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What's important when it comes to buying a property?

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Have you long dreamed of owning your own home? Have you been saving diligently for years in Pillar 3 and always putting money aside? Regardless of whether a house or an apartment, there is a huge desire for home ownership in Switzerland. Find out here what issues you should consider apart from the price.

Should I buy an apartment or a house?

If only this were a simple either/or question, but there is so much more to consider. Detached single-family house? Semi-detached single-family house? Terraced single-family house? Condominium with garden? Penthouse apartment? And the list could be even longer.

A detached single-family house gives you the option of deciding on your own when and how you wish to invest. With a terraced house, for example, building an extension may be a problem if the neighbors object. Furthermore, the rooms in a house are usually split over several storeys and there are still areas around the building that have to be maintained.

Those who like a garden but don't like gardening would be better off with a ground-floor apartment. And those who don't like living on the ground floor and have no interest in having a garden will be happier on the second or third floor, or even in a penthouse. The benefit of a condominium is that all rooms are on one storey and the heating costs usually work out cheaper, as there are fewer external walls.

How much space do I need?

The amount of space you need depends on the number of people in your household but also on other factors, such as whether you regularly work from home and need a room to do so. Or whether you need a room or basement for a hobby.

And consideration also has to be given to vehicles. Older houses in particular often only have space for one car. If you have a second one or your children get a moped or motorcycle, things can get tight.

Another important aspect is the external area. If you have children or keep pets, a terrace or a garden can be of great benefit.

Where do I want to live?

Working from home is also a key factor when buying a property. If you no longer have to commute to the office every day, then being close to work is less important. As a result, towns and regions where you get more space for your money can become more attractive, such as the Rhine Valley or Lower Valais.

The basic question is what do you need and love - rural idyll and lower prices or a broad cultural offering and dense public transport network?

Do you like going to the theater or having a wide range of takeaway options for lunch? When you go out the door, can you rely on the fact that there'll be a bus, train or tram along in the next few minutes? Then there's the issue of whether you'd like to live close to the town center.

Or would you rather spend mild summer evenings listening to the sound of cowbells and enjoying the smell of fresh hay in your own garden? Is it important for you to know the name of all your neighbors and say hello to them on the street? Then you'll be happier living in a village.

There are advantages and disadvantages to living in a town, in the country or in an urban area. Before you buy a residential property, you should be aware of what's important to you. And what you could do without. The good thing about Switzerland is that the next town is normally not very far away.

What type of infrastructure do I need for my property?

Apart from place of residence, you should also take a closer look at the location within a municipality, such as proximity to a school or nursery which can be attractive for families with small children.

Those who fall in love with the view from a house on a slope shouldn't forget that the path on foot or with a bike is tough, particularly when it's snowing, icy or hot.

Another factor is the range of shops - are there shops nearby that you need? Can you walk there or do you need to drive on every occasion?

Regarding route: despite working from home, you'll be repeatedly commuting to your office. How do you tackle the route? Will you be stuck in traffic for hours? Are there public transport links that will get you there within a reasonable period?

Where do I pay how much tax?

The tax rates differ significantly depending on canton or municipality. Let's look, for instance, at a married couple with two children and a gross income of CHF 110,000. In Wiesendangen in the canton of Zurich, they would have to pay around CHF 6,200 in tax, but 15 kilometers away in Aadorf in the canton of Thurgau, it would be around CHF 8,600, and 18 kilometers away in the other direction, Rüdlingen in the canton of Schaffhausen, it would be around CHF 7,400.

The key issue here is not to just compare the income tax rates of the municipalities. For example, Rüdlingen is 75%, yet Wiesendangen is 90%. But because of the cantonal tax rate, tax in Wiesendangen is lower than in Rüdlingen.

This is how you choose your ideal home in Switzerland.

Those looking to buy a residential property would do well to work out what they want first. Obviously the price of a property plays a crucial role, but it's also important to consider other factors.

Think about what's important to you and also how highly you rate the individual points. Consider where in Switzerland you want to live and what this means for you and your family. Because unlike a rental property, it's not so easy to leave and move away from a residential property that you own.

And if you know what you're looking for, then there's the question of course of how to finance your dream home in Switzerland.

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