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Moving to the UK, Monaco or Switzerland: A Russian High Net Worth Family’s Journey

Taking a tour on the relocation issues and process of a typical Russian high net worth family moving to the UK, Monaco or Switzerland…
Naomi Hébert

Who

Let’s take as an example Popov family relocating from Moscow abroad. They have a family of 5, 2 parents with 3 kids of different ages. They are used to living in a nice large house in a luxury gated estate outside Moscow and haves team of 3 living in staff: nanny, a chef and a house keeper.

Where

Let’s also imagine that their choices of relocation would be UK, Monaco, Switzerland.

What

Their first thought is renting, so that they can get to know the place and with time decide where they wish to buy.

Their request is most likely to translate to the following search:

A new 5+ bedroom newly build residence in prime central London near a park with a concierge, gym/spa and parking.

This is where the fun begins.

Timings

In any country of their choice the search is likely to take up to a month if not more. Predominantly because there is very limited stock that would fit with their expectations.

How much

They want a 5* living so you can expect to pay top dollar for it.

Anything larger than 3 bedrooms is very hard to come by and a 4 bed lateral apartment on average would cost min of 20,000 per month + depending on size and location.

Houses are generally easier to find but many would have their own challenges like in London expect more then 2-3 stories where a lift is not always available.

In Monaco there is an opposite scenario where large villas are scares and you can expect to pay more than 200k per month for it.

Except for London furnished apartments are rear in both Monaco and Switzerland.

Why KF

So our starting price in London, Geneva, Zurich on Monte is around 20,000 per month and in the majority of cases these would be off market properties, often sales instructions that are taking too long to sell. These would not be available on any property search sites and are arranged very much by bespoke negotiation with owners.

Luckily with at KF we have a dedicated SP rental and sales teams in all of the above jurisdictions who are geared up to answer these type of most demanding request from the likes of Russian oligarchs as well as Hollywood starts like Mr and Mrs Smith family with loads of off springs to middle eastern royal families with their own protocols in terms of house arrangements. We have seen it all and ready for anything, with utmost discretion.

Why is it is hard and expensive

Although rental is a viable income generating option for sellers/developers it often means a different type of building and contents insurance with higher premiums and an additional requirement from lenders for 1-2 year rental contract, which would ultimately be passed onto the tenant as a requirement with often a full year paid up front if the tennant has no prior financial history in the chosen country.

As small as this SP niche seems from the outset, you need to be competitive in order to secure the rental. This often means a quick turnaround when it comes to securing a property.

What do you need to prepare from the outset

  • Immigration papers for the family in any chosen jurisdiction. Each country would require to see the appropriate visas or residencies for all occupants of the property
  • In some countries, like Switzerland this would also have implications on how big your residence would be If you are buying or where you will need to live, as none EU residence are not allowed more then 250 m2 in cities like Genève or Zurich or you would have to choose a different canton like Manteaux, but If you are just renting property in Switzerland all these rules doesn’t apply but still necessary to have residenship.
  • This would also have implications on your tax regime. You would need to rent for a min of 1 year to apply for Monaco residence and in Switzerland there is a form of taxation called lump sum which can be negotiated on the basis of your rental sums.
  • In most countries you would be required to sign an annual contract that would be renewable annually, but you might want to negotiate a breaking clause after 6 mothers or a year depending with a 2-3 months’ notice to the landlord.
  • A deposit will also be required which typically consist of 3 months and is released after the Tennant vacates the property or can be off set against any liable expenses in the relation to the property damages
  • You would also be expected to get a 3rd party liability insurance as well as insurance for personal possessions.
  • Proof of identity – we would need an original or certified copy of a passport and proof of prior place of residence such as a utility bill valid for the past 3 months.
  • Referencing. Often a letter from a bank stating that the Tennant has the funds to pay the agreed rent and has been a reliable client for a number of years.
  • Agency fees vary by country but you can expect 10% on average
  • During the rental of the property you would be expected to pay all utilities, local land taxes, and at the end of the tenancy professional cleaning of the property and other associated check out procedures.

Buying

In case of buying, a similar client would be looking to spend min of 3500+ per square foot (37,000 per square meter). There is very little discounting at this level of the market and anything above 10% usually means that you have either been very lucky or you might be buying a something fishy.

In Switzerland and Monaco if the offer is accepted it is accompanied by a 10% cheque to the notary that is returned in case the offer is rejected. In the UK 10% is paid at “exchange” which is within 15 working days from the acceptance of the offer and the funds are none refundable.

A completion can be thereafter or delayed in case the buyer needs time to arrange finance.

Notary registration fees can vary by territory. Each country has their own purchase tax, in the UK it is called stamp duty that is now between 12 -15% depending on personal circumstances of the buyer.

If you would require more detailed information we are happy to provide you with buying and rental guides for the country of your choice.

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