Buying an apartment in Switzerland: can you afford it?

The first advice for buying a house or an apartment is to ask yourself if your financial situation allows you to become an owner. There are two possibilities:

      • You have the full amount necessary to cover not only the sale price of the house but also all the other additional costs that we will discuss later in this article;
      • You have only part of the money you need, or no equity at all. In this case, you must necessarily apply for a mortgage loan.

Note that there are also several types of mortgages, at fixed or variable rates, in particular: read the article ''Choosing a mortgage to buy a house''. 

What costs should be taken into account for a real estate purchase?

In addition to the purchase price of the property, other costs will also arise when you want to buy real estate:

      • If the seller is a builder, you must add VAT to the price;
      • If the purchase is made through a real estate agency, you must also take into account the fees of the latter. This commission corresponds to a small percentage of the price indicated in the contract concluded with it (which translates into several thousand CHF);
      • Notary fees;
      • The registration tax of the deed of sale and the costs of its transcription;
      • Restructuring costs if you want to renovate.

What costs to anticipate to renovate?

What condition is the property in? Is it immediately habitable, equipped with all the necessary comforts, or does it need to be renovated? What renovations are needed?

Above all, have it visited by a trusted company and ask for a quote. Then systematically add to the amount requested by the company a good 30% more to anticipate the additional costs:

      • Often, in fact, during construction, unforeseen events arise and generate unexpected costs. Also take into account the fact that, if you are renovating the property, you will need a technician to draw up a project and take care of the administrative formalities with the competent offices: therefore remember to provide for the payment of his fees as well;
      • Possible extraordinary expenses of a collective nature may also arise. We will come back to the co-ownership in detail later. However, you can already find out about the conditions of residence in PPE and the acceptance of extraordinary expenses, such as the renovation of the facade or other common parts of the building. In particular, find out about the annual maintenance amount that you will have to pay if you become the owner of the property.

Once you have calculated the total amount needed, make sure the property is within your means. If not, you can apply for a mortgage loan from a bank. Consider that to get a mortgage for an apartment or house, you need to have enough income to cover the payment.

Optimize your budget and calculate your purchasing potential with our simulator.

What should be paid attention to when visiting the house?

Some tips for buying a house are given during the visit of the house, either with the seller or with the real estate agent. To find out if the property is worth buying, watch out for these important points:

      • If you are not familiar with the area where the property is located, take the time to walk around and observe all the details. Is he restless or calm? Are there offices? Where are the pharmacies, banks, grocery stores, public transport stops in relation to the property you wish to buy? Then come back to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and especially in the evening: sometimes, an area that seems calm and lively during working hours becomes deserted and dangerous at nightfall. Also check with some merchants who have their shops nearby;
      • If the property is in an apartment building, pay attention to the building. Check that the facade and common areas, especially the stairs and elevator, are well maintained or at least decent. A filthy elevator filled with writings reveals sloppy condominiums. In this case, it is best to stay away;
      • Do you notice the presence of gates or security and/or surveillance systems? If so, where are they located? If they are installed on lower floors, it is not surprising – it is a normal precaution. However, if these protective devices are located on the upper floors, it is a sign that a theft has probably already taken place in the building;
      • If you are specifically visiting the property you are looking for, check the condition of the floors, doors and windows. Especially if you are not planning any renovations, it is important that everything is in good condition. In particular, check that windows and doors close properly;
      • Check that the heating system is working properly and that it has been installed correctly. It is also important to know whether this heating installation is independent or centralized. Keep in mind that an independent system is preferable because it is better to be able to decide freely when you want to heat your property. In the case of autonomous heating, check the date of installation of the boiler, if it is still under warranty and if regular maintenance is carried out (and more particularly if a maintenance contract is in progress and if it is possible to do so). extend rather than looking for a new heating contractor who will charge you a system analysis fee);
      • Pay attention to the noises you hear in the apartment and assess whether they are bearable or too annoying. It is advisable, also for this reason, to visit the house several times and at different times. Check if there are noisy establishments nearby;
      • If you intend to renovate the apartment, identify the load-bearing walls of the house: you cannot intervene by knocking them down. Knowing where they are located will be useful to understand if the subdivision of the apartment you want to make is possible. For greater certainty, call on an architect to request an estimate for the transformations or renovations you wish to undertake;
      • Check that the bathroom and kitchen have a window or at least an air vent to ensure good ventilation.

Once all these parameters have been taken into account, you will quickly realize the additional costs that the purchase of the property you are looking for can entail. If one is ready to invest so much, it is better to be prepared and to anticipate all the financial surprises.

Our INP Finanz experts explain everything to you!

As you will have noticed, many elements can increase the bill for a real estate purchase. With INP Finanz, you put your project in the hands of a real estate financing expert. This specialist advises you, assesses your purchasing potential and offers you the best mortgage offer on the market based on your financial situation and your expectations for the property of your dreams.

Our goal : help you carry out the projects that are important to you.

Request a no-obligation consultation now. 


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