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Old 05.12.2015, 16:46
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Moving from London to Zurich

Hi guys,

I am new to this forum so apologies if this has already been asked and answered or if I am posting in the wrong section.

Myself, husband and new baby are moving over to Zurich in March. We have been told by my husbands company that a lot of people use relocation agency that cover everything from finding you a flat to child care options. This sounds great as we don't speak Swiss German yet but the problem is that it is very expensive and we just wonder do we need a company to help us with everything or could we do it ourselves? There are companies out there that just find a flat for you and this would be 1,500CHF cheaper than the other option. Has anyone used these companies and are they worth the money?

Thanks in advance for your help
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Old 05.12.2015, 17:17
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland.

Yes, you're in the wrong section - this is LEAVING Switzerland, not arriving.

Can you do it yourself? Probably. Do you want the hassle of doing so? That's the question.

Firstly is your husband's company prepared to offer any help, i.e. pay your all/part of your relocation costs (usually you have to pay this back if you don't like it here and leave within a year or so) or will the HR department provide someone to help you with translating, when you are visiting properties. This will be necessary as most rental contracts, etc, won't be in English, but in German (not Swiss German).

Second, do you plan any advance trips before the move so you can view properties, etc and get a better idea of what you want and what you can afford?

Third, is the company providing you with temporary accommodation or are you going to have to arrange that yourself too?
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Old 06.12.2015, 14:16
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

oops thank you for letting me know

Thanks for your response. My husband will be moving over in Feb and will be in temp. accommodation so he will be able to get things set up for when we arrive. I also have the option of moving with him in feb but I just thought that it might be very cold and a bit soon with our baby as she will only be three months by then. His company do not pay for this service but they suggest we use it. I totally agree with you about the paper work being in German which would make it difficult for us. We are just unsure of paying for a full service or just one that helps with the flat hunt and translating documents. It is quite expensive for the full service but as you said do we want the hassle of doing it ourselves.
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Old 06.12.2015, 14:44
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

How long is the temp accommodation going to be for? If it's a few months then that'll give you time to have a look around at what's available longer term. Would the HR department be willing to do a quick check over any contracts before you sign them?
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Old 06.12.2015, 15:04
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

I could be somewhat biased because I know someone very well who does this for a living and if you break that 1'500 francs down to 10 hours of work, it's not much. And I can also tell you that the relocation agent usually gets the apartment ahead of normal people.

So the question to you is what is your time and frustration worth? Because it won't come out badly for you in my opinion.

They will also help you set your requirements so that they are clear and achievable (although this is often not the case for some people...!!).

Just finding places and getting viewings is hard work - I've done it on my own and it takes time and effort. Without a language and knowledge of the local market, it might well be money well spent.
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Old 14.12.2015, 23:11
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

Thanks all for the great advice here and apologies for replying to this so late- I'm still learning to type while feeding a baby !!! We have decided that we will get a relocation agent to help us. Your help here has been a huge relief to us and help us feel like we made a good decision. With the small baby we just don't want the risk and the hassle.

We've narrowed it down to two relocation agents- a smaller company toprelocation.ch (who we read about on this forum) and a bigger company packimpex (which we also read about here!). The nice thing about Packimpex is that you can do a 'menu style' approach and just get help with certain aspects. So for example, we can do the online search ourselves on homegate (which they use) and save 500 francs. However, the smaller company is a single package so can't pick and mix to save money- though she just helps you until you find somewhere which is nice too for peace of mind.

In people's experience do you think that with a relocation agent we'd want to plan for applying to >4 houses? If so, it will be an extra cost. Also, would we be better (or increase our chances of successful application) if we were accompanied to the viewing? It is 1000 francs for 10 houses with accompaniment. However, if we think that this makes a big difference we would pay it....

We're looking for somewhere with 2 bedrooms (3.5 rooms) for around 3,000- 3,500 francs a month. Areas we heard were nice were around Kilchberg, Horgen and Thalwil. We'd be willing not to be too close to the lake as understand this costs more but would want some public transport as not sure will we get a car yet.

What are people's thoughts- with this sort of budget and requirement would the extra money on accompanied viewings be worth it? Or is it so competitive that we'd just be better to go for the smaller company to ensure we aren't 'nickle and dimed' to death by unsuccessful applications!

Thanks in advance for all your help and guidance. Very excited about the move but it's all so much planning!!!
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Old 15.12.2015, 00:20
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

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.........
We're looking for somewhere with 2 bedrooms (3.5 rooms) for around 3,000- 3,500 francs a month. Areas we heard were nice were around Kilchberg, Horgen and Thalwil. We'd be willing not to be too close to the lake as understand this costs more but would want some public transport as not sure will we get a car yet......
Unless prices have shot up without me knowing, that sort of budget should be fine. The areas you mention are generally nice, but don't think of Horgen as an outer limit. With the frequent trains along the lake you can include Wädenswil, Richterswil etc. too.

Rather than being physically "close to the lake", I reckon it's better to have a nice view of it. Nearly everywhere will have buses to take you down to the local station.

I can't say much about the various services offered, except to say that it's definitely good to get some paid assistance if language and procedures are unfamiliar.

Regarding number of viewings, it's hard to predict. We arranged 5 (with the help of my HR dept.) but number 2 was the one we knew was right, so we cancelled the rest.

I can relate to your excitement, even after 6+ years. Before getting here, we spent months reading this forum about all the different towns and supermarkets, and marvelling at some of the squabbling about whether Switzerland is heaven on earth or a tedious nightmare (more like the former IMO, but YMMV).

For most people it's a great move but don't underestimate the dangers of 'trailing spouse' syndrome. With a baby you're possibly at an advantage as your hands will be full, as it were, and you'll no doubt find yourself socialising with other mums. But be mindful that the average Swiss family is quite different from the average "@Irishfamily", so don't expect too much traditional craic. People have fun here, to be sure, but pleasures are generally more wholesome and innocent, like trying to tie up a neater block of magazines for recycling than your neighbours.

Good luck, and welcome.
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Old 15.12.2015, 00:38
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

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Regarding number of viewings, it's hard to predict. We arranged 5 (with the help of my HR dept.) but number 2 was the one we knew was right, so we cancelled the rest.
Exactly how it happened for us too.

We had 5 weeks notice of the move to Switzerland, so I joined homegate straight away to get a feel for the housing market here. I did the viewings solo and my other half didn't see inside the apartment until the day we moved in.

Funny thing is, I had a shortlist of 35 on homegate with 3 favourites, and managed to get my No.1 favourite. The housing market is tight here, so it's well worth you joining Homegate now, choosing your prefered areas and getting on the mailing list for those areas.
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Old 15.12.2015, 07:04
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Re: Moving from London to Zurich

Having just moved from Oberrieden which is next to Horgen there are a lot of expats there. However if you move further down the lake or higher up away from the lake you can get more for your money. I am now in Eschenbach which some would consider in the sticks, but it takes my husband less time to get to work, (near Opera House) and we have swapped an apartment for a house and garden.
Welcome to Switzerland. It is a fab place to bring up children.
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