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Old 02.11.2015, 12:10
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Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

Hi, We are considering making the move from rentel to home owner, but im getting a little nervous...

We have wanted to own our own home (being English) but where we live there is nothing going in all the years we have been here - well nothing in our price range
Now our German friends are moving out of thier flat (the next building to ours) to a house - still in the village so our kids will still be in the same class... We are not massively social friends, we may do something occasionally together and will always talk at school functions but not 'besties'.

They have given us first option on thier flat as they know we have been looking for ages, so my question is what is 'correct' in this instance, can we negotiate the price at all? Im not talking about making a stupid or ofensive offer - we can afford the price they have asked but only just (we have to borrow a little from family) and there would be nothing left for anything.

Is it expected to put in a lower offer? - in the UK and if we didnt know them, we would definalty but we know them.....

Its hard to establish what is the going rate is in our area as there is never anything for sale to compare except the massive houses well over 1.5m

I know the bank will do thier own assesment but will they also advise what to offer too?

Any advice with dealing the buying from friends would help me here - they are a lovely family and id like to keep them as friends! (espcially as they are moving to a house with a pool )
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Old 02.11.2015, 12:29
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

Can you not ask the bank if you can use their valuer for a valuation, then you will have a decent bargaining point.
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Old 02.11.2015, 12:30
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Any advice with dealing the buying from friends would help me here - they are a lovely family and id like to keep them as friends! (espcially as they are moving to a house with a pool )
Don't ever do business with friends. Business is Business.
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Old 02.11.2015, 13:44
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

Speak to your bank. Without getting their valuation and mortgage options it's pointless even going into any kind of discussions with your "friends".

Once you've had the discussion with your bank (maybe even one or two more other banks), then you are in a good position to make an informed decision.

You can then go into the discussion of "The asking price is a lot higher than the banks valuation", "We can't afford the asking price", "Are you prepared to move on the price" etc.

Depending on how you conduct the negotiations, there is no need to worry about the friendship, they have gone through the same process themselves and probably don't mind you having the discussion with them.
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Old 02.11.2015, 14:25
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Don't ever do business with friends. Business is Business.
Why the hell not? If everyone is agreeable to the price (or close to it), I can't see any issue, especially seeing as there is little else on offer. It's not as if they're going into business with them.
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Old 02.11.2015, 14:31
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Why the hell not? If everyone is agreeable to the price (or close to it), I can't see any issue, especially seeing as there is little else on offer. It's not as if they're going into business with them.
If there are any problems at a later date you will live to regret it.

Also the friends will feel they got a bum deal when the one next door sells for 100k more next year or you will think you paid too much when one sells for less.
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Old 02.11.2015, 14:34
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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If there are any problems at a later date you will live to regret it.

Also the friends will feel they got a bum deal when the one next door sells for 100k more next year or you will think you paid too much when one sells for less.
That would be the same if they sold to anyone. As long as proper due process is done, I can't see it being any different to buying/selling to a complete stranger. As the OP says, it's not as if their best friends.
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Old 02.11.2015, 16:24
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

I agree with fatmanfilms - there is bound to be some hard feelings somewhere down the line. By the same token, I refuse to work for friends or hire friends - only exception was my realtor (who is a good friend) when I bought my place, but she helped me for free as I help her for free with her business taxes - I am not allowed to do any paid work for anyone outside my employer, but I can help up to 5 friends/family for free in any given year.

I think mixing business with personal relationships (friends, family) is a recipe for disaster.
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Old 02.11.2015, 16:38
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

I'd be cautious, but on the other hand the way the market is you can't necessarily pass up a chance if it's the right place for you.

Have you checked the Comparis historic property adverts database? As long as there's something similar in the area it should give you an idea of prices.

https://en.comparis.ch/immobilien/mashup/show
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Old 02.11.2015, 16:47
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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I think mixing business with personal relationships (friends, family) is a recipe for disaster.
Yet it happens quite frequently in Switzerland, especially when it comes to property, and I've never heard of any problems resulting from it. Let's face it, are you going to turn down a rock solid offer at or near your asking price, just because it was a friend or family member?
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Old 02.11.2015, 17:14
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

Just treat the deal as you would if they were strangers.

Make a lower bid, why not?

When my son and his wife bought their house (from a friend of a friend of a friend) they were too nervous to make a lower offer. ("Mom, they don`t do that in Switzerland" reply to my urging. In the end they found they actually could have saved themselves Sfr30,000. Money talks.

And where money is concerned ..... like others here have said ... it`s business, not friendship. Even if you manage to save Sfr3,000, why not try?
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Old 02.11.2015, 17:19
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Yet it happens quite frequently in Switzerland, especially when it comes to property, and I've never heard of any problems resulting from it. Let's face it, are you going to turn down a rock solid offer at or near your asking price, just because it was a friend or family member?
Sounds like the buyer could overpay rather than insult the valuation given by their friend the seller.
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Old 02.11.2015, 17:42
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Yet it happens quite frequently in Switzerland, especially when it comes to property, and I've never heard of any problems resulting from it. Let's face it, are you going to turn down a rock solid offer at or near your asking price, just because it was a friend or family member?
I would, but not everyone is the same and you are right, a lot of things seem to function that way (family/friends networks) in CH.

I turned down an excellent job offer (with visa sponsorship) a few years ago because it was a close friend. We are still friends and it worked out at the end, I got another job. I'd personally just not risk it, that's all - there are always other options available.
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Old 02.11.2015, 17:55
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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I would, but not everyone is the same and you are right, a lot of things seem to function that way (family/friends networks) in CH.

I turned down an excellent job offer (with visa sponsorship) a few years ago because it was a close friend. We are still friends and it worked out at the end, I got another job. I'd personally just not risk it, that's all - there are always other options available.
Come on, you can't compare buying and selling a property to an ongoing, possibly long-term, working collaboration; that's just absurd.
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Old 02.11.2015, 18:08
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Come on, you can't compare buying and selling a property to an ongoing, possibly long-term, working collaboration; that's just absurd.
what about continuing to live with them in the same village for the rest of your lives? that's even more long term.
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Old 02.11.2015, 18:11
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Come on, you can't compare buying and selling a property to an ongoing, possibly long-term, working collaboration; that's just absurd.
OK, staying away from the job example and sticking with the house purchase, in an ideal world, everything goes perfectly, everyone is happy, everyone stays friend.

However, what if there is a price point disagreement? How long before things turn sour? What about if the seller friend forgets (or "forgets") to mention some big/small issues with the house, that turn up at inspection time? What if the friend is transparent, but they don't agree on who should pay to solve those issues? What if one changes their mind and they get into a legal dispute? As much as one tries to keep a "business" level, the possibilities for this to go wrong and the friendship to be damaged are too many IMO. And no, it's not like dealing with a stranger - if it's a friend, they may be torn between "do I pursue the legal/fighting route" or "do I get scr**ed on my purchase, suck it up, and keep the friendship"? Not a good place to be at.

EDIT: and maybe they live in the same village forever and ever!!! (did not even think of that one Phil).
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Old 02.11.2015, 18:59
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

I would say go ahead but with your eyes open, there are more potential downsides for you than the seller. They will save an agent's fee and not have strangers through their house so it is fair they share the win. Switzerland is the only place where sellers will take a hit on price for it to go to the right buyer, not always but it does happen. Just be clear from the outset with them what your concerns are.
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Old 02.11.2015, 22:57
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

thanks for all the advice, - yes I do feel uncomfortble a little because we know them , but on the other hand we wound't have this opportunity if we didnt know them.
I have lived in this village for 6 years now and I hear constantly about who is selling/renting (the mummy grapvine is extensive with 3 kids ) and almost always the properties never see the light of day on the internet.

We will go to the bank next week and see what they say ,get them to value it ect.

One of the plus pionts of being thier friends for many years is hearing about all the things that have gone wrong with the appt (we all moved in at the same time - they bought we rented) because our appartments are the same we know the 'bug bears' of many things. We also know all about when thier balcony door glass broke, they had it replaced - at the time with no window insurance - which is extra that they didnt have at the time. It broke because of some building fault, it has since happened again and I know they had it all fixed up properly this time (with insurance) because I had to hear about the drama of it all!

I am more emotional and wont say boo to a goose- my husband on the other hand will not take prisioners and is very direct

I get what you are all saying about bussiness and friends but really I dont think we can pass it up, on the 'maybe' it will go tits up thing.

Ill wait and see what the bank has to say and look at that comparis link just to get an idea. Then see where we are at.

Bloody scary buying something so expensive just because its the only thing to buy in our area
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Old 02.11.2015, 23:07
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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Bloody scary buying something so expensive just because its the only thing to buy in our area
Thats a really bad reason to make a huge geared investment.
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Old 02.11.2015, 23:15
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Re: Buying a Flat from a friend- advice

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what about continuing to live with them in the same village for the rest of your lives? that's even more long term.


The local bakery must have terrible moral and ethical dilemmas as he is doing business with everyone in the village, every day...
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