±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· 10 Things To Think About Before You Move Abroad In Your Middle Age
· Expat Focus Financial Update August 2017
· What Could Higher Interest Rates Mean For Your Overseas Property Purchase?
· Expat Focus Financial Update July 2017
· The Lifestyles And Cultures Of Great Expat Locations
· Understanding Exchange Rates for Your Overseas Property Purchase
· Interview With Duncan Khoury, Head of Marketing, World First Australia
· Expat Focus Financial Update June 2017
· Relocation Destinations For The Politically Minded And Socially Progressive Expat
Mortgages and Other Financial IssuesBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Switzerland - Mortgages and Other Financial Issues
You are free to shop around for a mortgage and should compare the deals and incentives that are currently available. Some banks will require you to hold a current account with them in order to provide you with a mortgage. As an alternative to the banks, you can also consider the mortgage deals offered by the financial division of the Swiss postal group, PostFinance, and the large insurance companies, e.g. Zurich Financial Services. You may be successful in obtaining a mortgage from a bank in your own country but expect to be asked for a larger deposit.
The bank will charge a fee for mortgage valuations and this will be in the region of a few hundred Swiss francs, depending on your bank. Fees for the mandatory notary services will be payable on top of the house purchase price and can add up to an additional 5% of the house price in charges. The notary will use much of this fee to pay compulsory local and cantonal property transfer taxes on your behalf, in cantons where these apply, in addition to deed registration in the Land Registry. The remainder covers the notary's time and expertise. In some cantons the seller will split the notary's part of this bill with the buyer.
From a tax viewpoint, buying rather than renting property in Switzerland can be an attractive option. Interest payments on the mortgage are permitted as a tax deductible each year. (Note: the tax year and calendar year correspond in Switzerland.) On the other hand, a property becomes subject to wealth tax. This applies whether you are a Swiss resident or a non-resident with a second property in Switzerland. The rate of taxation is very low, typically no greater than 0.3% and often much lower.
In the case of property inheritance or gifts, it is the deceased/donor who is assessed for tax, which is administered by the canton in which they reside or last resided. If a non-resident owner of Swiss property dies, the property will be subject to inheritance tax. However, property not in Switzerland will not be included in any Swiss inheritance tax assessment.
On the sale of a property, there may be Capital Gains tax to pay. This is looked at in the section on Selling Property.
You will be required to take out a buildings insurance policy for your house or other property in Switzerland, regardless of whether it is your main residence or a second home. This cover will normally have to be provided by a non-profit Public Insurance Company for Buildings (PIB), who are regulated at a cantonal level. In a small number of cantons you will have the flexibility to insure your building with a private insurer rather than a PIB, but premiums are likely to be higher. Buildings insurance will cover your property against fire, storms, and other damage from natural hazards. High winds, hailstorms and flooding are the largest area of risk. Infrequent but damaging earthquakes are also a potential threat in Switzerland and are not covered by the buildings insurance except in Zurich canton. Avalanches are covered, although those that cause damage to property are relatively rare, and restricted to certain mountainous areas.
Household contents insurance is arranged separately from buildings insurance in all but 3 cantons, and is generally optional, although if you have rented property before buying you will likely have an existing contents policy and also personal liability insurance. If you are buying an apartment in a shared building you will need to budget for an annual co-ownership charge to cover buildings and ground maintenance, insurance and utilities for the overall building, and any shared services, plus future renovations. Allow 0.8 to 1% of the purchase price each year.
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.