I have lived in Geneva for a long time. Moved into a lovely if over-priced apartment when I arrived, and have been here since. The housing market always seemed way out of reach for me. I’m from NoVa, and even compared to that, the Geneva market is batshit. And the Swiss real estate market operates like none of the others with which I was familiar.
Often foreigners talk about the 50 year mortgage or the 100 year mortgage in Switzerland. That is not really how it works. But I didn’t understand how it worked, so I asked for an appointment at my bank. It’s not really a bank, it’s the post office’s financial services branch called PostFinance.
In October, 2016, I had an appointment with a mortgage adviser in an office right next to my really awesome massage therapist. The adviser spent over an hour with me, patiently explaining the concepts over and over until I understood. Yes, this was all in French, and he made sure I didn’t miss any of the key words, though it does seem I lost a few of the details.
At the end of our meeting, it was clear that I needed to get on the property ladder sooner rather than later. So with a clear idea of just how tiny my budget was, I started looking.