When is the best time to sell your home?

Many people have good reasons for selling their house or apartment – be it a personal change, a new job, a death or retirement; selling a property can bring important benefits. However, the question arises as to when and how best to sell your home and how high the selling price should be.


In this article, you will learn more about the best time to sell a home and we will also take a closer look at the important questions relating to selling a home. In addition to the time of year and your personal preference, tax regulations also play a role – because the longer you live in your property yourself, the lower the transfer taxes will be. We also provide you with practical advice on how to proceed with the sale, whereby the support of professional estate agents is always highly recommended in order to find suitable prospective buyers.


Selling a house: when is the best time?


The right time to pass on your property depends on your personal circumstances. But external factors, such as the market situation or the time of year, also influence the sale of a house. Every month offers advantages and disadvantages for finding buyers.

 

In spring, for example, you can take particularly beautiful photos with a blossoming garden and plenty of daylight and thus use the exposé for an optimal presentation. If you want to rent to a family, the summer vacations are a good time to move in.

 

You can also take attractive photos in summer and fall. In addition, it is particularly easy to organize viewings during daylight hours. Especially in autumn, a low sun in combination with colorful foliage can present your property in a particularly good light and thus also increase the interest of potential buyers.

 

Presentation is more of a challenge in winter – unless you live in an area with lots of snow. Then you can take wonderful photos and present your home as cozy and ideal for the vacations. Bear in mind that many buyers are looking for new accommodation or a new apartment in January, in line with the motto “New Year, new luck”.


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Sell my house immediately after buying it?


In principle, you may also pass on your property directly after completing the purchase process. Please note, however, that the capital gain from the sale of the house is subject to property gains tax. This is also known as speculation tax. It is intended to prevent excessive speculation with real estate. Accordingly, the less time you have lived in accommodation yourself, the higher the taxes you have to pay. Our reliable and competent estate agents will be happy to advise you free of charge on the right selling price.

 

The property gains tax varies from canton to canton. In some cantons, the months that you have lived in the same place count, while in other cantons the calculation is in years. It is best to ask your tax advisor to help you find the best time to sell in order to minimize deductions. However, the expertise of professional and regional estate agents can also help you in your decision-making process.

 

How long do I have to keep a house?


The longer you stay in your home or apartment, the lower the property gains tax will be. The answer to the question “How long do I have to live in a house before selling it?” varies slightly from canton to canton. In the canton of Zurich, for example, you have to live in a house for twenty years in order to pay only 50% of the original transfer tax as a seller.

 

By the way: If you sell your own house and want to buy a new home with the proceeds, you can defer the property gains tax. This is because you are making a replacement purchase that does not have to be seamless. There may be between one and five years between the sale of the old property and the purchase of the new one.

 

Although property gains tax is also applied in this case of replacement purchases, this is deferred. If you sell your new property at some point, the tax office will remember the tax originally assessed. Here too, you can reduce the tax rate by using the property yourself for longer.

 

How often can you sell real estate?


In Switzerland, the sale of a house as a private individual may take place several times. Although there is no specific time limit, the more often you put properties on the market, the higher the property gains tax will be.

 

If you trade in real estate on a commercial basis, you are considered a commercial real estate trader. Other regulations apply here. For example, you have to pay tax on the profit from sales by interested parties as income in your tax return. Expect additional AHV contributions and social security contributions.

 

It is not possible to say in general terms when the boundary between private and commercial real estate sales has been crossed. The tax authorities decide this individually. The following factors are important in determining your status:

  • Number of real estate sales
  • Period of real estate sales
  • Duration of ownership of my house
  • Reinvestment of profit in new properties

 

If it turns out that you are trading in real estate in a planned or speculative manner and also have special market knowledge, you will quickly be considered a commercial seller. In this case, your profit from the sale may be significantly reduced, which is why a good tax advisor is a must.

 

When can I sell a new build?


New buildings are also subject to property gains tax. If you have the property built with the intention of selling it, you are normally considered a commercial real estate agent. Exceptions may apply if the buyer is a member of the family.

 

By living in the new building yourself for a few years, you can reduce the taxes on the sale. But according to the law, you can also sell the new building directly to interested parties. However, this is not always easy, as many new builds have certain features that may not appeal to potential buyers.

 

When can I sell an inherited house?


With inherited houses, the question often arises as to whether they should be sold or not. This is difficult for many heirs, as they associate countless memories and emotions with the property. To help you with your decision, please consider the possibility of a free consultation with our experienced brokers. For example, if you plan to use the property yourself at a later date, it may be worth renting it out – you can find more information on this here.


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Calculate whether the costs of maintaining the property exceed the mortgage interest and other costs of the rent. In this case, the only recommendation is to sell the property. However, if you can make a profit on the rental, it may be a good option.

 

If you do decide to sell the inherited property, you should first make sure that the house is no longer rented out. This is because rented properties are difficult to sell, depending on the purpose of the purchase. You can now contact our professional estate agents free of charge to ensure that your house sale goes smoothly.

 

It is also important that you decide on the sale as a community of heirs. All co-heirs must therefore be in agreement here. This is usually the case, as all heirs can be paid out. The market value of the property is important for determining the inheritance share.


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The sale of inherited real estate is also subject to taxes such as property gains tax and transfer tax. These are deducted from the profit, so that ultimately only the net income can be divided between the heirs. The final amount received is therefore often somewhat lower than initially expected.

 

How much can I sell tax-free?


It is easier to market tax-free abroad. For example, there is no speculation tax in Germany if ten years have passed since the purchase or if you have lived in the property for at least three years.

 

In this country, however, it is virtually impossible to sell a property tax-free. In any case, you should expect to pay property gains tax and possibly also transfer tax. You can reduce your tax burden by thinking carefully about when to sell the property.

 

Depending on the canton, there is an allowance for the sale of real estate. However, as these are high value properties, it is very unlikely that you will fall short of the value. The so-called minimum amount, for example, is CHF 500 in Basel-Stadt and CHF 13,000 in Lucerne. You can find more information on the tax-free amount for the sale of real estate here.

 

One thing is certain: In Switzerland, it is virtually impossible to sell a property tax-free. However, you can defer the property gains tax if you purchase a new property for your own use directly from the proceeds. You can read more on this topic here.

 

What is the best way to go about selling a house?


If you want to sell your house, you should follow the steps outlined below. You should also be aware that, as with apartments, selling a house is a lot of work. Experienced real estate experts and brokers know the details and legal pitfalls, which is why it is best to get professional support from us. Please note, among other things, that residential property is subject to various taxes, which also applies to the sale.

 

Tip – You should go through these 8 steps to sell your house:


  • Step 1 – Determine the price of the purchase – we will be happy to help you with a non-binding price estimate and advice from our estate agents
  • Step 2 – Compile documents, e.g. site plan, pictures, cadastral plan, extract from the land register and proof of insurance
  • Step 3 – Advertise my house
  • Step 4 – Organize and carry out inspections
  • Step 5 – Negotiate the offer (sales price) with potential buyers
  • Step 6 – Draw up and sign the purchase agreement as the owner
  • Step 7 – Plan and carry out the handover including the protocol
  • Step 8 – Split fees and taxes

Download your free template for the flat handover protocol here.

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Are you looking for more helpful tips about real estate? We are here for you! Whether you want to sell your house or have other concerns, we will broaden your horizons.


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All 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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