FRANCAIS

Services we offer

Based in Martigny, Switzerland, we will take care of everything for you :

Meeting you in Switzerland

We can either meet you at Geneva airport or Martigny train station. The easiest option is to take the direct train from Geneva airport to Martigny train station.

Finding accommodation during your stay

We also have travel companies, www.skifreedom.com and www.lbfreedomtours.com and so have several alpine chalets for you to stay in. These we can offer you at a very small fee depending on the duration. If your stay proves successful with purchasing a property, there will be no charge for your stay.

Finding a chalet and resort

It is important before coming to Switzerland to research the resorts you are interested in and the type of property you are looking for ( number of bedrooms, budget). Please read through our resort information sector. We have tried to outline the main advantages and disadvantages of each resort. We can then arrange several visits of properties in various resorts during your stay in Switzerland. If you see something you like, we recommend making that decision fairly quickly as good properties move fast in Switzerland. You may also wish to hold an option which normally lasts 1 week. Once you’ve made that decision, you will have to make an offer. It is normally very difficult to negotiate in Switzerland.

Opening a Swiss bank account

This is quite a simple process. You will need to have your passports, a tax return, proof of salary and proof of other debts/mortgages to open a bank account.

Getting a mortgage

You will need to have 35% paid up capital to get a mortgage for the other 65% from the bank. Mortgage rates are very low at the moment, around 2.5% variable and 3.2% fixed. There is no time limit to pay the mortgage off in Switzerland, you simply have to pay the bank rates off. However 50% needs to be paid off by the time you reach the age of 60 Yrs old.

Transferring foreign currencies

We work with several international foreign currency dealers who offer very attractive rates to the Swiss Franc. You can make big savings here by choosing the right specialist.

Signing with lawyer

This can be arranged during your time in Switzerland. You can either sign directly with the lawyer if the owners are also available. If not, we can arrange for you to sign a power of attorney authorizing a third party to sign the contracts on your behalf. This process can be completed easily within 1 week. Once you have signed this paper in front of the lawyer, there is no going back. We will assist in translating terms should you have any questions.

Formalities on buying

Here we offer you basic information about the procedure of buying property in Switzerland. We will assist you through out the whole process.

Permits to purchase

There is an annual quota of permits (presently 1,440) in the whole of Switzerland which are made available to foreigners wishing to purchase property there. Only properties in a few of the cantons are authorized for sale and usually then only in resorts with tourist attractions. As well as limiting the geographical area in which foreigners are permitted to buy, they may also be restricted to buying certain types of property; in some cantons it is possible to buy an individual chalet, in others it is not. There may also be restrictions relating to the resale of the property; in some cantons foreigners are prohibited from selling the property within 5 years or 10 years of purchase to stop property speculation, but in Cantons such as Vaud (Villars) you may re-sell immediately. Your Swiss notary will apply for your permit once you have contracted to buy a property and usually this takes 12 weeks. Generally, the Canton of Vaud, (which includes the mountain resort of Villars and the lake resort of Montreux) is the most liberal canton offering the largest choice of property available for purchase by foreigners. You cannot own more than one property in your name and the size of the property must not exceed 200 squared metres.

Purchase procedure and costs

A Swiss public notary will act for both the purchaser and the vendor. The purchase fees vary from one Canton to another. In canton Valais (Verbier) the total purchase costs (notary fees, land registry fees, and Government purchase taxes) amount to around 2.5% of the purchase price. In canton Vaud (Villars) the total purchase costs are 5% of the purchase price. The property must be purchased in the name of a private individual; it is not permitted to buy in the name of a limited company.

Swiss inheritance laws will apply to a property in Switzerland, so it is advisable to make a will which refers specifically to the property, and to lodge a copy of this with the notary.

Finance

Interest rates have always been lower in Switzerland than in the U.K. Typically, Swiss banks will lend up to 65% of the purchase price over 25 years, or up to 50 years. Effectively a Swiss mortgage is an overdraft secured against the property and it is very flexible. The borrower pays interest every 6 months on the capital amount outstanding and can pay off part of the loan on giving notice. Interest rates are currently around 3.5% for a variable rate, under 3% for 3 or 5 year fixed rates. We would be pleased to introduce you to a Swiss bank, we do not charge you a brokerage fee or receive commission.

Running costs

The property taxes vary from canton to canton. Typically the total annual expenses for an apartment in Verbier including all taxes and charges will be approximately Sfrs. 70,- per m2. This will cover all utilities (water, electricity) and insurance and the communal charges (heating, service, administration etc.) and local property taxes. Taxes in canton Vaud (mountain resort of Villars, lake resort of Montreux) are higher. Rental agencies usually charge around 20% commission for providing a full rental and management service. Most owners rent their apartments through such agencies on a weekly basis and set aside some weeks each season for their own use. Rental income is not taxable in Switzerland, but may be taxable in your country of residence.

ACQUISITION COSTS approximately 2,3% of purchase price
ANNUAL COSTS approximately 1.6% to 1.8% of the purchase price (heat, water, electricity, caretaker, administration, insurance, taxes, etc...)
NET INCOME Approximately 1% of the purchase price (after all the expenses have been paid)
ANNUEL APPRECIATION 5% to 10% of the purchase price CREDIT Up to 60% of the purchase price
INHERITANCE RIGHTS direct line : No Tax.

After sales management

If you are interested in renting your property, we will be able to help both in winter and summer through our tour operators. We can also assist with the running of the chalet, cleaning, paying bills etc.