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FAQs for Switzerland

Buyers’ FAQs for Switzerland

Purchasing Process

What are the costs when purchasing a property in Switzerland?

When buying a property in Switzerland you will bear full responsibility for the costs, as the seller does not pay any notary fees. That said, it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to buy a property and you can expect to pay around 3% of the purchase price. The exact amount varies from canton to canton.

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How long does it take to buy a property in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, it takes around 2-4 months to buy an existing property in Switzerland. However, there are instances where it can take longer if the sale is more complex or if there is a long property chain involved.

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What is the Purchase Process in Switzerland

The property purchase process in Switzerland consists of different stages you will need to follow. Here are the stages you need to follow.

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What is the role of the agent?

It’s important to find a professional and reliable agent as they should make the process easier to manage. They’ll help find the right property based on your budget and criteria and organize property viewings.

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What are the staged payments when buying a property in Switzerland off plan?

If you are buying off plan in Switzerland, there are a few staged payments that will have to be made. Payment structures differ depending on the developer.

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What construction guarantees are there when buying off plan?

In Switzerland new build properties come with a 5 year guarantee against construction defects.

Mortgages

How much can I borrow from a Swiss bank?

You can usually secure up to 70% of the property purchase price from a Swiss bank (or up to 50% for properties over CHF 2.5 million). If other securities are used, such as cash deposited.

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What are the interest rates on Swiss Mortgages?

Since the financial crisis interest rates in Switzerland have been some of the lowest in the western world as Switzerland became a ‘safe-haven’ for international investors.

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How long are Swiss mortgages?

Mortgages in Switzerland usually last for 25 years, although longer term deals may be available depending on the lender and your financial circumstances.

What Types of Mortgages Available in Switzerland

There are three main types of mortgages available to apply for when buying a property in Switzerland.

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Rental Investment Opportunities

How do I rent out my property in Switzerland?

Renting your property in Switzerland is a relatively straightforward process. You can use a local agent to deal with everything from admin to property management. They’ll also take care of marketing the property, finding and vetting tenants and ensuring it is fully maintained when you are not in the country.

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Do I have to rent out my property in Switzerland?

It depends! Generally, if you own a second home in Switzerland, you are under no obligation to rent it out when you are not there.

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How often can I use my rental property myself?

You can stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa, allowing you to use your rental property while you are in the country.

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Is Switzerland a Good Place to Invest into Property

Buying a property in Switzerland makes for a safe investment, as prices tend to remain relatively stable, even during challenging economic periods.

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Has Switzerland’s economy recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Like the rest of the world, the Swiss economy had to face a host of unique challenges during the COVID pandemic. But thanks to its diverse nature the economy showed a lot of resilience and has continued to recover as the country opened and business returned to normal. GDP shrank by 2.5% in 2020 – much smaller than most other countries – and recovered to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021.

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Buying a property in a Company Name

Can I purchase a property in a company name in Switzerland?

Swiss law only allows a foreigner buyer to purchase one second home using their own name. It is possible to buy any number of commercial properties and to buy these in a company name.

How much local property tax do I need to pay in Switzerland?

As a foreign property owner in Switzerland, you will have to pay taxes on a notional cadastral value of your property. Taxes are paid to council, cantonal and federal authorities. Council and Cantonal taxes vary depending on the location. The rate at which you are taxed is determined by your global wealth.

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How Much Swiss Rental Income Tax Should I Pay

If you rent out your property in Switzerland, you will be liable to pay tax on any rental income you earn. If you do not rent out your chalet you are taxed on a notional rental income. This is usually around 70% of market rent. Mortgage interest payments and maintenance costs can also be deducted from your taxable income.

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Can I reclaim the VAT by renting my property in Switzerland?

No. VAT rebates on new-build property are available in both the Austrian and French Alps but not in Switzerland.

How much is capital gains tax?

For real estate in Switzerland, the rate of capital gains tax depends on how long you have owned the property and how much profit has been generated. The longer you own the property, the less CGT you pay. Typically, after 25 years there is no CGT. The tax rate is determined by the local canton and is based on the purchase and sale price, minus the cost of any renovations or changes that have been made to the property.

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Are there any further taxes I need to be aware of?

Inheritance tax is not applicable in all 26 cantons in Switzerland if the property is gifted to a spouse. If passed onto a direct descendant, it is only taxable in 4 cantons at a very low rate (a maximum of 3.5% in Vaud). If gifted to a third party, a tax of between 15% and 55% will be applied depending on the canton.

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Applying for residency

Can I Become a Resident in Switzerland

You can become a resident in Switzerland if you meet the necessary requirements. Meeting these requirements will boost your chances of being accepted.

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How long can I stay in Switzerland for?

You can stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. If you wish to stay in the country for longer than 3 months, you need to apply for a short-term Swiss residency permit (L permit) if staying up to a year.

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Restrictions

Can Foreigners Buy a Property in Switzerland

The purchase of second homes by non-resident foreigners is governed by the Lex Koller. It allows foreigners to own just one second home in Switzerland.

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Can UK Citizens buy property in Switzerland?

UK citizens are free to purchase property in Switzerland. The only restrictions to be aware of the limit on the number of days you can stay in the country for (90 days within any 180-day period) and that you cannot buy a Swiss property in a company name.

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Are there any restrictions on selling my property?

In order to discourage speculative property purchases, you are now required to hold onto your apartment or chalet for a minimum of 5 years. After 5 years you are free to sell as you wish and we often assist buyers with re-sale at Alpine Property Finders.

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Wat zijn de verschillende soorten woning in Zwitserland

Appartementen en chalets binnen een resort met gedeelde voorzieningen maken deel uit van een mede-eigendom (zoals een vereniging van eigenaars).

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