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Old 19.12.2014, 10:27
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Selling a cutie pie house but ...

Stress - have you been through the process of selling a house in Switzerland and do you have tips to cope with the stress?

Background - our house has been up for sale for just over a year. Lots of visits but most appear to be "tourists" who have just come for a look round. Many don't even have the budget. Estate agents don't seem to have a filter system but bring anyone round in the desperate hope they'll sign on the dotted line.
What is ludicrous is that they say there is a housing shortage yet despite having a house which is only 15 years old, one careful owner with new kitchen appliances, sparkling repainted walls etc, we still can't find a buyer who can actually afford to put his money where his mouth is. They come into your house, their kids tread mud everywhere & smear greasy fingers on the windows, yank knobs off the kitchen cabinets, screw up or break the blinds yanking on anything the opens, dangles or flushes, ask a million questions then walk away.
Given the changes in the deposits & rumours that prices are falling, it seems we're stuck between people whose eyes are bigger than their bellies and a system that seems to do all it can to prevent people buying property.
Please tell me your experiences of selling property in Switzerland & prop me back up.
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Old 19.12.2014, 10:37
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

The same!

Once the SchnapechenJaeger are through you get the overly ambitious locals who will try to low ball you too.

Then you have those who fail to realise a 100 year old house will have low ceilings - or that when it says "no garage" it does actually mean it!!

Have given up - and it should be rented in January
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Old 19.12.2014, 10:47
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

One problem may also be the banks. I was in this treadmill myself some years ago, with the bank saying they wouldn't give me mortgage because the property was above my means, even though I was sure that with a frugal liefstyle I could pull it off.
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Old 19.12.2014, 10:54
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

Don't use an estate agent. They are useless world-wide, and more so here and the charge 3%!

We sold within 3 days using homegate.ch. We produced a PDF info sheet of the house in English and German to hand out. We selected a viewing day and then spaced each viewing 1 hour apart. So many called that it became half an hour apart. We also made sure they removed their shoes at the front door - most did this without asking.

The ad appeared on homgate on the Monday and viewing was Tuesday and the offer came on Wednesday. As agreed we removed the ad and they paid CHF20,000 deposit.

BUT the house was competitively priced in a desirable area, fulfilling many criteria like schools nearby, not road noise etc. You may need to reconsider the price...
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Old 19.12.2014, 10:58
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

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BUT the house was competitively priced in a desirable area, fulfilling many criteria like schools nearby, not road noise etc. You may need to reconsider the price...
A yes, so true. I'm not implying that this is the case for the OP, but so many people buy "a bargain" while being blind to the reasons it was so cheap and are then surprised when they try and sell it on that the next buyer will also only pay a bargain price.
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Old 19.12.2014, 10:59
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

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BUT the house was competitively priced in a desirable area, fulfilling many criteria like schools nearby, not road noise etc. You may need to reconsider the price...
We took our agents advice on pricing

Big mistake - we may well try again in a year or so, once memories of the attempted sale fade!
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:10
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

This is interesting advice. We may or may not looking to sell our appt in a couple of years to move into a house a bit further out. Fortunately we live in a pretty desirable area; a commune neighbouring Fribourg with ample public transport, schools and shops nearby. We've been told our place is a gold mine and I think, based on listed prices of equivalent properties, we would make a healthy margin if we were to sell it now, let alone in two years (assuming the market doesn't crash).
Hell, even if the market does crash, we still have our own property in a great area.
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:29
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

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Given the changes in the deposits & rumours that prices are falling, it seems we're stuck between people whose eyes are bigger than their bellies and a system that seems to do all it can to prevent people buying property.
What if you have unrealistic expectations?

If you can't sell, maybe it's for a reason- Could it be price?

I visited a few houses, but owners were convinced that their price was good*, and yet the houses are still there on the market months later.

*They are "living" in a parallel universe where they still think they can sell at the "high price" and don't even want to admit that their property value has taken in average +60% in the last few years, but are still trying to sell at that "current peak price". The market has turned, i'm convinced prices will drop and the difficulties that owners have selling show it's somehow true.

PS: the system prevent people from buying, it's not really true: it prevents the market from "exploding" and allegedly "protect" dump people from getting scamm...erm getting in a financial situation will be result in many personal bankruptcies. Because yes, the interest rate is low, but most people don't realize that 1% of many many chfs is a lot of money.

So maybe the situation is that you're refusing to admit that your property price is virtually inflated, and that you need to match your expectations to the reality.
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:43
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

We have already seen the bubble deflating here in SZ. Two houses in the neighborhood have been for sale for about 9 months now, not a bite, despite dropping the prices significantly. (Whereas a few years ago a similar house sold well over it's asking price in just a few days.)

From discussions with agents, bankers, folks like me who are thinking of selling but sitting on the fence because of worries that the market is falling:

In my area, consensus seems to be that free standing houses under a million still sell. Multi million luxury houses still sell. But the 1-2 million range is dead as a door nail - nothing seems to sell at the moment. Houses in this range either cannot be upgraded to a luxury home due to zoning restrictions, or are in need of so much work that the buyer is waiting for the drop to under the magic million mark.

Restricted migration, especially at the well-paid end, falling salaries in many sectors, employment uncertainty among those 40+, poor performance of investments and the resultant uncertainty - these have all curtained demand. Fewer people feel comfortable sticking their neck out. And for perhaps the first time, I'm even hearing Swiss buyers discussing resale value - something almost unheard of 10 years ago, and in a falling market a cause for worry.


All in all - not a good time to try to sell a 'normal' house in one of the deflating bubble markets.

I wish you all the best with your sale - selfishly, because I might be in your shoes soon...
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:46
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

Just a quick suggestion, loads of people read EF, why not post an advert on here - free way to get interest in your place and possibly help judge how accurately you are pricing it.
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:49
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

We rented our first house out (and still are) rather than sell ...... that was hard enough to privately find [suitable] tenants - loads of unsuitables.

You could always go the rollercoaster way of Ricardo or eBay - starting at one Franc.
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:52
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

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We have already seen the bubble deflating here in SZ. Two houses in the neighborhood have been for sale for about 9 months now, not a bite, despite dropping the prices significantly. (Whereas a few years ago a similar house sold well over it's asking price in just a few days.)

From discussions with agents, bankers, folks like me who are thinking of selling but sitting on the fence because of worries that the market is falling:

In my area, consensus seems to be that free standing houses under a million still sell. Multi million luxury houses still sell. But the 1-2 million range is dead as a door nail - nothing seems to sell at the moment. Houses in this range either cannot be upgraded to a luxury home due to zoning restrictions, or are in need of so much work that the buyer is waiting for the drop to under the magic million mark.

Restricted migration, especially at the well-paid end, falling salaries in many sectors, employment uncertainty among those 40+, poor performance of investments and the resultant uncertainty - these have all curtained demand. Fewer people feel comfortable sticking their neck out. And for perhaps the first time, I'm even hearing Swiss buyers discussing resale value - something almost unheard of 10 years ago, and in a falling market a cause for worry.


All in all - not a good time to try to sell a 'normal' house in one of the deflating bubble markets.

I wish you all the best with your sale - selfishly, because I might be in your shoes soon...
Not in Zurich, as I alluded to in a previous thread, a friend sold his six year old house for 1.5 million in less then a month back in May.
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Old 19.12.2014, 11:54
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

What is also happening is a demographic shift. Many of the more up-market second or third ring dormitory communes around Zurich were built on greenfields in the post war period, say roughly early 1950s to mid 1970s. At the time land was still dirt cheap and even middle-middle class people who couldn't dream of such a place in such a location today were able to build substantial houses on substantial plots. These have gone up and up in value but have now reached the point that the people who built them are either moving on to nursing homes if not directly to the cemetry and of course their heirs are rubbing their hands in glee when they see what the property is now worth. But too many of these hitting the market at the same time is not doing those prices much good.

This is having a knock-on effect on the next rings which were effectively built by people who couldn't afford the aforesaid areas and so went further and further out. These are the areas built in the 1980s and 1990s. As prices there are only really undepinned by the unaffordability of places further in, these prices too are turning out to be unsustainable.
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Old 19.12.2014, 12:04
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

I have a very similar experience to AbFab. She sold quickly as did we - but we used an agent who handled everything.......even down to pushing the asking price up 300k from my initial estimate.

The agent put together a brochure, showed people around and so on. Nice work for the 40k she got

We sold for 400k more than I initially thought the house would be worth though - and in 2 weeks. So the agent was worth it....!
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Old 19.12.2014, 13:03
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

It's always down to price.

There have been houses for sale in one street in the U.K. for 1 pound each (that's 1.5 CHF).

If a house is miles away from schools, next to a railway line (but with no station), has no garage and a leaky roof - those aren't the reasons that it's not selling - the reason is the price is too high.
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Old 19.12.2014, 13:43
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

Tom is right.

The true value of a house = what the highest bidder wants to pay for it.
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Old 19.12.2014, 13:45
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

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Stress - have you been through the process of selling a house in Switzerland and do you have tips to cope with the stress?

Background - our house has been up for sale for just over a year. Lots of visits but most appear to be "tourists" who have just come for a look round. Many don't even have the budget. Estate agents don't seem to have a filter system but bring anyone round in the desperate hope they'll sign on the dotted line.
What is ludicrous is that they say there is a housing shortage yet despite having a house which is only 15 years old, one careful owner with new kitchen appliances, sparkling repainted walls etc, we still can't find a buyer who can actually afford to put his money where his mouth is. They come into your house, their kids tread mud everywhere & smear greasy fingers on the windows, yank knobs off the kitchen cabinets, screw up or break the blinds yanking on anything the opens, dangles or flushes, ask a million questions then walk away.
Given the changes in the deposits & rumours that prices are falling, it seems we're stuck between people whose eyes are bigger than their bellies and a system that seems to do all it can to prevent people buying property.
Please tell me your experiences of selling property in Switzerland & prop me back up.
It can take time to sell a property. Viewings of any type, whether you are offering a property for rent or sale are stressful if you are still living there.

We were fortunate that our house was empty when we sold it and we did not use an agent. Are you using an agent? Agents do not screen buyers. In my opinion, only those really serious came to look because they had to
have direct contact with us as owners. No agent to hide behind.

The house was cleaned top to bottom and without asking people offered to take off their shoes. I offered unopened "travel" slippers.

As for kids, most everyone brought kids. That was to be expected given the location and size of the house. One mom took out a cookie and gave it to her toddler in the middle of the living room, crumbs everywhere. She never apologized. Others had kids who wanted to fiddle with everything interesting within reach. House viewings for kids are very boring. It only gets interesting if one decides to look themselves in a room. That happened to me once when viewing a property with clients.

I think the more information you can provide in your advert, or by email after initial contact, you filter out those who really aren't interested. Ask them if they have their financing arranged. Those that have not been to the bank yet are seriously wasting your time.

An agent once told me if someone says something negative during a viewing they won't buy. I do not believe that is true. During a viewing ask for feedback. Don't be put off by a negative comment. No house is perfect. Potential buyers need to weigh the positives and negatives. Offer another viewing (sometimes they arranged babysitting for the subsequent viewings).

Everyone wants to know why you are selling. It is not really anyone's business but try to come up with something which is not negative.

Lastly, look at the price. Every buyers wants to negotiate.
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Old 19.12.2014, 14:05
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

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An agent once told me if someone says something negative during a viewing they won't buy. I do not believe that is true.
Definitely not true for me.

Before I make what may well be the biggest investment of my lifetime I consider that it's OK to ask some probing questions and take a very critical look. Some sellers will lie through their teeth and sometimes subtle remarks can nudge them into revealing more than they wanted to reveal.
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Old 19.12.2014, 14:29
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

We sold our house in Belgium prior moving to Switzerland. The people who ended up buying it were the ones complaing about the size of the living room, the size of the garden etc etc.

I like to believe that those who complain the most probably like it the most
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Old 19.12.2014, 14:37
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Re: Selling a cutie pie house but ...

In our case the house was valued by an architect (to the tune of chf 1,000) & the price has been okayed by the UBS. We have brought it down 200,000 since last year to stay in line with the perceived drop.


I think it is the rudeness of people that has got to me. One of our estate agents is a sweetie. The crap they have to put up with on a daily basis amazes me. I couldn’t. Some of the things we have heard…


… their kids simply MUST have a double bed for when their girl/boy friends come to stay (were they not teenagers once? They will be happy to snuggle up on top of each other!)
… but there’s no room for furniture (even though we were perfectly comfortable with 4 of us for 15 years & oddly enough we have got furniture!)
… there are NO PLACARDS (built-in cupboards) … strange obsession here – have they never been to Ikea or Pfister to buy furniture?
… and yes, it’s too expensive … did the price change from when the estate agent gave them the details & they came to visit 2 days later? Why did they come to visit if the price is not acceptable?
It’s like visiting a Porsche showroom when you can only actually afford a Fiat Punto.
The price is set the same price as apartments exactly the same size in the area, despite having a garden & extra parking spaces. The prices here are high but why look if you can’t afford to pay the going rate? It’s clearly advertised.
… the lady who said “so I would have to SWEEP LEAVES in the autumn? Well .. dur… yes, there is a garden & seasons change. I suppose if someone has only lived in apartments things like sweeping leaves & clearing snow are the concierges job?


We seem to have quite a few people relocating from France to this area so they will no doubt also be struggling with the size difference of houses & house prices. I think a lot have no idea of the actual size of flats & apartments despite the fact that it is written down on the adverts.


There is a big difference in estate agents too. I got rid of one immediately who said absolutely NOTHING when people walked in. I could say nothing myself. He also reeked of alcohol even though it was early afternoon. That to me was not acceptable.



I know we’re not alone but it is good to hear others experiences. I don’t it is a Swiss issue – it’s probably the same wherever you try to sell a house.


Thank you Mrs Dolittle for your suggestions.
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