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Before starting to search

Define your search criteria and visit only the properties that accord with your expectations in order to gain time. The most important criteria are location, surface area, number of rooms, number of bedrooms, possibility of parking, public transport, schools, light, price, etc. Consider the points on which you will possibly be prepared to make concessions. Calculate your budget at this point and contact your banker, insurer or pension fund office now.

Looking for a property

Look for properties corresponding to your criteria in newspapers or on the internet. On the internet you will find properties offered directly on the sites of estate agents or on property portals. It may prove helpful to enter these sites in the favourites area of your browser. On certain internet sites you can subscribe to new property warning services (also on our site). You can subscribe directly to the RSS feed on our website to be immediately informed of any changes to our list of offers by category (for example: villas for sell). It may also prove helpful to telephone or write to estate agents. Since some properties are sold by word of mouth, do not forget to tell your friends and acquaintances that you are looking for properties.

Subscribe to be informed of our offers

There are several ways in which you can be informed swiftly about all our new sale or lease properties. Subscribe to our email alerts and we will send you all our new offers before they are published in the media, as well as our off-market offers. If you would rather see the videos straight away, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can subscribe directly to the RSS feed on our website to be informed immediately of any changes in our list of offers in each category (such as villas for rent). To read the RSS feed, you must first install an add-on in your browser or email account. If you don’t want to miss any of our offers, we recommend that you sign up for our email alerts.

The first contacts and additional information

If you have found a property that interests you, ring the agency or the person who has announced the offer in order to obtain more detailed information. Ask the questions that seem important (the personal criteria that you defined earlier on may prove useful now). If you are still interested in the property, ask for more detailed sale file, examine it and then arrange for an on the spot visit.

The first visit

Arrange your visit during the day. You are not advised to visit properties after dark, because you will be unable to assess the natural light, it is more difficult to find the address, and certain defects are not apparent under artificial lighting. After the visit, it may be helpful to get some idea of the neighbourhood. Tell the broker if you are still interested, or if you do not wish to take the matter further.

Other visits

If you like the property, perhaps you will want to see it a second time. If you envisage certain works should you buy the property, perhaps you should now ask a builder or an architect to assess the necessary renovation costs.

The application for a mortgage loan

If you still have not prepared it, now is the time to complete your finance application file.

The written offer

If you have obtained consent on finance, tell the broker immediately and confirm your offer in writing. If you are buying an as yet unbuilt villa on plan, the developer will possibly ask you to sign a reservation in advance.

Preparation of the notarially recorded instrument or deed (acte authentique)

All the contractual conditions have been negotiated and the preliminary contract of sale or conveyance can now be prepared. The broker provides the notary with the essential information. In the case of notarially recorded instruments or deeds, the notary will submit the project to buyer and vendor for examination and verification. After any changes, the appointment for signing the instrument or deed at the notary's office is arranged.

© Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate broker


More information with video that may be of interest to you:

Define purchasing criteria for properties
Buying a house in the canton of Geneva - good to know
Buying a flat in the canton of Geneva - good to know
Buying a flat to rent out in Switzerland - what you need to know


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