House buying here does not work like house buying in the US. At least, not in my experience. Here’s what happened. I had that great meeting with PostFinance. Buying a place to live would cut my living expenses if I found a place inexpensive enough that I could have an interest only mortgage. And cutting my living expenses would mean that retiring in Geneva was actually a possibility. If I had to continue paying the amount I pay in rent, I would never be able to afford retirement in this beautiful place I now call home.
So, I started visiting the real estate sites: Homegate, immoscout24, comparis (which is a particularly useful site as it shows what else has sold in a neighborhood and at what price), immostreet, remax. I got on the mailing list from acheter-louer.ch. And then I remembered that my regie (property management company for my apartment) also occasionally listed properties for sale… So then I started looking at the many, many, many property management companies: Comptoir Immobilier, Naef, Regie Brun, Brolliet are just a few of the ones that I would check on a regular basis.
I looked into Rente Viager, which is when you pay a lump sum to an elderly owner, and then often a large monthly fee while they continue to live in the house. When they die, you get the property. It wasn’t really reasonable for me, as the monthly fee on top of the mortgage, on top of my rent made it crazy to even consider. And then I learned that if anything happened to the house, like a tree falling on the roof, I would be financially responsible! Omg, for whom is this a win?! Except the elderly owners. And then factor in the life expectancy of Swiss people and there was just no way. And also there was this cautionary tale that I always remembered.
So I stuck to a more traditional path for purchasing a home. But first, I needed to find one.