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Property Search

Switzerland - Property Search

When searching for property in Switzerland you can either use an estate agent (realtor) or go it alone by using one of the property search websites. You will also find property advertised locally. Asking around your network of friends and colleagues can be valuable in Switzerland, where the best properties exchange hands quickly and early viewing is a must. Another useful place to look is on expat websites. Even though the vast majority of expat advertised properties are rentals, you will be able to place your own wanted ad and others may keep their eyes and ears open on your behalf. Websites intended for overseas buyers are generally not helpful as they are aimed squarely at the vacation home buyer, often in luxury mountain resorts. If you want a plot of land on which to build your own home, an architect will be a useful first point of call.

As estate agents as well as private sellers advertise on the property websites, it will often be an agency who responds when you reply to an ad. They may subsequently keep in touch and send you details of other properties that meet your criteria. If you wish, you can select an estate agent from the outset who will direct you to potential properties on their books. To find an accredited estate agent you can check the member directory of The Swiss Real Estate Association SVIT, who regulate member activities throughout Switzerland. Normally there will be commission to pay to the agent if you buy a property and this will be a percentage of the purchase price, typically 2-4%. As rates can vary you should confirm the rate of commission with the agent before committing to any properties.

Estate agents in Switzerland have been criticised for making no mention of negatives associated with properties, including serious defects and drawbacks. An expat tip is to use Google Streetview, where available, to preview a property location before taking the time to view it in person. This way you can spot any potential problems with the location that have been left out of the property description. Other expat advice on viewing includes being sure to ask plenty of relevant questions about the location so you don't waste your time on something unsuitable, and on arrival to take a good look at the property exterior before deciding whether it's worthwhile to see inside.

If you are looking for a new build to buy off-plan, you can contact the developers directly. Again, even though the properties may not yet be built, from the moment they become available off-plan they can be sold very quickly so you will want to keep an eye on any planned developments. New builds are advertised on the website www.erstbezug.ch and you can select the locations that interest you using an interactive map. Properties marked in green are available to buy, those in blue are for rent. When you reserve off-plan there may be an initial reservation fee to pay, with the remainder of the deposit due on signing the full contract.

A relocation agent will often include a home-finding service and their contacts and insider knowledge can be helpful in finding properties that you otherwise might not have known about. Fees are rarely advertised so it would be wise to contact a few agents and to compare quotes, along with seeking out recommendations from the expat community. Expect to pay several thousand Swiss francs if your employer is not funding this as part of a relocation package. The EuRA Directory is a helpful place to begin your relocation company search.

Useful Resources

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New builds:

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