Online Property Search: How to Find Your Dream Home

January 6, 2022
  1. Search criteria Property Search: Find the needle in the haystack
  2. Think about what is really important to you
  3. What should you do if you are missing important information about the property?
  4. Take a closer look at the property advertisements
  5. It can also be smarter: search and find properties with Houzy
  6. The Property Search with many useful extras

Every year, 40,000 to 50,000 single-family houses and condominiums change hands in Switzerland. The days when properties were offered in newspapers or on notice boards are over. According to real estate experts, today more than 90 percent of all offers on the internet are advertised on online platforms. This makes the search easier, because you can find hundreds of suitable houses or flats with just a few clicks - and at the same time more difficult, because you have to separate the wheat from the chaff to find your dream house or apartment. That's why we launched the most innovative property search in Switzerland at the beginning of December 2021.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

In the fourth quarter of 2020, flats (76 instead of 83 days) and houses (66 instead of 73 days) were advertised for seven days less than in the fourth quarter of 2019 (source: Wüest + Partner).

Search criteria Property Search: Find the needle in the haystack

The more precisely you know your search criteria and your financial scope, the easier the search will be. The loan-to-value ratio (up to 80 percent of the purchase price) and affordability (up to 35 percent of household income) determine your room for manoeuvre. The search criteria depend on your wishes and needs. First consider where (in the city, in the agglomeration or in the countryside?) and how (in a house or in a flat?) you want to live. Then refine your search criteria: Old building or new building? Detached house, terraced house or villa? Attic flat, loft or maisonette?

Search criteria for the object

  • Age
  • Finishing and standard
  • Plot area and living space
  • Number of rooms and floor plan

Search criteria for the macro location

  • Attractiveness of the municipality and region
  • Land prices in the municipality or neighbourhood
  • Tax rate of the municipality and the canton
  • Transport connections and economic centres in the proximity

Search criteria for the micro location (environment)

  • View and sunlight
  • Distances to public transport and shops nearby
  • Immissions (especially noise)
  • Kindergartens and schools nearby
  • Neighbourhood

Houzy Hint


Don't be influenced by others and set too many criteria rather than too few in your property search. Otherwise you will never find the needle in the haystack. You can always cut back later.

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Think about what is really important to you

Most property search portals offer comparable functions. By default, you can enter important search criteria, such as town or region, property type, price range and number of rooms. It makes sense to refine your search with filters such as year of construction, living space and cubage, property area or availability. You can also select features that are important to you: Outdoor parking space or garage space? Balcony or terrace? Lift? You can also restrict your search to properties that are wheelchair-accessible or have been built according to the Minergie standard, for example. The more precisely you define the search criteria, the higher the search hit accuracy - and you have to visit fewer houses or flats that ultimately do not suit you. If your search returns too few hits, you should critically question your search criteria. It may be worthwhile to divide the criteria into important (must have) and less important (nice to have).

Houzy Hint


Organise a first visit appointment, as soon as you have found a property that meets most of the search criteria. If you are still interested afterwards, you should visit the house or apartment for a second time.

Property Search: House Viewing with Real Estate Agent
Take enough time for the first and especially for the second visit.

What should you do if you are missing important information about the property?

The hit quality depends on your search criteria and on the information provided by the seller. The more data the seller collects and the more detailed he or she describes the house or apartment, the greater the intersection between your requirements and reality. However, some information tends to get lost in many property portals, even if a seller is honest and fills in everything conscientiously. For example, it is difficult for laypeople to judge whether the purchase price is reasonable or how good the house or apartment really is. An estate agent who knows the market and the region can help you compare the purchase price. For the evaluation of the building fabric, it makes sense to have a building expert accompany you on the second and more detailed inspection and look for weak points.

Houzy Hint


Old buildings are sold "as seen". If, for example, all the water pipes have to be replaced, the supposed bargain can be expensive. You should therefore be careful.

Take a closer look at the property advertisements

In Switzerland there are no legally binding requirements for real estate advertisements. The seller is not liable for incorrect, missing or incomplete information. Only the purchase contract is legally binding. Therefore, you should check each advertisement thoroughly before you view the house or flat:

  • Analyse all the information about the location. Do the description and pictures match? Is the house located in a quiet neighbourhood as described? Are there shops, kindergartens or schools? Is the community connected to the public transport network? Is the tax rate as low as promised? You can easily check many things online. For example, on the municipality's website, with a GIS browser for geographical information, with a search engine or with the SBB timetable.
  • Look closely at the pictures. Of course, every seller tries to show his object in the best light and from the best perspective, that is legitimate. However, wide-angle shots can make rooms appear larger than they really are. Be sceptical if the ad only shows interior shots. If exterior or street views are missing, Google Maps may help if the property is not a new building or has not been recently renovated.
  • Pay attention to the year of construction. If the house is older than 30 years, energy measures or renovations could be a (costly) issue. Use our Energy Calculator to determine the energy efficiency class and simulate the impact of energy measures, the Heating Calculator to compare different heating systems and the Renovation Calculator to estimate the timing and cost of renovation measures that are due.

Property Search: The new Property Search from Houzy
Our comprehensive Property Search is online: Find your dream property with Houzy.

It can also be smarter: search and find properties with Houzy

With our innovative Property Search, we close information gaps. We aggregate the ads for houses and apartments from all the major real estate platforms in Switzerland and enrich their data with our analyses. The result is valuable additional information that makes it easier for you to decide for or against a property. For example, in the current version, you can see our neutral Property Valuation at first glance and can judge whether the sales price is reasonable or not. In later versions we will also show the market value development of the house or flat, for example over twelve months.

The Property Search with many useful extras

In the coming weeks and months, we will continuously expand our search, integrate all smart Houzy tools and intelligently link all data. In later versions, you will then be able to create virtual dossiers of houses or apartments with just a few clicks and see, among other things, thanks to our added-value information, …

  • … what the estimated market value (hedonic estimate) is and whether the selling price is fair,
  • … which renovations will soon be due and how high we estimate the renovation costs to be,
  • … how energy-efficient the property currently is and how you can improve the energy efficiency or
  • … how great the solar power potential of the house is and whether a photovoltaic system pays off.

By the way, the property search will soon be available outside the Houzy platform. You can currently try out the search in your Houzy account under "Property search".

Houzy makes home ownership simple. And with our innovative Property Search, we make it easy too. Try out our comprehensive Property Search for free. Who knows, maybe you'll find your dream house or apartment with Houzy. In any case, we're keeping our fingers crossed for you.

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