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HOUSING

Here’s what annoys people about their neighbours in Switzerland

Less than half of people living in Switzerland are happy with where they live, a new study has found. So what are the biggest problems?

Here’s what annoys people about their neighbours in Switzerland
In Switzerland,everyone can hear you scream. Photo: Depositphotos

The poll of around 500 people by real estate portal immowelt.ch shows that noise is the most common complaint, with 15 percent of apartment owners and renters annoyed they can hear their neighbours.

It also reveals that women were more likely to be frustrated by noise (17 percent) than men (12 percent).

What our readers told us

Last week, The Local decided to carry out its own straw poll on what annoys readers about their neighbours in Switzerland.

Read also: Here's why Swiss rents are so painfully high right now

Not surprisingly, noise made the list here, with one reader complaining of “noisy children or dogs barking for hours”. Dogs were also mentioned by another reader who complained about a neighbour “taking the dog (who barks a lot) for a walk after midnight”.

Conversely, one reader noted he had issues with “neighbours who are overly sensitive to a bit of noise on a Saturday night.”

Laundry room blues

Also coming in for special mention was the fraught world of the shared laundry room in many Swiss apartment buildings with one – otherwise very satisfied reader – saying: “I actually very much like my neighbours, except I don’t understand why laundry has to be a constant battle.”

“Even though I have asked them not to, they all turn off the fan in the dry room and open the door passive aggressively asking me to pick up my laundry even though the clothes are still wet and have not been in there for even 24 hours,” she told us.

File photo: Depositphotos

Another reader also talked about neighbours removed his clothes from the dryer “before they are dry and putting their own stuff without any decent reason.”

Meanwhile, a further frustrated reader noted: “It also annoys me when the laundry room isn't taken care of properly and mould starts growing in the machine.”

That same reader also called attention to the perennial issue of lack of space for bicycles in Swiss apartment buildings – in her case because “there are strollers everywhere”.

Also getting mentions from our readers were unfriendly neighbours who “don't even answer my grüezi (hello) when they stand in front of me”.

Beyond that, our readers were critical of the “smell of smoking” from other apartments and of neighbours “shaking out blankets or rugs in the morning over my balcony”.

Poor room layout

The immowelt.ch study reveals that beyond noise, the biggest gripe among apartment dwellers is high rents. Also causing complaints are outdated bathroom fixtures, the lack of a balcony or terrace and poor floor layout, while non-functioning heating was also a common issue.

Thanks to all of our readers who got in contact with us on Facebook and Twitter about this issue. 

For members

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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