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Buying real estate: notary costs explained for buyers and sellers

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Notary fees when buying real estate: What you need to know. Notaries are indispensable when selling or buying a house. They notarize the purchase contract and enter the buyers in the land register as the new owners, thus ensuring the legal transfer of ownership.

Tasks of the notary when selling a house

Notaries draw up and notarize purchase contracts and have the new owners entered in the land register to make the transfer of ownership legally binding.

Who commissions the notary?

How is the notary selected?

Once the sale of a property has been agreed, the next step is to draw up the purchase contract. This requires a notary, who is normally appointed by the seller or estate agent. Sellers or real estate agents can either choose a notary with whom they have already had good experiences or, as in the canton of Zurich for example, contact their official notary. In principle, any notary can carry out the necessary tasks. The notarization procedure is always the same. However, it depends on the canton whether a free choice of notary is possible or whether the notary is specified by the official notary’s office.

What criteria must be observed?

It is important that the notary is impartial and does not pursue his own interests. Its task is to ensure the legal security of the transaction.

How does the notary appointment work?

The chosen notary drafts a purchase contract based on the legal requirements in Switzerland. It also takes into account the agreements communicated by the buyer and seller and incorporates them into the contract, provided they are legally valid. He then sends the draft to the buyer and seller.

As soon as both parties are in agreement and agree to the draft contract, an appointment is made to sign it at the notary’s office. The notary reads out the purchase contract and asks the seller and buyer to identify themselves and sign the contract.

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After both parties have signed, the notary notarizes the purchase contract with the seal. This is a transaction with far-reaching consequences that is only valid once the notary has issued his certification of the purchase agreement. From this point in time, the buyer assumes the benefits and risks of the property. He is the owner and must be liable for all damage.

In the next step, which takes place after the notary appointment, the notary takes care of the transfer of ownership. This takes place after receipt of the purchase price on the seller’s account. As soon as the latter confirms receipt of payment, the notary registers the transfer of ownership with the land registry. The sale is complete upon registration.

What notary fees are incurred when buying a house?

Notaries in Switzerland are paid according to a notarial tariff. The amount of the fee varies from canton to canton and in some cases also from notary to notary.

Notaries are most expensive in the cantons of Valais, Geneva, Bern and Ticino. They are cheaper in the cantons of Schwyz, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Schaffhausen and Zug. If the canton has not set any fees, it is worth obtaining quotes.

In Bern, notary fees amount to 0.5 percent of the purchase price. In Zurich, the figure is 0.1 percent. A real estate transaction of CHF 1 million would therefore incur notary fees of CHF 5,000 in the canton of Berne. In the canton of Zurich it would only be 1,000 francs.

There are additional costs for the land register entry when selling a house. In Berne, this is 0.1 to 0.2 percent of the purchase price, depending on the amount of the purchase price. In Zurich, the figure is 0.15 percent.

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Who pays the notary fees?

In Switzerland, the costs for the notary appointment are typically shared between the buyer and seller. But here, too, there are differences depending on the canton. In the canton of Ticino, for example, it is stipulated that the buyer always pays the entire notary fees.

We recommend that you agree on the assumption of costs at an early stage. It is best to include the agreement in writing in the purchase contract in order to create clear conditions.

What other incidental purchase costs should I expect?

In addition to notary fees, there are other costs involved in buying a house. You should factor this in from the outset in order to take out a loan of a suitable amount.

In this article, you will learn how to calculate the affordability of a property and the approximate costs you will incur when buying a home.

Read now

The following additional costs are also important:

  • Promissory note: In order to take out a mortgage loan, a promissory note must be drawn up at the land registry. The fees for this vary from canton to canton. Buyers should expect to pay 0.1 to 0.3 percent of the purchase price.
  • Transfer tax: Although this tax is not common in all cantons, it is nevertheless important to note. In Bern, it is 1.8 percent of the purchase price and is shared by the buyer and seller. There is no transfer tax in Aargau, Zug and Zurich.
  • Land register fees: In most cantons, the land register fee is charged at a flat rate. It is 0.1 to 0.2 percent of the purchase price.
  • Property gains tax: Sellers usually also have to pay property gains tax. The amount is calculated on the basis of the duration of ownership, the difference between the purchase and sale price and the requirements of the respective municipality. Value-enhancing investments and sales costs can be deducted from the tax.


Notary fees are an important aspect of buying real estate. Find out about the costs and how they will be covered in good time to avoid unexpected expenses. You should also take into account the other ancillary costs when buying a house so that you can calculate the total price accurately. Use a detailed notary fees table and also consult the fees for the land register entry and other relevant costs.

Data are without guarantee. The information on these Internet pages has been carefully researched. Nevertheless, no liability can be assumed for the accuracy of the information provided.

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