A closer look at Immo-Check A tool for people who want to buy a house

You want to buy a house and wonder: a steal or barely affordable? The UBS Immo-Check makes it possible for you to compare properties.

by Felix Hauser 08 May 2018

Martina (38) and René (41) Steiner want to buy a house. Since Lena (2) was born, the three-bedroom apartment in the heart of Lucerne is starting to feel a little cramped. Coach René wants to move to the countryside. Martina, a child of the city, does too – but not too far from her parents, who regularly look after Lena. So they’re both searching for a home in the surrounding suburbs.

Felix Hauser (41)

Head Lending New Channels & Digitization

The mortgage expert is pushing the digitalization of UBS’s mortgage business forward. As part of the UBS Digital Factory, he is in charge of developing new, innovative applications.

Martina and René scour the Internet daily. But the advertised houses are either too far from the city or too expensive. They’ve managed to set aside about 200,000 Swiss francs. The price of a house, according to a familiar rule of thumb, should not be more than five times your own resources. “I found it!” calls out René, an early riser, one Saturday morning, his tablet in hand. Night owl Martina yawns. “What’s going on?” René points to an ad: a new construction with a flat roof in Wolhusen, five rooms, garage for the family car and René’s mountain bikes. The price: 800,000 francs.

Helping you compare properties

“A lot of money for so far outside the city,” says Martina, the family’s minister of finance. “We’ll find something better yet.” She discovers a renovated townhouse in Horw, close to the city. “Just look at this cosy fireplace!” gushes Martina. “And only 650,000 francs.” – “Still, it does look pretty old,” counters René.

To compare offers, Martina uses UBS Immo-Check. The quick test scrutinizes properties and supplies you with facts about the community, aspects of the location, such as shopping facilities, the need for renovation, purchase price and personal affordability. “Immo-Check bundles relevant information related to your dream property, helping you to compare them,” explains Felix Hauser, mortgage expert at UBS.

Immo-Check online

Assess location Learn everything about noise emissions, publictransportation connections, shopping facilities, schools, etc.

Rate purchase price Immo-Check tells you whether the purchase price of the desired property falls within normal market levels.

Identify renovation needs
Particularly for older properties, an important cost factor. The first renovation typically becomes necessary 15 years after construction.

Check affordability
Is your dream house within your budget? Immo-Check calculates this, including monthly costs for interest, maintenance and ancillary costs, as well as the cost of repayment.

Kindergarten and nearby recreation area

Martina enters the addresses of both houses. Immo-Check immediately answers with an assessment of the situation: The property in Horw gets 3.7 of 5 points; the property in Wolhusen slightly more with 3.9. Besides the evaluation showing that the new construction is located next to a recreation area (120 meters away), in the case of the townhouse, a kindergarten is right around the corner (90 meters). The next click gives Martina and René insight into their possible neighbors: the residents of Wohlhusen and the residents of Horw. The respective age and income structure as well as the tax burden is revealed, both in cantonal and national comparison. In view of taxes, Horw is more attractive for the young family.

A house must be maintained. Renovation costs are therefore an important consideration. According to the ad, the 130 square meter townhouse, constructed in 1963, has never been fundamentally renovated. Martina and René are shocked. The pent-up need for renovation comes to 400,000 francs. The roof and facade renovation alone would devour almost 100,000 francs. “Much too expensive,” says René. Immo-Check includes factors that are often overlooked, says Felix Hauser. “An older, cheaper house is tempting at first glance.”  Hauser tells of apparent bargains that, on critical reflection, soon turn out to be renovation projects. Immo-Check can protect you against such nasty surprises.

Immo-Check personally
 

Which financing model suits me personally? In the personal conversation, our advisors work out individual needs and help assemble the appropriate mortgage mix.

Even after the purchase, the client advisors continue to assist you. They may point out anticipated renovations and how best to plan for them.

After Immo-Check, the conversation

As a next step, Martina and René check the purchase price of the new construction in Wolhusen: Does it fall within the usual price range for comparable properties? Immo-Check says yes. Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks: can the two of them even afford the house? Immo-Check reviews how affordable the financing is to them personally. Martina and René breathe easy. A green check mark signals: it's a match, so now they can buy the house.

Next come the details: the mortgage is 600,000 francs. At 75% (maximum 80%), the loan-to-value ratio falls in the green area. The costs of interest, repayment, maintenance and ancillary costs amount to 3,538 francs per month, at an imputed interest rate of 5%. In other words, 28% of their monthly income, where a third counts as the upper limit.

Martina and René have completed the Immo-Check. With one click, they register for a consultation. Thanks to Immo-Check, the young couple is now well prepared. And the mortgage experts are also already in the know. That being said, the tool is no substitute for a personal conversation. Each house purchase is different. “In the consultation,” says Hauser, “we then go into the details and together find a solution to suit the individual.”