Before looking for a home to buy, it’s a good idea to clear your head. Take time to consider several parameters; a real estate agent will be able to help you with this. Where do you want to live? What is your family and work situation? What are your financial resources? What you aspire to is not necessarily what you can afford. Read these few lines to define a realistic real estate project.
The number one dream property for the Swiss remains a detached house, preferably in a quiet environment (Ideal Home Study 2018/19 by MoneyPark and alaCasa). However, the reality of their budget – especially the down payment – very often catches up with prospective buyers. Whatever their desires, the purchase of an apartment is usually the first option. In the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the equity required to access property is around 20%, to which must be added the notary fees. It is very often between the ages of 25 and 45 that people imagine buying their first home, sometimes with the arrival of a second child. Reselling your property to invest in a villa may be possible a few years later. Finally, with age and children out of the nest, the house sometimes becomes too big, raising the question of its resale. Life cycles therefore have a definite influence on the way we live and envisage property ownership.
A family, a childless couple or a single person have very different housing needs. An experienced real estate broker knows how to identify each client’s desires. He or she addresses a series of questions, in particular: the family context, the size and type of home sought, the number of rooms, the location, accessibility, the amenities of the neighbourhood (schools, shops, etc.), the facilities (terrace, garden, balcony, parking), the budget available, etc. On the basis of this data, the real estate agent can make targeted proposals. Clients regularly receive offers that correspond to them; by selecting them, they have access to the complete presentation files. A first visit often helps to clarify expectations: in other words, it is a way of “getting back on track”. Someone who thought that a small garden would suit him or her realizes that the area is too small. Another person realises the importance of public transport in the neighbourhood, as he does not have a car. An elderly person realizes the advantage of having a one-story home to avoid climbing stairs daily.
With interest rates currently very low, some buyers are getting their hopes up about the monthly payments they will have to pay. For a house worth CHF 1.5 million, this would amount to around CHF 1,800/month. But don’t dream: in this case, the necessary equity will amount to CHF 300,000 + notary fees. As for income, they will be about CHF 200’000.- /year for a couple, which is not given to everyone!
The geographical location of the property under consideration is a criterion that makes it more or less affordable. By moving somewhat away from urban centers (Geneva, Nyon, Lausanne, etc.), the buyer can expect lower prices.
Another point to consider: the owner of a single-family home must assume maintenance and energy costs alone, which can weigh on his budget. In contrast, when buying an apartment, the charges are shared among the various co-owners.
For credit, there is no difference between buying an apartment or a house. The rates charged are identical: the bank bases itself on the amount borrowed and not on the type of property.
Buying an apartment or a house? By clearly defining your goals, desires and financing capacity, you can effectively embark on your search. However, if buying a home is your dream, be prepared to make some compromises!