Posted on 22 April 2023
If you are looking at buying a ski property in Switzerland, congratulations on choosing this highly admired destination with fantastic mountain ranges. Alpine Ski trips never disappoint, and over the last ten years, investment into new property has boosted the market’s popularity. Owning a chalet or apartment, whether the most luxurious or bargain buy, in a charming Swiss village, or bustling resort, is not only a dream holiday home but also a specialised investment niche.
This housing market has much to offer regarding property prices, buy-to-let, and ideal capital growth over mid to long-term periods. As a real estate agent specialising in ski properties in the Alps, we have helped many buyers considering investment properties to find one suiting their budget and preferences. So, in this article, we give general overviews of buying alpine homes and why it is a wise real estate purchase.
Buying Ski Property in Switzerland
1: Why Choose Switzerland
All experts say property investment in popular skiing destinations is a sure-fire, long-term, low-risk endeavour. But, this niche stands tall and proud with an esteemed reputation. So whether you want an apartment or a ski chalet, many resorts with excellent snow conditions await. Moreover, utilising the year-round tourism potential, many ski resorts invest in ski accommodation, infrastructure, transport and summer activities to make the Swiss Alps more than just a winter tourism destination. (5 reasons to buy Swiss Property.)
2: Swiss Ski Resorts to Buy Property
Crans Montana: The premier Crans Montana ski resort excellently highlights luxury apartments in the Sierre district. Formed when two popular resorts merged, buying property here puts you in the heart of the Swiss Alps. Ideal for both skiers and snowboarding, the town is open all year round, suiting property buyers who want rental income. Alongside 125 kilometres of skiing pistes and fifteen trails, the Alpine resort stands out for golfing excellence with four courses and the OMEGA European Masters tournament.
Flims Waldhaus: With many properties for sale close to the lifts, homeowners have easy access to ski areas. Reasons to buy include 220 kilometres of slope and traditional Alpine vibes. Klosters, where royalty and celebrities head, is just an hour’s drive away, but Flims Waldhaus does just as good a job. To rent out a property, the resort delivers by being a year-round holiday destination. For ski-holiday getaways, Zurich airport is just 90 minutes’ drive away. The tourism market is mainly European; however, this is slowly changing.
Verbier: All hard-core skiers love Verbier’s property market, with cosy apartments and luxury chalets. The 4 Valleys offers top-notch ski lifts, many off-piste opportunities and challenging terrain and slopes for hard-core skiers, although beginners’ slot right at home, either on practise runs or in the ski schools. The Zermatt to Verbier route is the highest traverse in the Swiss Alps, earning high admiration from around the globe. Luxury ski chalets in Verbier often feature skis storage rooms, a sauna, an outdoor hot tub, an en suite, a log fire, a jacuzzi, a terrace, and mountain views.
3: Buying Process for Ski Property
Start your search by browsing our portfolio of property for sale in Switzerland. Each listing includes everything to know, including the price, location, and features of that ski chalet or apartment. Once you have chosen your ideal home, we guide you through every step. But start with signing a reservation agreement and paying a deposit in front of the property-registered Swiss notary. Once a civil status questionnaire is completed, they apply for your permit. Once approved, sign the sales deed within 30 days, and the notary will perform the necessary documentation with the land register.
4: What is a Reservation Agreement?
A legal reservation agreement, also known as a “reservation contract” or “reservation deposit”, allows buyers to reserve property. At the same time, they complete due diligence and secure financing. The buyer and seller sign the reservation agreement, including the following information.
- The identification of the property, including its address and description
- The purchase price and payment terms
- The amount of the reservation deposit, which is usually around 3-5% of the purchase price
- The timeframe for completing the sale, including any conditions that need to be met
- The consequences of breaching the agreement, such as the forfeiture of the reservation deposit
Once the reservation agreement is signed, the buyer must complete due diligence and secure financing. The seller cannot sell the property to anyone else during this time. If the buyer decides to proceed with the purchase, the reservation deposit is typically applied towards the purchase price. Reservation agreements are not legally required in Switzerland. Still, they are standard practices to protect buyers and sellers by establishing clear terms.
5: What is a Civil Status Questionnaire?
In Switzerland, a legal civil status questionnaire collects information about the buyer’s personal and financial situation, legal status and tax obligations. The questionnaire is typically requested by lenders or banks when buyers apply for mortgages. It helps lenders assess creditworthiness and determine whether they are suitable mortgage candidates.
The questionnaire includes personal information like name, address, occupation, income, marital status, dependents and tax obligations. In addition, the questionnaire may consist of assets and liabilities. This helps the lender determine the buyer’s ability to make mortgage payments and assess their financial situation.
6: Residents and Non-Residents
Swiss residents are not subject to as many restrictions as non-resident foreign buyers. They are allowed to buy any type of property, including vacation homes and investment properties, without the need for special permits. However, they must adhere to specific property regulations.
Non-residents, can only purchase vacation homes or investment property. Furthermore, they are subject to strict regulations, like obtaining special permits. Additionally, the federal government may require them to pay higher taxes on the property compared to Swiss residents. Finally, financing options for non-residents are more limited, as Swiss banks may be hesitant to offer mortgages to non-Swiss residents.
7: What Permits Do Non-Residents Need?
Foreigners need permits to buy Swiss property. The type of residence permit required depends on your situation and how you will use the property.
Citizens of an EU/EFTA country can buy a primary residence in Switzerland without a permit. However, to buy a secondary home, need a Swiss residence permit.
A non-EU/EFTA country’s citizens need a Swiss residence permit. There are several visas including:
- Permit B: This five-year permit is for non-Swiss citizens who plan to live and work in Switzerland for an extended period.
- Permit C: This permit is a permanent residency permit without restrictions for non-Swiss citizens who have lived in Switzerland for 10 years and have integrated into Swiss society.
- Permit L: This permit, issued to non-Swiss citizens who plan to stay in Switzerland for less than one year, is also called a visitor permit.
To buy a primary residence in Switzerland, you need a Permit B or Permit C. To buy a secondary home, apply for Permit B or L. Remember, the permit application process is complex, so work with an experienced attorney to meet all requirements.
8: Tips for Buying New build Ski Property
Developer Reputation: Research the developer before purchasing a new build ski property. Ensure they have good reputations for quality construction, and the new development has a warranty or guarantee.
Building Codes and Energy Efficiency: New construction properties are subject to strict building codes and energy efficiency regulations. Ensure the property meets these standards to reduce energy bills and ensure higher resale value.
9: Buying your Dream Chalet
Swiss ski chalets are typically designed with both functionality and aesthetics in mind. Here are some features to find in Swiss ski chalets or read this article about whether a ski chalet is a good investment.
- Swiss ski chalets are often built using natural materials like wood, stone, and glass, which give them cosy, rustic feels and blend in with surrounding mountain landscapes.
- Fireplaces offer warmth after long days on the slopes.
- Many chalets come with outdoor space that offers panoramic mountain views.
- Ski chalets typically have ample storage space for ski equipment, including a ski room or garage for storing skis, boots, and other gear.
- Swiss ski chalets provide all amenities, including Wi-Fi, cable TV, and equipped kitchen with modern appliances.
- Newer Swiss chalets are built to be energy efficient, with features like double-glazed windows, insulated walls, and efficient heating systems.
- Some Swiss chalets come with a sauna or spa, providing a relaxing place to unwind and rejuvenate.
10: Don’t forget Purchase Costs
Alongside the initial cost of buying Swiss property, factor in taxes. These include registration, notary fees, and real estate transfer, up to 3.3% dependent on capital gains tax on where you buy. If buying in another currency, remember to factor in varying exchange rates. Always use foreign exchange companies for better rates and transfer fees.
11: Final Buying Tips
Location: Most Swiss ski resorts have unique charm and characteristics. Consider the best resort based on the slopes, scenery, other activities, and distance from your home.
Budget: Ski apartments in Switzerland can be expensive, so set budgets and stick to them. Consider the property cost, maintenance fees, taxes, and any other expenses associated with owning a ski apartment.
Legal Requirements: Foreigners must meet specific legal requirements to purchase a ski apartment in Switzerland. These requirements can vary depending on the canton (state) in which you are buying, do research and hire a reputable lawyer.
Swiss Property Management: If you are not planning to live in your ski apartment full-time, consider hiring property management companies to handle daily tasks like cleaning, maintenance, and rental management.
Financing: Financing options for non-residents is limited in Switzerland, so explore all options and only work with reputable lenders.
More About the Swiss Property Market
About Us: We are Skiing Property, a real estate agent who helps foreign buyers looking for bargain and luxury flats and chalets in France and Switzerland. Featuring many destinations, including villages, and high-altitude resorts, our extensive portfolio is your first step to owning an alpine home, or contact us to arrange viewings of property in Switzerland.