What to consider when managing residential property

Homeowners should carefully plan the management and maintenance of their property, including financially. Priorities must be set and different options weighed up.


Woman sitting next to heating

The perfect home has been found and bought, the dream of owning your own home has become reality. But the work is not finished with the purchase of the property - now there is the management and maintenance of the property. There are some differences to consider between a flat (condominium ownership) and a single-family house. If you own a house, you can take on these tasks yourself or hand them over to an external manager. For many, the decisive factor is the cost: external management is expensive; doing all the work related to the house is labour-intensive and time-consuming. Flat owners usually do not have this choice. They are forced to join a condominium association with a designated management company.

The joys and sorrows of condominium ownership

This management company takes care of the day-to-day tasks such as house maintenance, gardening, snow removal, etc., which is very practical, but also sometimes involves high running costs. Depending on the age and condition of the property, the renewal fund must be accumulated, whereby the condominium association determines the amount of the payments. The individual flat owners have to co-finance certain expenses, even if they do not agree with them: I think the installation of a lift in our older apartment complex is unnecessary, but because most of the residents are older, I was outvoted.

But individuals can also benefit from the community: I need a charging station for my electric car in the shared underground car park, and the majority of flat owners decided to bear this cost together in the sense of upgrading the property. New flat owners should definitely not underestimate the ongoing costs of managing and maintaining the property. You can find out more about condominium ownership and the renewal fund here.

Self-determination goes hand in hand with responsibility

Homeowners who manage their property themselves have significantly more self-determination and flexibility on the one hand, and lower management costs on the other. However, this also goes hand in hand with more work and more personal responsibility. While important topics concerning upcoming upgrades, renovations and refurbishments are regularly discussed in the condominium association - and often with the involvement of experts - homeowners have to take care of these tasks themselves. First of all, they should carry out a property analysis and decide which measures are value-preserving and which are value-enhancing. What must be tackled, what can wait? The costs of installing a new kitchen or a new bathroom are high, a façade or roof renovation can quickly take on a very large financial dimension and must be well planned. It makes sense to seek expert advice and always obtain several offers - and also to clarify the financing at an early stage.

No one can avoid the topic of energy

Against the backdrop of the ongoing social discourse and the upcoming changes in the law, the topic of energy-efficient renovation has never been more important. In Switzerland, about 45 percent of energy consumption and about 30 percent of CO2 emissions occur in the building sector. Both flat and house owners should find out how their property performs in terms of energy and which measures are recommended. Consultancy services from electricity and other energy providers provide information on this; online tools from various providers and platforms can be more individual and efficient.

For example, the digital modernisation assistant from Liiva provides a simple way to make a property-specific energy assessment and calculate the annual energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The tool shows which measures can be used to reduce energy consumption, how a renovation or replacement of the heating system affects the energy balance and energy efficiency of a property, and what the cost-benefit ratio is.

Tidiness is half the battle

Efficient document management is all the more practical and time-saving for all homeowners because it has fewer financial consequences. All information on the property - land register excerpts, purchase and bank contracts, plans, conditions and usage rights, lists of craftsmen, invoices, etc. - should be collected and stored in one place, preferably in electronic form. And in the worst of all cases (disability or death), well thought-out pension planning can save the affected person or survivors a lot of financial suffering or even having to move out of their own home. Here, too, the involvement of experts and a holistic financial approach are indispensable.

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