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Old 14.03.2021, 10:37
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House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

We are looking to buy an apartment in Graubünden. As we are already fully mortgaged with our house in ZH, we won’t be able to take a mortgage out on this apartment.

The apartment is located in an old (1890) house which is divided into 2 apartments. The division of the house & the area around the house between the apartments is complicated with various rights of use & servitudes.

My understanding is that the official Notary is a neutral party. He/she is not looking out for either party's interests. Determining whether any part of the contract unduly advantages or disadvantages either party is not his/her responsibility.

Can anyone recommend a lawyer / solicitor who can advise us on the contract? An English speaking lawyer is preferable but not essential.
Can he/she be local (ZH) or is it better to use one in GR?
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Old 14.03.2021, 10:45
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

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My understanding is that the official Notary is a neutral party. He/she is not looking out for either party's interests. Determining whether any part of the contract unduly advantages or disadvantages either party is not his/her responsibility.

Can anyone recommend a lawyer / solicitor who can advise us on the contract? An English speaking lawyer is preferable but not essential.
Can he/she be local (ZH) or is it better to use one in GR?
As the buyer it's your choice, if you want to chose, of who you use as the Notary for the purchase. They should be able to give you all the advice you need, without any recourse to a second lawyer, which I think would a) rack up the bills and b) complicate the whole process.

You can meet with them individually and ask them to go through the whole contract in detail if you want, but IME this is done with all parties before signing anyway. It's the notary's job to make sure you both understand all the details and ramifications.

Oh, and given that you'll all need to sit down together to finalise everything (the notary also acts as the witness to the signatures on multiple copies of multiple documents) you should choose one who's geographically convenient to all, which would normally mean someone local to where the property is located.
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Old 14.03.2021, 10:56
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

In true British style, for our first house purchase in Switzerland I called on the services of a lawyer to check the contract. He was basically useless and produced a miserable list of things that could go wrong.

With our second house we felt confident enough to use the advice of a Notariat. As we were buying the land separately, the Grundbuchamt were also involved. There we received a 30 minute lecture to ensure we knew what we were doing and what was involved.

I suggest you study the contract, which it seems you already have, and make a list of points that you are unclear of or dislike and then have a meeting with the Notariat before signing anything...
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Old 14.03.2021, 11:24
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

Having lived in canton ZH for nearly 16 years and now over 4 in GR and bought 2 properties in each over the years, I hope I have some experience to offer.

ZH has official canton notaries; GR doesn't. As cantons have their own laws, you probably need to be looking at people locally to the property. Whereabouts in GR is it?

In both ZH and GR, for property purchases it is most likely the Grundbuchamt you'll be dealing with. The estate agent will normally get the Grundbuchamt to draft the contract of sale and you get to see it weeks before the appointments for the equivalent of exchange and/or completion (for an existing building, that's likely to be both in one appointment, newbuilds tend to be two separate appointments). That means you have the opportunity to query clauses you don't understand and maybe don't like, and correct any inaccuracies. The Grundbuch appointment is the culmination of that process, not the start.

You shouldn't need a lawyer and the Grundbuchamt official will go through the contract almost clause by clause during the appointment to ensure that both parties (buyer and vendor) know what they are signing up to.

If language is a barrier, I could offer my services as a Chartered Linguist specialising in the field, but I'm not sure that's appropriate in an advice post
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Old 14.03.2021, 11:28
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

I don't know how it works in that canton, but bear in mind that you might be able to ask for changes to the contract before you sign. Here in Fribourg we had a couple of clauses added to our house purchase contract which the notary changed on the spot and made sure both parties were happy with the change before we all signed it.
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Old 14.03.2021, 13:11
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

When we bought our apartment, and later rustico, the notary was also my wife's personal lawyer, so no need for an extra lawyer.

But, was was mentioned, each canton has their own rules, so YMMV.

Tom
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Old 14.03.2021, 13:46
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

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We are looking to buy an apartment in Graubünden. As we are already fully mortgaged with our house in ZH, we won’t be able to take a mortgage out on this apartment.

The apartment is located in an old (1890) house which is divided into 2 apartments. The division of the house & the area around the house between the apartments is complicated with various rights of use & servitudes.

My understanding is that the official Notary is a neutral party. He/she is not looking out for either party's interests. Determining whether any part of the contract unduly advantages or disadvantages either party is not his/her responsibility.

Can anyone recommend a lawyer / solicitor who can advise us on the contract? An English speaking lawyer is preferable but not essential.
Can he/she be local (ZH) or is it better to use one in GR?
Unless the owner of the other apartment in the house is the one who sells you yours I'd say it is difficult to change the settings. As why should the other owner as an uninvolved third party agree with changes?
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Old 14.03.2021, 13:58
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

We have bought a house in GR some years ago and as a part of the buying process, we had a meeting with the Grundbuchamt who very patiently explained everything about the complex ownership situation. That was really very helpful.
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Old 14.03.2021, 14:36
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Re: House Purchase in Graubünden - need a lawyer

You could try these guys that we are dealing for a holiday home purchase (can mention Neil/Camaruts):

Dr. iur. Flurin von Planta
Rechtsanwalt und Notar
Masanserstrasse 40
CH - 7000 Chur

Tel. +41 81 258 55 65
Fax: +41 81 258 55 66

Email: f.vonplanta@vincenzpartner.ch
Homepage: www.vincenzpartner.ch

Martin Vincenz
Rechtsanwalt / Attorney at law
Dipl. Steuerexperte / Steuerberater / Certified Swiss Tax Advisor
Steinbruchstrasse 12
CH- 7000 Chur

Tel. / Fax: +41 81 258 55 06 / 01
Email: m.vincenz@vincenzpartner.ch
Homepage: www.vincenzpartner.ch
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