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Old 05.07.2008, 22:34
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Thinking about buying a flat

We rent our flat from the owners. They've moved into a larger house and their family has grown to the extent that they are considering selling the flat at some point. We're interested in buying it - it's really quite perfect for us, has a great view, features that we really like, within our price range . We really hadn't thought we would buy again so soon - it's been less than a year since we sold our house in the US, but we really love this place. And we looked for a long time to find it. The prospect of moving all those books.....ugh.

I admit I know nothing about buying property in Switzerland, other than reading what I can from the threads here.

My big question is who represents us in the sale? Especially given that while my husband can read German, it's not the same as reading legal documents. Plus, we have no clue what the conventions are - how people negotiate. Do we find a real estate attorney, or some sort of agent? And if so, can anyone recommend someone in the Bern-Thun area?

I'd also like to know how much property has appreciated in my area... mostly to get a sense of the reasonableness of the asking price. Or maybe how property is valued, is a better question. I've been looking on homegate and immoscout for comparisons...but is there more official information for completed sales?

If I've missed some threads on this please point me in the right direction...

Thanks
Elaine
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Old 05.07.2008, 23:08
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

You probably need no-one to represent you except the local Grundbuchamt cum Notariat. They are generally on the side of the buyer. The seller will draw up a provisional contract with the Notariat and send you a copy. You will be paying half the costs with the seller.

You can read the contract at your leisure and run it by an independent lawyer if you wish, but the Notariat will be able to answer your questions. You will want to be sure the seller is liable for any tax on profit on sale (Grundstuckgewinsteuer).

Buying and selling property is much less cumbersome than in the UK and cheaper too. At least this is how it works in Canton Zurich...
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Old 09.07.2008, 10:52
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

Hey I heard that if it is a new building you dont have to pay certain taxes or something you gain from it?....

I bought my flat in Jan and to be honest put aside 25% by the time you pay all fees etc.

I heard that new apartments are easier though?.... If so this could be plan number two
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Old 09.07.2008, 10:59
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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Hey I heard that if it is a new building you dont have to pay certain taxes or something you gain from it?....

I bought my flat in Jan and to be honest put aside 25% by the time you pay all fees etc.

I heard that new apartments are easier though?.... If so this could be plan number two
I don't understand your post.

You paid 25% of the purchase price in fees??
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Old 09.07.2008, 11:02
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

No I meant if you are thinking of buying a place consider a budget of 25% of the purchase price... deposit, notary, etc.
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Old 09.07.2008, 11:54
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

So you're talking about 20% downpayment (or is that different than deposit), and then another 5% for fees, etc?

We currently live in the flat - so it's not new.

The one thing I'm curious about is how to track appreciation. This flat was for sale 3 years ago, and I'd like to know how to figure out whether or not the price difference between now and 3 years ago makes sense, given that there were no changes to the place.
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Old 09.07.2008, 11:59
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

Best person that will tell you this is the bank manager.
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Old 09.07.2008, 12:05
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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The one thing I'm curious about is how to track appreciation. This flat was for sale 3 years ago, and I'd like to know how to figure out whether or not the price difference between now and 3 years ago makes sense, given that there were no changes to the place.
Was the flat actually sold? The asking price is no indication of the actual market value. People pay more and less than the asking price. If the flat wasn't sold, then you can assume that it is worth less than what they were asking. Property doesn't tend to appreciate here.
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Old 09.07.2008, 18:46
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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Was the flat actually sold? The asking price is no indication of the actual market value. People pay more and less than the asking price. If the flat wasn't sold, then you can assume that it is worth less than what they were asking. Property doesn't tend to appreciate here.
The real-estate market in Switzerland is very stable and prices tend to go up by about 1% p.a., but that's an overall picture and an average. One has to take into account several factors: location, new developpement(s) in the area, interest rate ... etc.
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Old 10.07.2008, 17:29
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

I think it's always important to choose your own notary, rather than using one suggested by the buyer.

I used http://www.notaires.ch and then went to http://www.notaires.ch/v/v.lasso - chose my local Cantonal Association, then selected the president of the local association. My thinking was that this was a method of ensuring that I had an established notaire who has a reputation to look after.

My notaire found some minor problems in the contract for buying my flat that no other notaire had noticed, despite a number of other flats being bought & sold in the same block. He resolved these, and I was glad that I didn't use the notary suggested by the estate agent.
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Old 10.07.2008, 17:33
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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I think it's always important to choose your own notary, rather than using one suggested by the buyer.

My notaire found some minor problems in the contract for buying my flat that no other notaire had noticed, despite a number of other flats being bought & sold in the same block. He resolved these, and I was glad that I didn't use the notary suggested by the estate agent.
Our contract said that we were going to take over the existing mortgage and our notar recommended removing this.
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Old 15.07.2008, 16:13
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

[quote=AbFab;262322]You probably need no-one to represent you except the local Grundbuchamt cum Notariat. They are generally on the side of the buyer. The seller will draw up a provisional contract with the Notariat and send you a copy. You will be paying half the costs with the seller.

You can read the contract at your leisure and run it by an independent lawyer if you wish, but the Notariat will be able to answer your questions. You will want to be sure the seller is liable for any tax on profit on sale (Grundstuckgewinsteuer).
[quote]

Notary is not on side of buyer - it's there to make sure that whatever is in contract is understood by both sides . Nothing more - if contract states that apartment cost is 1mCHF and land is lend to you (" for 99 years ") - you have to know what it means - as it's legal - notary won't explain what it means.


Also "You will be paying half the costs with the seller." This is not (in most cantons) regulated - all what it means is that convyence tax has to be paid - and responsibility is on buyer - while it 'use to be' that both share 50/50 - you may be requested to pay yourself.

"You will want to be sure the seller is liable for any tax on profit on sale (Grundstuckgewinsteuer).
"
This is standard (doesn't have to have any entry in the contract) while it doesn't give you anything (seller died by end of year without paying tax - changed country , is bankrupt ..etc).

good thing to have is warranty from a bank that bank (on behalf of it's customer) will pay tax in case it's not paid - you must request that document from seller.

good luck

cheers
.h
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Old 15.07.2008, 16:20
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

I SHOULD READ (again!):

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Our contract said that we were going to take over the existing mortgage and our notar recommended removing this.
My answer is when it WOULD RECOMMEND TO TAKE OVER - clearly not what I quoted - perhaps can help smeone in negotiations so I leave it.

Not sure why advised that - however here are concerns:

new mortgage for period of time that old one lasts could be better deal sometimes.

you don't have to take over mortgage of seller - seller has to pay it back and advance payment/termination of mortgage would cost him/her 1%/pa of total mortgage amount - this is what you could win on negotiations of taking it over - if conditions are same as one you could have from the market.


example : 500'000 on 3.1% - remaining is 2 years or mortage - on 3.1%
on market you could find 2 years mortage on 2.75% - clear lost.
seler saved 2*years*x 1% x 500'000 on you - as would have to pay that 'extra' to the bank when pre-mature contract termination (10'000 CHF)
last - could be that mortgage can go up - and you could sign 5years mortgage whenyou buy - you can't do so after taking over current mortgage and have to wait another year to find out where intrests go and re-negocate - you could lose or benefit - however for sure you take a risk taking 'short term' mortgage.

Hope that was explained to you by your advisor.

just my opinon.

cheers
.h
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Old 30.08.2008, 22:57
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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Buying and selling property is much less cumbersome than in the UK and cheaper too. At least this is how it works in Canton Zurich...
I sure hope so
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Old 31.08.2008, 09:45
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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Buying and selling property is much less cumbersome than in the UK and cheaper too. At least this is how it works in Canton Zurich...
This isn't always the case. I moved from Wimbledon where the price per m2 in good road is more than nice areas in Zug.
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Old 31.08.2008, 10:32
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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This isn't always the case. I moved from Wimbledon where the price per m2 in good road is more than nice areas in Zug.
I don't see what the cost per square metre has to do with the process and cost of buying and selling. In Canton Zurich the legal costs are 0.3% split between buyer and seller with no equivalent of 'stamp duty'...
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Old 31.08.2008, 10:58
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

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and cheaper too
I thought you were talking about the price of property. Then price per m2 would mean something.
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Old 31.08.2008, 12:00
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Re: Thinking about buying a flat

As has been mentioned, talk to your bank. They will help you value the apartment (you have to pay for this, approx 300 CHF I think) and based on that valuation they will let you know how much of your own capital you have to put in. After that you go to another bank and get a counter offer. Don't assume that you own bank will give you the best offer, more like the worst in my experience.
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