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Loans & mortgagesMortgagesGetting a property survey
Home ownership

Getting a property survey

25.11.2020

Source: iStock/ Gremlin

Is a property worth the asking price? Comparis explains how you can roughly estimate the value of a home and who can help you with this.

  • Why should I get a survey of a property?
  • What is the Cantonal Energy Certificate for Buildings?
  • How does this certificate affect the price?
  • Getting an estate agent to inspect the property
  • Why mortgage lenders do valuation surveys

Why should I get a survey of a property?

To check that the selling price reflects the property's condition

It’s not every day that you buy a house or apartment. There are various valuation methods you can use to determine the purchase price. The condition of the property is an important factor when it comes to price negotiations and for obtaining the subsequent mortgage. You should therefore inspect the building condition thoroughly before buying and identify any necessary maintenance and renovation work.

To verify energy efficiency

In older properties, the heating system and external structure are often in need of updating. Find out whether there have been any recent improvements to the energy efficiency of the property. Ideally, it will have an energy performance certificate.

What is the Cantonal Energy Certificate for Buildings?

The Cantonal Energy Certificate for Buildings (in German, French and Italian only) is the standard energy performance certificate for Switzerland. Abbreviated to GEAK, CECB or CECE in the respective languages, it provides a rating that indicates the quality of the building structure and overall energy efficiency. It also provides an indication of the sustainability of the property – heating, lighting and electrical systems are also inspected. The basic GEAK/CECB/CECE product is the official energy label. The “Plus” version includes an additional report detailing recommendations for renovation and improvement. The certificate is usually optional. Some cantons require it when a property changes hands or the heating system is replaced.

How does this certificate affect the price?

The idea behind the energy certificate is to create transparency on the property market. The certificate is issued for the building and remains valid even with a change of ownership. It is simply transferred to the new owner. For buyers, it is important for the decision-making process, providing an indication of energy efficiency and the need for renovation work. If the property is in need of significant refurbishment, this should be reflected in the selling price.

Getting an estate agent to inspect the property

Before buying a home, you also have the option of getting a professional estate agent to inspect the building structure and produce their own valuation. Estate agents can identify any flaws and damage and suggest what renovation work may be necessary. In addition, they are also familiar with market trends in your area. Estate agents can enter into a contract with both the buying and the selling party, but a transaction brokerage agreement must be signed in this case. The estate agent must also disclose the dual agency. If the dual agency is not authorized, the agent is not permitted to charge commission.

Why mortgage lenders do valuation surveys

Mortgage lenders normally carry out their own valuation survey in order to verify the selling price. To do this, they apply what's known as the lowest value principle. Therefore, if the lender’s valuation is lower than the negotiated purchase price, the buyer will need to increase the deposit using savings or (if the property is owner-occupied) pension assets from the second and third pillars in order to secure the mortgage.

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