Archive for the ‘Real Estate – General’ Category

Tips to buy property in Switzerland

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Here is something you simply must know before you start property search in Switzerland — the costs involved with property buying in Switzerland is higher than anywhere else in Europe. Not just that, general cost of living is also higher in Switzerland than in any other country in Europe. But then I assume you already know that, right? So here goes, some great tips to get that house you so want!

Property SearchSome hot tips

  1. Laws: Non Swiss citizen have several laws to abide by before a property is bought. You must obtain an authorisation from the Cantonal Authorities and from the Federal Department of Justice and Police, through a notary. This is because there is an annual quota for sale to non-Swiss citizens. Also, it’s worth knowing that if either you or your spouse is an EU citizen, Swiss residency is most likely to give you almost all rights as a Swiss citizen.
  2. Holiday home or permanent house?  It is very imperative that you decide what you are planning on buying. If it’s a holiday home, where you will stay on for a few months in a year, there are rules, and quotas. If it’s a permanent house, you will definitely have to show your stay permit, especially if you do not hold an EU/EFTA passport. However, this may lead you to a wild goose chase. Be warned.
  3. Price payable: This is usually done in stages, which is specified in the purchase agreement. Do go through it thoroughly.
  4. Location dependant. Remember the price you will have to pay depends on the location of your house. Of course, this is true in any part of the world.In Switzerland, the property market being small, the location of the property assumes greater importance.
  5. Loans: Do remember that local banks can loan up to two-thirds of the purchase price.
  6. Agent: A pice of good advice — identify and pick a good, trustworthy and experienced real estate agent early in this process. It eases out a lot of hassles and quickens the process, too.
  7. Taxes and rates. It is important to do a thorough research on the property taxes applicable in each town/ canton.. It may serve you well to know that the Canton of Zug, for example, has the lowest tax, and therefore, highest property price in all of Switzerland!

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Hope this has helped you in some way. Do drop in a line if you need to know more.. or simply visit our website

Much Love and happy house hunting,

MILO

P.S: Follow me to my next post: Property Buying tips in Belgium.

Top Ten Tips — Buying property in France

Top Ten Tips — Buying property in France

Welcome to my hot tips for buying property. Our chosen country is France, this time. Refer to our list of ten best countries to live in, and you will find France on the tenth!

My top ten tips:

Before we begin, I must tell you that buying property in France is fairly straightforward. Also, there are no restrictions on foreign ownership. Therefore the process maybe a simple one. Still, there are some things you have to bear in mind.

1.     Know your French. And know it well. Half baked knowledge of the language is dangerous. Better still, simply get assistance in translation.

2.     Select your region. France is a huge country. So narrow down your search to which region you might want to invest in. (for more info on regions, do look up one of our earlier posts –‘Knowing France’ – a three part series). Also, you must make up your mind whether you want a town house or a country house.

3.     First, only a verbal offer. Remember, not to sign any paper or hand over any money, till you are in front of the notaire to process the sale and purchase contract. If possible, do some research and appoint your own notaire. Do ensure you clear your doubts and ask for advice from your notaire. A notaire’s fee is fixed by law and is non-negotiable.

4.     Research. Do ample research about the property that is of interest to you. Ask questions, make a couple of visits before you get to the ‘notaire’ stage. It might also be extremely useful to go through all the taxes you might have to pay — agent’s fee, notaire’s fee, land registrar’s fee, VAT, registration fee, and so on.

5.     Preliminary Agreements. Once you have decided on the property and agreed on the price, you will need to sign a preliminary agreement with the seller. You will also have a seven day cool off period, during which time, you have the right to change your mind. This time is best used for structural survey and other inspections, if required.

6.     Buying property with French mortgage. Mortgages are cheaper in France and offers a whole lot of tax advantages. If you do opt for mortgages, ask about conditional clauses and incorporate them.

7.     Vendor obligations. Be sure to know what the vendor has to provide to you before the sale. The vendor must provide a number of stautory survey reports. Get clarification and help from your notaire on this front and do not go by the report alone. The vendor is also obliged to make a number of stautory disclosures, which you must verify in front of your notaire.

8.     Laws for unmarried, married and group of people. There are different laws and conditions, you must know and bear in mind. Ask friends, legal experts and read up.

9.     It’s all about wits.  It’s often noticed that when you buy property in your own country, you keep your wits about you, but when it comes to buying property abroad, you lose track of where you left it! Often, it’s your wits that come to your rescue or help you in a situation. Basically, you must remain calm and be able to think clearly without confusion.

10.   Loads of luck. 

Much love

Milo

P.S. A million thank you to several informative websites and my French friends who helped me draw out a comprehensive list.

P.P.S: Our next post: Tips on buying property in Portugal. See you there 🙂

Tips and Advices – A day with a Kitchen Consultant (Part 2)

Milo’s day out with the kitchen consulant continues….

Okay, I can see you are back to know more about my day. Initial planning questions done, the in-depth aspects became more and more interesting. Are you ready to go?

The Work Flow Chart

You do remember I told you about the sequence and flow of work in a kitchen, right?

I know what you’re thinking… It’s all about basic activities in every kitchen –preparation, washing, cooking and storing! What other flow could be there! I had the same question too! So did our client. “The design has to make for the smooth integration of these basic activities,” explained JSK. “A good kitchen design ensures that one does not have to retrace the steps too often while performing normal cooking activities!”

That answers your doubt.

Okay, so there were a few points to be kept in mind:

  1. Smooth functioning of activities without much to and fro.
  2. No doors en-route to interrupt the flow.
  3. Make the sequence of kitchen work, logical and economical.
  4. Ensure minimum distance between work areas (platforms, sink, cook tops) and storage areas.
  5. Oragnise clutter.

Once you understand these points, it’s rather easy to make a rough sketch of a design of sorts in your mind.

The Layout

Did you know that there are six basic types of kitchen layouts? With distinct features of its own, each design can function efficiently within the given space and size.

You kitchen consultant will be the best person to tell you which one you should pick. However, you must know what these layouts are.

The U shape:

  1. Ideal for a large space.
  2. As the name suggests, platforms run on three sides, forming a U.
  3. Gives a lot of work and storage space.

The L shaped:

  1. The platform runs along two perpendicular walls.
  2. Very common in many parts of India, and cities like New York.

The Straight Line:

  1. All the work area is set against a single wall.
  2. Most suited for narrow spaces.
  3. Looks sleek.

The Galley:

  1. Work platforms on either side.
  2. It is an ideal layout in terms of efficiency, for many.

The island:

  1. Requires a lot of space.
  2. The island can also be used as an informal dining area.
  3. Works well in a commercial kitchen.

The peninsular:

  1. Good for a large space.
  2. It has a unit free on three sides.
  3. One side is perpendicular to the wall or to the other kitchen units, which can be used as a breakfast counter.

That brings us to more important aspects like lighting, ventilation, storage and others. See you soon with more on these aspects in our part 3.

 

I’d love to hear from you…

Give me your comments, feedback, feedback and doubts, and I’ll get back to you…

Milo

Tips and Advices – A Day With A Kitchen Consultant

Kitchen designing is no child’s play. It involves meticulous planning, understanding needs and identifying wants, discovers MILO.**

I spent an entire day with a kitchen consultant. Just to understand what his job exactly entails. At the end of the day I was wiser, enriched and already had a plan in mind for my own kitchen.

I walked in just as JSK (The kitchen consultant – he does not want his name revealed!) was getting ready for his new assigment. He was visiting his client who wanted a designer kitchen. I joined him.

What followed was a complete run down of wants, needs, habits and lifetysles before a design could be conceived.

Here is the first part of the series…

PLANNING

A good design of kitchen design must consider the family’s lifestyle, their eating habits and entertainment patterns. JSK first asked his client these questions:

1. What is your budget?

You have to keep a budget in mind. It’s important to then decide on the amount and kind of structural work, materials to be purchased, as also teh appliances that need to be installed.

According to JSK, the ideal budget while making your your kitchen should be anywhere between 5 to 7 per cent of the value of your property.

 2. What is your family structure?

Type: Nuclear, single person, a couple, or a joint family. This determines the storage requirements.

Age: Requirement change according to the different ages.

3. What is your storage pattern?

Some people buy and store for a full year, while others do their monthly purchases. Depending on your style, the shelves, cupboards and storage units have to be designed.

4. How often do you have guests over?

Don’t brush tis off as being a weird question. It has an important bearing on the design. This will determine the ind of appliances in your kitchen, the size of the referigerator, kind of storage, counter area, and so on.

Once these basic questions were answered JSK had a fairly clear idea of what his clients wanted. The next few important aspects of information concerned the sequence and flow of work and the layout.

Watch out for these two aspects, soon…

(To be continued)

Property Buying Tips

Buying property? There is more to it than getting the finance and picking a reputed builder. Here is a quick run through of common sense tips. You already know it all, but the best of us, forget the best of things at times.

1.  The Real Reason: Why do you want to buy the property? To have your ‘own’ home, for investment purpose only, a holiday home, a place to retire to, or to relocate? Once you know the reason, you will be more clear on what type of property to zero in on. This is especially important if you are buying a home outside of your city or even country.

2.  Research: This is very important. Before you set out, read up, browse through several websites, talk to people, use your network to know more.  And, yes… prepare a checklist of what you want.

3.  Visit: Of course, you must pay a visit and check out the property or properties, as the case maybe. Go along with someone — a relative, a friend, or better still, someone from the town/ country! This is because, that person may bring in a fresher perspective and probably see what you don’t! Ask questions. Click photographs and go through your checklist!

4.  Repeat Visits: Try visiting the property several times before you pay up, and visit the place at different times of the day.

5.  Facilities & Amenities: Look for what the builder-developer is offering you vis-a-vis the price you are paying. Also, its important to know how far the nearest medical care unit, school, railway station, airport, shopping mall, etc., are located.

6.  Language: In case you are relocating to another city or country, you must be prepared to learn the local language as also about the culture of that place.

7.  Time: Be prepared to invest time into the project. You cannot expect to find your dream home the first time around!

8.  Insurance: Go through the due diligence bit and get home insurance done. It’s really a must!

9.  Solicitors: Pick someone you know. Avoid solicitors who have been recommended by agents. Find an independent one of repute.

10. Survey: Get a property survey done by a professional — someone who is familiar with local construction processes and materials

All this apart, enjoy the process. The journey is always more important than the destination.