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Old 29.11.2012, 13:17
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Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding permanent)

Hello!

New to the forum! My husband was just offered a job in Zurich starting Feb. 1, 2013. We are very excited about our relocation, but are having some concerns about housing and enrolling kids in school.

We are currently in the US, and have been trying in earnest to land an apartment. Have placed multiple phone calls and offered to take an apartment sight unseen -- we're not picky. However, each time we call they require that we follow protocol and won't make a contract until someone physically views the flat. In the US, if you offer to throw $ at someone, they'll just take it! Oh well. Rules are rules.

My concern is that we are set to arrive in early January, and would like to enroll our kids (ages 10, 8) in school as soon as possible. But if we find temporary housing (say, 1 to 3 months) in one area and then permanent housing in another area, it will be too much transition for them.

Any advice on how to start?

Thanks in advance,
Kim
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Old 29.11.2012, 13:47
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Hi there, why not waiting for your husband to move here first, see how it's like, if he likes it, and then join him in the summer? in the meantime you could give your kids german private lesson to get used of the language, find the right place where to live and that would make the move easier? less hassle, less stress.. much better for the kids and the family I think...
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:05
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Better weather in summer, too.
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:15
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Which areas are you searching? If perchance you're looking in Bassersdorf, I can offer to view a flat or two for you. I understand how tough it is to find housing so if this helps, let me know.
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:42
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Thank you for the advice and help. We have all purchased airfare for the trip to Zurich, so arriving separately isn't an option. In addition, we have two children under 2 years old and will be in temporary housing until January. (we are on our way to the bank right now to sign papers / sell house!).

Thank you for the offer to look at properties little_isabella! When I have a chance I'll check on Bassersdorf.
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:20
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Hi, I signed a contract for a house without seeing it, I think this is unusual but through emails I built up a rapport with the owner so keep trying, you might have more luck with individual landlords (often recognisable in house/apartment ads from the contact name) .
If not, then perhaps find the best/nicest / most convenient location and just stick with it. If you happen to be moving to Zug you may find that there isn't that much choice really, it's quite small.
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:24
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Getting your husband's company to spring for a relocation consultant would probably help you. There are mixed reviews here for relo consultants, but there are some good ones out there.

Whatever you do, don't listen to friends and colleagues! They aren't impartial and very often have no idea what they are talking about....

Just my .2c.
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:37
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

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Getting your husband's company to spring for a relocation consultant would probably help you. There are mixed reviews here for relo consultants, but there are some good ones out there.

Whatever you do, don't listen to friends and colleagues! They aren't impartial and very often have no idea what they are talking about....

Just my .2c.
I agree - I didn't particularly like our relo consultant, but if you get a good one, they can be helpful. If they could line up a bunch of viewings within your criteria in your first few days, you could potentially sign the papers and move into a permanent place within the first month. So - would be nice if the company paid for that, along with the first month at least of temporary housing
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:38
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

From the school point of view, the 3 little ones should be absolutely fine. It is going to be much harder for the 10 year old - as selection takes place age 11 to decide whether s/he will follow a classical/academic education, or a more practical/vocational stream. For him/her it may well be better to either go back a year, and ensure s/he gets plenty of support with a/ german and b/ French as second language- as these are essential for the academic streams. Or choose to send him/her to a private bilingual school.

A good idea to read the education threads on here, where so much information has already been given over the past few years.
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Old 29.11.2012, 19:07
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

My husband got the signed offer on New Years, started on 2 Feb and I managed to get the house sold and whatnot to make it there by the end of Feb which was, as far as I was concerned a miracle (I might also add that we didn't have a relo consultant - thought about one but the rates were something only a corporation could swallow whole). You could always change the flights since the penalty shouldn't be that bad which would give your husband time to find a place to live, look at schools, get a car, open bank accounts, etc. and let your older kids finish the school year while you sell the house (Xmas/Jan isn't the best time in MN for selling, but springtime is).

I wish you luck and I would highly recommend keeping a US account in your name with enough money to buy tickets, etc. should you want to leave at some point.
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Old 29.11.2012, 19:55
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

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I wish you luck and I would highly recommend keeping a US account in your name with enough money to buy tickets, etc. should you want to leave at some point.
and to keep a US iTunes account
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Old 29.11.2012, 21:10
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

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I would highly recommend keeping a US account in your name with enough money to buy tickets, etc. should you want to leave at some point.
I think it is permitted to buy flight tickets using a Swiss bank account ... why would someone need to keep a US account for that purpose?

The US iTunes thing makes 100% sense
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Old 29.11.2012, 21:22
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

What's your housing budget ? We live in Adliswil, and we like the area, it's not quite so expensive, and there are lots of fancy new apartments on the edge of the suburb.

A friend moved recently from Australia, and the Adliswil school offered an integration class for 6 months before the kids transitioned into the local school classes, and the kids seemed to adapt really fast. They were put in with a bunch of kids from all sorts of countries, and the emphasis was on heaps of language immersion, getting used to the routines, and exploring the local area.

Finding something big enough for a family of 6 will be tricky at the best of times...

I can recommend trying verit. www.verit.ch
They manage the apartments at 'Gruet Park' in Adliswil. They also have this apartment listed in Horgen:
http://www.homegate.ch/mieten/104112382?a=ver&l=default

You could also try the agency 'Privera' - they manage 'Dietlimoos' which is also a very big new housing development.
http://www.privera.ch/platform/apps/...&Menu=1&Item=4

Neither agencies have anything listed over 4.5 rooms, but it wouldn't hurt to ask them directly if they have something on their books that might be available to fit your requirements...

I spotted a couple of others:
http://www.homegate.ch/rent/10405071...ault&l=default
http://www.homegate.ch/rent/10399574...ault&l=default
http://www.homegate.ch/rent/10403613...ault&l=default
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Old 29.11.2012, 21:38
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

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My husband got the signed offer on New Years, started on 2 Feb and I managed to get the house sold and whatnot to make it there by the end of Feb which was, as far as I was concerned a miracle (I might also add that we didn't have a relo consultant - thought about one but the rates were something only a corporation could swallow whole). You could always change the flights since the penalty shouldn't be that bad which would give your husband time to find a place to live, look at schools, get a car, open bank accounts, etc. and let your older kids finish the school year while you sell the house (Xmas/Jan isn't the best time in MN for selling, but springtime is).

I wish you luck and I would highly recommend keeping a US account in your name with enough money to buy tickets, etc. should you want to leave at some point.
From the last post from the OP, it seems like the house in the US is already sold...

Somehow, it will work out! We ended up buying a house right away but it was new construction so finishing touches were needed. i commuted to school with the kids for the first 2 months as I also didn't want to plop them in one school and then move again. It was a pain, esp. with different school times, but in the end, it wasn't so bad
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Old 29.11.2012, 21:39
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

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I think it is permitted to buy flight tickets using a Swiss bank account ... why would someone need to keep a US account for that purpose?

The US iTunes thing makes 100% sense
Independent account that doesn't require transferring money back and forth not only because of the shifting exchange rate, but also because doing so is a real PITA if you bank in the US. AND now that many banks in Switzerland don't want to deal with Americans, it's probably the best thing to do as it may take some doing to get an account in Switzerland. Depending on your US bank, if you aren't physically in the US nor have an appointed proxy to do the transfer for you, you probably aren't going to be able to transfer more than 10k at any given time. The hassles of moving money through/to/from the US is something that usually catches first-timers with their pants down. Be sure to do your taxes while your abroad and read up on FATCA and declare all your bank accounts to the Dept. of State.

Besides, I think every woman should have their own private little escape fund as it keeps your options open no matter what life throws your way.
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Old 29.11.2012, 23:09
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Thank you for the replies!

Yes, we officially sold our house today! In the process of moving boxes until tomorrow when the new owners take possession. Have appreciated sitting down for a moment's rest and see replies pop up here and there.

Sounds like we are just going to have to go all out, call each day, and see if anyone takes the bite. Our kids are officially withdrawn from our local public school as we prepare to move to our 'cabin in the woods' for the time being.

We will all fly out together (there is just no way possible for me to fly without husband -- I would probably lose my mind handling 4 small kids alone on the flight) -- and we'll see what happens from there. So far the universe has been handing us golden nuggets!

There is no relo specialist, I asked. We're on our own, but not really....You've all been a wonderful resource! Thank for your advice so far!
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Old 30.11.2012, 12:18
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

No, but the HR department might be able to help though. When we moved over they were a great help in helping set up viewing appointments, sorting out bank accounts and getting registered with the commune. Even if it's just having someone with you who can speak the language it will make everything so much easier. Do ask, they can always say no, but they might be able to do some ringing around for you, etc.

I second poptart's comments on the bank accounts. Do try and keep the US one if you can as I'm afraid Americans are very much persons non grata with most Swiss banks at the moment. The only places you might be able to set up an account will be UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance and all will soon require you to sign a piece of paper allowing them to give details of your account(s) to the IRS. This is all due to FATCA and is causing worldwide problems for Americans abroad, not just here in Switzerland.
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Old 06.12.2012, 14:53
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

Thank you all for the replies. We have been able to make a few contacts and will continue our search in earnest. It does sound like we need to keep our childrens school in mind before signing rental contracts, and that is fine. We are very excited to make this leap, despite some of the loopholes. You all are wonderful to add your advice and helpful suggestions. Thank you!
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Old 10.12.2012, 19:55
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

my first reaction was, what company is your husband relocating for? mine did all of this stuff for us/employees. If its a large enough company, they should be able to help you?

from experience, all I can say is that temporary housing is NOT easy to find here. Rental contracts are a down-right pain in the **** so you MAY be better off finding your "home" and sticking with it for at least 3 years.

I give you a ton of credit - sounds stressful and I am assuming the husband isn't much of a help here? ) leave men to do the things that men are good at... which is not relocating... so good luck with the move!!
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Old 10.12.2012, 21:54
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Re: Worried about temporary housing and enrolling kids in school (then finding perman

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my first reaction was, what company is your husband relocating for? mine did all of this stuff for us/employees. If its a large enough company, they should be able to help you?
Our experience was like the OPs. We came on a local contract without the relocation support given to people on an expat contract. For help with housing, we got access to a list of URLs. It was a bit of a shock, but it all worked out. I think companies are taking this approach more and more frequently.

By the way, for temporary housing, be sure to check out AirBnB.com and your local area tourist office. The former lets you specify that you want an entire home/apt and many places have weekly or monthly rates. The tourist offices in our area have lists of vacation rentals, many located in urban areas.
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