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Old 08.06.2014, 09:37
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[Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

Dear all,

It was a happy thing of buying our own house but now I am sad. Please allow me to start my story. We signed the contract of buying a semi-detached house in Feb. It is a new project of 4 semi-detached houses and 7 single-family houses. Our house is one of them and will only be finished next year.

Recently I looked the website of project and found out they reduced the prices of unsold houses. Since the price of housing in Switzerland is stable and slightly increasing every year. It only left me to think that our house was over priced in the very beginning. The second annoying thing is they changed plan of the project. Four single-family houses are going to be changed to multi-family houses and one of them is just in front of our house. Yes. I know the building of our house will not be changed. But I would say that our house will still get the influences. The size of building MFH will be bigger than single-family house and it influences the sunlight and wind to our house. The whole project used to be a luxury one and now it becomes a cheap project of apartments of 600,000chf. I think it also influences the value of our house. The most annoying part is we did not get any notice for that.

I don't know if it is "normal" in real estate market of Switzerland and I can not do anything about it. I am just the unlucky one. I really hope anyone could give me some advice.

Thank you very much in advance!
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Old 08.06.2014, 09:40
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

Consult a property lawyer.
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Old 08.06.2014, 09:44
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

Speak directly to the developers and express your concerns on the issues mentioned. I certainly wouldn't be happy, how much would it cost to pull out of the contract?
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Old 08.06.2014, 09:51
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

I agree with both previous commentators. I'd also check with the commune/gemeinde admin office about whether these changes have been agreed with them. I doubt they can change approved plans without getting approval again.
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Old 08.06.2014, 10:08
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

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Recently I looked the website of project and surprisingly found out they reduced the prices of unsold houses. Since the price of housing in Switzerland is stable and slightly increasing every year. It only left me to think that our house was over priced in the very beginning.
!
Just a comment... The price of housing in Switzerland is certainly not stable, in fact we are likely heading into a period of falling prices.

For the last 5 or so years much of Switzerland has been caught up in a bubble market, with demand driving prices irrationally. But now we are seeing that rationality is returning, the rose colored glasses are coming off and buyers are looking at fundamentals again. When people are no longer willing to buy at current prices, eventually the market catches up and prices start to fall.

You bought at the top of the market. Unfortunate timing.
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Old 08.06.2014, 11:25
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

I am certain that the builder needed to amend the existing building permit to change the project...assuming there was a permit in the first place.

Did you buy from plans before there was even a building permit granted?

Buying a property here is not simple. It is possible to buy a house for which no building permit has been obtained. This of course is very risky.

As for the price falling, I have seen this happen with projects. If a builder is selling a DEFH, or apartments, as soon as some are sold he wants to start building, but ideally it is better if they are all sold. So he might drop the price to encourage this.

We looked at the last house in a complex of 4 houses which was well below the original asking price. The house was built, but not finished inside, and the builder wanted to get it finished and be done with the complex.

I think your best bet is to contact a lawyer and take the contract to them If you have legal insurance you could start there but keep in mind that there are some limitations on the coverage.
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Old 08.06.2014, 11:44
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

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Dear all,

It was a happy thing of buying our own house but now I am sad. Please allow me to start my story. We signed the contract of buying a semi-detached house in Feb. It is a new project of 4 semi-detached houses and 7 single-family houses. Our house is one of them and will only be finished next year.

Recently I looked the website of project and found out they reduced the prices of unsold houses. Since the price of housing in Switzerland is stable and slightly increasing every year. It only left me to think that our house was over priced in the very beginning. The second annoying thing is they changed plan of the project. Four single-family houses are going to be changed to multi-family houses and one of them is just in front of our house. Yes. I know the building of our house will not be changed. But I would say that our house will still get the influences. The size of building MFH will be bigger than single-family house and it influences the sunlight and wind to our house. The whole project used to be a luxury one and now it becomes a cheap project of apartments of 600,000chf. I think it also influences the value of our house. The most annoying part is we did not get any notice for that.

I don't know if it is "normal" in real estate market of Switzerland and I can not do anything about it. I am just the unlucky one. I really hope anyone could give me some advice.

Thank you very much in advance!
Only in Switzerland you'll find a 600 000 CHF apartment called cheap!

I would be concerned and angry too if I was in your situation. You got great advices. Please keep us updated!

Nil
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Old 08.06.2014, 12:46
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

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Just a comment... The price of housing in Switzerland is certainly not stable, in fact we are likely heading into a period of falling prices.
It's certainly clear that long-term prices do not necessarily increase. Our apartment in Engelberg was bought by us six years ago for about 70% of it's asking price when new in ~1982. When we bought it the estate agent, the bank manager and the advocate were all concerned that we understood that it was not necessarily going to increase in value. For now I think it has, although that may be a small bubble in itself, as there's lots of new builds going up which seem to be priced outrageously high.

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You bought at the top of the market. Unfortunate timing.
Happened to loads of people in the UK, including me, on several occasions in the last few decades. Lots of people were in a negative-equity situation where their mortgages were higher than the value of the property. Nothing could be done, and basically it's a case of Caveat Emptor.

The other issues outlined are another matter entirely, of course, but there can surely be no possible legal complaint about the price reduction.
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Old 08.06.2014, 15:53
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

For the building permit, we signed the purchase contract after they got the building permit. But they did not tell us they have changed the plan. They probably updated the information after we signed the contract. And I only found out this now.
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Old 08.06.2014, 16:24
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

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For the building permit, we signed the purchase contract after they got the building permit. But they did not tell us they have changed the plan. They probably updated the information after we signed the contract. And I only found out this now.
The problem is, your building is being built as agreed, so your getting what you paid for.
You don't have any real say in the other part of the projects, that will only happen if somebody buys, if not they will try something else. In CH the land has an overall amount that can be built as a proportion of ground area, assuming it fits in with rules it can be done. I suspect there is a clause in your contract saying you can't object to the developers plans.........
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Old 08.06.2014, 16:54
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

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The problem is, your building is being built as agreed, so your getting what you paid for.
You don't have any real say in the other part of the projects, that will only happen if somebody buys, if not they will try something else. In CH the land has an overall amount that can be built as a proportion of ground area, assuming it fits in with rules it can be done. I suspect there is a clause in your contract saying you can't object to the developers plans.........
The problem is that the plan of project we got when we are buying is different from the current one. We might not buy the house if we know more about the changes. So we did not get fully informed.
The second thing we can make the change of the plan if we pay for that which says in the contract.
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Old 08.06.2014, 17:09
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

I'd say this is probably horrible for you but you have to be aware of what building land exists around your property and what the local zoning regs permit.

I bought off-plan in 2005 but I was aware that I could be overlooked - but the design of the house meant it did not matter. The poor people I overlooked who bought 10 or more years who lived next to a field with sheep in it for that time must've been a bit miffed.

Anyway, you have certain rights. You can clear those up at the Bauamt - things like distance of living space from property line and build heights will be clear.

If you wanted unobstructed views and space, you should have bought more land or in Glarus
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Old 08.06.2014, 17:17
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

you're not actually allowed to own land in glarus unless you farm it
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Old 08.06.2014, 17:46
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

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I agree with both previous commentators. I'd also check with the commune/gemeinde admin office about whether these changes have been agreed with them. I doubt they can change approved plans without getting approval again.
Most likely they did... after approval they can still file amendments and unless someone 'finds' and appeals, you can guess what happens.....

We had this happen a while back where a neighbour got permission to add a balcony and later filed a change of plan.. Lucky for us, that a friend of ours told us that a change had been filed because when we looked, the balcony had mushroomed in two three garages and two balconies!
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Old 10.04.2015, 23:49
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Re: [Advice needed]Annoying things happened after buying a house

Thank you very much for the answers. I really appreciated.

So here was the end of the story. We consulted a lawyer and the lawyer told us it is a big change and we should ask for the compensation. We negotiated with seller. They agreed to pay a small compensation to us. Well, better than nothing. At least enough to cover the lawyer fee.

So consulting a lawyer is helpful though it is expensive. It costed us 2000chf!
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