The costs of buying land or real estate in Switzerland

The purchase of land or real estate in Switzerland: costs

It is well known that there are additional costs when buying a house. In the following article we would like to give you an insight into which costs and fees you will have to pay when buying a house in Switzerland.

Of course you can contact us at any time for detailed information. Please feel free to use the contact form or call us. Costs that do not apply are on the one hand the notary fees, the costs for the change of ownership (change of owner), the entry in the land register and if applicable the costs for the new debt certificate. Normally, the costs are shared between buyer and seller, except for the debt certificate costs. However, the property gains tax is borne by the seller, unless otherwise agreed.

1. Notary fees

The notary is responsible for drawing up and notarizing the purchase contract. In addition, he is responsible for the entry in the land register.

The amount of the fee varies from canton to canton, and there are also price differences between the municipalities. The canton of Geneva, as well as Bern, Valais and Ticino are the cantons with the highest fees. In contrast, Zug, Schaffhausen as well as Appenzell and the cantons Ausserhoden and Schwyz have the lowest rates for a notarial fee. There are also cantons without fixed fees, which is why it is worthwhile to obtain quotes from different cantons. For example, for a purchase price of 1 million francs: In the canton of Bern a fee of CHF 5000 would be due at 0.5% or CHF 2500 per party and in Zurich CHF 1000 at 0.1% or CHF 500 per party. (Please note that these are only examples for clarification).

2. The real estate transfer tax: What is the real estate transfer tax and how much does it cost?

Again, it varies from canton to canton: some levy a transfer of ownership tax, some waive it.

The transfer of ownership tax or transfer fee is, as the name suggests, the tax that does not apply when the property or land changes hands. It is not a federal tax, but is set by the respective cantons. Again, the amount varies, with Neuchâtel having the highest tax at 33 per mille. Even if there are some cantons and municipalities that do not know the transfer tax, this does not automatically mean that there are less fees, rather it is in many places so that the land registry offices then require more fees for the sale or purchase of a property. Referring to the previous example, the real estate transfer tax would look like this: In Bern, the people decided to levy the tax only from an amount of 800,000 CHF, with a percentage of 1.8%. Thus 1,000,000 CHF – 800,000 CHF = 200,000 CHF * 1.8% = 3600 CHF francs or 1800 CHF per party and agreement. In the canton of Zurich it would be 0 CHF

3. The land registry fees

The land registry fees are again similar, they vary from canton to canton and from municipality to municipality.

Some charge them as a lump sum, others calculate them according to the time spent. In our example, the canton of Bern would charge CHF 2000, or CHF 1000 per party, and the canton of Zurich CHF 1500, or CHF 750 per party.

4. Charges for the debt certificate

Again, the picture is the same. The fees vary between 0.1 % and 0.3 %.

In Berne and Zurich, however, they are the same, so that calculated on our example, with a loan to value of 80 %, starting from 1 million CHF purchase costs, an amount of 2000 CHF would arise, which would be charged to the buyer. If you have any questions regarding financing or the promissory note, please contact us at

5. Real estate gains tax

Real estate gains tax is the same: the tax varies depending on the municipality.

The real estate gains tax depends on how long you have owned the property or land and is then calculated on the difference between the purchase and sale price. The advantage is that you deduct all value-adding investments and costs for the sale including brokerage fees as well as costs for advertisements, change of ownership tax and also the land registry fees. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to your call or email