Selling a property in Switzerland: a step-by-step guide

Selling your Swiss property is simple if you understand the process. Please find below the stages to the process.

Step 1- Determine if you can sell your home

If you hold a Swiss passport or any other form of permanent residence permit, you are free to sell your property at any time. However if you have purchased a property under the quota system for non-residents, you will need to enquire with a local notary if you can sell as some cantons have imposed certain restrictions (i.e. minimum length of ownership required in order to sell).

This applies to cantons such as the Valais where popular tourist ski regions are located, and numerous houses and flats are owned as a second residence.

Step 2 - Get your property valued

Not many owners in Switzerland sell their property privately. They find it easier to work with a local agent, who in exchange for a commission fee of the sale price actively markets your property, sources potential buyers, arrange viewings and assists with negotiations. Please consult the section why use an agent to get a good understanding of an agent's role as well as the agents directory to find a local agent.

Step 3 - Set your property sale price

Once you have reviewed on the Onest website what properties are currently in your location/postcode on the market and you have considered the valuations of the agent(s), you can set the price. It is important not to set the price too high as this may result in a lack of demand and you will end up waiting a long time before finding a buyer (often by reducing the price).

Step 4 - Prepare your home for viewings

To maximise the sale price of a property, there is a lot to do before inviting an agent for a valuation. Please consult our tips to prepare your home. First impressions count greatly and help to increase your chances of finding a buyer at the best price.

Step 5 - Notary

When you have agreed the property price with the buyer (and any other relevant conditions) you will have to hire the services of a notary to formalise the transaction. In most cantons the notary is public, however in some cantons it is a private profession. The notary works for both the buyer and seller and protects their interests. He is typically chosen by the buyer but he equally looks after the interests of a seller. Please consult the buying guide for detailed information.

Step 6 - Costs when selling your property

When you sell a property in Switzerland you can expect the following costs:

Notary fee: in many cantons, fees and taxes are charged by the notary and shared between the buyer and seller. However, in some cantons it is more common that the buyer bears this cost (example: Vaud). Please check this with notary in the canton where the property is located.

Estate agents fee: usually around 3% of the sale price, but it can be more or less, so please check before you instruct an agent.

Capital gains tax: levied at the cantonal level and computed based on the applicable rates of taxation in the canton and the length of time you have owned the property.

Surcharge: usually levied on properties sold within five years, please check this with a local notary.

Early cancellation fee of your mortgage: if you wish to sell your property before the expiry of your mortgage term, your bank may charge you a penalty if they lose income due to the earlier than expected repayment date. Please check this with your bank.

Step 7 - Move out

You will hand over the keys of your property to the buyers on the day of completion, usually in the notary's office. You will be required to leave the house cleaned. The notary will liaise with your bank to pay off the mortgage on your behalf. Congratulations, you’ve just sold your property!

Medair from Onest
Medair from Onest