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Old 07.09.2021, 17:24
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Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

There is a house in our neighbourhood where and old, and unfortunately, very sick lady lives. Her husband passed away a couple of years ago, and we noticed that the house is no longer well maintained, and nurses come and go to take care of her fragile health.

We would like to make an offer for the house, but it's currently not for sale. In some countries, a direct approach would not be unusual, and might be even welcomed, however I feel that in Switzerland this is might not be very well received.

What are your thoughts? Is there a good way to approach this? Is there a professional that usually takes care of this?

Thanks!
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Old 07.09.2021, 21:53
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Just a quick thought, do your homework and see if you can find an intermediary. A family member, neighbor or a friend, who can accept your initial offer, talk with the current owner, and then mediate if it all goes well.


Most sought after houses in CH do not get to the open market, but are passed on through family of freinds.
Good luck.
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Old 07.09.2021, 22:33
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Option 1: get to know neighbours and in conversation drop the fact that you're looking to buy in the area, but how it's so tough to find something etc. and hope one of them does the work for you

Option 2: i've received in the mail a flyer from families wanting to buy. they posted to everyone in the street. i have to say, it wasn't well received, but it might work.

Option 3: marry her and inherit the house!
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Old 07.09.2021, 22:48
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Tread carefully.

I’m on the receiving end of this at the moment, and honestly - If I have a say in it, none of the vultures circling will ever have a chance to put in an offer on my mother’s home.

(I’ve smiled and accepted their notes just so I have their names. They are now blacklisted.)

Intruding on a family at a difficult time with something so crass is IMO beyond ghoulish.

Sure, I know it’s done in some places. Heck, I know one heartless opportunistic estate agent who targets potential sellers by combing through the obits and attending funerals in ‘hot’ markets. But there is a reason estate agents are held in low esteem the world over…

I don’t know how this would be received in Switzerland… but especially if you are an outsider, tread very, very carefully. And for doG’s sake, be diplomatic.
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Old 08.09.2021, 08:05
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

I know one family who did it here.

They got to know the old people first and then bought their house a year or two later when they went into a nursing home.

I'd like to think it was all above board and the elderly couple got a fair price but the house was in an amazing position with the best views and no one could build in front of it but knowing this family - I doubt that.

After they bought it they had it completely renovated.

It takes a special kind of person to befriend someone just so you can get their house.
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:17
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Thanks for the feedback.

I agree that it's a very delicate situation, and one that as @meloncollie mentioned, can be perceived as opportunistic and heartless.

On the other hand, the real estate market is ultra competitive, and most opportunities quickly go to the hands of big real estate companies, constructors, etc giving little hope to private individuals to own a home. Unfortunately I feel you have to play their game if you want to have any chance.

@meloncollie I am specially interested in learning from your other end of this experience, and whether you think there's a better way to approach this. Is there anything that would have made you feel more comfortable with the proposal if the circumstances were the same?

I want to emphasise that I personally feel uncomfortable doing this, and that I am just trying to find the best way to do it (if any).
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:32
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Many take care of the house as their family.

If husband has died and she is still staying in home while being very sick, may be it is of high emotional value to her.

I agree with meloncollie, Thread carefully.
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:40
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

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There is a house in our neighbourhood where and old, and unfortunately, very sick lady lives. Her husband passed away a couple of years ago, and we noticed that the house is no longer well maintained, and nurses come and go to take care of her fragile health.

We would like to make an offer for the house, but it's currently not for sale. In some countries, a direct approach would not be unusual, and might be even welcomed, however I feel that in Switzerland this is might not be very well received.

What are your thoughts? Is there a good way to approach this? Is there a professional that usually takes care of this?

Thanks!

Just remember that you won't live forever. One day you could be in the same situation as that old lady. If she was desperate for money, a FOR SALE sign would have appeared.
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:49
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

It might not even be herís to sell. Swiss inheritance laws are complicated.
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:57
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

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@meloncollie I am specially interested in learning from your other end of this experience, and whether you think there's a better way to approach this. Is there anything that would have made you feel more comfortable with the proposal if the circumstances were the same?

I want to emphasise that I personally feel uncomfortable doing this, and that I am just trying to find the best way to do it (if any).

No.

The ultra competitive property market in no way justifies taking advantage of a poor woman’s frailty to get your hands on her home.

There are no circumstance in which approaching the family would not rightly be considered acting like a selfish opportunistic heartless vulture.

Honestly - re-read what you have written and imagine that the woman is your own mother. Then look in the mirror.

Wait until you hear that the home actually is for sale - like any decent person would do.
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Old 08.09.2021, 13:15
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

We are far from elderly, yet we are approached several times a year for our apartment which we own. I find it highly inappropriate, and if I was indeed old and near death's door, it would irritate me even more.

Put shortly, if you don't see a "for sale" sign, it's not for sale.

We did inspect a house a few years ago where an elderly woman lived until she passed away. She also had a nurse visit her daily. Upon her death, her children inherited the house and they decided to sell as it was the easiest way to split the assets.
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Old 08.09.2021, 13:54
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

I have a solution but you need to have already your own property (which I take you don't have?)
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Old 08.09.2021, 13:54
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Many owners know already what they want to do with their assets (even if they are old and frail). For example, an old and frail woman in our neighbourhood donated her building to a school. As others in the forum note, this is a very sensitive and delicate topic that is decided within families.

Let your neighbour have some peace and dignity in her old age and look for assets that are actually for sale. The Swiss real estate situation is dire but no need to act/think like a vulture.
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Old 08.09.2021, 14:09
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

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Many owners know already what they want to do with their assets (even if they are old and frail).
I am friends with an old lady, and she has everything well organized. Her cremation everything all paid for already. She even gave me a list of things to do when she dies. I have her keys, as she has no one else in her life.

She is not rich, so no vulture motives from my side
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Old 08.09.2021, 14:20
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

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No.

The ultra competitive property market in no way justifies taking advantage of a poor woman’s frailty to get your hands on her home.

There are no circumstance in which approaching the family would not rightly be considered acting like a selfish opportunistic heartless vulture.

Honestly - re-read what you have written and imagine that the woman is your own mother. Then look in the mirror.

Wait until you hear that the home actually is for sale - like any decent person would do.
I'm so happy you wrote all this. I read the OP's posts and thought exactly the same as you. Even the thought of seriously making such an offer while someone is on their deathbed and the house is not even et for sale shows a serious lack of morals and ethics.

PS: Tip to the OP, don't use the same forum username as your linkedin profile.
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Old 08.09.2021, 15:24
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Thanks for the feedback and the time you all put to reply. After seeing the comments from some of you, not only I regret thinking about doing this, but will definitely not do it.
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Old 08.09.2021, 15:50
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

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Thanks for the feedback and the time you all put to reply. After seeing the comments from some of you, not only I regret thinking about doing this, but will definitely not do it.
Glad to hear you take the general advice which I agree with on board. Itís bad enough having to fend off numerous phone calls of stone masons after publication of a death in the family. Personally, if I still had any energy left before gasping my last, Iíd attempt to amend my will to exclude such an approach from a future sale
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Old 08.09.2021, 15:56
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

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Thanks for the feedback and the time you all put to reply. After seeing the comments from some of you, not only I regret thinking about doing this, but will definitely not do it.
Keep an eye out on the housing websites but also, and maybe more importantly, locally on noticeboards etc.

I've seen a few houses advertised where the elderly occupants have decided to sell up go into sheltered housing but have not wanted lots of people traipsing around so have only advertised locally.
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Old 08.09.2021, 15:58
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

I have a holiday property in Spain and one day an English estate agent in a sweat-drenched suit appeared out of the blue and addressed me by the name of the previous owner who left in 2013, and before I knew it he was nosing his way around the house and telling me I need to do this or change that (as in add an extension and build a pool) and then he can find somebody who will offer me a good price, and also saying he could get me a builder to do the job. He was so sure of himself and of the fact that I actually wanted to sell that I assumed he must have got the wrong address - but when I asked him what address he was looking for he ignored me and just rambled on. I finally managed to push him out and then he started to bemoan that people are so rude these days and he was only trying to help.
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Old 08.09.2021, 16:03
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Re: Best way to offer buying a property that it's not for sale?

Thank you for asking this question. Just another example that cultures are different everywhere.

Where I am from in the US, unsolicited real estate offers are very normal. The person owning the property usually makes an outrageous price, and it is either accepted or everyone goes on their way.

Or is the thinking in this case, that the unsolicited offer is morbid because the owner is in poor health?
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