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Late Marc Rich’s Swiss mansions for sale

The daughters of the late expat American commodity trader and financier Marc Rich have put up for sale his luxury Swiss homes in the canton of Lucerne and the mountain resort town of St. Moritz.

Late Marc Rich’s Swiss mansions for sale
Marc Rich. Photo: Marc Rich Group/AFP

Rich, a controversial onetime billionaire founder of the Glencore mining company, died in June at the age of 78.

The villa where he spent his last years on an estate overlooking Lake Lucerne is on the market, along with a chalet in the Graubünden mountain resort, Handelszeitung, the Swiss business journal, reported online on Wednesday.

The newspaper said Rich’s two daughters want to dispose of their father’s properties in Switzerland, while liquidating a struggling real estate company he owned in Spain and selling a seaside home in Marbella.

Rich is celebrated for making a fortune in metals such as aluminum, silver and zinc by cornering the market and in dubious dealings in oil.

He became a fugitive in Switzerland after being indicted in the early 1980s on charges of widespread tax evasion, illegal dealings with Iran and other crimes.

On his last day in office in January 2001, President Bill Clinton pardoned Rich and its was later learned his wife (whom he later divorced) had made substantial donations to the Democratic Party in the US.

Before he died, Rich attempted to sell his official residence, Villa Rose in Meggen, near Lucerne, but a deal fell through in 2012.

It was widely reported that he had sought 100 million francs for the mansion, with its sprawling grounds of 10,117 square metres.

Handelszeitung said property experts put the value of the 700-square-metre home at around 60 million francs.

His daughters are also looking to part with the St. Moritz chalet, which has a value of around 50 million francs, the newspaper said.

The villa in Marbella on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain is estimated at 10 million francs.

Richard Kilstock, a British real estate entrepreneur who married Rich’s youngest daughter, is instrumental in “streamlining” the late Rich’s portfolio, which is said to be valued at around one billion francs, Handelszeitung said.

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PROPERTY

Where to find property in Switzerland for under CHF 500k

Switzerland is not known for being a cheap country and property prices are higher than in other European countries, but it's still possible to find property bargains, some for even under CHF 100k.

Where to find property in Switzerland for under CHF 500k

Property prices are rising in much of Europe and Switzerland is no exception. As the average salary is high in Switzerland, finding homes for under CHF 1 million in some parts of the country becomes almost impossible.

Even when you do find cheap properties, they are sometimes quite literally too good to be true. For example, Switzerland’s famous one-franc home scheme had to be scrapped after nobody signed up. The cheap homes were, actually, too expensive when considering the costs for renovation or even how remote they were.

READ ALSO: Six no-gimmick websites that help you save money in Switzerland

Some of the properties in the scheme weren’t connected to the electricity grid, sewer system or even roads.

So, where can we find cheap(er) homes in Switzerland – that are still liveable or could be excellent investments for those who enjoy fixer-uppers (or huge DIY projects)?

Not an easy search

To find these gems, we used a property website that allowed us to search for real estate in the whole of Switzerland (instead of just a few main cities) and showed us homes with at least three rooms.

The price limit was set at CHF 500,000 (while our colleagues in Germany had theirs set at €100k, but, hey, this is Switzerland).

As of August 2022, we found 203 houses and 80 apartments following these criteria on sale.

Most of these definitely need some fixing up, but you can still snatch a home for under CHF 500,000 with lovely views of lakes and mountains or big terraces and gardens.

Going through the addresses with some of the properties, some things stand out:

Head for the border – most of the most affordable places are in Italian-speaking Switzerland. However, you can also find some of them in the French regions. In both cases, they are located very near the border with France or Italy.

Forget about cities – All the properties we found are quite far from the major cities of Zürich, Bern, and Geneva, which makes sense as the cost of living tends to rise in those regions. If you’re looking for a cheap home, you’re highly unlikely to find one in city centres.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

Consider property type – It is also worth mentioning that there seemed to be a distinction between the homes in the west and those in the south. In the French region, there are more apartments and newer properties, with some outstanding options.

While in the Italian south, most of the properties are houses – and you need to inspect well because some will need a lot of work.

Research services – You should definitely check carefully the property’s location – some are not connected to basic services or even roads.

Renovation costs – Almost all of the properties we found were ‘renovation projects’. Some can turn out to be very good investments, but it takes time and work to renovate. Before buying, get an estimate of the likely works so you can see whether the property really will save you money in the long term, and be honest about your level of DIY/building skills and how much work you are willing or able to do.

Extra costs – Besides renovating costs, you must be mindful of property taxes and other living costs and how much they are in the region where you are buying property. Prices can vary quite widely depending on the canton, so research well.

You can check all our Property in Switzerland stories here.

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