In the following section, you’ll find the necessary procedures to follow once you’ve identified a property and are ready to make an offer.
The sale of property to non-Swiss citizens is subject to the “Lex Friedrich” law which limits the acquisition of apartments and other non-commercial buildings in Switzerland by non-resident foreigners. Each canton has an annual quota for property sales to foreigners. A notary must obtain permission from the cantonal authorities and the Federal Department of Justice and Police. If the annual quota has already been reached, it is necessary to wait either for the allocation of an additional quota or until the following year. This may delay the conclusion of the sale.
No authorization is required for the purchase of a principal residence if the buyer has a residence permit B (work permits for non-Swiss nationals) unless the property exceeds 2,000 square meters.
All EU citizens with a residence permit B and all foreigners with a residence permit C (residence permit for non-Swiss nationals) are exempt from limitations on buying property. Legally in this regard, they have the status of Swiss citizens.
Once the buyer has chosen a property, he must complete the following procedure:
- Sign the agreements of sale and return them initialed (all pages) and signed (last page).
- Complete a questionnaire on marital status.
- Complete a declaration of honor (attestingto the fact that he currently owns no property in Switzerland)
- Complete a power of attorney indicating the name and address of the purchaser, the name and location of the property, the number of parking spaces (if applicable) and the retail price.
- Send us a copy of his signed passport.
- The documents mentioned above are normally completed with our assistance and then sent to the notary to begin the buying process.
Once the notary has received all the completed and signed documents as well asthe deposit, he may proceed with the signing of the deed of sale and apply for permission to purchase in the case of non-Swiss citizens. This process generally lasts two or three months.
Once authorization is received, the undersigned must duly record the deed with the Land Registry.
To complete the transaction, it is necessary to use a Swiss public notary.
However, the buyer will be responsible for all purchasing fees. These fees vary from canton to canton. For example, in the canton of Valais the total purchasing fees (legal fees, registration fees and state sales taxes) are around 3% of the purchasing price. However, in the canton of Vaud, the total purchasing fees are 5% of the purchase price.
To complete the purchase, the buyermust be present with the notary and the seller at the signing of the deed of sale. A proxy may be used to sign deeds of sale on the buyer’s behalf.