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Old 20.09.2010, 22:29
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Want to buy a property...

However, running into a couple of problems.

Of the few websites that we can find, no one seems to like responding. Even to us asking for viewings that and 2/3rds of the ads dont have prices.

Now I have not been here long (2 weeks ) but have never believed in renting. Have moved around a fair bit and always end up buying pretty quickly (great for the property portfolio - as we keep all the properties).

I am currently working in Zurich, Im a contractor and get a decent day rate. My other half is a contractor as well and is on a similar rate. We have enough cash to cover 20% deposit and costs for up to CHF350K, would like to be a little under this...

Now the basic spec is:
2-3 bedrooms
large grounds (have 2x german sheppards)
commutable to zurich (used to travel about 1 hour 20 in London, so willing to do the same) and dont mind driving and train, etc
semi rural
ideally down south
dont mind some work needing to be done, but must be liveable

Location, well, I am open to that, as I have seen a place between Zurich and Basel but also love the mountains, so would love to be down south.

Does anyone know some good estate agents, buyer agents, etc that can help me with my search???

How long does it normally take for a house transfer to happen?
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Old 20.09.2010, 22:36
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Re: Want to buy a property...

Your best bet as someone new is www.homegate.ch though finding you like here in CH with the right price does take time. It is not always easy and quick. My suggestion is that even though you do not believe in renting, it might be a good at-interm solution which will give you time to do some research in the marketplace. The fact that you are willing to commute up to 1+hour to zurich should provide you with some good options.

Good luck
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Old 20.09.2010, 23:04
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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Your best bet as someone new is www.homegate.ch though finding you like here in CH with the right price does take time. It is not always easy and quick. My suggestion is that even though you do not believe in renting, it might be a good at-interm solution which will give you time to do some research in the marketplace. The fact that you are willing to commute up to 1+hour to zurich should provide you with some good options.

Good luck
thats what we have always been told and never listened... we like owning our own place. It all goes into the investment pot, eventually. It is good advise... but we only stay in one place for 3-4 years... so renting makes no sense at all.
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Old 20.09.2010, 23:09
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Re: Want to buy a property...

also looking for a good mortgage consultant, if anyone can recommend one, especially if they have dealings with contractors
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Old 21.09.2010, 07:32
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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Now I have not been here long (2 weeks ) but have never believed in renting.
Hi, welcome to Switzerland. Start believing

Do you know that about 60-70% of people living in Switzerland rent? Have you heard of "eigenmietwert"? Switzerland is not comparable to other Euro countries when it comes to home-ownership. If you've done your homework and got a feel for how things work here, and can speak some German, then my only advice is to keep calling the contact number in the ad until you reach someone. Sometimes they don't list the price, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the old "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" thing
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:13
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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Now I have not been here long (2 weeks ) but have never believed in renting. Have moved around a fair bit and always end up buying pretty quickly (great for the property portfolio - as we keep all the properties).
I would always advise that one rents for the first year to familarise yourself with the area.
You will find that a lot of properties in switzerland have been on the market for four years which seems a really long time compared to say the UK where you USED TO wonder what was wrong when you didn't have an offer after 6 weeks.
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:15
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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Hi, welcome to Switzerland. Start believing

Do you know that about 60-70% of people living in Switzerland rent? Have you heard of "eigenmietwert"? Switzerland is not comparable to other Euro countries when it comes to home-ownership. If you've done your homework and got a feel for how things work here, and can speak some German, then my only advice is to keep calling the contact number in the ad until you reach someone. Sometimes they don't list the price, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the old "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" thing
thanks

yes, I knew that, want to take advantage of it (eventually)

what does the term mean?

in what way is not comparable to the other Euro countries?
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:24
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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what does the term mean?
Eigenmietwert is the rental value of your house/apartment, and the Swiss gov't adds that value to your income and taxes you on it. ie: if they deem your house could rent at 2,000 CHF per month, your annual taxable income just became +24,000 CHF compared to before you bought a house.

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in what way is not comparable to the other Euro countries?
See above.
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:33
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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Eigenmietwert is the rental value of your house/apartment, and the Swiss gov't adds that value to your income and taxes you on it. ie: if they deem your house could rent at 2,000 CHF per month, your annual taxable income just became +24,000 CHF compared to before you bought a house.
Our Eigenmietwert doubles my part-time salary

Here's a local real estate agency website:
http://www.resimmo.ch/resimmo/home


btw all banks can deal with contractors here. Just bring your pay slips.

We came here wanting to buy and it took us 2 years just to find something semi-suitable (ie good light, outside space, no main road or train line, no noise yet close to town). In the end it took us 6 months to come to an agreement on price for our house. Another house in our road is still for sale. It is one of those "price on application" ones ("asking" 5.4mil). As a general rule, anything without the price listed are 2mil plus (might not be possible with just 350k cash and little pension fund).
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:42
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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Hi, welcome to Switzerland. Start believing

Do you know that about 60-70% of people living in Switzerland rent? Have you heard of "eigenmietwert"? Switzerland is not comparable to other Euro countries when it comes to home-ownership. If you've done your homework and got a feel for how things work here, and can speak some German, then my only advice is to keep calling the contact number in the ad until you reach someone. Sometimes they don't list the price, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the old "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" thing
And in Zurich where Graham is 89% rent.

I would be interested to know where grahams properties are in the world and the time he bought them.

I really think there is going to be a changing attitude to owning property because:

1) Jobs are not for life any more and it makes sense to be more mobile.
2) Banks will want more deposit (25% plus) for many years and few will bea ble to raise that kind of money in the Western world as our wages get lower in real term and our taxes go up.
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:51
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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also looking for a good mortgage consultant, if anyone can recommend one, especially if they have dealings with contractors
the interest rates for mortgage is so low that buying a house is a good deal now...so go for it. Talk directly to banks for an offer. Choose a house that is also easy to resell later, preferable with close public transport.
Most people use homegate.ch or immoscout24.ch
Good luck
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Old 21.09.2010, 08:57
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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thats what we have always been told and never listened... we like owning our own place. It all goes into the investment pot, eventually. It is good advise... but we only stay in one place for 3-4 years... so renting makes no sense at all.
You may wish to investigate how property works here a little bit more.

For example, the Swiss don't like foreign owners, i.e. people who buy and then move abroad and rent their property, and neither - more importantly - do the banks. Your 20% deposit may be increased to 50% by the bank simply because you are not living there.

The market here is nothing, repeat, nothing like the UK (I don't know where you are from, but I'm assuming you are familiar with it).


There are fundamental differences in
  • How houses are bought
  • Why houses are bought
  • Capital gains
  • Capital gains taxes
  • Mortgage structuring
  • Mortgage ammortisation
  • Ownership taxes
  • How long things take
Having the money for the 20% deposit is only the first step in the whole challenge.

If you consider that it could take up to 1-2 years to finally move into a property, and you say you are only going to be here for 3-4 years, is it really worthwhile?

You also need to consider your tax situation. If you already have a portfolio of houses, you need to declare all of these in your tax declarations. If you pitch up with a tonne of money, the tax authorities will want to know where it came from. That said, having only been here only a few weeks, you may be in the clear on this.

Seriously, get some professional advice from a tax/property lawyer before taking this further. 600 CHF for a couple of hours consulting now, may save you a lot of money later.
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Last edited by Carlos R; 21.09.2010 at 09:48. Reason: &"*%% typo
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Old 21.09.2010, 09:52
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Re: Want to buy a property...

While you pay tax on the notional rent, at least the interest and any infrastructure costs are tax deductable.

However, here's a few points from buying a house in Baselland.

1. There was a 2.5% "stamp duty". Waived if we don't sell or move out and rent the house within 5 years.
2. Selling the house within 2 years means any profit is taxed at 100%
3. Minimum tax on profit is after 20 years.
4. Renting out the house within two years of purchase was not permitted
5. It took us 2 years to find a house we liked.
6. The value of houses in CH, overall, does not increase much over time. In fact, IIRC, in the past 20 years, in real terms, it's decreased.
7. To "buy to let" usually requires a 50% deposit
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Old 21.09.2010, 10:14
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Re: Want to buy a property...

Just to add, there are a host of pitfalls as mentioned by others and some more--eg. if you happen to move to US after being here, I don't know any bank that will let you keep your mortgage, you will be forced to sell; renting a place and being a foreign landlord raises all kinds of financial and legal issues, not to mention bank issues; your permit type/status may limit your ability buy or get a mortgage. You really need to educate yourself on the market before you just jump in. Also, if your budget is 350k, that will not buy very much in Switzerland and may mean a very old place with a lot of problems and/or renovating costs which again requires some knowledge of the swiss market, norms, and procedures.
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Old 21.09.2010, 11:08
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Re: Want to buy a property...

Tax returns also become part of your life - and they are far from simple!

And should you wish to sell anytime soon you'll be in for a world of tax pain.

Buying in Switzerland is a long term commitment to a fixed object.
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Old 21.09.2010, 11:28
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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1) Jobs are not for life any more and it makes sense to be more mobile.
i don't think having a house necessarily makes you less mobile - just rent it out while you are gone.

Last edited by Phil_MCR; 21.09.2010 at 13:58.
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Old 21.09.2010, 11:44
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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i don't having a house necessarily makes you less mobile - just rent it out while you are gone.
But if what Carlos and NAT have said and I believe it is, if you leave CH and want to rent the property out, you would have to finance 50% of the property value yourself and not just the usual 20%. I would suggest that potentially having to find several hundred thousand francs to leave the country and not leave the property empty could reduce one's mobility.
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Old 21.09.2010, 11:45
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Re: Want to buy a property...

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i don't having a house necessarily makes you less mobile - just rent it out while you are gone.
Theoretically! Switzerland isn't quite the same though for non-residents foreigners!
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Old 21.09.2010, 13:11
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Re: Want to buy a property...

Don't forget that unless you buy a holiday property - and these are limited in certain areas, i think you need to be on a B permit. Unless things have changed since I bought a property??
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Old 21.09.2010, 13:12
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Re: Want to buy a property...

Sorry forgot ... or a C permit or be Swiss
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