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Old 08.11.2014, 11:38
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Buying New Apartment and advice

Dear EF members,
We really liked an apartment to accommodate our growing family.
Now we do not know as what the next steps will be.
We have reached some banks, yet to hear from any of them.
As this is a 12 yer old apartment, i would imagine I need to check the structure, installed heating, fridge, dishwasher etc. before buying.
But I do not have the skill set for this task.
Can anyone recommend an English speaking Architect/person who can perform the pre-check of the apartment before I make the reservation amount?
Or any better ideas?

A
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Old 09.11.2014, 10:44
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

The bank will recommend an architect or Bauleiter they trust to do an inspection. As their money is also on the line their recommendation will likely be a fairly decent choice. Your chance of getting the mortgage approved on a property needing work is better if you have used the person that the bank recommended to do the inspection.

Bear three things in mind:

A Bauleiter is often a better choice than an architect, as he/she will have more concrete knowledge of the nuts and bolts of building and renovating. Again, ask your banker.

The architect's or Bauleiter's inspection will cost something between CHF 500 and 5000. Get a quote in writing for this work. Since you might be interested in several properties, and thus will need several inspections, plan for this in your budget.

Some sellers will refuse to allow an inspection. There is no legal requirement that an inspection be done. Be prepared to lose a few possible places by asking for an inspection... but stick to your guns. From a buyer's perspective an inspection is absolutely necessary. (Unless you know that the place is a tear down, the price is a steal, and you have unlimited money to spend on rebuilding/renovating.)

So first step: Establish a relationship with the bank.

Good luck!
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Old 09.11.2014, 11:35
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

Many thanks for the helpful advice.

Akki
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Old 11.11.2014, 17:22
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

Alas the banks that I spoke to, none offers building inspection service...according to them a 10 year old building should be perfectly ok....
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Old 11.11.2014, 17:25
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

....Also is it common if I would ask to add the following points in the temporary contract:-

The buyer will not be responsible for any undisclosed damages and seller will have to bear the cost.

**If the damage is identified within 2 months from possession

Below areas are of interest:-


1. Washing Machine (No immediate maintenance required)

2. Dryer (No immediate maintenance required)
3. Fridge (No immediate maintenance required)
4. Dishwasher (No immediate maintenance required)
5. Water clogging due to drainage issues in toilet and kitchen. (I need the drains to be cleared before the possession)

6. Electrical wiring

7. Issues with damping inside walls.

8. Any defect on walls or floor that is currently covered by furniture and can not be seen.

9. Heating system does not have any known defects.

Akki
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Old 11.11.2014, 17:56
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

As the apartment is 12 years old all the machines and heating might be also 12 years old. They will be okay for now but will need some work or replacement in a few years. Are you sure all these machines are included in the sale? If you move them around (f.e. fridge, washing) they are not automatically included.

The damp walls is something to investigate but may also be due to poor ventilation. Normally you would not have any damp walls.

As mentioned it is important to establish a relationship with a bank as they would want to value the apartment. They will come up with the money so they are a good source of information.

I do not know of something that is called a temporary contract. It is a contract or it is not. So a temporary contract is a contract and be sure you put in your terms and conditions. There is protection for hidden faults in the first 5 years in the law. If the seller knows about faults they are obliged to tell you so ask your questions cleverly.

good luck
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Old 11.11.2014, 18:09
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

First of all thanks for all the invaluable suggestions.

1. The apartment do come with all the installations, I have found them to be installed in all the apartments that I have visited, new or old, they are the basic necessity and supplied unless you are planning to build something on a plot by yourself, again this is my understanding...

2. This is great to know the first 5 year protection law..was not aware of the same...

3. Temporary contract is what I referred to the reservation contract...which entitles the first person to sign the reservation contract is entitled to owning the property...

Akki
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Old 11.11.2014, 23:08
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

The term you are looking for is "Schätzung einer Liegenschaft" or short "Schätzung". That's the process where an expert assess the value of a given home, and usually also lists its main pros and cons. The cost mentioned before seems reasonable.

Please forgive me my boldness, but seeing your questions I think you need to acquire a ton of knowledge before even considering buying a home, or the sharks will rip you into pieces. Banks (used to) provide courses that inform prospective owners about the important stuff, pitfalls, legal peculiarities, and much more. As a general rule a Kantonalbank or your local Raiffeisenbank tends to be the better partner than UBS or Credit Suisse.

If you get no intersting feedback you may want to consider the SHEV http://www.hev-schweiz.ch/home/aktuell/ the swiss association of real estate owners. They may be even more trustworthy than banks as they probably have no vested interest in you getting a mortgage from bank XYZ. Unfortunately the website is german only, but the footer contains an email link, you shouldn't hesitate to contact them in english if you're not confident enough for german.

Whatever you do:
- if the seller requires some deposit for the privilige of a "right of first refusal" or similar, have him open a "Sperrkonto", pay the deposit into that directly (i.e. do not transfer the deposit to the seller), and additionally only sign the contract if it explicitly says that the deposit is to be returned to you, less any documented expenditures incurred by the seller. Do not accept that the deposit is lost if no sale happens
- do not accept "Mängelabtretung" or "Abtretung von Garantierechten" if the building is less than 5 years old. That's not an issue with a 12 year old building, but I trust that's not your only option, and with newly built buildings that will almost certainly be part of the contract presented to you.
- if you buy a newly-build home you definitely want the support of an expert for the "Bauabnahme", he will pay for himself multifold
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Old 12.11.2014, 00:05
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

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The term you are looking for is "Schätzung einer Liegenschaft" or short "Schätzung". That's the process where an expert assess the value of a given home, and usually also lists its main pros and cons. The cost mentioned before seems reasonable.

Please forgive me my boldness, but seeing your questions I think you need to acquire a ton of knowledge before even considering buying a home, or the sharks will rip you into pieces. Banks (used to) provide courses that inform prospective owners about the important stuff, pitfalls, legal peculiarities, and much more. As a general rule a Kantonalbank or your local Raiffeisenbank tends to be the better partner than UBS or Credit Suisse.

If you get no intersting feedback you may want to consider the SHEV http://www.hev-schweiz.ch/home/aktuell/ the swiss association of real estate owners. They may be even more trustworthy than banks as they probably have no vested interest in you getting a mortgage from bank XYZ. Unfortunately the website is german only, but the footer contains an email link, you shouldn't hesitate to contact them in english if you're not confident enough for german.

Whatever you do:
- if the seller requires some deposit for the privilige of a "right of first refusal" or similar, have him open a "Sperrkonto", pay the deposit into that directly (i.e. do not transfer the deposit to the seller), and additionally only sign the contract if it explicitly says that the deposit is to be returned to you, less any documented expenditures incurred by the seller. Do not accept that the deposit is lost if no sale happens
- do not accept "Mängelabtretung" or "Abtretung von Garantierechten" if the building is less than 5 years old. That's not an issue with a 12 year old building, but I trust that's not your only option, and with newly built buildings that will almost certainly be part of the contract presented to you.
- if you buy a newly-build home you definitely want the support of an expert for the "Bauabnahme", he will pay for himself multifold
Tx for the advice and your concern..
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Old 12.11.2014, 00:07
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

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The term you are looking for is "Schätzung einer Liegenschaft" or short "Schätzung". That's the process where an expert assess the value of a given home, and usually also lists its main pros and cons. The cost mentioned before seems reasonable.

Please forgive me my boldness, but seeing your questions I think you need to acquire a ton of knowledge before even considering buying a home, or the sharks will rip you into pieces. Banks (used to) provide courses that inform prospective owners about the important stuff, pitfalls, legal peculiarities, and much more. As a general rule a Kantonalbank or your local Raiffeisenbank tends to be the better partner than UBS or Credit Suisse.

If you get no intersting feedback you may want to consider the SHEV http://www.hev-schweiz.ch/home/aktuell/ the swiss association of real estate owners. They may be even more trustworthy than banks as they probably have no vested interest in you getting a mortgage from bank XYZ. Unfortunately the website is german only, but the footer contains an email link, you shouldn't hesitate to contact them in english if you're not confident enough for german.

Whatever you do:
- if the seller requires some deposit for the privilige of a "right of first refusal" or similar, have him open a "Sperrkonto", pay the deposit into that directly (i.e. do not transfer the deposit to the seller), and additionally only sign the contract if it explicitly says that the deposit is to be returned to you, less any documented expenditures incurred by the seller. Do not accept that the deposit is lost if no sale happens
- do not accept "Mängelabtretung" or "Abtretung von Garantierechten" if the building is less than 5 years old. That's not an issue with a 12 year old building, but I trust that's not your only option, and with newly built buildings that will almost certainly be part of the contract presented to you.
- if you buy a newly-build home you definitely want the support of an expert for the "Bauabnahme", he will pay for himself multifold
Mine is asking for 30000 deposit and if no sale happens then 5k processing fee...and remaining 25k will be returned without any interest...is this normal?
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Old 12.11.2014, 10:43
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

there are a lot of things you need to be aware of before you decide to even look for buying a property let alone the actual buying:
1. 12 year buildings do not generally need any evaluation unless you want to be extra careful. if you do not intend to do any renovation work, then i would get an evaluation done for buildings that are over 25 years old
2. Most of the apartments do not come with appliances for sale. that means that you need to explicitly ask if the appliances are included in the sale
3. The apartment/ house is sold in an as-is condition in most cases unless you agree with the seller for some repair or maintenance.
4. There will be a fund where the seller has been contributing to the renovations of the building (not the apartment). i suggest you check how much of funds are in that and if the building management is planning for any renovation. if yes, check if the already accrued funds can cover or if you need to put in any. this can come as a surprise.
5. By law i guess, there is no need for the seller to return the initial deposit you make unless otherwise a contract is signed and made legal. so do that before you pay the 30,000 to reserve the apartment.
6. if the drains are already blocked, you may want to check if its a recurring problem. same with dampness
7. banks give mortgage for renovation. so if you are planning for any renovation, factor that in when applying for a mortgage.
8. Banks generally check of the asking price is in line with the market. they have some kind of software to do that. ask them to do that in your presence, then you can see the range. and assess for yourself in which range is the apartment price. i would not buy an apartment if its in the upper range unless i want it badly.
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Old 12.11.2014, 11:09
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

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Mine is asking for 30000 deposit and if no sale happens then 5k processing fee...and remaining 25k will be returned without any interest...is this normal?
Normal varies widely. For instance here in my area, the normal Vorverkauf deposit is 10% of the sale price. (The deposit is generally in addition to your mortgage downpayment, btw.)

---

By the way, I think you misunderstood my earlier post. Banks generally do not offer an 'inspection service' but rather your banker should be able to recommend an architect, someone the bank trusts. You would then need to contact that person yourself to engage his/her services. It's up to you to organize the inspection.

---

Given the typical pitfalls to buying property, I'll second Urs' comment: there is much you need to research and learn. From my own experience: do not allow emotion to get the better of you. Far better to lose out on a sale than to plunge in without enough research or doing full due diligence.

I'll also throw in something else to consider, from the other side.

I bought my house 'as is', the sellers set the price accordingly. I knew that there was a chance that I would later find undiscovered problems, but given that I bought at a fair price that was a risk I was willing to take. When I sell I will do the same thing. My goal is a clean, quick sale. I''ll buy an insurance policy that should cover post-sale issues, but that is mostly for my peace of mind. I won't deal with a 'difficult' buyer.

As you negotiate keep the seller's motives in mind.
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Old 12.11.2014, 12:42
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

The chief difference between buying a house and an apartment is that you don't actually own the apartment. You, together with the other 'dwellers' own the whole and have only special rights to use 'your' apartment, maybe a garage space and maybe a share of the garden.
The legal basis is called 'Stockwerkeigentum'. It usually works well here if you are all a harmonious, responsible and solvent bunch, but the following might be interesting for you:

(German) http://www.beobachter.ch/wohnen/eige...-wir-beachten/
(German) http://stockwerkeigentum-verwalten.c...kwerkeigentum/
(German) http://www.ruv.de/de/download/podcas...hnungskauf.pdf
(German) http://stockwerk.ch/news/tipps-fuer-wohnungskauf.html
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Last edited by me.anon; 12.11.2014 at 12:46. Reason: link correction
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Old 12.11.2014, 19:04
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Re: Buying New Apartment and advice

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Mine is asking for 30000 deposit and if no sale happens then 5k processing fee...and remaining 25k will be returned without any interest...is this normal?
The 10% mentioned above is what I've heard, too.

Personally I have problems accepting to pay the seller (5k in your case) for his efforts if the deal falls thru, imho it should be part of the sellers margin. But that's just me, and times are changing (or have changed, rather). I can't tell if he 5k are unusually high or low.

I forgot:
- make sure that paying the deposit gives you exclusive rights to buy the apartment, have that mentioned in the contract
- I wouldn't accept any kind of deduction (the 5k) if the deal falls thru because the seller cancels it (provided the contract gives him the right to cancel in the first place)

The following is me speculating, ask your bank if it has any merits:
If you pay a deposit and the seller goes bankrupt your money would be at risk if it were counted as the sellers own good. So what you need to know is, how do you make sure it's not considered the sellers property, i.e.not part of the "Konkursmasse". Would it be enough to pay it into a "Sperrkonto"?

And what's the sellers reputation, how long has he been in the market? The older the more I'd be willing to trust him/them.

One last thing:
You may be want to check out https://www.wuestundpartner.com/, be it for indiviual services or for general info on the real estate market segment you're interested in.
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