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Old 25.07.2015, 17:56
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Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

Can anyone recommend a good real estate broker in Zurich that can help (proactively) in finding an apartment to buy?
In contrast to the great help that people get in the USA and other places, it seems that in Switzerland it is very difficult to find an agent that can really work with you and help
Please advise.
Thanks, Itzik
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Old 25.07.2015, 20:45
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

Property buying culture is much stronger in the US, UK and other places. Europe in general, with rent protection, is mostly happy to rent.

That said, take a look at homegate.ch to check prices and some of the services advertised. Someone will help you if you offer to pay them enough.
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Old 26.07.2015, 21:14
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

I know home gate, and it is quite difficult to find responsive brokers.
I wonder if anyone has good experience with a real estate agennt in Zurich that could be recommended. Thanks, Itzik
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Old 27.07.2015, 01:04
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

And what's your budget, if one is allowed to ask?
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Old 27.07.2015, 08:53
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

I am planning to take a mortgage and bring the whole sale to about 1 M +/-
Itzik
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Old 27.07.2015, 09:13
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

Agents here are not really used to working for the customer, especially not the buyer. Up until recent times demand exceeded supply, properties (eventually) sold themselves - so an agent was content to slap a few pictures on Homegate, sit back and wait for that 50K commission.

In the model commonly found here there is only one agent, the seller's agent. Unlike the model I am used to in the US, where there are both buyer's and seller's agents, each paid by splitting the seller's commission, here the agent represents the seller only, and is paid by the seller.

Truth be told, the agent really represents himself. There is no fiduciary duty as is understood in the US. An agent might not always put interests of the person who is paying his fee first.

Back in the bubble days when anything sold no matter how unattractive, I used to get unsolicited letters from agents claiming to have clients interested in buying my house*, and would I consider selling, giving this agent with ready buyers the listing?. When I asked these agents who he or she was really representing, the seller who would pay the fee or the folks who were already his buyer clients, none of these agents could answer that question - in fact, I got the impression that they did not understand the difference.

*I would guess those ready-made clients were fictional, a way to try to get a listing. Since the bubble broke, those letters have stopped.

The culture changes slowly. So when you engage an agent be careful, eyes wide open, read the fine print - and bring a long spoon.
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Old 27.07.2015, 09:36
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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I am planning to take a mortgage and bring the whole sale to about 1 M +/-
Itzik
As a US citizen, it will take a lot longer than you think ! You need minimum 20% down payment in cash plus notary fees, approx 5%, and it is quite likely the bank iwll ask for a higher up front pymt as their risk is considerably higher you being a US citizen.

Before you get buying, i would really make sure my financing was 100% in order.

As for buying appts as an American, it may not be so easy as you think as their are restrictions on foreigners buying here, Lex Freiderich & Weber laws are still very much in place
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Old 27.07.2015, 11:01
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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I am planning to take a mortgage and bring the whole sale to about 1 M +/-
Itzik
That's not really much.
Close to Zurich, it's barely a (new) 4.5 room apartment.

Sad but true.

I wouldn't waste money on an agent for that, TBH.

Just ask your bank(s) for a valuation of their own.
They'll usually be quick to point out if it's overpriced (by not lending you the "full" 80% for starters).
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Old 27.07.2015, 12:38
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

Thank you very much for the fast responses.
I have no restrictions for buying an apartment (Permit C), and I had quite a bad experience with some agents. This is why I was looking for information (name, agency) about a "good" agent from your personal experience.
Cheers, Itzik
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Old 27.07.2015, 14:36
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

As I said: in your price-bracket, they are usually just time (and money-)wasters.
Selling is a different thing.

There is virtually no property on the market at this price that isn't findable via comparis.ch et.al.
AFAIK. Somebody proof me wrong, though.
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Old 27.07.2015, 14:51
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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Somebody proof me wrong, though.
Not quite proving you wrong - but - if you are interested in buying a new build in a specific area you need to head round the area - look for the bau-poles (indicating the to be built property), you may get lucky and there already will be information OR you'll have to get to the bauamt of that gemeinde to find out who is building and what.
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Old 27.07.2015, 15:15
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

...and if you see some nice poles showing the 'profile' of new buildings, have a look at any open land in front, beside, behind, particularly if anything built there would spoil your view or 'shade' your building. Sometimes the first plots are built on and sold and then very soon the poles go up in front of them.
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Old 27.07.2015, 20:53
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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Not quite proving you wrong - but - if you are interested in buying a new build in a specific area you need to head round the area - look for the bau-poles (indicating the to be built property), you may get lucky and there already will be information OR you'll have to get to the bauamt of that gemeinde to find out who is building and what.
You can also use moneyhouse.ch to search for "Baugesuche".

There are a couple of new builds here in my village that aren't on comparis, either - yes.
But they aren't listed on the builder's website, yet, either.
If you have the finances straightened-out, it's usually enough to wait for the stuff to show-up on comparis (you can subscribe and get email-notifications of new search-results) and then sign the reservation. Property does not sell that fast anymore these days.
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Old 28.07.2015, 11:08
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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...and if you see some nice poles showing the 'profile' of new buildings, have a look at any open land in front, beside, behind, particularly if anything built there would spoil your view or 'shade' your building. Sometimes the first plots are built on and sold and then very soon the poles go up in front of them.
And if you are buying in that first phase, understand what the value of that soon-to-disappear view is, and price your offer accordingly.

'Round here, a view of the Zürichsee is worth many hundreds of thousands. I pity the folks who paid top dollar for their homes only to find that as soon as the next wave of houses went up theirs lost significant value.

Sometimes developers don't file plans for the second wave until all first wave homes have been sold, making due diligence difficult. It's best to assume that if there is green space around you, it will be built up.
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Old 29.07.2015, 16:36
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

Well, up to now I did not hear that anyone had a good experience with a specific agent :-( I am searching through websites like Homegate and Scout24 and others, with no real success.
I was hoping that there would be an agent that would look for me and take me to some places, like it is in other countries. It seems that I am dreaming and this will never happen in CH.
Still, if anyone has a name of a person that could help, let me know.
Thank you all for all the replies, highly appreciated, Itzik
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Old 29.07.2015, 16:56
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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Well, up to now I did not hear that anyone had a good experience with a specific agent :-( I am searching through websites like Homegate and Scout24 and others, with no real success.
I was hoping that there would be an agent that would look for me and take me to some places, like it is in other countries. It seems that I am dreaming and this will never happen in CH.
Still, if anyone has a name of a person that could help, let me know.
Thank you all for all the replies, highly appreciated, Itzik
In case you hadn't realised - Kansas is that way =====>>>>>

Agents will look for you, and will find stuff for you, but you'll need to add a zero for you.

1m is chump change around Zurich for a property - actually that's harsh, 1m gets you an apartment in a new block along with a hundred others, high maintenance costs and no character. And agents won't help you find places like that because they'll have expected you to find it - online - in homegate.

The thing is, if you want the apartments that everybody wants, in the towns and villages everybody wants what you need to do is simple:
1) Move there and rent a flat
2) Integrate into the community - join the fire service, volunteer in the local theatre or music group
3) Move into a rented flat which is owned by an old person moving into a home
4) Get in with the famiy of the old person + visit the old person showing them pictures of the flowers on the balcony
5) Wait until old person dies
6) Wait another 6 months
7) Approach family of the old person

Thats what the Swiss do
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Old 29.07.2015, 21:08
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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Well, up to now I did not hear that anyone had a good experience with a specific agent :-( I am searching through websites like Homegate and Scout24 and others, with no real success.
I was hoping that there would be an agent that would look for me and take me to some places, like it is in other countries. It seems that I am dreaming and this will never happen in CH.
Not on your budget.
An agent could only take you to whatever property is on comparis with your specific requirements.
Currently, it shows 141 3.5 room apartments in a 10km radius around 8001 Zurich.
71 4.5 room and 5 5.5 room apartments.
Just how difficult can it be to take a look at each of these and decide if you want to go further or not?

Most of these aren't really hot sellers, so chances are that once you show up, pay the reservation fee and sign the deed, you're set.

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Still, if anyone has a name of a person that could help, let me know.
Thank you all for all the replies, highly appreciated, Itzik
You can try http://www.engelvoelkers.com - I think some of their stuff is not listed on comparis - but 1 million is really just the very low end of their portfolio.
Don't expect to wined and dined ;-)
There's a handful more of these high-end real-estate agents (E+V is the only one I know by name) - but it's not my budget, so I usually don't bother.
You can search comparis for property above 2 million (or with "price on request", which you can't search directly, so you have to leave out the price limit altogether) and see which agencies sell it.
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Old 29.07.2015, 22:25
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Re: Looking to buy an apartment in Zurich

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Can anyone recommend a good real estate broker in Zurich that can help (proactively) in finding an apartment to buy?
In contrast to the great help that people get in the USA and other places, it seems that in Switzerland it is very difficult to find an agent that can really work with you and help
Please advise.
Thanks, Itzik
If your looking more upmarket 5 -15 million you will find brokers who will find you property that is not obviously on the market, however you will pay 1-2% for their efforts if you go ahead & buy.
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