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Old 03.10.2020, 08:41
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Renovation cost estimation

Are there any websites where you can get ballpark estimates for various house renovation items ? Something that you can use to evaluate before deciding to buy a house

For example, we are looking at one that needs.

1) Replacement of oil heating by geothermal for a volume of 600 cu. m.
2) Replacement of radiator heating by underfloor for an area of 200 sq m.
3) New paraquet flooring 200 sq. m.
4) Renovation of toilet.
5) New windows 30 sq m.
8) painting 400 sq m.

The house is from early 80s, how do we know if any changes are required in electric wiring ? Is it just based on the condition or are there any regulations ?

Thank you for pointers.
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Old 03.10.2020, 08:58
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

On the wiring... when you buy a house in Switzerland it needs to come with an electrical certificate (not sure of term) done in the last so many years, in order for your insurance to be valid. So I’d ask the seller for that.

Edit https://www.cardis.ch/en/conseils/le-controle-oibt
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Old 03.10.2020, 09:23
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

So ask the seller for the info but in the end the purchaser has to pay for the inspection and any required fix, did I get that right?

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The inspection is compulsory if the last inspection took place more than five years before the sale. The purchaser is responsible for checking the installation.
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Old 03.10.2020, 10:02
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

This is a question that can only be answered ‘it depends’. Our geothermal required two 140m holes be drilled, normally it’s one. Vaud gave us an approximately 10% rebate. So, for us our hit for the geothermal alone was around f75k. (But it reduced our electricity bills by 2/3)
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Old 03.10.2020, 10:07
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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So ask the seller for the info but in the end the purchaser has to pay for the inspection and any required fix, did I get that right?
Yes. One of the (well) hidden costs of home purchase. But it did identify a few faults that we were happy to have fixed.
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Old 03.10.2020, 11:28
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

This website calculates house renovation costs. It requires an email address at the end:

https://www.houzy.ch/funktionen/sanierungsrechner
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:10
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

What you wrote is sadly inadequate* to give any estimation. So,1st: get a very good overview of the condition of the building and different parts of it and 2nd: study what you want
After that, you will have 3 different ways to approach the problem:
a) sit down with a planner/company who would take a job, discuss things and ask them offer an estimation. There will be a lot of work from their side, so expect to pay
b) write down a precise description of works and ask a craftsman for an estimation, you may be charged for that
c) talk with people who were doing similar things, ask them for documentation, study it and decide what is relevant for you
I understand that you need an estimation before buying, but it's not going to be quick, cheap and accurate at the same time. Choose two

*I will just shortly describe the problem with, for example your nr. 5) New windows 30 sq m.
- Price of one basic window range between 300 to 3.000 chf, depends on the materials and finishes
- work range from simple cutting the old one out, and gluing the new in the same opening (and inside old frame) from the outside to the reconstruction of the facade on one or both sides, mostly because of preventing
thermal bridge and leaking.
- you don't say anything about shading/protecting windows with shutters or textile?
- in some instances there could be additional requirements from Municipality or Denkmalpflege (cultural heritage....) which will make everything more expensive.
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:17
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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So ask the seller for the info but in the end the purchaser has to pay for the inspection and any required fix, did I get that right?
Depends on what you have put in the purchase contract. Our house is from 1950 so we knew the wiring probably wasn't going to be good enough to cope with today's requirements. We had a clause added that if the work to upgrade it came to more than CHF10k then the seller would pay for it. In the end it didn't (about CHF8K iirc) so that came out of our purse.

Yoga, remember you'll need planning permission to change the type of central heating so build that into your calculations/timeline.
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:25
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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Yoga, remember you'll need planning permission to change the type of central heating so build that into your calculations/timeline.
In our case it was <f100, but we needed approval from our two contiguous neighbours, but not those across the street, who were affected by the drilling much more than the others. (Our holes went into our driveway).
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:28
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

Having put an extra floor on a building, I think you can safely add 30% to all budget items. Electricity / Plastering / Tiling / Plumbing always come in way higher than forecast. The only addition to the actual build was €500 for an additional RSJ as nobody knew an inside supporting wall had been partially removed in an apartment below ours! I noticed this when we had to do a condition report of the flats below & each side in case we caused any cracks etc. It was the first time we had access to that flat.
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:34
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

We did similar calculations for a 98 sq meter house from the 70s. Changing heating to a pellet system not geothermal, including redoing all the floors to put in floor heating, all of which had asbestos. Also redoing several big windows. Just that came out to around 120k by our calculations (which we double checked with a friend in construction who thought it seemed reasonable). Both bathrooms needed to be redone and that you can generally estimate 10-20k per bathroom depending on size and your tastes. Oh and there was asbestos in the bathrooms too. And the kitchen, which would ultimately need to be redone as well.

We were ultimately glad our bid wasn’t accepted. We took the 120k off the asking price (including our reasoning) and were told the realtors had already factored those renovations into the asking price. Some poor guy either didn’t do his homework or really really liked the area and was willing to pay asking price because the house was definitely overpriced for the area considering the work that needed done.
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:48
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

I see that it is a seller's market here. There are already many others who seem to be willing fo pay the asking price which already seems unreasonable and the agency then conducts bidding on top of it...

So can't really take the costs off the asking price.
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Old 03.10.2020, 12:52
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

We paid CHF 37k for underfloor heating 2 years ago for 140m2. This was for a variant that was 5cm high and was after getting several quotes and negotiating. If we had wanted 2.5cm it was c. CHF 15k more.

For the flooring it‘s going to depend on which parquet you choose and from where. I‘ve seen it at over CHF 200/m2 at the high end and maybe CHF 80/m2 at the low end. Assuming you want solid wood. Laminates can be had for half that. These are pre-discount prices, but to get the discounts (20-30%) you need to be in the trade. It makes a lot of sense to have a Bauherr who can access these discounts on your behalf, as well as manage/monitor/organise all the tradesmen and works for you to get you the best prices. He will easily pay for himself on a 200m2 project. On top of that you have to pay the fitter. I can‘t find the bill right now (most of ours was marble), but think you can reckon on CHF 50/m2 for the fitting.

I‘ve no idea how many m2 of windows we have, but for our 160m2 apartment replacing them all with what I believe are high quality pvc ones, including a number of insect grills, 3 single doors and a 2m sliding door was c. CHF 30k

If you‘re going to do rewiring, I‘d expect you‘d need to take the plaster off the walls, so you need to budget for that. Rewiring, including in the garden plus smart home cost CHF 55k. Plastering and painting was CHF 26k.

Toilet is all down to what you want and the size. All in, assuming no major plumbing changes, I‘d say around CHF 10k.
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Old 03.10.2020, 13:05
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

Be careful replacing radiators with underfloor heating. Unless your house is very well insulated, you will find in cold spells it will not be warm enough.

As to costs, expect anywhere between CHF200,000 and 400,000...
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Old 03.10.2020, 13:12
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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We paid CHF 37k for underfloor heating 2 years ago for 140m2. This was for a variant that was 5cm high and was after getting several quotes and negotiating. If we had wanted 2.5cm it was c. CHF 15k more.

For the flooring it‘s going to depend on which parquet you choose and from where. I‘ve seen it at over CHF 200/m2 at the high end and maybe CHF 80/m2 at the low end. Assuming you want solid wood. Laminates can be had for half that. These are pre-discount prices, but to get the discounts (20-30%) you need to be in the trade. It makes a lot of sense to have a Bauherr who can access these discounts on your behalf, as well as manage/monitor/organise all the tradesmen and works for you to get you the best prices. He will easily pay for himself on a 200m2 project. On top of that you have to pay the fitter. I can‘t find the bill right now (most of ours was marble), but think you can reckon on CHF 50/m2 for the fitting.

Thank you eyebeebe, this is super useful.
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Old 03.10.2020, 13:42
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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Depends on what you have put in the purchase contract. Our house is from 1950 so we knew the wiring probably wasn't going to be good enough to cope with today's requirements. We had a clause added that if the work to upgrade it came to more than CHF10k then the seller would pay for it. In the end it didn't (about CHF8K iirc) so that came out of our purse.

Yoga, remember you'll need planning permission to change the type of central heating so build that into your calculations/timeline.
Yep. We got our seller to pay for the checks before we signed... so depends what you can agree on!
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Old 03.10.2020, 17:17
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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I see that it is a seller's market here. There are already many others who seem to be willing fo pay the asking price which already seems unreasonable and the agency then conducts bidding on top of it...

So can't really take the costs off the asking price.
Not necessarily. It depends a lot on the area you’re looking in, how much renovation needs to be done, and how long the property has been on the market. We know a family that put a bid in at less than half of asking price on a property and had it accepted. But the sellers have to be desperate, and yes that is hard to find in Switzerland but not impossible. If you’re up for doing heavy renovations that could be a good option.
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Old 04.10.2020, 02:19
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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For the flooring it‘s going to depend on which parquet you choose and from where. I‘ve seen it at over CHF 200/m2 at the high end and maybe CHF 80/m2 at the low end. Assuming you want solid wood. Laminates can be had for half that. These are pre-discount prices, but to get the discounts (20-30%) you need to be in the trade. It makes a lot of sense to have a Bauherr who can access these discounts on your behalf, as well as manage/monitor/organise all the tradesmen and works for you to get you the best prices.

If you pay for this directly from your pocket and do not have a bank breathing down your neck for validated / signed invoices (mortgage) you can get materials much cheaper in Germany and import them to Switzerland.


I buy about 80% of what I use in Germany, the price difference is so ridiculous that even if seller refuses to return German VAT (sometimes they are not willing to) often it is still considerably cheaper to take that 19% hit then to buy the product here.
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Old 04.10.2020, 10:04
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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If you pay for this directly from your pocket and do not have a bank breathing down your neck for validated / signed invoices (mortgage) you can get materials much cheaper in Germany and import them to Switzerland.


I buy about 80% of what I use in Germany, the price difference is so ridiculous that even if seller refuses to return German VAT (sometimes they are not willing to) often it is still considerably cheaper to take that 19% hit then to buy the product here.

For bigger amounts I've never met anyone yet who won't return the VAT. If this is an issue I would go to the next. In the process you can also find someone to do the work and additionally save a lot of money.
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Old 04.10.2020, 11:04
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Re: Renovation cost estimation

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If you pay for this directly from your pocket and do not have a bank breathing down your neck for validated / signed invoices (mortgage) you can get materials much cheaper in Germany and import them to Switzerland.


I buy about 80% of what I use in Germany, the price difference is so ridiculous that even if seller refuses to return German VAT (sometimes they are not willing to) often it is still considerably cheaper to take that 19% hit then to buy the product here.
If you are a person off the street then you have limited access to the offers and products a company can access. Bathroom products are an exemption to the rule.
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