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
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.
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
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
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.
- 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
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.
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
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.)