Acquiring a primary residence or a holiday home in Switzerland can be a bewildering experience in many ways. Real estate markets vary locally and there is no central, shared listing. Many listings are offered in the local language only as are all legal and construction-related documents. Agents operate in varying ways and sellers may be private homeowners rather than trained professionals.

Historically low-interest mortgages have resulted in more Swiss homeownership demand since c. Year 2000.  This trend adds pressure to a limited homeowner market place that comprises only 25% of all housing available across Switzerland. Within this small segment of the home market, only 25% of all units available are single-family houses.  The Swiss housing market is clearly geared towards rental and apartment living with limited options for any type of homeownership.

Since 1997, single family home prices across Switzerland have risen annually by only 1.9%,  2.4% for owner-occupied apartments. Hotspot areas around Basel, Geneva and Zürich are naturally subject to higher-than-average prices, sometimes overheating.  Given the relatively modest annual gains in home values, it is important to recognize quality real estate so as to purchase wisely with a view to long-term value. Knowing how a neighborhood will develop in coming years is also essential for maintaining the home value established at time of purchase.

Swiss properties are bought in as is condition without an architectural or engineering survey performed. Many houses and apartments in urban areas are sold in worn condition, requiring intervention.  This can range from a minimal surfaces & appliances update to a full-blown renovation involving mechanical, electrical, structural and energy systems. Adherence to local building, environmental, energy conservation and historic codes can add significant costs to the basic purchase price .. and to taxes … if not well considered from the start.  The difference between “value preservation” and “value enhancement” is not always obvious to laypersons.

Our property purchase service helps you reach a successful and sustainable deal.  We save time and minimize stress through addressing issues such as these:

  • understanding the local market
  • knowing where to buy including potential resale values
  • handling negotiations with Swiss sellers
  • considering legal aspects of the purchase process and fees involved
  • understanding Swiss mortgage constructs and bank requirements
  • familiarizing oneself with construction & renovation norms
  • minimizing effects on Swiss and home country tax positions after purchase

Feel free to contact us for a non-binding, short discussion of your ideas about buying a home.