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Old 26.12.2006, 13:37
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Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

Hi Everyone. New to the forum as I've only just found it; must have been hiding as I've been looking for this for a while!

My wife and I have visited Switzerland several times a year for the last 5 years and we feel it's time for a move from our rather grey, wet part of Scotland. France is top of the list because it's easy to move there, but we much prefer Switzerland. We met an immobilier in Interlaken, an agent for apartments in Lauterbrunnen, looked at many Swiss gov. websites and the outcome is that we are totally bemused! The immobilier said 'yes' but only in certain places, the agent didn't mention any need for permits, just said 'sign here' and refused to answer questions... We didn't sign...

I have a good company pension and we don't want to work or start a business or rent property anywhere abroad and we are UK citizens.

We have come to the conclusion from websites and someone who is trying to buy there that it is almost impossible to move to Switzerland permanently, that we can't buy land and in many areas we can't buy more than an apartment, but perhaps we are wrong?? My wife has two horses which would move with us, hence the interest in land. The other alternative is to stay put and buy a holiday home, although if we moved to France permanently, we could still manage to buy a Swiss holiday apartment.

I've been told of an apartment in an alpine village near Martigny (Valais) which the Dutch owners are willing to sell in late 2007 or even 2008.
Looking at Swiss gov. websites, buying a holiday home is not mentioned apart from the sentence, 'there is a restriction on foreigners buying Swiss property.'
Am I right in thinking that obtaining a residency permit to move to Switzerland permanently will be very difficult, even though we don't want to work, etc.?
What sort of permit (if any) do I need to buy a holiday apartment which we would only use for a few weeks a year?
I do have a contact phone number for the Valais land registry but my French is not up to it.
I can fully understand the Swiss attitude (if only the UK was the same...) but it isn't easy deciphering the rules and almost impossible to find out what to do next.
We've spoken to Swiss people in alpine villages and they hate foreigners buying up the property and making 'ghost towns' as they only visit a couple of times a year and the community dies. We would like to move permanently, learn the language and be part of a community, but that doesn't seem to be an option compared to a holiday home.

Any advice most welcome from those in the know as we seem to have been going round in circles, which may seem apparent! We'll be in Switzerland in early January and again in March.
EdF
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Old 26.12.2006, 14:40
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Re: Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

with an EU passport, things should be becoming easier. If you want to move permanently, can your present income sustain your living standard without becoming a burden on the state? If you have property in McScotland which has equity sufficient enough to get on the property ladder here (which needs 20% deposit) and a bank is willing to take you on with no financial history here then why not?

www.homegate.ch is available in English. Search, see the price range and do some calculations
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Old 26.12.2006, 15:42
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Re: Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

Thanks for your reply. My pension is above the guidelines set out in a Swiss. gov. website and we can buy a property without a mortgage. That's not the problem, which is, are we allowed to buy in Switzerland and which permit if any do we need and how do we apply for it ??
I suspect that the laws will not be relaxed sufficiently to make it easy or there would be a rush to buy there and I don't believe the Swiss would welcome a big influx of foreigners. In fact, when we spoke to a commune official in Lauterbrunnen last June, he said that they planned on making it more difficult for foreigners to buy there...
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Old 26.12.2006, 15:54
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Re: Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

I believe EU people should not have a problem. EU passport, B/C permit, purchase is OK. Certainly was for me and my wife and others I've known.

I would say that buying to not live in the property is where they might try to block your purchase. There was a problem with property speculation in the 80s and early 90s which made it hard for the "real" people wanting to buy to get something for a reasonable price.
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Old 26.12.2006, 17:02
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Re: Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

Try contacting a relocation agent in the local area. Some are associated with large international companies, while others are more "independent" and specialise in their local area/Canton. They are aware of the issues faced by most foreigners moving to Switzerland, they know the current requirements facing newcomers, they are familiar with the restricitons imposed by local laws which foreigners have yet to discover, and it's their business to be up-to-date. You may not find any in Interlaken, but try in Bern or Zurich and ask them to refer you to someone more local to Interlaken. To find lists of relocation agents, try looking on websites from the American Womens Club of Zurich or Bern, any British Clubs, or the international schools. I wish you luck.
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Old 27.12.2006, 13:16
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Re: Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

Quote:
Thanks for your reply. My pension is above the guidelines set out in a Swiss. gov. website and we can buy a property without a mortgage. That's not the problem, which is, are we allowed to buy in Switzerland and which permit if any do we need and how do we apply for it ??
I suspect that the laws will not be relaxed sufficiently to make it easy or there would be a rush to buy there and I don't believe the Swiss would welcome a big influx of foreigners. In fact, when we spoke to a commune official in Lauterbrunnen last June, he said that they planned on making it more difficult for foreigners to buy there...
Hi,

No-one seems to want to answer your questions and clear your confusion but it is Christmas so in that spirit...

1. As an EU citizen it is possible to buy property in Switzerland without a permit.
2. On declaring your intent to live in Switzerland you will then be given a permit EU/EFTA B valid for 5 years.
3. As a retired or intending to retire person you will need to demonstrate that you will not be a financial burden on the Swiss state. This requires proof of earnings and capital - the house purchase demonstrates the capital so it is simply a proof of income.
4. You CANNOT with a B permit buy your property anywhere in Switzerland. certain areas are declared as being protected for national interest and then you will require a C permit or be Swiss, which you are not. After receiving your C permit you are assigned the status of being fully integrated in Swiss life and able to do all the things the Swiss can apart from vote and perform certain jobs.
5. I would suggest getting in touch with Remax to find you a property in the areas you want to live. Note in Switzerland, like in the UK and unlike in Germany the costs for getting you a property are borne by the seller.
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Old 27.12.2006, 17:20
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Re: Hoping to Buy a Holiday Apt. or Even Permanent Home, but confused!

Hi Richard, Many thanks indeed for your comprehensive reply, you've given us some hope. Are you aware of the rule that 'foreigners are not allowed to buy land?'. I don't know if this means building land or a house with some agricultural land that goes with it.. I gather we would be lucky to get land suitable for horses, someone told us that agricultural land is like gold dust..
I've been in touch with Remax several times, that was the immo. in Interlaken we visited. The guy we spoke to said that we could only buy a apartment in some areas, in others a house, and in others nothing at all. Other Remax offices I've contacted about specific houses on their website answered 'you need a permit to buy', and no more, so I expect they meant a 'C' permit. I've found almost all the immo's very tight-lipped, and most don't bother to reply. I expect one has to visit in person, not easy from where we live! Thanks again..
Ed
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