The Key to Successfully Buying Property in Switzerland

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Key to Successfully Buying Property in Switzerland

Are you considering buying a property in Switzerland, but unsure how to go about it or what you need to consider? Check out our expert tips below.

Switzerland is a fantastic country with its breathtaking views, snowy mountains, dreamy lakes and picturesque cities. Owning a property in Switzerland is often associated with being in a privileged position. If you’re considering buying a property in Switzerland, you’ll need to bear in mind that the legal system and steps to follow are very different from those you have experienced in the UK. This guide is intended to point out the advantages of investing some of your wealth in Switzerland but also to give practical advice on things to consider when purchasing a property. 

First of all, it is good to have a general understanding on Switzerland before starting your search because Switzerland is a very diverse country. It encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and climates in a limited area. But also from a cultural point of view, there is a high degree of diversity to be found; an obvious example is the fact that no less than 4 different languages are being spoken in Switzerland!

Switzerland consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. Politics and legislation are organised on three levels: Federal, Cantonal and Communal level.

Vaguely similar to the states in the USA, each of the 26 Cantons has a fair amount of autonomy despite being governed by the Federal government, and important topics such as costs of taxation and insurance might vary significantly between the Cantons. If you are looking to emigrate to Switzerland, it’s worth investigating the tax and insurance rates as they vary widely and in certain Cantons there is a zero inheritance tax rate.

Switzerland restricts the acquisition of real estate by foreigners by means of law and regulations on Federal, Cantonal, and Communal level. All foreigners that wish to acquire Swiss residential real estate, for example, must obtain approval from the authorities prior to their purchase. Such approval is by no means impossible, but relatively difficult to obtain without professional assistance. Other aspects to keep in mind are, and are not limited to: 

  • the maximum amount of net living area for non-Swiss residents
  • the maximum amount of m2 of land for non-Swiss residents
  • not being allowed to buy more than one property per household for non-Swiss residents
  • the new Weber legislation which heavily restricts the amount of secondary residency allowed to be built in Switzerland

The fact that the above restrictions do not necessarily apply in case you would like to emigrate to Switzerland permanently. 

Switzerland has a lot of foreigners and they all enjoy an extremely high-quality level of life, but without the correct guidance and know-how, it can quickly become unnecessarily complicated to buy and possibly build in Switzerland for a foreigner. Which is a shame because Switzerland is an incredible country and one of the best countries in the world now to invest in. Here’s why: 

  • Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult in the world
  • Switzerland has an incredibly high living, healthcare and education standards and consistently ranks high up in various renowned global indexes with Zürich, Geneva and Basel being ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life
  • A real estate investment in the rock-solid Swiss Franc is one of the best imaginable. Even now, the Swiss Franc firmly retains its value and thus offers tremendous value for money
  • Switzerland is one of the last ‘safe heavens’ in today’s world

If you're looking to purchase a property in Switzerland, then click the link below to view our list of available properties.

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