What is the position regarding the purchase of a Residential property-chalet or apartment in Switzerland by a non Swiss or non Resident person?
The sale of property to non-Swiss residents is subject to several conditions/ laws. Each canton has a yearly quota of properties authorised for sale to - non-residents. This law came into effect on the 1st January 1985 The purpose of the law is to control the purchase of properties in Switzerland by non-residents. An authorisation to purchase must be obtained from the Federal Department of Justice and Police, this is obtained via a Notary who deals with all aspects of the Sale/transfer of Property (in Switzerland they are State officials).
Who can buy?
A Foreigner ie. Non-Swiss may only buy one property per family in Switzerland: with ‘family’ defined as husband and wife and/or under-age children. After the age of 20, the son or daughter of an owner may purchase one property in his/her own name, provided he/she can prove his/her financial independence.
What can I buy?
A non resident is allowed to buy an apartment or a chalet which is no larger than 200m2
What about Re sale?
The Swiss have introduced a law preventing the re sale of properties within 5 years of purchase. This was introduced to stop speculation, and therefore a way of trying to stabilise prices.
In the event of financial hardship divorce or illness requests to sell earlier can be sanctioned.
How long can I be in my property?
An owner or his family may occupy their apartment/Chalet for up to six months per annum.
Am I allowed to let out the property?
A property cannot be rented on a yearly basis (it can be let for a max period of max 11 months and one week) Reason for this Regulation is because an owner is supposed to use his property for at least three weeks of the year.
What are the associated costs of purchase?
- Cantonal + Communal transfer fee: 3.3 %
- Notary’s costs/fee and registration Fee: 1.7 %
i.e. The purchase costs amount to a total of 5.0 % of the acquisition price.
If a mortgage is required what are the costs involved?
- up to 100’000.-- = 0,6 %
- up to 200’000.-- = 0,5 %
- up to 300’000.-- = 0,47 %
- up to 400’000.-- = 0,45 %
- up to 500’000.-- = 0,44 %
So we have found a property what is the procedure to complete the purchase?
This is relatively straight forward and I recommend that an appointment be made with a Notaire which we can introduce you to. At that meeting you will need to bring your passport, you will complete a civil status questionnaire. And it will be possible for you to grant the Notaire a Power of Attorney to sign the contact on your behalf within that document will be:
- The name and full address of the purchaser,
- The location, name and details of the chalet/apartment, the number of the apartment and floor it is on, the number of the parking space (if applicable),
- The detailed selling price: price of the apartment
Price of the parking space = Total sale price
In the case of a Building under construction this will also detail the schedule of payments, as a percentage of the total sale price, corresponding to the extent of
- The total mortgage required and the name of the banking firm to which the application is made.
- Copy of his/her passport.
- Then he must fill out a Power of Attorney which states the following :
The above documents are normally completed with the help of Gérance-Se and then forwarded to the official Swiss notary who begins the purchase procedure.
Once the notary has received all these completed and signed documents, plus the deposit, he will take the following steps :
- Proceed to the signing of the agreement to sell and purchase (Promesse de vente et d’achat) or a pre-signed contract for a future purchase (Vente à terme).
- Application via the Notaire for you to purchase a non resident in Switzerland
- Apply for any mortgage required
When Permission for you to purchase has been received the the Notaire will complete the Contract and the property will be Registered in your name(s) at The Land Registry.
Are there any guarantees on Properties bought ?
Construction guarantee (for new buildings only)
The federal construction guarantee is:
- 5 (five) years for construction defects
- 10 (ten) years for hidden defects
For non new properties, there is no guarantee.
These notes are produced as a guide only. We always recommend that clients take professional advice from their legal adviser and accountants before committing themselves contractually. This document is for information only and does not form part of any contract to purchase.