Swiss Regulations for buying a property


In Switzerland over 60 percent of people rent their residence, therefore buying a house is not a common thing. In popular cities like Zurich, Basel and Geneva there are even less owners. Property ownership is higher in rural areas. Property ownership is higher in rural areas and lower in popular cities like Zurich, Basel and Geneva. Constant growth in urban populations over the last 50 years has increased pressure on limited housing stock. 
Switzerland has strict regulations about the purchase of properties by foreigners, so in this case the options are limited. A foreigner can buy a property if:
-          is a member of EU or EFTA national with a Swiss residence permit who resides in Switzerland;
-          holds a Swiss C Permit.
In both cases, the rights for purchasing a property will be the same as for a Swiss citizen so that everyone can buy business premises, investment properties or a holiday home, in addition to a primary residence.
For foreigners with Swiss B Permit there is the possibility to purchase a property, but only to live in.
The purchase of a property may not be allowed for those foreigners who fall outside these categories, such as non-resident, foreign residents without a Swiss work permit (including those working for diplomatic missions, UN agencies and CERN) or workers on short term or seasonal work permits, unless they apply for a license to purchase. Licensing criteria vary from canton to canton but will typically favor applicants purchasing a primary residence who have been settled in the canton for five years or more.
Buying a property in Switzerland must be done according to the zoning regulations. Local taxes vary on cantonal and communal level. For example, persons who are not working in the agricultural field may buy properties on agricultural land, such as farms and houses. Constructions, extensions or in some cases repairs to buildings that are not required for agricultural work can be done under strict regulations.
Detached houses and apartments have annual charges for maintenance services, car parking, private roads that have a rate of 1% of the sale price annually.
In Switzerland, the costs of buying a property are made through mortgages, which are in most cases arranged directly with the lender, usually a bank. Usually, the minimum deposit for a mortgage is 20% of the sum, of which a least 10% should be in cash. Considering that prices are high for some properties in certain areas, this deposit may be quite prohibitive.
A notary handles Swiss property transfers. The notary’s fees should be considered somewhere around 5% of the sale price. These fees include the property transfer tax, registering of the deed with the land registry office and the notary’s own fees.
For entrepreneurs interested in buying a Swiss property to use as a company office, they should rather consider renting an office in a Swiss business center, as they can benefit from all the facilities provided by it, with lower costs.

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