Find Your Property

We have already talked about costs and financing which are very important factors in the buying decision. Now let us have look at other facts that matter when looking for the right property.



Property Listings - Understand What You Buy


Like in other countries, most properties are listed online. The main listing sources are, and You can perform specific searches by area, size, budget, etc. and even save your criteria and obtain the newest listings as soon as they are published.


You might find that there are differences in the terms and vocabulary of property listings in Switzerland and your home country:


  • Number of Rooms
    Most apartments and houses are indicated as offering 4.5 rooms, 5.5 rooms etc. - "Rooms" include bedrooms and living room counted as one each, the half room is the dining area, be it part of a big kitchen or  part of the living room. Bathrooms are not counted. So, a "4.5 room home" offers 3 bedrooms, living room, dining area, kitchen and bathroom(s) and eventually some extra rooms such as cellar, attic, hobby room etc.

  • Floor Space
    The floor space of a home is supposed to indicate the "net floor space" including all private heated areas such as living & dining, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, halls but not basement, garage, attic, balcony etc. Any area with a height below 1.2 m or with insufficient natural light does not count. Unfortunately, we often see mistakes in these measurements. We recommend to verify these numbers on a floor plan.


Condominium ownership
Condominiums are very popular in Switzerland. When buying a condominium you purchase

  • the inside of your apartment - you can make changes to the internal part of it, remove or build walls, change flooring and so on. But you do not own the surrounding walls, roof, and balcony. Thus, you are not allowed to make changes to them.
  • exclusive right of use on certain parts of the building such as your cellar, your garage space, your private terrace and so on. This means that noone else can access these rooms but you are not allowed to make changes to them without asking the community for their approval.
  • a portion of the whole property - this includes parts of the staircase, environment, laudry room, garage entrance, bicycle room etc. which you can use, but you do not have excusive right of use on these parts of the house.

Community regulations and ownership portions are registered at the land registry. Your portion is calculated as x/1000 of the whole property. For the inside of your condominium, you are fully liable. Being a partial owner of the whole property you are liable of service, reparations and replacements with respect to all co-owned parts of the property in relation to the portion you own. It is required by law that every community sets up a fund for renovations, so that no negative financial surprises occur to the individual co-owner. With change of ownership the individual portion of the fund remains with the condominium at no extra costs for the buyers.



Tips and Possible Pitfalls


Most people have a legal understanding based on the law in their home country. Swiss law might be different from that. So be prepared that some details when buying a property are not the same as in your home country.  If you have questions pertaining to regulations, law and permits you can always ask the respective authorities in the municipality.


If you live abroad remember that many tasks in relation to property acquisition require your physical presence, so plan to travel several times.


Plus, you are reading this website in English while all property relevant documents in the German speaking part of Switzerland are and have to be in German. Not even the country's other official languages are accepted.


If you live abroad and are not proficient with the local language, we strongly suggest that you have a professional local buyer's agent at your side. As a local boutique real estate professional company we would be happy to assist you in this matter.

Find out how we can support you.


For all of you who are looking for more in-depth information on property aqcuisition in Switzerland, we created a Swiss Property Report. In this report you may find information about legal issues, forms of ownership, costs and financing, taxation, the different types of property, the buying procedure and the sales contract. About how to avoid the possible pitfalls or the Holiday Homes Ordonnance. Just order it for free.


Order a copy of the Swiss Property Report 2015