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Old 11.10.2009, 22:20
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Re: Just bought a house!

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Yes, stand-alone house in the sense you can walk completely around it (through the garage, however, the garage wall connects to the neighbors garage).

Hint about finding affordable housing...don't look in Kanton Zurich....go to homegate.ch and search Kanton Aargau. There are plenty of places there strategically placed near S Bahn stations, A1 motorway, and also the newly opened Westring. Lots of houses for sale in the 600-750K range that are perfectly nice. And interest rates now are ridiculously low, we got 2.35% for 5 years. We now pay less than 700 CHF a month mortgage!

So true. We are in Kt. Aargau too, very close to Kt. Zürich border. We are also minutes to an S Bahn station too, it's great. Shopping in Germany is simple. We're 20 minutes to Waldshut through Koblenz. One area that attracted a lot of attention recently is Döttingen, when the tax rate dropped to 60%!
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Old 12.10.2009, 10:34
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Re: Just bought a house!

One catch which you may want to check on is that the balance in your pension fund is also used for disability and life insurance. If you cleaned it out then your coverage might be = null. If you have a family this could be a bad thing! When we bought our house we also added some insurance to cover the event that I die or become disabled ... enough to cover the shortfall.
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  #43  
Old 12.10.2009, 11:08
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Re: Just bought a house!

realistically, anyone sensible buying a house will have adequate life insurance (and your mortgage might require this). We had a setup where 50% of the mortgage would be covered if the worst case scenario was to be realised.
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  #44  
Old 12.10.2009, 11:31
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Re: Just bought a house!

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I also believe that you can dip below 2% in the current market. Shop around for a mortgage provider. If you work for a bank, you'll also get very good deals
It always pays to shop around but you don't always get the best deal at the bank you work for. A couple of friends that work in banks were offered better deals elsewhere. One works for CS and went with Raiffeisen and another worked for UBS and went with CS. Plus, getting an employee discounted rate is just another job tie-in for your employer.

I pay < 1% on a 1 month rolling Libor. I see nothing wrong with pledging your entire pension fund when you are young. When we got our house here we were 28 & 30 and retirement seemed so long away. We withdrew a small part of the pension fund and raised the rest of the deposit through savings and investing those savings over the years.

Why doesn't everyone do it? Unfortunately, many people see saving CHF 100k plus as too difficult. Many people see money still in their account at the end of the month and blow it on on things they don't really need. Going out for lunch at work we were looking for places with EC because one colleague had no money left in her account. When salary was delayed by one day, one guy said he couldn't afford to come into work. The same guy who said he regularly spends CHF 600 on a night out. A 26 year old colleague managed to save CHF 30k in a year. I tried to convince him to save up more and get his own place, but he wanted the rewards now and went and got a car. As a clue to general spending patterns amongst the young - you should have seen Mobile Zone in Zug on Thursday evening. The queue was out the door!

I wonder how many people on this forum drive an expensive new car and wouldn't dare be seen in Denner, but say that they can't afford their own place here. It is all about priorities.
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  #45  
Old 12.10.2009, 11:54
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Re: Just bought a house!

Karl ,
can you give me a feel of the legal costs?
Am in a similar postion to you and tomorrow is decision day!



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So we just moved into the house that we bought. It's got everything we wanted, nice private garden, quiet sunny location close to schools, train, motorway, shops, 20 minutes from Zurich, bedrooms for all, built out attic, large cellar, even has the bomb shelter (aka wine cellar). The surrounding countryside is beautiful, surrounded by woods, farms and castles within biking distance.

Details:
Price: 685K
Down payment: 325K (used my entire pensionfund)
House: 19 years old, solid, in immaculate condition, fully renovated.
Interest rate on the loan: 2.35% for 5 years, resulting in 675 CHF / month...we have been paying 2600 CHF in rent for an apartment for the past 14 years!

With pensions getting only 2% interest, and their viability in question, I just think this is the better way to go. My pension was racking up only 541 CHF per month in interest...by rolling over into the house we save 2000 in rent. OK, some tax penalty for the Eigenmietwert, but we still come out ahead. What's the catch here? Why doesn't everyone do this?
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  #46  
Old 12.10.2009, 12:06
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Re: Just bought a house!

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That's a useful post Karl, but where did you find a house for 685K? Is it a standalone house?

Everything I looked at recently is at least 1 million and I can only find apartments for this price.

Congratulations on your house!
Maybe it depends where you are looking and how much renovation you would need to do. We bought a really nice house in Winterthur with a large garden (ok large for Swiss standards) for less than this price which is fairly normal here. The problem seems to be finding a good house in the first place.

And yes the large deposit really is a problem especially if you have children. I personally didn't want to sink my pension fund into a house. Maybe a daft question but what are you supposed to live on when you're retired?
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  #47  
Old 12.10.2009, 12:13
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Re: Just bought a house!

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I wonder how many people on this forum drive an expensive new car and wouldn't dare be seen in Denner, but say that they can't afford their own place here. It is all about priorities.
Ssshhhh guys, don't get people all excited about this house buying thing, they'll push up prices and create a bubble like in those Anglo-Saxon countries. And that seems to end in tears.
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  #48  
Old 12.10.2009, 13:12
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Re: Just bought a house!

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Karl ,
can you give me a feel of the legal costs?
Am in a similar postion to you and tomorrow is decision day!

Usually you require just a notar for the house purchase. The fees are quite standard unless things get very complicated and are generally split between the purchaser and the seller. I think you could budget approx 5 -6,000 sfr to cover the notar costs.
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  #49  
Old 12.10.2009, 13:37
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Re: Just bought a house!

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So true. We are in Kt. Aargau too, very close to Kt. Zürich border. We are also minutes to an S Bahn station too, it's great. Shopping in Germany is simple. We're 20 minutes to Waldshut through Koblenz. One area that attracted a lot of attention recently is Döttingen, when the tax rate dropped to 60%!
Hey, I finally found a neighbor... We've just moved a few months ago 5min from Koblenz.
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Old 12.10.2009, 13:51
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Re: Just bought a house!

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Usually you require just a notar for the house purchase. The fees are quite standard unless things get very complicated and are generally split between the purchaser and the seller. I think you could budget approx 5 -6,000 sfr to cover the notar costs.

1) You need a notary, there's no way to proceed without.

2) Fees vary between cantons, Vaud, the buyer needs to budget 4.5-5% of the cost which covers the notary fee and the cantonal taxes.

3) Generaly split....once again, this is very cantonal
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  #51  
Old 12.10.2009, 13:56
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Re: Just bought a house!

Fantastic news Karl. Thanks for cheering us all up.

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Noone is going to nag him about pin holes in the wall, and tap filters that need replacing when they move out!
About tap filters, soak in cheap white vinegar overnight, then brush off and they look like new. Always works for me. Even completely blocked ones.

On the deposit front, 20% normally does it for residential.
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  #52  
Old 12.10.2009, 15:45
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Re: Just bought a house!

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Ssshhhh guys, don't get people all excited about this house buying thing, they'll push up prices and create a bubble like in those Anglo-Saxon countries. And that seems to end in tears.
The Swiss may not get excited about house buying, but they certainly go nuts for the lottery. I wondered why the Kiosk queue was so long then I saw everyone was buying lottery tickets. Ricardo really gets them excited too, with many bidding more than the new price for some items. I suppose it is better than always talking about house prices like they do back home.
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  #53  
Old 12.10.2009, 16:31
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Re: Just bought a house!

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Karl ,
can you give me a feel of the legal costs?
Am in a similar postion to you and tomorrow is decision day!
The public notary cost us 1900 CHF (the sellers paid an equal amount). Tax for early withdrawal of pension will set us back 20K (we budgeted for that). Some few hundred francs for inspection and paperwork. 1800 to buy the remaining fuel oil in their tank...moving cost with cleaning 4700 (including moving a grand piano), another couple grand in new Ikea furniture, 1200 for a brand new Weber grill...1300 for an LCD TV...that's about it...will have to pay for new plates on the cars.
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Old 12.10.2009, 16:38
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Re: Just bought a house!

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Maybe it depends where you are looking and how much renovation you would need to do. We bought a really nice house in Winterthur with a large garden (ok large for Swiss standards) for less than this price which is fairly normal here. The problem seems to be finding a good house in the first place.

And yes the large deposit really is a problem especially if you have children. I personally didn't want to sink my pension fund into a house. Maybe a daft question but what are you supposed to live on when you're retired?
Once retired you need money to pay for the following items:
- Housing: well, won't need to pay anything here as it will be paid off
- Food, insurance, utilities, entertainment: should be covered by AHV, 3 pillar savings, and wife's pension, and whatever inheritance I get.
- Plus I have 15 years left to work and rebuild my pension to some level.

I think we will be OK, worst case we sell the house and downsize to an apartment, kids will be out by then anyway and we won't need so much space.
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Old 12.10.2009, 17:39
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Re: Just bought a house!

Congratulations on your new house.
We moved into a bungalow in Zurich last year and its a super feeling having your own home, so enjoy it, by the way its taken us 30 years to find what we wanted at the price we wanted to pay, so those that are looking dont be down hearted if you dont find it subito
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  #56  
Old 12.10.2009, 17:45
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Re: Just bought a house!

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On the deposit front, 20% normally does it for residential.
That's 20% of what the bank values the place at. They can, and do ask for more. For one apartment we were interested in they wanted CHF 70k more deposit over the 20%. For a house with 2 less bedrooms and above the town they wanted only 13% deposit.
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  #57  
Old 13.10.2009, 10:11
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Re: Just bought a house!

Hi all, and congratz Karl. I hope it all goes smoothly. Very interesting thread developing here, and i'll keep an eye out on it as i've just put the depo down on my first ever flat, here in Zurich! Exciting times ahead it seems!
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Old 13.10.2009, 12:02
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Re: Just bought a house!

fyi, for anyone shopping for a mortgage in Switzerland, go to www.comparis.ch and visit the Hypotheken side. They list all financial institutions offering mortgages in Switzerland, in ascending order of interest rate. You can get the lowest quote from them but you have to put down a few hundred CHF which they credit you back if you actually take out the mortgage.
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Old 13.10.2009, 12:45
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Re: Just bought a house!

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fyi, for anyone shopping for a mortgage in Switzerland, go to www.comparis.ch and visit the Hypotheken side. They list all financial institutions offering mortgages in Switzerland, in ascending order of interest rate. You can get the lowest quote from them but you have to put down a few hundred CHF which they credit you back if you actually take out the mortgage.
Sorry, but that's insane to pay money to find out who offers the cheapest interest rate. You really need to give the bank the property details and then they come up with their best interest rate and yearly repayment amount. This varied considerably between banks and 2 properties for us. We also don't pay the published rate, but a .7% discount off the lowest published rate.

Comparis also takes fees from companies promoted on their site - so I wouldn't recommend them for finding the cheapest products for anything. They are only useful when comparing between other companies that also pay them the fees. Some of the cheapest insurers, telephone providers and other companies don't have the budgets or margins to afford their fees.
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Old 13.10.2009, 13:16
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Re: Just bought a house!

In some cantons, e.g. BL, the Notar fee is fixed, not a percentage - for us it was about 1000CHF for a +1M CHF house. If we move out of BL within 5 years though, we have to pay registry tax (like UK stamp duty) of 1.25%. And one year after moving in, we had to have a new (gas) boiler as the old one failed the new emissions test - 17'000CHF ... And two years or so, we have to have the 'lectrics tested...

Our mortgage payments are significantly lower than what we'd being paying in rent for the same house. As is the notional rent tax charge.

I believe in many areas, house prices have fallen in real terms over the past few decades. So, it's not necessarily a great investment - but considering the saving on rent, over that period, and that at the end you've got a house,and I can do what I like to the parquet flooring, it certainly suits me.
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