hey Mrs, flats in Zurich are indeed a sellers's market. The rentor's German is a little dodgy, so I can't tell if in this particular case he's telling you don't bother to come because we'll have rented it out by this weekend, or if he means come asap because it'll be gone by this weekend. If your heart's set on this place,call Matthias and say you can come before this weekend.
I've done this apartment-hunting thing a few times in Zurich. It's inevitably a frustrating experience, but here are a few tips that worked for me:
- set email alerts on homegate.ch and nzz.domizil.ch, and look at them each morning, as early in the morning as you can possibly conceive, then start calling the rentors or agents at 8:00 a.m. Don't rely on email - too easy to be put off.
- If you're dealing with the current tenants, make sure they know you can come see the apartment whenever is convenient to them. As in, right now would be good. The sooner, the better because you may be able to pre-empt other applicants.
- Make use of any informal channels you probably have at your disposal. You or any of your friends work for big corporates like Credit Suisse or UBS? Make sure you check the classifieds board they run regularly. These are often apartments that aren't publicly listed. Also check out city newsletters like ronorp.ch and the like - again, the earlier you check them each morning and respond the better.
- If you're really desperate to live in a specific neighborhood, print flyers making your plea and stuff those mailboxes. I've heard ads on Coop and Migros classified board work sometimes too.
Basically, apartment-hunting in Zurich basically means a part-time side job with lots of early morning scouting on the Internet. With perseverance and a bit of luck, you'll be fine