to make regular contact with the estate agents

* speak to several banks - they all have different deals going on, and will compete with each oher quite fiercely. It's also realtively common to take over the previous mortgage on the property - you are not obliged but this can be very advantageous. Also by getting friendly with a particular banker will help you get any letters written nice and promptly, e.g. a letter that states that you have the finance for x'000 CHF.

* go and see lots of properties - even if you dont fancy them. I think t's vital to do this so you get a good feeling for what influences the prices and so you become more comfortable with whatever you will end up buying. Aslo go and see them at different times of the day - one place that we looked at had horrible aircraft noise from 6am for an hour. We didn't notice that when we visted twice during the day, and the previous owner claimed it was hardly noticable. For anyone that knows the place, this was in Fallandan (sp?) where the long hauls fly over on their way to land in Zurich Airport!

* you will need either good german skills or know someone well that you can trust when it comes to do all the contract related stuff. Perhaps you can hire an enlish speaking notary for this - I dont know. I was lucky in that I have a German firend who s very familiar with all this stuff.

* insurance - when you eventually buy, you will need various insurances. Make sure you shop around. Speak to the guys who insure your car if you have one, it is possible to get discounts if you stick to one company.

* this is more personal - buy a new(er) place. We saw old and new, and the idea of having an oil fueled heating system is a bit of a nightmare for me. Also, due to my poor German skills, I would not be comfotable organising contractors to do any rennovation work.

I'm sure there's plenty more......

Best of luck with the search

meloncollie 24.03.2008 13:57

Re: Can we buy a house????
You certainly can buy a house in AG - whether you should is a question only you can answer. So much depends on one's individual financial situation, future plans, present needs, and desires.

FYI, here is a handy chart from the AG cantonal website showing how the permit category affects what a foreigner is allowed to purchase in Aargau:


We chose to rent for the first years here, simply because we didn't know how long we would stay. We knew, however, that if Switzerland turned out to be a longer term proposition we wanted to move from ZH to SZ because of the tax advantages - which meant putting off purchasing until we had C permits allowing us to switch cantons. (We're non-EU).

For me, the decision to purchase rather than rent was primarily emotional, not financial. (Although, it makes sound financial sense for us - the mortgage is far less than what we were paying in rent.) The driving factor for me was that I hated living under the landlord's nose; there were days when it felt like every move was watched, catalogued, and commented upon. Now, you may find that you don't have this problem while renting - our situation was largely due to the kind of person our old landlord was.

Nonetheless, we bought our house so that we could have the freedom to do as we pleased, whatever and whenever we wanted.

We are now thinking about selling this house and buying something even farther away from civilization ;) , assuming I ever find my dream property. Again, an lifestyle decision, not a financial one. If we do sell, we may or may not make a profit on the sale of our house. But because we have saved so much in lower mortgage payments vs. rent, and in lower taxes, profit from the house sale is somewhat less important than it might have been otherwise.

So look at the financials - of which purchase price, deposit down, and monthly mortgage are only a part - but also look at how renting vs. owning could impact the way you wish to live, and which would be best suited to your needs at this time.

But, as others have mentioned, property purchase in Switzerland is generally not a short term or speculative venture.

glendamwm 26.03.2008 11:49

Re: Can we buy a house????
Thank you all so much for your advice, we are most definitely looking to rent for say 6 months, but also want to purchase in and around same area as we do not want to upset kids by moving schools, (the move from uk will be difficult enough for them) although they are looking forward to it.

Looking to rent possibly Moriken-Wildegg area and then to purchase new build, I agree new build would be best, also as have owned detached home in UK would prefer similar for personal sanity.

My husband is flying over on Monday and staying in hotel for six weeks (possibly longer) during time I will be coming over to hopefully find rental accomodation we can move into June/July time, is this manageable?

Does anyone have any info on area or other tips on our situation?


meloncollie 26.03.2008 13:54

Re: Can we buy a house????
Finding a rental for 6 months might be difficult, depending on what you are willing to settle for. Many landlords want longer term contracts.

(When we moved here, 5 years was the shortest term any landlord we spoke to would consider - but, that was a different area, different time. Market conditions will obviously influence how flexible a landlord needs to be.)

You might find that you can take over someone's existing lease (Nachmieter).

I had to organize our housing from the States, so we used a relocation consultant who did the running around for me (or was supposed to - but that's another story. :rolleyes: ). Perhaps that might be an option, giving your timing. It was expensive (and I would never recommend the agency who worked with us...:( ) but I couldn't have done it otherwise given distance and my lack of German at the time.

Do be aware, though, that six months really isn't long when it comes to making a house purchase in Switzerland. It took us a year plus of searching for a suitable property, and most that we were interested in wanted a hand over date 6-12 months out. When we finally found the right property with a seller willing to move quickly, we had to move mountains to organize the legal stuff in a reasonable timeframe. We managed to do that in three months, but were told that such speed was generally unheard of. :rolleyes:

(Coming from Chicago, where I sold one house and bought another within 24 hours, the pace here seemed a bit... glacial. :rolleyes: )

You might want to give yourself more flexibility with timing. Be prepared to move quickly if the right property comes up, but also be aware that you may need to wait longer than expected.

Best of luck to you.

26.03.2008 14:19

Re: Can we buy a house????
I would really wait a while before buy or building, I have buildt a house in Oeschgen in the Fricktal area of Aargua through a local company in 2003, unfortunately for my ex-wife she is still living in the property :) but more importantly I have seen the same several properties still for sale in the that area for nearly 4 years now.

So be careful what you do.....

szhjcn 29.03.2008 14:23

Re: Can we buy a house????
In Kanton Zurich you can buy on a 'B' BUT you CANNOT rent it out or even part of it LEGALLY without having a 'C'.

Even if in joint names where one has a B the other a C counts as having B.

When you sell you are liable to pay tax on the profit, but this is waived if you use the money to buy another Swiss property.

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