After the Corona crisis, many real estate agencies have noticed a significant increase in demand for property by foreigners. This increase is motivated by Switzerland’s efficiency in coping with the pandemic in terms of health and economy. Switzerland has always been perceived as a functioning, safe and prosperous country that offers more than just beautiful landscapes. In the post-crisis period, Switzerland is at the forefront in terms of efficiency.
There are many possible reasons for a move
A change of location for professional reasons, wanting to enjoy a pension abroad, the search for a country with a stable government, knowing your family is in a safe place and other reasons. Switzerland is undoubtedly a country that has all this and much more to offer.
However, a move is never easy. Emotional, cultural or climatic factors come into play. It is therefore essential to be able to rely on serious and capable professionals to ensure that the relocation of the centre of your life runs as smoothly as possible. When a foreign citizen moves to another country, he or she is often unfamiliar with customs, etiquette and even less with the real estate market. There are only a few parameters that allow him or her to move safely.
If you are thinking about moving, you should first get some useful advice from a local law firm. A second step is then to obtain the most useful information for everyday life by joining associations or clubs used by people living abroad and, if you intend to buy a property, to ask for an official and certified valuation of the property by an official surveyor.
What rules must be observed when a foreigner wants to buy in Switzerland?
If a foreigner wants to move to Switzerland and buy a property, he or she is bound by certain rules. First of all, a permit is required that entitles him to live on Swiss territory, and then there is the federal law on the acquisition of real estate by foreigners, the so-called “LAFE” law.
The Federal Law on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Persons from Abroad (LAFE) is the procedure imposed on foreigners who wish to acquire real estate in Switzerland. The purchase of real estate by a foreigner therefore requires a “LAFE” permit. This procedure is complex and can sometimes take a long time.
If the foreign citizen wants to buy a holiday home and keep his residence in the country he comes from, he is subject to different rules. In the areas defined at cantonal level, known as tourist or holiday areas, the purchase by foreigners is permitted if these houses meet the parameters required by law. The net living area of the holiday or secondary residence may not exceed 200 m2 (excluding balconies, staircases, cellars, storerooms and uninhabitable areas) and the land or floor area may not exceed 1,000 m2. In some cases, motivated by special needs, the above quotas may be exceeded, but not by much. Another factor to consider is the quotas for secondary residences, from which each canton can benefit annually.
An advice that a real estate company could give to a foreign citizen before taking such an important step as buying a property in a new country is to consider a rental housing solution for one or two years. This period of transition allows people from abroad to orientate themselves and understand which region or area best suits their needs and lifestyle. There are many new situations that a person from abroad faces: Choosing a school for the children, registering in the municipality chosen for their residence, opening a bank account, understanding the waste system, subscribing to telephone and internet providers, registering a pet, taking out health insurance and many other bureaucratic and unbureaucratic procedures.
Jetika Group therefore offers a special “moving service”. We are able to assist individuals, families and companies with their relocation in Ticino and Engadin with professional and individual support.
Contact us for further information!