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Old 08.03.2021, 11:46
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House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

We are discovered through a person is selling a house through a mutual contact. The owner is elderly and moving to a retirement village.

Our contact has found out that the owner would be interested in showing us the house with a view to negotiation, but has already engaged with an agent.

My question is: what are the usual terms for an owner/agent agreement in CH? Does the owner have an obligation to handle our negotiation via the agent, or can they still sell privately? If so, is the owner still liable for commission costs or other fees?

Obviously if the owner has found us without the agent and isn't obliged to provide a commission our offer might be advantageous.
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Old 08.03.2021, 11:50
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

That depends on the wording of the contract. Some agents insist on still getting their fees, some allow for that
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Old 08.03.2021, 12:12
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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That depends on the wording of the contract. Some agents insist on still getting their fees, some allow for that
Any idea what is the "default"?
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Old 08.03.2021, 12:18
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

Is anything signed between seller and agent?
The seller is on the hook for those costs, not you.
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Old 08.03.2021, 12:32
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

I agree with the other posters.

Otherwise it would just be too easy for you to contact the seller directly, either working out the address from the description and photos, or even sending a friend to drop their card while viewing the property, and then both sides pretending the agent had nothing to do with it.

This is why many agents build sneaky clauses into their contracts to assure they get their fee anyway.
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Old 08.03.2021, 13:22
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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I agree with the other posters.

Otherwise it would just be too easy for you to contact the seller directly, either working out the address from the description and photos, or even sending a friend to drop their card while viewing the property, and then both sides pretending the agent had nothing to do with it.

This is why many agents build sneaky clauses into their contracts to assure they get their fee anyway.
I would agree with this if the property had already been advertised, but isn't as yet.
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Old 08.03.2021, 13:24
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Any idea what is the "default"?
Pretty sure you'd normally sign up with them as the sole agent, meaning that any sale will be subject to their fees, whether they find the buyer or not.

Not done it in CH (only sale we made was private from the outset) so can't be sure, but as others have said they'd leave themselves wide open to people abusing the system by spotting the advert then contacting the seller directly, and Swiss businesses aren't exactly known for letting money slip through their fingers like that.

There may be other options where you simply pay them a fixed fee for advertising, which used to sometimes happen in the UK back in the day, but I doubt it.

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I would agree with this if the property had already been advertised, but isn't as yet.
I don't think that would be relevant - if the seller has a contract with the agent then how far along the process they've gone wouldn't really enter into it.
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Old 08.03.2021, 13:30
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

The agents fees which will be around 2.5% can be deducted from the final CGT bill so itís not a total loss for the seller. Like others suggest I think itís unlikely the seller has any wriggle room.
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Old 08.03.2021, 15:42
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

Thanks all for the comments, this is kind of what we thought.

However I assume the seller still has the final word on who the house is sold to ie not necessarily the highest bidder. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that some sellers are conscious on who they sell their house to in consideration of neighbours.
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:11
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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Thanks all for the comments, this is kind of what we thought.

However I assume the seller still has the final word on who the house is sold to ie not necessarily the highest bidder. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that some sellers are conscious on who they sell their house to in consideration of neighbours.
Absolutely! We bought directly from the owner and even though we were not the first to make contact after seeing the advert on Homegate - they sold to us as we were able to build a strong rapport with them and they knew we'd take good of the place and would be a good fit within the community.
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:12
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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However I assume the seller still has the final word on who the house is sold to ie not necessarily the highest bidder. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that some sellers are conscious on who they sell their house to in consideration of neighbours.
That's absolutely true.

It's their choice.

The owners of our place refused to sell to one couple as they made remarks in earshot of the current owner of how they would rip out this, change that and so on.
People don't want to heat that about their home where they brought up their family and in which they had invested a lot of time and money.
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Old 08.03.2021, 16:17
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

I had specifically put a clause in the contract that any person that I named to the agent before the actual advert was published and who did end up buying the place would cost me a much smaller commission. all other tasks of the agent stayed the same (organizing the viewing etc).

as others had said it depends what the current owner signed...and it is their worry if they pay the full commission and basically take over the agent's work by showing the house etc
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Old 08.03.2021, 18:30
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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I would agree with this if the property had already been advertised, but isn't as yet.
This could suggest that perhaps the contract between the agent and seller is not signed. Agents are usually quite quick with an advert.

The agent may actually price it lower than the seller wants to sell. Going privately might not get you the best price.

Bottom line is in most cases the seller pays the agent's fee so if you do visit the property with your contact and if you manage to buy it, how the seller handles the agent is not your problem.

I know of a situation where an owner was selling some furniture and there was an ad for that. The house was not yet for sale but was going to be sold. Long story short one of the furniture buyers was interested in buying the house and they did a deal without an agent.
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Old 08.03.2021, 21:02
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

Thanks for everyone's comments.

It appears the seller has already signed with an agent, so they will hand our details to them. Our best hope yet is if we can negotiate with the agent before they openly advertise the property.
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Old 08.03.2021, 21:38
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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Pretty sure you'd normally sign up with them as the sole agent, meaning that any sale will be subject to their fees, whether they find the buyer or not.

Not done it in CH (only sale we made was private from the outset) so can't be sure, but as others have said they'd leave themselves wide open to people abusing the system by spotting the advert then contacting the seller directly, and Swiss businesses aren't exactly known for letting money slip through their fingers like that.

There may be other options where you simply pay them a fixed fee for advertising, which used to sometimes happen in the UK back in the day, but I doubt it.



I don't think that would be relevant - if the seller has a contract with the agent then how far along the process they've gone wouldn't really enter into it.
Being a sole agent & having sole selling rights is not the same thing.
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Old 08.03.2021, 22:41
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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Thanks for everyone's comments.

It appears the seller has already signed with an agent, so they will hand our details to them. Our best hope yet is if we can negotiate with the agent before they openly advertise the property.
Option 1: Give offer to agent, hope that he's too lazy to do anything else
Option 2: If you really want to secure the property, give offer to the seller and ask him to accept it and tell the agent to stop work - offer to pay all/half/part of the penalty commission due to the agent
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Old 23.03.2021, 12:56
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

Well it is going to be interesting to see where this goes.

2 weeks ago, the agent verbally quoted a price 200K under the price that appeared in the documentation. They also put the house on homegate for a whole 24 hours. (no doubt they were flooded with interest).

Our offer is unlikely to be the highest by far, but we will throw our hat in the ring anyway.
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Old 25.03.2021, 10:48
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

Well it turned out to be disappointing experience:

Although there was sufficient pre-interest, the agents did put the house briefly on homegate. So it seemed the key priority is maximum profit from the sale (which, of course, is the seller's right).

The house is easily 200K overpriced, but guess someone will pay that.

Additionally, nothing has been done to the house in 20 years and it needs total gutting and renovating to bring it up to scratch, the value of which would hardly be recovered in the short-medium term. Big red-flag was rising damp certain areas, they obviously couldn't remove all the traces.

So we will just keep looking and take the advice from other threads.
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Old 25.03.2021, 10:52
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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Well it turned out to be disappointing experience:

Although there was sufficient pre-interest, the agents did put the house briefly on homegate. So it seemed the key priority is maximum profit from the sale (which, of course, is the seller's right).

The house is easily 200K overpriced, but guess someone will pay that.

Additionally, nothing has been done to the house in 20 years and it needs total gutting and renovating to bring it up to scratch, the value of which would hardly be recovered in the short-medium term. Big red-flag was rising damp certain areas, they obviously couldn't remove all the traces.

So we will just keep looking and take the advice from other threads.
Sounds like you dodged a bullet, gutting a house costs more than building new in CH. Luckily there is sometimes a greater fool
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Old 25.03.2021, 11:45
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Re: House sale: agent obligations if buyer found privately

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Well it turned out to be disappointing experience:

Although there was sufficient pre-interest, the agents did put the house briefly on homegate. So it seemed the key priority is maximum profit from the sale (which, of course, is the seller's right).

The house is easily 200K overpriced, but guess someone will pay that.

Additionally, nothing has been done to the house in 20 years and it needs total gutting and renovating to bring it up to scratch, the value of which would hardly be recovered in the short-medium term. Big red-flag was rising damp certain areas, they obviously couldn't remove all the traces.

So we will just keep looking and take the advice from other threads.
could you please share with me details of this house. i'm interested in selling a similar house (minus the rising damp) and will be interested to see how it is being priced.
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