The Swiss real estate law is a very comprehensive field. It includes areas such as tenancy law, contract law and property law. In principle, Swiss property law is uniform throughout the country, but various regional peculiarities in the 26 cantons must be taken into account.There are different tax rates for the individual acquisition transactions in most cantons. For example, in many cantons inheritance to spouses or children is tax-free. Where this is not the case, the amount of inheritance tax depends, among other things, on the location of the property.
Important note: Before concluding a purchase agreement, you should always obtain a current printout from the property register. The public notarization of the purchase contract is generally carried out by notaries. But in many cantons, municipal clerks, land registry administrators or publicly appointed attorneys are authorized to do so as well. In total, there are approximately 340 land registry offices in Switzerland.
EU citizens may purchase primary residences without restriction on the basis of a reciprocity agreement with the EU dated 1.6.2002. For secondary residences, on the other hand, the special cantonal special rules of the so-called Lex Koller apply. Citizens of other countries (e.g. Russia or the USA) are subject to the decisions of the cantonal authorities in both cases.
If a foreign national intends to purchase real estate, an apartment or a plot of land, it is strongly recommended to clarify with the relevant authorities and a specialist attorney for property law if all the necessary requirements are met or whether further permits need to be obtained.