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Old 05.11.2020, 18:24
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holiday flat in CH vs. IT

We are dual US/IT citizens and nonresident in either CH or IT. We are thinking of buying a holiday flat in Ticino or the Italian lakes area. We want this to be a long-term investment for us and our kids (also dual US/IT). One kid has a strong affinity for Switzerland from schooling/internships/summer activities/friends and is pursuing future career plans there.



Purchase prices and cost of living are lower in IT but we're wondering if there are other long-term, off-setting conditions that would make buying in CH a better option. We're gathering information but there are still so many things that we don't know that we don't know about.



We have vacationed a number of times in the area and love it. Would like to be near or on a lake and near train/frequent buses so a vehicle wouldn't be necessary. Obviously, none of this will happen until the pandemic is over.


Would appreciate any insights. Many thanks.
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Old 05.11.2020, 20:54
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

A million USD will either get you a two bedroom flat in a box shaped building in Switzerland or a country estate with lake view in Italy... i guess the bus system is better on the Swiss side...
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Old 05.11.2020, 21:52
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

I knew I'd get a response like that, but seriously, are there any long-term benefits to being in CH? Anything we're missing? Thanks
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Old 05.11.2020, 22:30
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

There are restrictions on buying property in Switzerland if you don't live in Switzerland. Google Lex Koller. Not sure about Italy. Also, being a US person won't help with mortage. For those reasons alone I would look into Italy, given you have an Italien passport.
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Old 05.11.2020, 23:13
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

Cash, or mortgage?

Budget?

Tom
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Old 05.11.2020, 23:30
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

We're thinking between USD750K-1.25M. If we could get good mortgage terms, that would be bonus. We're aware of FATCA and that banks wont want to deal with us.
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Old 06.11.2020, 05:21
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

Assuming you are allowed to buy a property in Switzerland, a tip would be buying a property in Walensee (German part of Switzerland). it is has a lake for swimming in the summer, the mountains for hiking and skiing close by (e.g. Flumsemberg), public transport is efficient: boat, train and bus.
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Old 06.11.2020, 21:10
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

Thanks for the info.
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Old 08.11.2020, 10:11
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

I live in the French part and have lived for 5 years in the German part of Switzerland too, never I must confess in the Italian part.

We found the French part easier, more friendly, more laid back, more scenic, more touristy [more restaurants, places to go if your're on vacation] and cheaper.

The German part is more business like, more expensive, what can I say more organised, more German. More built up.

The Alps, which are the view you see of Switzerland on the postcards are essentially in the south, so the Italian/French regions.

You choose different places depending on requirements and language.
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Old 08.11.2020, 18:59
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

I will go out on a limb here and say Italy also has better food than Switzerland...


(Use the money you save on the property to buy a small car to solve your public transport issue).


Kind regards




Ian
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Old 08.11.2020, 20:38
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

Thank you all for the good ideas.
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Old 08.11.2020, 21:53
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

Property in Italy can be a hidden money sink and it is difficult to deal with local burocracy remotely, paying bills/taxes, having post delivered online, etc. beside the risk that the gov't creates another property tax. That is unless you pay someone to deal with all the stuff for you, I guess.
If you want public transport, it will probably have to be Switzerland. You can reach the whole of Ticino very easily and actually enjoy the whole region. You also have mobility car sharing locations near public transport for when you want a car to head over to Italy, bikesharing, etc. In italy public transport is notoriously unreliable, old and not frequent outside of major cities, it is a car-centric country.
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Old 08.11.2020, 22:04
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

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The Alps, which are the view you see of Switzerland on the postcards are essentially in the south, so the Italian/French regions.
Not really - all the big mountains in Switzerland are in The Alps, which includes famous places like St Moritz, Davos, Klosters, Laax etc which are in the German/Romansh speaking areas.

Probably the most postcards you find are of the Matterhorn by Zermatt, which is in the German (kind of) speaking part of Valais/Wallis.
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Old 09.11.2020, 00:45
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

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Not really - all the big mountains in Switzerland are in The Alps, which includes famous places like St Moritz, Davos, Klosters, Laax etc which are in the German/Romansh speaking areas.

Probably the most postcards you find are of the Matterhorn by Zermatt, which is in the German (kind of) speaking part of Valais/Wallis.
Except for the equal and mirror image view of the Matterhorn from across the border in Cervina, Italy....
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Old 09.11.2020, 04:02
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

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Except for the equal and mirror image view of the Matterhorn from across the border in Cervina, Italy....
Weeeellll... not really.

The Matterhorn, from the Swiss side:

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Monte Cervino, from the Italian side:

Name:  Monte Cervino.jpg
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One is dramatically impressive and all Tobleroney, the other isn't.

Still, I'd buy a holiday home in Breuil-Cervinia in a heartbeat. By which I mean that I could maybe afford a holiday home in Cervinia, but absolutely not in Zermatt.
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Old 09.11.2020, 10:30
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

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Property in Italy can be a hidden money sink and it is difficult to deal with local burocracy remotely, paying bills/taxes, having post delivered online, etc. beside the risk that the gov't creates another property tax. That is unless you pay someone to deal with all the stuff for you, I guess.
If you want public transport, it will probably have to be Switzerland. You can reach the whole of Ticino very easily and actually enjoy the whole region. You also have mobility car sharing locations near public transport for when you want a car to head over to Italy, bikesharing, etc. In italy public transport is notoriously unreliable, old and not frequent outside of major cities, it is a car-centric country.
There is already a property tax in Italy as there is one in Switzerland if you fully own the house.

Paying bills and taxes now is very easy online. I have two houses in Italy and I manage everything from CH.

If OP is a dual citizen can request a Codice Fiscale for Italy, sign up to the SPID service and then easily access the revenue office website and manage all from there. I pay my utilities from my app on the smartphone.

Bureaucracy to buy an house is usually pretty straightforward. Yes if you renovate the house you need a local guy that knows what to do but you need the same in Switzerland. An in Italy if you renovate your house you have very good tax rebates now, made even better due to the COVID-19 situation in order to keep the building industry afloat (50% immediate cashback for any energy-optimisation intervention, 50% tax deduction for the next 10 years on renovation, etc).

Public transportation in the lake region is not ideal but also not too bad. But nothing you can't solve by buying a second-hand Panda or Punto to leave at the house. Trains from Milan to Como and Lecco are quite frequent.
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Old 09.11.2020, 10:45
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

It really depends what you want out of the holiday home you intend to buy.

Both TI and IT will mean you want to be relatively fluent in Italian - are you?

Property prices in TI are fairly flat and as pointed out, you get more for your money south of the border.

Depending how often and how long you come to stay/occupy the property, I might consider renting a car rather than having it sitting for x months a year not being driven. It might make sense financially too.
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Old 10.11.2020, 01:32
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Re: holiday flat in CH vs. IT

Interesting to see these different viewpoints; why I posted. I've been working on my fluency. We don't know exactly how this will work for us, especially now with travel curtailed. We're trying to think through all possibilities.



Do prices in Ticino tend to be more stable than in IT, less fluctuation?
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