November 1, 2016

Relocating to Switzerland: Top Tips for Home Finding

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Relocating to Switzerland: Top Tips for Home Finding

Posted by: Audren Gudiksen, Business Development Manager, Switzerland

As a member of the Cartus Switzerland team, I know first hand the potential challenges that organisations and their relocating employees may face when finding a home. With over 60% of all households renting in Switzerland, it’s not surprising that the market can be very competitive, especially in Geneva, Zurich, and Basel. International assignees relocating there need to be prepared, and to help, I’ve put together my top tips for home finding in Switzerland’s rental market.

Top Tips for Relocating to Switzerland

  • Before the home finding trip even begins, make a list of your housing criteria. Think carefully about what is really necessary and what things are just nice to have. A certain amount of flexibility should mean a more successful home search.
  • Single assignees may find it challenging to secure a property with three or more bedrooms, as landlord guidelines dictate larger properties are likely to be given to families. Likewise, one-bedroom properties are typically given to singles or couples and it is against the law for more than one person to live in a studio apartment.
  • To ensure affordability, we recommend that a tenant’s monthly rent should not surpass between 25% and 30% of their monthly gross salary.
  • Real estate agents are closed on weekends, so home finding trips have to take place Monday to Friday.
  • Be aware that when a property is advertised, the living room counts as a ‘room’. So a ‘three room apartment’ will actually have two bedrooms because the living room is counted as the third room.
  • Once a property has been found, preparation (and speed) are key. The assignee should have the relevant documentation readily available and let their relocation services provider know straight away.
  • Generally, properties are accepted ‘as seen’, so assignees should make all requests for refurbishment before the lease is signed.
  • Washing machines and dryers are not provided as standard. Instead, communal washing facilities are typically offered.
  • A family’s choice of school will certainly determine the area in which they live, so it’s best to choose a school first and then begin the home search.

To learn more about home finding and other aspects of Switzerland relocation like schools and transportation, be sure to watch our video on relocating to Switzerland.

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