Real estate handover without stress

The procedure for handing over a rental apartment is regulated to a high degree. For real estate being sold, however, this isn't the case. Read here what's standard and binding during the handover of real estate which is being sold.

by Jürg Zulliger

Handing over a rental apartment takes place according to well-established rules. A report is prepared which is then signed by both parties. The apartment must be cleared, cleaned and handed over in perfect condition. In most cases, a professional real estate manager is on hand to make sure that everything is done properly. Sometimes it happens that the landlord's representative and the future tenant look in every crack and crevice to ensure that everything indeed has been cleaned thoroughly. The situation is completely different during the handover of a condominium or single-family house. The buyer and seller are often private individuals who know neither what is standard practice nor what is legally binding. When it comes to pre-owned real estate, the contracting partners tend to neither prepare a report nor consult the advice of experts.

Important questions

Important questions then surface when it's far too late or only after the fact. Is «broom clean» sufficient, or must you actually hire a cleaning company? It's also sometimes questionable exactly what will happen with household appliances or those parts of the structure which are more or less permanently attached. Will the seller take them along or do they belong to the property being purchased?

Key: the parties must agree

The only thing that's absolutely certain is this: make sure to get definitive information about the most important questions before the handover and address the subject early during the sales and price negotiations. Even better, establish the terms and conditions of the handover in the sales contract. Otherwise the buyer can later have a rude awakening if the seller, for example, simply walks away with that fantastic new clothes dryer and instead leaves the new owner a heap of rubbish in the attic.