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Old 11.08.2021, 13:44
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To rent or not to rent?

We’re new to this forum and the reason we joined is for guidance in Switzerland. Both my wife and I are EU citizens. We’re in our 50s and we’re both retired. Most of our wealth, e.g., bank accounts, are in Switzerland and have been for the last +20 years. We love to travel and learn about new cultures.

We’re planning to request a B permit i.e. https://www.sem.admin.ch/dam/sem/en/...staetige-e.pdf

Our motivation for choosing Switzerland is to spend time in Switzerland learning the culture & languages, while writing an online travel book filled with photographs and videos. We both (pretend to) write, but photography and video are her hobbies. I will develop our project into an app. This is my forte. We plan to do this by renting (or purchasing?) an Airstream Classic https://www.airstream.com/travel-trailers/classic/ to travel through Switzerland.
We plan to spend about one month, maybe a bit more, in every major city in Switzerland for the next few years. We can do this easily in Switzerland because it is safe and crime is low.

Although we’re fine financially, we don’t see it financially sound to rent an apartment (~CHF 2K/month) and leave it empty for the next few years. We’d rather invest the CHF 2K in FNILX and VOO every month.

We would also like to make Switzerland our tax domicile for the next few years, although we’re planning to retire to another EU country once our Swiss travel is over.

Our question is: Are their solutions to our rent dilemma in Switzerland or do we have to accept we’ll enrich a landlord with ~CHF120K for the next 5 years?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 11.08.2021, 13:56
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

Sounds exciting. Here's an app that shows you where you can park a camper for free or cheap: https://park4night.com/
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Old 11.08.2021, 14:44
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

As far as I know, you need to be registered (in German "angemeldet") in Switzerland, and for that you need a physical address.

For much less than a Fr. 2000 p.m. apartment, you could rent a room in a shared apartment, and then go on holiday, from there, often. You can search here, by region and price, and also even specify "studio" which (probably) means with your own bathroom.
https://www.wgzimmer.ch/en/wgzimmer/search/mate.html

Whatever you rent, the more rural you go, the lower the rental.

Here, you can browse through, canton by canton, and then sort by ascending price. Here's Appenzell Innerrhoden, for example:
https://www.homegate.ch/rent/real-es...hablePrice-asc

Of course, you'd need to check each canton's and each municipality's tax rates. You can do that here:
https://en.comparis.ch/steuern/steuervergleich/default
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Old 11.08.2021, 14:56
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

I've no idea what FNILX and VOO are, but you'd need a physical address as doropfiz points out to be able to register as being a resident and for taxation purposes. Of course what you deem to be adequate finances may not be the same as the Swiss definition. Decide where you want to base yourselves and then check with the migration office of that canton whether your finances will be up to their expectations.

The other alternative is to not register and just be here as tourists for up to 3 months at time which would allow you to visit 3 cities at a month each. But you wouldn't be tax residents so would pay no tax here. Why do you want to be tax domiciled here?
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Old 11.08.2021, 14:59
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

You ain't going to save 2k/month by buying. Maintenance, utilities, tax etc are all costs you will still have to pay. Landlord's profit margin is maybe around 30% - that's what you will spare by buying in exchange for putting 1-2M capital at risk. Rental yields are piss poor at the moment, it's great time to rent. Buying only makes sense if you want to gamble on property appreciation, but that's taxed much steeper than income in CH. And unless you have multiple mils, going to make your portfolio highly undiverse
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:17
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

And if the q is not buy/rent but whether to rent to maintain tax domicile / health insurance etc, then this is just plain stupid. You lose tax domicile and C permit by law after 6 months out of country anyway. Doesn't matter that you're paying rent and health insurance premium. Insurer will happily pocket your money and reject your claims on the grounds you're not legally resident when it comes to claiming.
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:23
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

Why don’t you rent a smaller flat to use as your domicile? You can certainly find one for less than 1,500; especially n the more rural areas.
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:29
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

Because it doesn't actually preserve the domicile? And why not just ask a friend to register you in their apt, that'd be even cheaper to maintain this domicile charade - just have to pay health insurance. But sooner or later especially when travelling outside schengen it will be discovered. The law is very clear on this one.
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:32
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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Because it doesn't actually preserve the domicile?

You can maintain this domicile charade for a while by not telling the authorities that you actually moved out, but sooner or later especially when travelling outside schengen it will be discovered. The law is very clear on this one.

The OP can let us know 1 way or the other. My understanding of their post is they intend to be travelling either solely or mostly within Switzerland during the 2 years, which is why the flat rental or WG rental within Switzerland is being discussed.
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:34
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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I've no idea what FNILX and VOO are, but you'd need a physical address as doropfiz points out to be able to register as being a resident and for taxation purposes. Of course what you deem to be adequate finances may not be the same as the Swiss definition. Decide where you want to base yourselves and then check with the migration office of that canton whether your finances will be up to their expectations.

The other alternative is to not register and just be here as tourists for up to 3 months at time which would allow you to visit 3 cities at a month each. But you wouldn't be tax residents so would pay no tax here. Why do you want to be tax domiciled here?
We sold our house and sourcing business in Hong Kong to a very eager mainland Chinese private equity firm, so there is no need to be there anymore. We've been coming to Switzerland for over 2 decades due to private banking and are somewhat lightly familiar with it. Since we'll be in Switzerland, we decided to make it our home. Since we don't need to work, and we both like the outdoors, hiking, and public safety, we decided Switzerland is the best place for us in Europe right now. Should we reconsider?
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:47
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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And if the q is not buy/rent but whether to rent to maintain tax domicile / health insurance etc, then this is just plain stupid. You lose tax domicile and C permit by law after 6 months out of country anyway. Doesn't matter that you're paying rent and health insurance premium. Insurer will happily pocket your money and reject your claims on the grounds you're not legally resident when it comes to claiming.
???
Maybe I wasn't clear enough?
We won't be out of the country. We'll be traveling WITHIN Switzerland using an RV/Motorhome something like this: https://www.myswissalps.com/car/caravancamper
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:52
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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Because it doesn't actually preserve the domicile? And why not just ask a friend to register you in their apt, that'd be even cheaper to maintain this domicile charade - just have to pay health insurance. But sooner or later especially when travelling outside schengen it will be discovered. The law is very clear on this one.

I'll paste the pertinent part of my initial post here: "We plan to do this by renting (or purchasing?) an Airstream Classic https://www.airstream.com/travel-trailers/classic/ to travel through Switzerland."

Traveling through Switzerland is considered " travelling outside schengen"????
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Old 11.08.2021, 15:53
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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???
Maybe I wasn't clear enough?
I think so


Quote:

We won't be out of the country. We'll be traveling WITHIN Switzerland using an RV/Motorhome something like this: https://www.myswissalps.com/car/caravancamper
In that case, that should be fine. You still need to give authorities some place to call your domicile - legally the place you intend to stay long term, but there are no limits on how long you can be outside it somewhere else in switzerland and it can totally be a friend's address or something, so long as he's willing to let you register - that'd be the cheapest option. If you've made no such friends in switzerland in your 20 years here at all, then i'm sure you can find some enterprising WG renter who'd let you "sublet" a "room" in his WG for a bit of money and sign the necessary papers for authorities. The going rate for a normal WG room is 500-1000/month, i'd expect a sham room to cost much less. Renting a whole place and immediately subletting it furnished could be another option that should give you both the adress+mailbox and even some profit, though landlords don't like those much as you're taking the profit out of their pockets then
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Old 11.08.2021, 16:10
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

As other have said (with advice of my own woven in):

- renting probably makes more sense than buying for the timeframe you are considering
- you will need a domicile but this can be a very small and simple place, or even a sublet at a friend's place.
- when selecting a domicile, don't just compare the rents but also consider taxation, as there are vast differences between cantons and even within cantons, from very cheap to not so cheap.
- maybe I'm misreading you but it sounds as if you have a lot of wealth. Might be good to talk to a tax consultant before committing to something you maybe misunderstand. Swiss taxes are quite simple once you've understood the basics, but for a first-timer there is always scope for misunderstanding.
- mail, including official stuff, will go to your domicile address, so it should be a real place where you actually go sometimes, or somebody else goes on your behalf, not a fictive letterbox.
- I guess you plan to live in your camper all year round. Do check whether there are campsites that are open all year round in the places you want to go, as many campsites are seasonal.
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Old 11.08.2021, 16:22
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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- mail, including official stuff, will go to your domicile address, so it should be a real place where you actually go sometimes, or somebody else goes on your behalf, not a fictive letterbox.
This. It should not any of the sham options described by kerneltrick, above, but must be a place you really can and do use, with some of your things in it, your home base to which you can immediately return whenever you want to do so.

It might be handy to rent a place with a parking-space, too, so you can really get back there once in a while, say, if you want to renovate or thoroughly clean your camper-van, or so.
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Old 11.08.2021, 16:40
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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We've been coming to Switzerland for over 2 decades due to private banking
That might be your answer.

Your private banker should be willing to introduce you to the kinds of people who can tailor a solution for you. For the seriously minted, everything is possible.


(For the rest of us mere mortals, on the other hand... not so much)
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Old 11.08.2021, 16:49
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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Your private banker should be willing to introduce you to the kinds of people who can tailor a solution for you. For the seriously minted, everything is possible.
My first thought too - but EF is ever helpful
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Old 11.08.2021, 16:57
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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I'll paste the pertinent part of my initial post here: "We plan to do this by renting (or purchasing?) an Airstream Classic https://www.airstream.com/travel-trailers/classic/ to travel through Switzerland."

Traveling through Switzerland is considered " travelling outside schengen"????
Good luck with that Airstream trailer on Swiss roads and in towns.

Switzerland is a Shengen country…
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Old 11.08.2021, 17:15
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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Good luck with that Airstream trailer on Swiss roads and in towns.
Yes, that's what I was thinking, too. Not so convenient on those little roads, and not on the mountain passes, either.

Perhaps it could work if one followed the rivers not the mountains, always parked out of town, and used the excellent public transport to get into town.

If it were me, I'd choose something much smaller and more manoeuvrable, that could do towns, cities, rivers and mountains, and I'd zip around Switzerland blissfully. And then, any time I got tired of feeling constrained by the van, I'd pop home to the rented apartment for a few days vacation from my vacation.
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Old 11.08.2021, 17:38
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Re: To rent or not to rent?

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This. It should not any of the sham options described by kerneltrick, above, but must be a place you really can and do use, with some of your things in it, your home base to which you can immediately return whenever you want to do so.

It might be handy to rent a place with a parking-space, too, so you can really get back there once in a while, say, if you want to renovate or thoroughly clean your camper-van, or so.
Oh yes. That's why we're on EF. We were vacationing in Zurich for one month (serviced apartment) and now we're in Geneva vacationing. We love Geneva, but based on what I've learned here on EF the wealth taxes are quite high.

We're looking to do everything legit. We have no need for headaches, but you'd be surprised how many people misunderstand & deviate from our message: We would love to travel INTRA-Switzerland.
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