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Buying a house or apartment in Switzerland by foreigners

Buying a house or apartment in Switzerland by foreigners.

Before buying a house, apartment or building land, it is advisable to check with the competent authority (Land Registry or Land Registry Inspectorate) whether all the necessary conditions exist or if an authorization is required.
In fact, foreigners who intend to buy homes or building land in Switzerland in some cases require an authorization.

EU citizens: For the purchase of real estate, EU / EFTA citizens domiciled in Switzerland have the same rights as Swiss citizens.

Non-EU: It is possible to purchase main dwellings (single-family houses and condominium apartments) and building land in the place of residence without authorization, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • hold a valid residence permit, permit B for foreigners
  • live in the home personally if you are domiciled in the same municipality
  • construction or renovation works must begin within one year of purchase.

An authorization is required for the following homes:

  • holiday apartments
  • housing units in a so-called apartment hotel (hotel consisting of apartments)
  • secondary homes

The purchase of a house or apartment in Switzerland by foreigners residing abroad is subject to certain restrictions. For more information, contact the cantonal authority (land registry or land registry inspectorate).

The purchase of holiday homes by foreigners is restricted by the federal law “Lex Koller” (formerly called “Lex Friedrich”). We strongly recommend that you identify from the outset which type of real estate purchase will be eligible.

The “LAFE” law of 16 December 1983 on the purchase of property by people abroad (“LAFE”) limits the purchase of real estate by foreigners.
The “LAFE” is a cantonal law implementing the federal law on the purchase of real estate by people residing abroad.

When you buy a property you are therefore always subject to “LAFE” approval.

The purchase of funds for commercial purposes is not subject to authorization.
In order not to run into unpleasant surprises, it is good to rely on qualified real estate consultants, able to follow you in the selection phases of the property or real estate project.

Real estate trustee

The work that your real estate trustee can carry out in relation to the purchase of a house or an apartment in Switzerland by foreigners is to check the documentation relating to the property and inform you about any necessary limits or permits, as well as the adequacy of the information received from the seller:

  • control of maps and PPPs (Property by Plans) effective ownership, with Land Register Extract
  • viewing extracts: services, annotations
  • primary or secondary home
  • PPP constitution
  • assignment of common and pertinent parts
  • condominium regulation
  • Master Plan

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