All signals are green for anyone who wants to buy a property. But before you start, follow our advice to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
With the arrival of spring, real estate studies are flourishing and many banks and regulators are currently providing the temperature of the French-speaking real estate market. This year, (high) prices will fall (a little), (very low) rates are likely to rise slightly. But the supply remains abundant. All signals are green to become a homeowner. However, the future buyer of a property (EPP, existing villa or on plan) does not always measure the real gymkhana that awaits him before realizing his dream. It will need funds, of course, but also patience and a good strategy.
Since then, we have put ourselves in the shoes of a person looking for a new home of our own. By chronologically detailing all the steps, we have identified the unpleasant surprises and pitfalls that can appear with the help of several professionals, lawyers, brokers, promoters, managers, advisors, tax experts, bankers and notaries. A task that could be similar to Hercules’ work, given the number of elements and criteria to be mastered. Discover the 12 essential tips identified by PME Magazine.
How do I calculate the amount I have available?
There is no point in running through the ads until you know how much money you have to become a homeowner. Fortunately, this first step is less complicated than it seems. Because there is nothing better than simulation sites to estimate your means, as well as future interest rates and mortgage charges. All you have to do is indicate your income and the amounts of your LPP, as well as the available cash. These sites are overcrowded, put them in competition!
Following a small comparison that we have made, here are some suggestions. The MoneyPark site (which has taken over the Lausanne-based Defferrard & Lanz) is considered to be the market leader in independent mortgage advice in Switzerland, with a strong presence and strong growth. It offers mortgage solutions from more than 100 financial partners. “Consulting mortgage sites is nowadays a must for any buyer because the mortgage market is changing every day and it never happens that the same provider is one step ahead of all deadlines,” confirms Joelle Gauthier, MoneyPark’s expert.
It should be noted that the company also offers advice in one of its subsidiaries or at home, via videoconferencing tools. Another very active site is Comparis. Didactic and easy to use, it offers a pleasant platform for real estate novices. Another safe and well-known player in French-speaking Switzerland, which offers online calculators, is VZ. Banks also offer this type of service on their sites, but the different types of rates are exclusively “in-house”.
How do I search for my future property?
With an estimate of the funds available to buy his property, all that remains is to look for it. And there, patience and pugnacity will be required. Obviously, we start by consulting real estate portals and the websites of agencies and brokers. Subscribing to mailing lists is also a very good idea. Among the portals, we can mention Immobilier.ch, launched by professionals in the sector in French-speaking Switzerland, as well as Homegate.ch and Comparis. It should be noted that other sites such as Anibis or ImmoScout sometimes offer more over-the-counter goods.
Some may prefer to give themselves the option of giving a broker a search mandate. A situation where brokers represent the buyer through commissions. In other cases, Jérôme Félicité, President of the Gerofinance-Dunand-Régie de la Couronne group, warns the buyer: “We can contact the developer directly if he sells himself or to a broker. Attention, in this case, it is absolutely necessary to know that the brokerage costs are always at the seller’s expense.” So be suspicious if he asks you for commissions.
Brokerage fees are always the responsibility of the seller.
Philippe Angelozzi, Secretary General of USPI Geneva, adds: “The broker is the seller’s agent, but he has a duty to provide correct information and to inform buyers. On potential future downgrades, for example.” However, the broker will not advise you on financing, warns Fabio Melcarne: “We can quickly estimate whether a client will be able to acquire a property with 20% of equity capital or whether he will have to put more. Then he has to do financial planning. The credit check is then carried out by the bank. It verifies the ability to acquire and to cope with potentially rising rates in future years.”
What should be considered during the visits?
During the next crucial stage, i.e. the visit of the property, the euphoria must give way to a certain lucidity. It happens that a very nicely decorated control apartment located, for example, on the top floor of the building, gives a fantastic impression because of these assets. Which, tired, will not always materialize in the purchased apartment. Like the 3D virtual tour presented in the sales file, which has no legal value and whose purpose is solely advertising.
“The plans and descriptions of the property, provided at the time of the notarial deed, may not resemble it at all or may have changed from what was originally planned,” warns Cyril Meury, Director of UBS’s French-speaking Region. Jérôme Félicité echoed the same sentiments: “I am often surprised by the lack of time taken by some people to estimate their future well. The condition of the building is essential, it is necessary to be well informed to know it. The notary or broker must submit the minutes of the life of the building. I note that one person in two does not read them, whereas it is absolutely necessary to do so to avoid unpleasant surprises.”