How to Buy Real Estate in Switzerland

Who can buy property in Switzerland?

For a considerable period, Switzerland has imposed limitations on property sales to non-citizens. The Federal government establishes an annual quota of permits for non-resident foreigners seeking property acquisition in Switzerland.

Eligibility requires individuals to either be EU (European Union)or EFTA (European Free Trade Association) nationals with a Swiss residence permit and residency or foreigners who possess a Swiss C Permit (permanent residence permit).

It´s worth noting that licensing criteria may vary among cantons, necessitating thorough research before engaging in any transactions.

Do the research

Switzerland boasts a stable economy and political environment, making it a safe haven for investors seeking security. The country´s strict regulations ensure transparency and reliability in real estate transactions, providing confidence to investors. Additionally, Switzerland´s central location in Europe and strong transportation infrastructure make it an attractive hub for international business, driving demand for commercial and residential properties. Even though the rental yields tend to be low, The Swiss real estate market has historically shown resilience, even during economic downturns, offering stability and long-term growth potential. Moreover, the country´s high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and quality education system make it appealing to both local and foreign residents, sustaining demand for housing. Lastly, Switzerland´s picturesque landscapes and renowned lifestyle amenities make its real estate market desirable for investors seeking not only financial returns but also a quality lifestyle.

Below are some sought-after destinations for real estate investment:

  • Zürich - As Switzerland´s largest city and a major financial hub, Zurich attracts both local and international buyers. It offers a vibrant cultural scene, excellent infrastructure, and a high quality of life.
  • Geneva - Another international city, Geneva is known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, picturesque lakeside setting, and proximity to international organizations like the United Nations and the Red Cross.
  • Lucerne - Situated amid stunning mountain scenery on the shores of Lake Lucerne, this charming city is popular for its well-preserved medieval old town, outdoor recreational opportunities, and easy access to ski resorts.
  • Lausanne - Home to the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne is a lively city on the shores of Lake Geneva. It boasts a rich cultural scene, prestigious universities, and a beautiful waterfront promenade.
  • Lugano - Located in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino, Lugano enjoys a Mediterranean climate and stunning views of Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains. It´s a popular destination for both tourists and homebuyers seeking a relaxed lifestyle.
  • Basel - Situated on the Rhine River near the borders of France and Germany, Basel is known for its vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, and thriving pharmaceutical industry.
  • Bern - Switzerland´s capital city, Bern, offers a picturesque old town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with excellent public transportation, top-notch healthcare, and a strong economy.
  • St. Moritz - Renowned as a luxury alpine resort destination, St. Moritz attracts wealthy buyers looking for upscale properties in a breathtaking mountain setting. It´s particularly popular among skiing enthusiasts and high-end clientele.
  • Verbier - Another exclusive ski resort town, Verbier is part of the extensive Four Valleys ski area and offers luxurious chalets and apartments with easy access to world-class skiing and snowboarding.
  • Montreux - Famous for its annual jazz festival and its stunning location on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux is a sought-after destination for homebuyers seeking a mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions.

Where to find properties online:


To obtain a mortgage in Switzerland, foreigners typically need a valid Swiss residence permit, such as a work permit. Additionally, they are usually required to make a substantial down payment, typically around 20% of the property´s value, to qualify for a property loan.

Due Diligence and Sales Contract 

In Switzerland, the due diligence process for residential real estate transactions is thorough and requires the involvement of multiple professionals to guarantee compliance. Lawyers play a critical role in legal due diligence by examining property titles, reviewing contracts, and ensuring adherence to Swiss real estate law. Regulated by cantonal authorities, they are held to rigorous professional standards. Surveyors assess the physical condition of the property, providing detailed reports on its structure, identifying defects, and often estimating its value. Similar to lawyers, surveyors in Switzerland are regulated and must obtain certification.

In Switzerland, the property purchase agreement goes by different names depending on the region: "Kaufvertrag" in German, "contrat de vente" in French, or "contratto di vendita" in Italian. This contract specifies the terms and conditions of the property sale, including aspects such as property description, price, and any conditions precedent, such as obtaining a mortgage. Once signed by both parties, the property purchase agreement becomes legally binding.

Property Buying Costs and Taxes in Switzerland

Transaction Costs
    Who Pays?
Real Estate Transfer Tax 0.20% - 3.30% buyer
Registration Fee 0.15% buyer
Notary Fees 0.10% buyer
Real Estate Agent´s Fee 3.00% - 5.00% seller
Costs paid by buyer 0.45% - 3.55%  
Costs paid by seller 3.00% - 5.00%
Source: Global Property Guide