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In the Canton of Geneva, it is the buyer who settles the acquisition charges (notary, Land Register, conveyance charges, etc.). In most cantons, these costs are shared between the buyer and the seller.

The seller incures the following costs, some of which are included in the broker's commission.

Estimation cost

The seller should estimate the property before marketing.

The costs of setting up a sales file

Costs for the sales documentation includes the work of gathering important information, taking pictures on site, possibly creating a video and creating a sales file. Time is money, so you also have to count the hours of work.Official extracts from the Land Register and the Cadastre must be sought and purchased. Full extracts are only provided to the owner or upon presentation of a power of attorney. The price for extracts from a villa is between CHF 100 and CHF 150 in Geneva.

Marketing expenses

  • Online and offline advertising costs
  • Shipping costs for files, telephone, photocopies, etc.
  • Travel expenses and time for visits
  • The brokerage commission

Brokerage commission

In Geneva, the brokerage commission of a sales mandate is to be paid by the seller. It amounts to 5% on the first CHF 500,000 and 3% above that to CHF 4,000,000 and 2% above that, excluding tax. It is increased if the seller hires several brokers. If you would like more information on the various brokerage contracts and commissions, I suggest you see my video or the article "the brokerage contract".

The buyers/sellers settlement

The amount of these costs depends on the property. The buyer/seller settlement is more comprehensive for an apartment building or real estate portfolio than for a single-family house.

Property gains taxes

In all cantons, the tax rates for property gains taxes are based on the period during which the seller was the owner. In Geneva, this tax rate is between 50% and 0%. You can see a calculation example on my website "Property Gains Taxes" or on my Youtube channel.

Termination of the mortgage

Terminating a fixed mortgage can be expensive, especially if it was recently concluded for a long term and the seller has to pay compensation. Terminating a variable-rate mortgage can also cost money. Check with your mortgage provider.

The cost of a bad sales strategy

If the property remains on the market for a long time, the marketing costs increase and the sale price decreases. I count the difference between a realizable market price and a lower price, which is reached by a bad strategy, also to the costs.

Real estate loss

In recent years, sellers have made profits rather than losses. However, the gain is not guaranteed. In the past, I think back to the late 1980s, when mortgage rates soared and prices fell, I met several people who had lost money in real estate. So it's not impossible and it must be mentioned. An owner who had owned his property for a long time and maintained it well was less likely to lose money.

In certain cases, other charges apply

  • If you have a failed mortgage arrangement, you have to engage in a cancellation procedure (notary, costs of publication in the official gazette, etc.)
  • Charges for dividing up a plot of land
  • Constitution of freehold flats/condominiums (creating a division plan, registration in the land register, rules of the property, etc.)
  • Homestaging


The costs depend above all on the complexity of the dossier, the marketing period, the broker's commission calculated on the selling price, the real estate gains tax and the compensation for early termination of a mortgage. Some costs are included in the broker's commission.

 © Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate broker