Mortgage application documentation: a checklist |

Applying for a mortgage: these are the documents you need

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30.09.2021 | 3 minutes

You’ve found what could be your dream home and initial online calculations look positive. Now it’s time to take the next important step towards buying your own home – meeting with a client advisor from a mortgage lender to apply for a mortgage. You want to be well-prepared for this appointment. The more complete your documentation, the fewer the follow-up questions and less complicated the process. This article gives you an overview of the documents you need to apply for a mortgage.

Why is an application reviewed?

From a financial perspective, taking out a mortgage is a major step for a soon-to-be property owner. Quite a few people miscalculate the numbers or don’t even take the matter seriously. To protect applicants from potential over-indebtedness, lenders in Switzerland are legally obliged to thoroughly review applications before granting a mortgage.

Which documents should be included in the application?

Broadly speaking, a mortgage application must make two things clear: the applicant’s desired property and financial situation. As a general rule, it’s better to include too many documents with the application rather than too few. The following explains each document in greater detail.

Client documents

Not only is the potential property evaluated, but so is the borrower. A comprehensive credit check will indicate whether they are in a position to take on the financial burdens of a mortgage. The following documents help the lender with this.

  • Official identification: this must be valid and serves to identify the applicant, provided they are not already a client of the mortgage provider.
  • Salary statement: proof of the applicant’s income and is provided by their employer. It is advisable to also include the three most recent pay slips, including any bonus payments. Self-employed applicants must also submit balance sheets and income statements (including audit reports) from the last three years.
  • Composition of own funds: in order to take out a mortgage, the applicant must contribute a certain amount of their own funds. An accurate breakdown of these assets is essential for the mortgage provider. This is why supporting documents such as account statements, tax returns, pension fund statements, written contracts pertaining to possible gifts/advance inheritances, and any life insurance/mortality risk insurance policies are requested.
  • Fixed financial obligations: lenders also want to know about ongoing costs arising from leasing contracts, the repayment of small loans or other financial obligations such as expenditure for a second home or alimony.
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Property documents

Diese Unterlagen über die Liegenschaft müssen dem Hypothekarantrag beiliegen.

  • Sales documentation: the most important document. It should contain, at least, the following information:
    • Interior and exterior photos of the property
    • Description of the property (address, number of rooms/floors, balconies/terrace and parking spaces)
    • Year of construction and renovations carried out (including the year)
    • Purchase price
    • Contracting parties
    • Possible deadlines
  • Floor plan: this gives information such as the square footage and net living space of the property, the number of rooms, ceiling height, roof shape and flooring material. This is usually provided by the selling party.
  • Site/cadastral/zoning plan: a cadastral plan is a true-to-scale representation of land and real estate. It shows their size, usage category and location. This geodata can usually be obtained either from the municipality’s surveying office or online. The Swiss portal for Public Law Restrictions on Landownership (PLR portal) is a good place to start. An ordinary extract is free of charge.
  • Extract from land register: this contains descriptions of the land and rights related to the property, such as proprietorship and easements. Although the land register is publicly available, an extract must be authorized, usually by the selling party or management responsible for the property. The land register extract must be at least six months old.
  • Estimation of market value: if available, this will facilitate the application check. However, the mortgage provider will make an independent valuation of the property to verify whether the stated value is plausible.
  • Building insurance certificate: this mandatory insurance protects real estate from natural disasters, such as floods, hail and avalanches. Extracts can be obtained from the cantonal building insurance authorities or the property insurance provider.
  • Energy efficiency certificate: certificates such as MINERGIE or GEAK (if available).
  • For properties with building rights: the building right agreement contains information about the term of the building right and relevant payments.
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Additional documents for a new construction or renovations

Do you intend to buy land for a new building instead of an existing property? Or are you planning a renovation or conversion? Then you must also submit the following documents in addition to those listed above.

  • Building permit
  • Project plans and construction specifications including a cost estimate and cubic content.

Documents for condominium ownership

The following additional documents are usually required for condominium ownership.

  • Utilization and management bylaws of the condominium owners’ association
  • Condominium foundation deed with a breakdown of percentage interest
  • Information about the renovation fund
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