Are you a property owner in Switzerland and have decided to sell?

Or are you looking for a home to buy that best meets your needs?

In either case, it is time to turn to a real estate agency.

But how much does it cost to avail yourself of the valuable brokerage services of a Real Estate expert?

In this article we provide clarity and answer all the questions we are usually asked about real estate agency commission.

What is commission? How much does it cost and how is the brokerage commission calculated when selling a house in Switzerland? Who has to pay it? Are there cases when it is not expected?

Real estate agency commission: what it is and how it is calculated

First of all, it is necessary to be clear what we are talking about: the commission is the fee that is paid to the real estate agency for its intermediary activity between the buyer and the seller.

The commission is used to cover the entire package of services agreed upon with the agency, for example, the creation and promotion of the sale announcement on specialized websites, photo and video services, the management of inspections of potential buyers, the activity of negotiating offers, managing and verifying the property data and requesting documents for the purpose of the sale and in some cases also the creation of floor plans, reports, estimates, etc.

In Switzerland, the law does not establish an amount or a calculation method to define the amount of the commission but it is defined by local custom.

Usually this is calculated as a percentage of the sale price of the property and is generally between 4 and 5 percent.

There are several elements that can affect the final commission amount, such as the type of property (single-family or multi-family house, condominium, land, luxury property), the location and the package of services offered by the real estate agency.

In Switzerland, there are no surprises: the percentage of the commission and the services offered are clearly stipulated in the brokerage contract, and Swiss law protects sellers if too high commissions are charged (Article 417 of the Code of Obligations).

Who pays commission to the real estate agency and when?

Legally speaking, the seller is the party who must pay the commission to the real estate agency, as principal.

In fact, the agency is commissioned and works on behalf of the seller, committing itself to operate ethically, competently and judiciously, seeking to obtain the best price for its principal.

In Switzerland, the brokerage contract regulates when the commission is to be paid, which is usually paid after the purchase contract is signed in front of a notary public.

It is possible to agree on a different time for payment of the commission, but it is not a common practice to provide for advance payments or fixed amounts.

The real estate agency is paid a commission or brokerage fee when:

  • establishes contact between seller and buyer (commission for contact mediation);
  • assists the seller during contract negotiations with the buyer (commission for interposition mediation);
  • verifies the interest of a potential buyer (commission for indication mediation).

When should commission not be recognized?

In the event that the sale and purchase does not go through and no contract is signed between the parties, the seller is not required to pay any commission to the agency (unless otherwise agreed).

However, selling a house is an economically, and often emotionally, demanding activity, and it is best not to improvise as an expert on the subject.

Our suggestion is to carefully choose the real estate agency to which to give the mandate and, once identified, rely on it for all the agreed activities, avoiding do-it-yourself.

In buying and selling real estate, a real estate agent's competence, professionalism and negotiating skills are crucial: any mistakes in listing or selling can cost you dearly, and it is important to rely on those who have concrete and long experience in the field.

Are you thinking of selling and curious about how much your home is worth?

Contact us for a free consultation, by conducting a quick appraisal in less than 3 minutes you get the real value of your home on the Swiss real estate market.

What are you waiting for? Find out the real value of your property!

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