Real Estate Purchase Procedures

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Purchase Conditions in Switzerland

The sale of real estate to a non-Swiss citizen is subject to several laws. The actual law is named “Lex Friedrich”. Each canton as well as the Canton of Bern to which Gstaad Region belongs, has an annual quota of properties authorized for sale to “non-Swiss”. An authorization must be obtained from the Cantonal Authorities and from the Federal Department of Justice and Police, through a notary, who are public officers in Switzerland.

Legal Restrictions

Non-Swiss may only buy a property of maximum 200 m2 of living space per person or family: a family is defined as husband and wife and / or under-age children. Over the age of 20, the son or daughter of an owner may purchase one property in his/her own name, provided he/she can prove his/her financial independence. It is now possible to resell an apartment after its acquisition to another non-resident, subject to the restrictions under the “Lex Friedrich”. All applications must be made through a notary’s office, once a buyer is found. Under Swiss Law, an owner or his family may occupy their apartment for up to six months per year (Maximum stay is three months per visit).
The accommodation cannot be rented on an annual basis (maximum 11 months and 1 week).
No authorization is required for the purchase of a principal residence if the buyer has a residence permit B (i.e. work permit for non nationals), except if the land exceeds 2,000 m2.
EU citizens with a residence permit B and all foreigners with a residence permit C (i.e. residence permit for a non-Swiss national) can buy as any properties as they are considered as Swiss citizens.

Cost and Legal Formalities

The purchase of a chalet becomes valid once the owner is registered at the Land Register.
The purchase fees amount to a total of 2.5% (Notary and registration fee)
By Power of Attorney, the future owner entrusts the appointed notary’s office with the duty of ensuring that all the legal formalities are respected, particularly the registration of the deed in the Land Register and releasing the acquired apartment from any previous mortgage.
At the preliminary payments (i.e. deposit) must be made to the notary, deposit into his client account.

Purchase Procedure

- Complete a civil status questionnaire
- Complete a declaration of honor

Complete a Power of Attorney which states the following:
- Name and address of the purchaser
- Location and name of the property
- Number of the parking space (if applicable)
- Detailed selling price
- Schedule of payments, as a percentage of the total sale price
- Produce a copy of his/her passport, signed.

The signature on the Power of Attorney and on the copy of the passports must be legalized. (i.e. witnessed by a notary) The above documents are normally completed with our help and then forwarded to the notary who starts the purchase procedure.
Once the notary has received all the completed and signed documents, plus the deposit, he will take the following steps:
- Proceed to the signing of the deed sale
- Apply for the authorization to purchase on behalf of those who are not resident in Switzerland.

The administrative time taken to obtain the authorizations is usually two or three months from the date of submission of the application. It may be slightly longer depending on the area where the property has been purchased. Once the authorization has been received, the notary will duly record the deed of sale in the Land Register.

Purchase Security

An official Swiss notary will act on behalf of both the purchaser and the vendor. He draws up the deeds and documents required for legal ownership. He is there to protect the interests of both parties. It is a notary of the district who will act on behalf of the vendor and the purchaser.


The standard loan granted by Swiss banks for purchases is about 66% of the sales price (incl. parking space). This loan is usually granted in the form of a debit to a current account and only the apartment qualifies as security.
Traditional financing through a mortgage can also be arranged. The interest in this case is lower but the account is not as flexible in its use as the current debit account.
The rate of interest is fixed in stages and can vary depending on the state of the Swiss economy. A larger mortgage can be arranged on the basis of additional security/guarantees (shares, gold, etc.)

Notary's Offices Gstaad ->

Source: swiss-alps-resorts


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