Notaries are indispensable when selling or buying a house. This is because they notarize the purchase contract, which only becomes valid once they have signed it. Notaries are also responsible for entering the buyer in the land register as the new owner and thus carrying out the legal transfer of ownership.
Notaries are of course also paid for their services. Here you can read about the tasks of notaries, who commissions them, how the notary appointment works, what notary costs are to be expected and who has to bear these costs. We have also listed the additional costs you can expect to incur when buying a house in addition to the public notarization of the contract.
The notary’s task when selling a house
Notaries have the central task of drawing up purchase contracts for properties. They create legally compliant, neutral documents that protect the interests of sellers and buyers alike. The transfer of ownership of real estate is only legal with notarization and certification.
Notaries are also responsible for entering the new owners of the property in the land register. This is important because when buying a house, not only the right to the property but also the ownership of the land and property is transferred from one person to another.
Notaries are independent holders of a public office. They therefore have the right to transfer ownership. They also serve as neutral advisory bodies, which is why you should not shy away from asking the notary your questions, neither as a buyer nor as a seller.
Who commissions the notary?
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 estate agents can either choose a notary with whom they have already had good experience 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.
How does the notary appointment work?
What does a notary do? The chosen notary drafts a purchase contract based on the legal requirements in Switzerland. He also takes into account the agreements communicated by the buyer and seller and, if they are legally valid, incorporates them into the contract. 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.
If you still have questions, do not understand something or have changed your mind about an aspect of the contract, the notary appointment is the last opportunity to make changes.
After both parties have signed, the notary notarizes the purchase contract with his 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?
The notary’s office is an honorable profession because it involves independent holders of a public office who administer justice. 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.
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.
Tip: In this article, you will learn how to calculate the affordability of a property and the approximate costs you will incur when you buy a house.
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 length 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.
As you can see, the notary fees for buying a house are supplemented by a number of other costs. You should therefore consult a notary cost table in good time and also take into account the land register entry costs and other fees in order to determine the total price for the house sale and purchase.
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.