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Old 29.06.2020, 17:48
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Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

Hello,
Thank you for accepting me to this forum. Although I speak German and have relatives in Switzerland, I'm finding it hard to understand the mortgage structure and tax structure. Maybe someone can help me?

1. I am a dual national (US, Swiss), I would like to buy a small apartment in Arosa for summers and other vacations. Do I need to pay cash or can I get a mortgage, even though my primary address is in the US?

2. Is it true that you cannot pay money towards the principal with a mortgage?

3. How much will I have to pay annually in taxes (property taxes, etc). I can't seem to find this information. In the US, property taxes are at least several thousand dollars a year.

4. Can I carry cash to Switzerland for a downpayment or deposit? If I carry more than $10,000 will I have to pay something at customs.

Thank you anyone who can help with my questions!!

Claudia
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Old 29.06.2020, 18:03
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

you have to declare anything about 10000 sfr in cash entering switzerland.
There is no custom fee on cash, if it is declared.
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Old 29.06.2020, 18:32
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

Thank you, would I need some documentation about where the money is from?
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Old 29.06.2020, 18:37
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

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Thank you, would I need some documentation about where the money is from?

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...ecurities.html


you will have to answer questions concerning you and the origin and intended purpose of the money, and provide information on the beneficial owner
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Old 29.06.2020, 18:39
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

Mortgage may be difficult due to your US citizenship. Most banks here won't touch Americans even for a simple checking account, never mind a mortgage. Your choices are pretty much limited to UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance - maybe Migros Bank. That's for a checking account; mortgage is a whole different question, especially since you're not a resident here. I suspect the answer will be a firm no from all of them.

Assuming you can get a mortgage then you'll also need to check with the Graubuenden land registry office as there are restrictions in place on foreigners buying second homes here.

https://www.ch.ch/en/real-estate-foreign-national/

See this for tax on real estate

https://www.ch.ch/en/tax-real-estate/

You should also investigate the US tax side of having a property abroad.
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Old 29.06.2020, 18:42
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

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you have to declare anything about 10000 sfr in cash entering switzerland.
There is no custom fee on cash, if it is declared.
Since when? Unless the law has changed in the last few days, this is not true...

There is no limit to the amount of cash which you can carry into or out of Switzerland and you are not obligated to declare your money when you enter or leave Switzerland. This applies to Swiss francs and foreign currency, as well as securities, gift cards, checks and other cash equivalents.

The customs office CAN check you, and if you have more than 10,000CHF (or currency equivalent) they CAN ask you for the source of the funds... but you are under no obligation to declare that you are entering with more than 10k voluntarily. There are no "cash import" fees for CHF (I'm afraid I don't know for other currencies).

The first challenge is where you come from. If you transit via the EU, then you need to declare it upon entering/exiting the EU.

The second challenge is that banks (UBS) will charge a 1% fee to deposit cash in large quantities. Other banks (e.g. Habib) will ask for source of funds, and if they aren't happy can refuse to accept the money.

The third challenge is that banks will shy away from you (because of your US connections, opening a bank account or getting a mortgage in Switzerland will be a royal pain in the rear... not impossible, but really hard).

The deposit (usually 20% or more), can come from your funds, and (partially) from your pension plan. The mortgage covers the rest.

Taxes depend by canton, town, city, neighbors, moon phase and what side of the bed you wake up. More seriously, your taxation will be dependent on what area you buy in - there are online calculators. Don't forget maintenance costs (e.g. mandatory chimney sweeping) and utilities (heating, electricity, etc). Also, depending on cantons/town, you may have restrictions on buying a second (non primary residence) property.
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Old 29.06.2020, 19:25
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

My wife bought a rustico, 90k in cash.

Taxes are CHF 300/year.

Tom
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:38
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Thanks for your help.

Is it the US residence that is a problem or the US citizenship? I am also a Swiss citizen.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 29.06.2020 at 20:53. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 29.06.2020, 20:58
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

US citizenship.

My daughter had problems, and had to do it all in her husband's name (she is CH/US/CDN, he just CH).

Tom
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Old 29.06.2020, 21:04
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

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Thanks for your help.

Is it the US residence that is a problem or the US citizenship? I am also a Swiss citizen.
Blame FATCA. Since that reared it's ugly head banks worldwide have not been overly welcoming to Americans. Don't know what other countries' banks did, but nearly all cantonal banks here threw their American clients out even before the Act came into force and won't take on any Americans now. Your residency will only exasperate the problem I suspect.

I suggest you contact the banks I listed to see if there's any hope at all of getting a mortgage because if there isn't then your idea is either dead in the water or you're going to have to buy outright with cash and no mortgage.
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Old 29.06.2020, 21:43
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

As a Swiss citizen abroad, you might wish to review the website of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad at this link:

https://www.aso.ch/en/consultation/l...ad/swiss-banks

UBS has a webpage called "Benefit with UBS without borders", which links to this mortgage webpage on financing holiday properties. Possibly of interest:

https://www.ubs.com/ch/en/private/mo...-property.html
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Old 29.06.2020, 21:43
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

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Assuming you can get a mortgage then you'll also need to check with the Graubuenden land registry office as there are restrictions in place on foreigners buying second homes here.
They say they are Swiss. In these respect they are Swiss and not foreigners. Dual nationality does not change that.
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Old 29.06.2020, 22:22
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

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you have to declare anything about 10000 sfr in cash entering switzerland.
There is no custom fee on cash, if it is declared.
The ESTV website says:

"Cash, foreign currencies, securities

Unrestricted amounts of liquid funds, i.e. cash, foreign currency and securities (shares, bonds and cheques) can be imported into Switzerland, brought through Switzerland in transit or exported from Switzerland. Furthermore, the funds do not need to be declared.

Checks on the cross-border movement of liquid funds

To combat money laundering and terrorist financing, we can carry out checks. If you are carrying CHF 10,000 or more, we will question you. In doing so, you will have to answer questions concerning you and the origin and intended purpose of the money, and provide information on the beneficial owner."

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...ecurities.html
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Old 30.06.2020, 01:55
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

Thank you for the reminder about the organization for the Swiss abroad. Once I complete this process, I will post what I learned.
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Old 30.06.2020, 08:10
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Re: Purchase an apartment in Graubuenden

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Thanks for your help.

Is it the US residence that is a problem or the US citizenship? I am also a Swiss citizen.
Both really... also having a US bank account, ties to the US, pay the IRS, etc. Look up the UBS account opening forms, there are 4-5 questions specifically to see if you have any ties to the USA.


Since FATCA, most banks in Switzerland look for a barge-pole when they see Americans.
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