8 tips for selling your property successfully

What should you be aware of when selling your house or apartment? Our tips will help you successfully sell your property without any hitches.

To manage a house or apartment sale successfully, you need to take a long-term view.

That means getting the ball rolling at least 12 months before your planned moving date. At this point, it’s worth thinking about whether you want to handle the sale of your property yourself or would prefer a real estate agent to do it for you.  Here are our tips for selling your property.

Tip 1: Guidance where you need it

When selling a property, you have the option of hiring guidance as and when you need it – for checking a contract, for instance, or for tax advice. You can take care of other stages yourself, such as contacting prospective buyers or conducting property viewings.

To set a realistic price for a house or apartment, it’s worth getting an estimate of the market value for the property. The price checker on homegate.ch gives you an estimated value for your property based on the sold prices of over 1 million properties.

Go to the price checker

Tip 2: Drawing up sale documentation

Having professional documentation to hand engenders trust and makes contract negotiations that bit easier. You should have the following drawn up:

  • Terms of sale
  • Map
  • Zoning plan
  • Floor plans

Using our sale documentation template, you can add your details quickly and easily. You can then provide potential buyers with the documentation or attach it to the listing itself on homegate.ch.

Tip 3: Listing your property effectively

You can list your property online at homegate.ch. This website allows you to showcase your property clearly, with features like floor plans and photos of your home. This will attract a large number of prospective buyers. When creating your property listing, aim for a professional appearance with plenty of details, informative photos and clearly legible plans.
We’ve put together our top tips for listing your property on homegate.ch here.

To ensure prospective buyers of your property have the financial means to make the purchase, you can ask them or their bank to provide a written financial statement, signed off by a solicitor.

Tip 4: What does the purchase contract cover?

The purchase contract is drawn up by a solicitor. It should cover the following in particular:

  • Payment terms
  • Payment dates
  • Paying and securing the deposit
  • Final payment
  • Breakdown of notarial charges
  • Any property transfer taxes
  • Encumbrances and easements.

Tip 5: Successful property handover

You should clear up any major issues relating to the property transfer during the sale and price negotiations. It’s best to pin down the handover formalities in the purchase contract. This is where you can also look up any other information relating to the transfer of the property without any issues.

Note: If you have been funding the property that you want to sell with money from your pension fund, you will have to pay the money back into your pension fund when it is sold.

Tip 6: Don’t want to DIY it? Selling a property through an estate agent

There are a great many estate agents out there, but it can be tricky to find the right one for you. The best method is to ask your friends and acquaintances for recommendations based on past experience.

Choosing an estate agent

Serious estate agents usually belong to a professional association, such as the SVIT Swiss Chamber of Real Estate Agents (Schweizerische Maklerkammer, SMK). Arrange a personal consultation with a few to see whether you're a good fit and on the same page. Your estate agent should also have been working in the industry for a number of years. It’s especially good if they have a track record of selling similar houses or apartments successfully. As a basis for making any decisions, you should arrange for them to visit your property, leading to a quote for services and a brief assessment of the property (location, price, etc.).

Estate agent quotes

When getting quotes from estate agents, be sure to check carefully what is included. Will there be any extra costs, for expenses, say? Is there a performance-based fee? Long tie-in periods and fees that are mandatory even if the property is not sold are to be avoided. Generally speaking, the estate agent’s fee only needs to be paid after the public notarisation of the property. Find out more about estate agent commission fees here.

Sale predictions

Don’t get too carried away: a good estate agent won’t make empty promises and will err on the side of caution when it comes to making purchase price predictions. They will also point out any imperfections of the property and guard against setting the price of the property too high, even if this means a lower fee on their part.

Tip 7: Fees and taxes

Which fees and taxes do you need to pay when selling your house or apartment?

If a property changes hands, certain fees need to be paid to the state. These differ from canton to canton. In the canton of Zurich, for example, they amount to 0.35% of the sale price (0.1% notarial fees and 0.25% land register fees). These fees are normally split equally between the buyer and seller.

Property transfer tax

Property transfer tax also differs between cantons, although it has now been abolished in most of them (including Zurich). If it is levied, it is normally split equally between the parties.

This tax is not levied for sales or property transfers between parents and children or foster children, step-parents and step-children, parents-in-law and children-in-law, grandparents and grandchildren, or spouses.

Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax is based on the length of ownership and differs between municipalities. It forms the basis for cantonal capital gains tax and is borne exclusively by the seller. Capital gains are the amount by which the sales profit exceeds the initial costs (purchase price plus the cost of work undertaken to increase the value of the property).

If the sales profit of a property that has been lived in exclusively by the owner on an ongoing basis is used to purchase an alternative property that is at least as expensive and used for the same purposes within Switzerland, capital gains tax does not have to be paid (see Replacement purchase). If the old property has been lived in by the owner for long enough (20 years in the canton of Zurich), the taxes are lower.

Replacement purchase

If you’re selling your home and planning to move into another property, you should inform the authorities in your former place of residence in writing of your planned replacement purchase upon the sale of your old property. The municipality will then request capital gains tax, but can defer it temporarily. You do not have to purchase your new property immediately. A certain amount of time may elapse between the sale of your old property and purchase of your new home (details differ between cantons).

Important note for buyers

If the seller is unable to pay after concluding the purchase contract, the buyer is liable to pay the capital gains tax. As such, buyers are advised to keep the relevant amount aside, for instance by taking it from the purchase price and paying it directly into the tax office account.

Tip 8: Our checklist for selling a property

All of the documents you need to sell your house or apartment can be found in our checklist.

You will need the following documents to sell your home:

  • Extract from the land register (available from the land registry)
  • Private legal agreements (provisions in the purchase contract relating to building laws, agreements with neighbours, etc.).
  • Cadastral map (available from the land register surveyor)
  • Registry of suspected contaminated properties (available from the canton authorities)
  • Building plans on a 1:100 scale (floor plans, cross-sections, façades)
  • Building insurance policy (available from the insurance company)
  • Safety certificates for low-voltage installations (if not available, these can be commissioned from certified electricians)
  • Building regulations and zoning plans (available from the building authorities)
  • Map of the local area/location
  • Estimated rental value and tax value
  • Financial details (mortgages and bank)
  • Photos
  • Building specifications
  • Valuation

The following documents are required when selling freehold apartments:

  • Statement of reasons, inc. plans
  • Regulations, usage and maintenance rules
  • Minutes of the last property owners’ meeting
  • Utility statement/budget
  • Sale documentation.

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