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Old 11.01.2017, 14:33
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What did you compromise on? (property search)

My story about our house hunting adventures and this post got me thinking... It would be interested to know what did you compromise on while house hunting here in Switzerland?

To make my long story short(er), with our first property, we wanted a larger garden and a modern apartment in a location that is less than 30 min away (door to door) with public transportation to my husband’s office. Demands were proven to be hard to meet, so at the end we said, ok we could survive without a garden and we chose an Attika apt. 10 min tram ride away from my husband’s office.

When we were craving for a garden and I was day dreaming about our dog’s own little paradise with our own lawn and about growing my veggies way too much as I probably should, we realized it would be good to expand our search from renting to buying and from Zurich suburbs to small villages around Zurich.
When we were buying a house recently, we have again compromised on location (we have been looking for a perfect place all over the ZH, SZ, ZG and some AG villages with reasonable good connections to the ZH HB and to the airport. After a year and a half of intensive search, we have narrowed our search down to two properties, one in canton SZ and to the place where we currently live. At first I preferred the SZ property, BUT it had way too many stairs for our older dog and it was a semi-detached house (we preferred stand-alone house). Nevertheless the first feeling was nice there, it was cheaper, also the view was great and the tax savings wouldn’t hurt either. However because of the stairs and the semi-detached thing and a (waaay) longer commute for my husband, we chose the other house above Kloten. Here we had to compromise, too. It has a large plot (based on ZH standards for new build houses) of more than 700 m2, which is great, but almost half of it is wasted on the driveway. That is why I still miss my former garden so much. But the house is brand new and huge, the neighbors are nice and my husband has his own garage with all the tools for his diy projects, so all in all it is a winner.

So how long have you been house hunting before finding your home? How did you find it? And what did you compromise on? Was it location? Or was it the garden? Or was it the age of the property? Or did you make compromises inside the house (layout, number of rooms, flooring, etc.)? Is it your dream home or do you ever regret your decision (especially if moving far away from the initially planned location?)
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Old 11.01.2017, 14:52
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

We were preparing to renew the lease on our previous place. The landlord was hiking up the rent. A quick google and a chat with the bank manager convinced us buying was WAY cheaper than renting (even without the benefit of securing an asset!) We setup an online search that ran for 5 weeks, for houses and apartments that fell within our target tax kantons, and that met our garaging needs. Didn't bother approaching any immobiliers directly. We found 4 places to actually view. When we drove up the street to our current house, saw the view and the size of the multiple garages - we were instantly prepared to compromise on everything else we'd had in our heads. Bugger the kitchen, bathrooms, number of rooms, renovations, commute time to work, proximity to trains/airport/shops etc etc.

It was only after we'd bought it the house, filled up the garages with motorbikes, stopped gawking at the scenery, that we realised we had actually bought quite a nice place in a lovely neighbourhood. Crazy huh?!

Last edited by smileygreebins; 11.01.2017 at 16:18.
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Old 11.01.2017, 15:06
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

(My quote function is not working!)

Hunting about a year. Found on internet search having signed up for notifications from agencies. Advert was published at 9am in the morning. We got an appointment for 2pm that same day + signed on the dotted line straight away. Compromised on size of kids rooms - had promised them bigger ones but they are only a tiny bit bigger than before . They also have an even slower internet connection. Poor souls.
Location spot on - same village. We'd planned on moving further away. Only regrets were to do with the previous owners obvious lack of maintenance & broken things that only came to light after we moved in. Happy as a here.
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Old 11.01.2017, 15:09
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

We started talking about buying at around February. Nothing serious, just a "what if" kind of talk.

I got myself in a few mailing lists from immobilien. Took a look at 2-3 places without the husband, just for fun.

It had to be between our jobs (we work in 2 different directions of the train tracks). It had to be able to be paid in 10 years. It had to have at least 3 rooms. It had to have a good design - or the raw possibility for it. It had to be either a ground floor or attika. Everything else was negotiable.

By May, I visited an apartment with the husband, because from the plans it looked like more or less what I wanted. During that visit, the guy from the Era told us there was another apartment visit in the afternoon, perhaps more to my taste (he had meanwhile started to recognise me as the demanding architect. Apparently we architects are tough buyers).

We visited the place. Two weeks later we paid the deposit. We compromised in the area - it's a 3.5 apartment turned into a 4.5. But it compensated with a lot of very positive aspects.

It was quick and painless. I guess me being an architect and the husband at the time working with the mortgage market, we were quick to assess the market choices. Still happy with the choice.
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Old 11.01.2017, 15:19
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

Bought twice (and sold once) in Canton Zurich. Both times we looked for two years before finding what we wanted - detached house, small garden, south-facing, quiet road - cul-de-sac if possible, new build where we could choose tiles, fittings etc. Oh, and affordable.

Only compromise was location. We are now further from the town of Zurich than we intended...
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Old 11.01.2017, 15:24
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

In retrospect, we compromised on the size of garden, size of house, type of house, density of neighborhood... and an unwitting compromise, that the house is part of a Quartier. (Despite our attempts at due diligence, this little fact only surfaced after the sale.) In short, we compromised on far too much.

Great location, though. Beautiful views of the lake and mountains, easy commute to the city.

I was under a deadline to move out of the rented property, knew another rental was all but impossible. My mistake was buying with an American mindset, thinking that this will do for now, when I finally find the dream house I can easily turn around and sell this one.

The most damaging compromise was privacy. It wasn't apparent at first, as long as we had 'live and let live' type neighbors life was pretty good. Our mistake in compromising only really became apparent a few years in when a dog hater moved into the neighborhood. Because we live in a fishbowl we could not escape the nastiness.

(Cue my oft-told story of mobbing, threats, poisoning attempts... as well as the standard Nachbarkrieg stuff like blocking renovations permits, refusing to sign off on my making the entrance of the house handicap accessible, demanding all the trees be cut down, etc.)

In a property where I had a measure of privacy and more autonomy I could have ignored a difficult neighbor. Not possible here, though. We live too close to one another, and due to the legal structure of the Quartier we are too intertwined to get away from it.

So why have I not moved?

In all these years of looking I have not found another property where I would not have to make similar compromises. Better the devil I know...


It's not all gloom and doom, though.

A bit over a year ago a fantastic veterinary clinic opened less than 10 minutes away. Proximity to the clinic in an emergency is such a huge plus that it cancels out pretty much all the other ugliness. So as long as the dogs who are likely to need emergency care are alive I will stay here.

And then I will move back home.
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Old 11.01.2017, 15:30
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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Bought twice (and sold once) in Canton Zurich. Both times we looked for two years before finding what we wanted - detached house, small garden, south-facing, quiet road - cul-de-sac if possible, new build where we could choose tiles, fittings etc. Oh, and affordable.

Only compromise was location. We are now further from the town of Zurich than we intended...
More or less the same here for our current place. We started looking seriously around Xmas 2014, saw the plot in Spring 2105, signed in July that year and moved in mid September 2016. The only compromise was that we moved slightly further out of Fribourg and the kids had to be OK with that. Fortunately, the village has its own station and we're only a couple of minutes from the motorway.
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Old 11.01.2017, 15:53
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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So how long have you been house hunting before finding your home? How did you find it? And what did you compromise on? Was it location? Or was it the garden? Or was it the age of the property? Or did you make compromises inside the house (layout, number of rooms, flooring, etc.)? Is it your dream home or do you ever regret your decision (especially if moving far away from the initially planned location?)

We had a big list of "Must-haves". Write them down. It's easy to get side-tracked regarding the real issues.
Make a list of these and also a list of "Nice-to-haves"

We compromised on a couple of things -we have tiled floors rather than wood. Having said that, although they don't make the place cosy, they're incredibly practical.
When the kids are older, we may replace some with wood.

The kitchen has elements that are a bit old but fully functional.


They reckon that if a place meets around 75% of your needs then you should go for it as you'll probably not find anything else better.

Our Must-have list included:

Detached.
Garden.
Garage.
Storage space.
Enough bedrooms and studies.
Close to schools.
Close to public transport.
Close to work.
Nice neighbourhood for running and walks.
Location - can we sell it again?
Not too noisy location.

Nice-to-haves included:

View
Playroom
Workshop

We got everything and more besides.

We were always looking but not seriously as we really liked our old place and were in no hurry to move. That really helps as there's less stress involved with no time restraints.

We looked at one place - which we bought.
(My wife looked at one more but I didn't see the point as it had a garage a long way away from the house).
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:20
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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It's not all gloom and doom, though.

A bit over a year ago a fantastic veterinary clinic opened less than 10 minutes away. Proximity to the clinic in an emergency is such a huge plus that it cancels out pretty much all the other ugliness. So as long as the dogs who are likely to need emergency care are alive I will stay here.

And then I will move back home.
Interesting, we could be neighbors. ...If you are talking about Marigin Klinik, then this was one of the reasons why I liked the SZ property, too. It was really close to the house which I found a fantastic benefit. When our dogs are older the proximity to the clinic is godsend. But then again, it had way too many stairs for our girl to handle.
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:28
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

For us it was about character and feel and tons of space, not overlooked, for us, friends, grandchildren and lots of animals- out in the countryside but close to communities and excellent public transport in both directions- France (and onwards to UK ith TGV) and Switzerland- as well as good shopping both sides, and cultural activities both sides. And much cheaper than UK equivalent.

The only compromise was a modern kitchen- but for me size was more important (and one day we might be able to afford one... oink oink) and re-saleability- although such houses with so much space are becoming so rare... we will see. Not intending to sell anyhow. If the £ dropping forces us to go back to UK, we will either rent it or just use it as holiday/rental home. Fortunately got a brilliant neighbour who would take over caretaking, etc.

Last edited by Odile; 11.01.2017 at 17:20.
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:30
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

I had 2 things on my list

Garage
central heating

didn't get either
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:32
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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I had 2 things on my list

Garage
central heating

didn't get either
ROFLMAO!!

Lovely place though - and just about enough rusty wreck parking!
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:38
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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Interesting, we could be neighbors. ...If you are talking about Marigin Klinik, then this was one of the reasons why I liked the SZ property, too. It was really close to the house which I found a fantastic benefit. When our dogs are older the proximity to the clinic is godsend. But then again, it had way too many stairs for our girl to handle.
I am indeed, Marigin is fantastic, a huge plus for the community.

Everyone has a different definition of the factors that go into 'Location, location, location'... mine is all about the Mutts.

---

Stairs are indeed something to consider, and in this area one would be hard pressed to find a house without stairs leading to the property.

Years ago when needed I could easily carry Psychocollie and Melon, my large collies, up and down the stairs. But I'm older now and I worry that when Heffalump too reaches that point I'll probably be too wobbly myself to be of much use. Hopefully I'll find a solution before that happens. But it underscores a point:

Given that moving isn't always easy in Switzerland, when considering compromises think not only of what you need now, but also what you will likely need in a decade and beyond.
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:39
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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I had 2 things on my list

Garage
central heating

didn't get either
Haha, best answer so far But I bet you are happy, nevertheless.
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:48
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

I actually got way more than I wanted (a few km of farm land, underfloor geothermal heating, 2 balconies, 2 living rooms, 2 kitchens etc) for more or less what we were willing to pay.

The only compromise was that the house came full of the previous occupants crap that I had to chuck out and I will have to wire electricity to the external garage.

We got very lucky with this house as the deceased parent's kids wanted a quick sale and we jumped in front of 30 people in the queue because my brother in law is a notaire.

Edit: We were also just about to go on our honeymoon when the house popped up for sale so we were not quite ready to purchase. Luckily we had enough savings to make everything work.
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Old 11.01.2017, 16:56
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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Edit: We were also just about to go on our honeymoon when the house popped up for sale so we were not quite ready to purchase. Luckily we had enough savings to make everything work.
We did our homework and discovered that the previous owner really loved the house.
We jumped the queue as we said we loved it too as it was and nothing needed changing.
Others prospective buyers went round telling him they would "change this, change that... blah, blah, blah".

They shouldn't do so but people do get attached to their houses.
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Old 11.01.2017, 17:00
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

We knew it was perfect for us as soon as we saw the master bedroom (with en-suite bathroom) occupied the entire top floor. (50sq. m.)

Public transport connections excellent
Two parking spaces + garage
Small garden
Good sized rooms
Enough bedrooms
Large enough kitchen for a kitchen table
Efficient heating (underfloor)
...
and under-priced.
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Old 11.01.2017, 18:32
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

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So how long have you been house hunting before finding your home? How did you find it? And what did you compromise on? Was it location? Or was it the garden? Or was it the age of the property? Or did you make compromises inside the house (layout, number of rooms, flooring, etc.)? Is it your dream home or do you ever regret your decision (especially if moving far away from the initially planned location?)
My current/soon to be former place (sigh!) - a 2-bedroom attic flat in a historical building, smack in the middle of the city - is awesome and ticks all my boxes, no compromises. And, it is the exact opposite of my husband's former place - a big house in the middle of the woods, ticking all his boxes!

Obviously we are looking for another place and clearly compromises are necessary. Must-haves for me are: farmers market, direct metro access to the city, large kitchen, a room that can be turned into office/library. I prefer to live in a diverse community if possible.

Must-haves for him are: close-by running/biking trails, space to park his cars and motorbikes, absolutely no next-door neighbors in immediate proximity (no apartments, condos/townhouses, etc.).

It's gonna be fun. Maybe.
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Old 11.01.2017, 18:36
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

In order to live within the tram system of Zurich city, and yet have a house, we searched seriously for more than five years and made a number of bids in the very frustrating blind bidding system that often prevails in the city.

Certainly, I compromised on the garden size: back garden especially is tiny, but we rationalised by convincing ourselves it would be low maintenance.

I compromised on having a terraced house instead of free standing. However, so far, the neighbours have been nice.

I compromised by buying an old fixer upper when I have little clue about DIY. On the negative side, it cost a fortune to refurbish and the process was stressful indeed.... probably to the point of affecting my health. Swiss refurbs are only something I can recommend in hindsight!

We bought in Dec 15, planned the work Jan to Mar, work started in April and we moved in during July. On the upside, we really have a place we can be proud of and the kitchen and other rooms are designed to our likes... this really is priceless.

I compromised by having a non covered garage, instead a parking space in the front garden - but so far its not a big deal.

We did not compromise much at all on the fixtures and fittings. I just took the attitude that the refurb is mostly a one off and I want it to be the way I want, for example buying Miele instead of the originally planned Siemens white goods.

Unexpected benefits are that our street is a cul de sac and this is great to have no through traffic. Also, in summer, our house has a real mediterranean feel, lovely to have a glass of wine in either our front or back garden in the evening. We hadn't expected it to feel quite as nice as it does.

Of course, If my budget would be higher I'd have a detached house on a plot of land on the Zurichberg with helipad, but I'd say I've actually done very well all things considered. Very happy, compromises are needed in everything.
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Old 11.01.2017, 18:49
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Re: What did you compromise on? (property search)

Everything but the rental yield
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