Buying a home – tips on buying your own home

Buying a home – tips on buying your own home

The dream of owning your own home is often overshadowed by concerns and misconceptions. This means it's important to gather extensive information in advance and give yourself plenty of time for planning and for the purchasing process itself. Find out what you need to look out for and when it may be worth talking to specialists.

Concerns when buying a home

People often give up their dream of owning their own home as they become quickly overwhelmed by concerns about making the wrong decision and the high costs involved. The following misconceptions are particularly common:

  • I would find buying a property too difficult
  • I don't have enough money to buy a house
  • I won't get a mortgage
  • I'm afraid of getting into debt by buying a property
  • I find the idea of financing a property in the long term too stressful
  • I'm afraid of losing my mobility as a result of owning my own property
  • I will have to pay more taxes if I own my own home

For every misconception there are also reasons why you can in fact buy a property and things that you can bear in mind when buying one so that you don't end up with a pig in a poke. It is often worth consulting an expert, particularly when it comes to financing.

Properly planning your home purchase

First of all, you should make sure that you know what you want. The following questions can aid you with this: Where do I want to live? What is important to me in the surrounding area and at the location itself? How many rooms will I need in the future? Will I have the time to maintain a garden? What is the maximum amount my home can cost per month? Your answers to these questions will help you navigate the current offers on the real estate market.

As well as assisting with financing, mortgage experts can also provide valuable tips on finding the right property. That will give you a quick overview of how to purchase your dream property and will allow you to make an informed decision.

Financing your home purchase

Based on your needs, you can estimate how expensive your dream house is likely to be and what this means for financing. At least 20% of the purchase price of the property must be paid out of your own funds. You must also make sure you can afford it. Many people are unaware that, in Switzerland, you can pledge pension fund assets or draw on them early in order to purchase a home.

If you're concerned about the long-term mortgage commitment and the resulting reduction in your mobility, you should be aware that a mortgage can be transferred under certain conditions. For example, it can be transferred to the subsequent buyer of the home or to a new property. A mortgage can also be terminated early subject to an early repayment penalty. Another possibility is renting out the whole house, meaning you can keep hold of the property and move back in later.

Viewing and choosing your dream home

If you know your needs and budget, you can start searching for a home in a targeted manner. Once you've found the right property, you need to view it. The property should correspond to all the information in the advertisment, and you should compare what's on offer with your own requirements. Because you can't plan from the ground up when buying a house, unlike when building a home. You need to take necessary modifications and renovations into account, alongside their costs. Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the fittings will also help you decide where compromises can be made, if necessary.

You must also have the structure of the building surveyed. Is the structure actually as good as the seller promises, or are there defects that are not apparent at first glance? How energy efficient is the building and what energy costs will be involved? You should ideally arrange a second viewing and also take plenty of time to check any installations. If you find defects after the purchase, it may be up to you to deal with them.

Check the information regarding the property

Trust is good, but checking is better – especially when buying a property. In particular, you should gather further information when looking to buy a single-family home from private individuals. This includes clarifying the ownership situation, any easements, and the year of construction stated in the land register. You can also obtain information from the municipality about the building zone in which the house is located and any requirements associated with the zone.

It may also be a good idea to ask whether any large construction projects are planned for the next few years.

Preparing the purchase agreement

Before purchasing the property, you should check whether the price corresponds to the market value. Otherwise, you may have a nasty surprise when applying for a mortgage. A mortgage expert will be able to provide a realistic valuation.

If the contracting partners have agreed on the purchase, the contract should not be signed prematurely. It is a good idea to read it at your leisure and to show it to an attorney. Special care must be taken with formulations that provide for an exclusion of warranty in the case of defects. Such exclusions mean that, under certain circumstances, the seller will not be liable in the event of certain defects. Finally, the handover date and the down payment should already be specified in the purchase agreement, as should the payment of the real estate gains tax into a blocked account. In Switzerland, the purchase must be certified by a notary and the change of ownership entered in the land register – only then will it be valid.

Tax change due to purchasing a property

The imputed rental value increases taxable income,but maintenance and renovation costs and debt interest on an owner-occupied home can be deducted from your taxes. So buying a property does not necessarily mean a high tax burden.

Would you like to know more about buying a home?

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