switzerland by doocter


									                                                                         EUROPE | Switzerland

                 Those looking for a destination that has it all certainly must consider
                 Switzerland. If its exclusive ski resorts and incredible scenery don’t
                 get the blood boiling, hold tight, as Switzerland also boasts friendly

                 hospitality, stylish cosmopolitan lifestyle and the incredible range of
                 stunning spots to call home.

                 From cute chalets enveloped in snow, to chic city apartments, there’s a
                 little bit of everything on offer, plus to top it all off you are bang in the
                 middle of Europe and never very far from the likes of France or Italy.

                                              Country overview
                                              Real Name
                                              Swiss Confederation
                                              7,604,467 (July 2009 est.)
                                              Swiss Franc (CHF)
                                              Capital city
                                              Major cities
                                              Bern, Zurich, Geneva, Basel
                                              German, French, Italian and Rumantsch
                                              Conditions vary according to altitude to include
                                              a bit of everything. Cold, cloudy, rainy and
                                              snowy winters; and cool to warm, cloudy, humid
                                              summers with occasional showers.
                                              Central Europe; east of France, north of Italy
                                              Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.1 percent
                                              GDP (official exchange rate):
                                              $489.8 billion (2009 est.)
                                              GDP (purchasing power parity):
                                              $317 billion (2009 est.)
                                              GDP (real) growth rate: -1.5 percent (2009 est.)

                                              Like the rest of the world, Switzerland felt
                                              the pinch in 2009 and its economy shrank
                                              by an estimated 1.5 percent. Nevertheless, it has
                                              maintained its lead in the rankings of the
                                              World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness
                                              Report 2009-2010, reflecting its excellent
                                              infrastructure, sound institutional environment,
                                              proficient markets, capable macroeconomic
                                              management, world-class educational
                                              attainment, and high levels of technological
                                              innovation, which boost Switzerland’s
                                              competitiveness in the global economy.

                                              The Swiss have, for the most part, brought
                                              their economic practices into conformity with
                                              the rest of the EU in recent years in order to
                                              enhance their global competitiveness. But
                                              some trade protectionism remains, particularly
                                              for the country’s small agricultural sector.
                                              Meanwhile, the country’s economy is expected
                                              to experience modest GDP growth this year.

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EUROPE | Switzerland


                                                                                                    EUROPE | Switzerland

Generally speaking, foreigners will have the largest choice of properties
               for purchase in the French-speaking part of Switzerland

        Restrictions                                               After decided on a property and your offer has
        Property restrictions in Switzerland depend on who         been accepted, you will sign a convention with the
        is doing the buying. If you are a non-resident, then       seller and pay a cash deposit to secure the start of
        you are pretty much limited to purchasing a holiday        the purchase procedure. After that, the Swiss Public
        home in one of the country’s touristic areas. This is      Notary – who is assigned to protect the rights of
        because, thanks to new regulations issued by the           both parties – will go through the details of the
        Swiss Federal Law under the Lex Koller regulations,        transaction to ensure everything is satisfactory on
        non-residents are required to obtain a permit from         both sides of the agreement. Once that is sorted, the
        the appropriate cantonal and federal authorities           notary will ask the Government to issue a notice of
        before buying real estate in Switzerland. Once             confirmation affirming your right to buy, following
        obtained, they can purchase property in Vaud, Valais,      which you will be confirmed as the new owner, and
        Fribourg, Bern, Neuchâtel, Ticino and Graubünden.          at which point the price balance, plus tax, will be due.
           EU citizens, who are also Swiss residents, can buy      It will take around 48 hours to launch the procedure
        without restrictions, while other residents are limited    and a maximum of two months to complete it.
        to buying property for their own use. Wherever you
        are, your notary will apply for a permit for you only      Choosing an area
        as part of the purchasing procedure. Additionally,         Switzerland has 24 cantons, and each has something
        special permission must be sought if you plan to buy       unique to offer. That said, foreigners are not entitled
        a piece of land larger than 3000 sq m.                     to buy property wherever the wind takes you but are
                                                                   limited to the laws of the land.
        Forms of ownership                                            If you’d like to start narrowing down your search
        All properties in Switzerland are freehold and the         note that Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Basel and
        buyer has the right to transfer the property to his or     Zug are only up for sale if you posses a residency
        her heirs by way of succession.                            certificate, while things are a little more lenient
                                                                   in areas including Vaud, Fribourg, Bern, Lucerne,
        How safe is it?                                            Obwalden and St Gallen.
        As one of the most stable economies in the world,             Generally speaking, foreigners will have the largest
        Switzerland enjoys the perks that come with that           choice of properties for purchase in the French-
        including a low crime rate. In fact, it is recognised      speaking part of Switzerland. The most liberal canton
        as one of the safest countries in the world alongside      is Vaud, which boasts stunning mountain resorts,
        Norway and Luxembourg. One of the biggest threats          including Villars, and where foreigners can buy virtually
        to the country’s safety is one it shares with much of      any property they like (bearing in mind, however, that
        Europe – a serious hard-drug problem.                      they cannot be sold in under five years).

        Mortgages                                                  Viewings
        It is possible to get a mortgage in Switzerland; if        It is strongly recommended to look before buying. Most
        deemed to be a safe enough risk. Foreigners can borrow     realtors will be happy to help plan a visit, book a hotel for
        between 60 percent and 80 percent of the house             you and arrange viewings based on your specifications
        price or bank-appraised value, whichever is lower. The     and requirements. They will also be able to set up an
        repayment of the capital can usually be paid off over      informal chat with a bank in order to get the ball rolling.
        a period of 25, 33 or 50 years, and the rate of interest
        can be fixed or variable. The good news is that interest   Legal representation
        rates in Switzerland are famously low.                     Although a solicitor is not a legal requirement
                                                                   in Switzerland, having one is certainly worth the
        The buying process                                         peace of mind. After deciding to buy, one will be
        While procedures do differ slightly from canton to         introduced to a Swiss solicitor whose fees would also
        canton, the overall process of buying in Switzerland       include the property’s stamp duty (fees vary from
        tends to be pretty straightforward.                        canton to canton).    ➸

                                                                             JULY-AUGUST | OVERSEAS LIVING |
EUROPE Switzerland
BUYING |GUIDE | Switzerland


The sale                                                 heart of the Alps. Getting here is relatively easy, so      retains its greenery and lush feel thanks to number
The actual process of acquiring a property in            much so that the area has been nick-named the               of lakes and rivers dotted around. And, despite the
Switzerland is quite a straightforward one. The public   gateway to central Switzerland. There are numerous          warmer climes, fantastic ski resorts are to be found
notary will ensure that everything has been handled      things to keep people busy here – from watch                a short drive away.
correctly, and that the sale can go through, and will    shops to excursions to the nearby Rigi Mountains.              There is a wonderful range of properties available
proceed with the deed of sale.                           Additionally, it is famous for its two covered bridges      here, from lake-view apartments to villas and unique
   As the purchaser, one will either need to appear in   decorated with medieval paintings, but also boasts a        country houses.
person before the notary for the document signing or     beautiful castle, as well as a variety of modern shops,
give the power of attorney to the notaries’ secretary    museums and galleries.                                      Fribourg region
by means of a Procuration. The deed of sale is often        The area is known for its chalets, but a variety of      Locals speak both German and French on the
conditional, relying on permission for the sale to       properties are available for sale including apartments      streets of the Fribourg Region, and have adopted
you (a foreigner) being grated by the Commission         and villas.                                                 the best from both cultures. Similarly, it does feel
Foncière/Commissione Lafe and based on any                                                                           like many of the very best things in life have been
necessary financing being obtained. This permission      Valais                                                      packed into this area. Take the Prealps, for instance,
can take between three and 12 months to finalise,        Located in the south-west of Switzerland, Valais is         with their glorious bike trails, footpaths, and the
depending on your canton of choice.                      the narrow stretch of land between Lake Geneva and          picturesque small town of Gruyères; or the medieval
                                                         the Rhône Glacier. It is also easily accessible by car,     art-filled capital of Fribourg with its bubbly student
Taxes                                                    train or plane.                                             atmosphere; or, finally, the Three Lakes Region with
As with everything, taxes also vary from canton to          This is a truly unique place to live, with incredible    its gorgeous Mediterranean flair.
canton. In total, these generally amount to around       scenery and everything on your doorstep. The                    This stunning alpine region has plenty to offer
1.3 percent of the property purchase price per           weather is balmy during the summer – allowing for           potential buyers, as from dinky apartments to
annum.                                                   swimming and water sports on the lake – and snow-           sprawling chalets, it has them all.
   Taxes have to be paid to three bodies - the Swiss     drenched in winter, when it becomes one of the
Federal Government, the Canton, and the Commune.         country’s most popular ski resorts and a Mecca for          Bern
In addition to these direct taxes, there is a National   winter hikers.                                              Home to Gstaad, one of the world’s most exclusive
Defence Tax, a Land Tax, and a Tourist Tax (taxe de         This canton is one of the most lenient when it           ski resorts, Bern boasts some of the most expensive
sejour). Switzerland charges no local tax on rental      comes to foreign property ownership and poses               property in Switzerland – although bargains can be
income on a property owned by a foreigner, unless        no restrictions. The price for ski properties here are      found here too.
the buyer is a resident in Switzerland.                  often lower than ones in neighbouring France.                  The city is largely Medieval and has been
                                                                                                                     recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

                                                                                                                     Its most famous sights include the Zytglogge, an
                                                         This is dolce vita living if ever there was such a thing.   elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets
                                                         Think palm trees, Italian-speaking neighbours,              and its awe-inspiring 15th century Gothic cathedral,
                                                         Mediterranean-style towns and stunning countryside          the Münster.
Lucerne (Luzern)                                         landscapes. It is Switzerland, southern style.
Lucerne pretty much epitomises what many people             With Lugano/Agno airport just 20 minutes away            Graubünden
picture Switzerland to be; a picturesque city with       and Milan’s Malpensa airport less than an hour’s            Graubünden is a large canton in the south-eastern
stunning scenery including lakes and snow-capped         drive, access to this pretty region could not be easier     part of Switzerland, neighbouring Italy, Austria
mountains. Life has never been so postcard-perfect.      and shopping in Italy is just a short drive away.           and Liechtenstein. One of the bonuses of setting
   Popular as a property-spot with both locals and          As a region, Ticino enjoys plenty of sunshine            up here, is that is it significantly less touristy than
foreigners, Lucerne is a lovely lake-side town in the    – almost 280 days of it per year in fact – but still        many of the other parts of the region, though just

                                                                                                                                           BUYING GUIDE | Switzerland

                                                       This canton [Valais] is one of the most lenient when it comes to
                                                 foreign property ownership and poses no restrictions. The price for ski
                                                     properties here are often lower than ones in neighbouring France


as beautiful. And there’s plenty to do in this alpine       the mountains of the Jura and the Alps, Vaud is             Lively towns and small wine-growing villages
haven – from mountain trails to top-class restaurants       the largest French-speaking region in Switzerland.       appear at random. Boasting a pleasant climate,
and everything in between.                                  And, for another fun fact, it is also exactly midway     beautiful scenery and great hospitality, it will quickly
   There is a fantastic array of property available here,   between the United States and the Far East.              feel like home. There are over 200 historical and
including ski chalets, apartments and country houses.          Happily, the canton of Vaud now allows non-Swiss      archaeological sites to be enjoyed, 110 museums, 60
                                                            to buy a principal or vacation residence under certain   art galleries and 4,000 hectares of vineyards! In fact,
Vaud                                                        conditions and in certain zones which is obviously       few regions offer as wide a variety of lifestyle pursuits
On the shores of Lake Geneva, nestled between               good news for those people hoping to settle in here.     as does the area surrounding Lake Geneva.=

                                                                                                                               JULY-AUGUST | OVERSEAS LIVING |

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