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Old 22.01.2011, 02:31
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Contrasting realities: who's wrong

I suppose nobody. I suppose everybody.

The thing is, I thought that by reading the forum over the last few months I had become fairly well-informed about the realities of daily Swiss living, and then I had dinner last night with an acquaintance who had spent the last five years in Switzerland:

1. Forum: You will pay between 3500 and 4500 CHF for a 100-square meter, three-bedroom apartment outside of Geneva.
My acquaintance: 3000 CHF tops. Even expect to find a nice three-bedroom house/apartment for under 2500 CHF.

2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.

3. Forum: Bring your furniture. Bring everything.
My acquaintance: Bring nothing. Put everything back home in storage and save the container fee. He said you can buy good, used furniture and kitchen appliances at Emmaus or local furniture markets for a bargain. He did. His house is full of used Swiss furniture.

4. Forum: For a family of 5 to live comfortably, you will need at least 120,000 CHF annually.
My acquaintance: With 120,000 CHF, you will be able to save 1000 CHF per month.

In fact, I could go on, about how good the schools are in France, and how cheap the day-care centers are; how clothes in France are half the price of clothes in Switzerland, etc.
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Old 22.01.2011, 06:41
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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I suppose nobody. I suppose everybody.

2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.
Wrong!

I have lived in 4 apartments in Switzerland, the first was rented from a private person who didnt charge me a deposit. All others i have paid 3 months rent.

I am afraid that if you rent from companies like wincasa or other estate agents, it is standard to pay 3 months rent.
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Old 22.01.2011, 06:44
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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I suppose nobody. I suppose everybody.


4. Forum: For a family of 5 to live comfortably, you will need at least 120,000 CHF annually.
My acquaintance: With 120,000 CHF, you will be able to save 1000 CHF per month.
I am shocked that people say they can live comfortably on 120'000 for a family of 5, they must be living off beans and toast and never do anything in their spare time.

really depends on how old the kids are, if they have 3 going to university, then the costs of studies will be a massive amount out of that 120'000. So if you can save 1000.- a month, you had better start saving
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Old 22.01.2011, 06:46
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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3. Forum: Bring your furniture. Bring everything.
My acquaintance: Bring nothing. Put everything back home in storage and save the container fee. He said you can buy good, used furniture and kitchen appliances at Emmaus or local furniture markets for a bargain. He did. His house is full of used Swiss furniture.
Agreed, if you dont mind used furniture then go for it.

I bought everything in my flat brand new recently. I have a 3.5 room apartment and kitted it out completely from Otto's for around 6000.- francs.

much better than the hassle and costs of transporting it
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Old 22.01.2011, 08:22
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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Wrong!

I have lived in 4 apartments in Switzerland, the first was rented from a private person who didnt charge me a deposit. All others i have paid 3 months rent.
Yet I lived in two apartments in Zug and paid one month's rent on each ...
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Old 22.01.2011, 08:30
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

We paid less than 1 month deposit for ours - and we have a 5.5 room apartment...and three children...

Also, local people don't factor in so much international travel - it costs us 10,000chf for a round trip back to Australia for 5 people, so that's pretty much their '1000 per month' saving - but we don't have that much money...

As for what is 'comfortable' - our standard of living is definitely higher than it was going to be in Australia with three growing children... if our kids were in the local school, we could do quite well...but we don't run a car, and we eat out maybe once or twice a month and don't have any expensive hobbies...

100% agree on the used/second hand advice, though...there is a lot of really great stuff if you are happy to take it - but some people do object to second-hand (I love second-hand shopping!)...
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Old 22.01.2011, 08:31
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

Oh, and storage is pointless if you are on a one-way ticket (we sold, gave away and threw out everything we owned down to 7 cubic metres that were freighted over, and about 10 boxes of photographs and wedding gifts which are in storage with family...)...
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Old 22.01.2011, 08:35
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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I suppose nobody. I suppose everybody.

The thing is, I thought that by reading the forum over the last few months I had become fairly well-informed about the realities of daily Swiss living, and then I had dinner last night with an acquaintance who had spent the last five years in Switzerland:

1. Forum: You will pay between 3500 and 4500 CHF for a 100-square meter, three-bedroom apartment outside of Geneva.
My acquaintance: 3000 CHF tops. Even expect to find a nice three-bedroom house/apartment for under 2500 CHF.

2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.

3. Forum: Bring your furniture. Bring everything.
My acquaintance: Bring nothing. Put everything back home in storage and save the container fee. He said you can buy good, used furniture and kitchen appliances at Emmaus or local furniture markets for a bargain. He did. His house is full of used Swiss furniture.

4. Forum: For a family of 5 to live comfortably, you will need at least 120,000 CHF annually.
My acquaintance: With 120,000 CHF, you will be able to save 1000 CHF per month.

In fact, I could go on, about how good the schools are in France, and how cheap the day-care centers are; how clothes in France are half the price of clothes in Switzerland, etc.
1) Acquaintance
2) Forum
3) If your furniture is important to you, bring your own providing it's not Ikea, if not then buy it here either new or second hand.
4) Neither of you, Chf100k you live perfectly ok
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Old 22.01.2011, 08:41
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

People can only share their experiences. What you're comparing is one person's experience over five years, with a whole group of people's experiences - possibly many 100 years of experience, in total.

As far as salary and savings go, expenditure frequently rises to match salary. If you don't save on 120'000CHF, you won't save on 200'000CHF.
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Old 22.01.2011, 09:54
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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I suppose nobody. I suppose everybody.

The thing is, I thought that by reading the forum over the last few months I had become fairly well-informed about the realities of daily Swiss living, and then I had dinner last night with an acquaintance who had spent the last five years in Switzerland:

1. Forum: You will pay between 3500 and 4500 CHF for a 100-square meter, three-bedroom apartment outside of Geneva.
My acquaintance: 3000 CHF tops. Even expect to find a nice three-bedroom house/apartment for under 2500 CHF.

2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.

3. Forum: Bring your furniture. Bring everything.
My acquaintance: Bring nothing. Put everything back home in storage and save the container fee. He said you can buy good, used furniture and kitchen appliances at Emmaus or local furniture markets for a bargain. He did. His house is full of used Swiss furniture.

4. Forum: For a family of 5 to live comfortably, you will need at least 120,000 CHF annually.
My acquaintance: With 120,000 CHF, you will be able to save 1000 CHF per month.

In fact, I could go on, about how good the schools are in France, and how cheap the day-care centers are; how clothes in France are half the price of clothes in Switzerland, etc.

Forum: Many people with experiences from 1 months to life time.
Acquaintance: 1 person's experience...

Hum.... I know where I place my vote!
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  #11  
Old 22.01.2011, 10:55
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

Five years experience is dangerous. It brings an over confidence, and enough knowledge to make a decision: stay or go.

1. Forum: You will pay between 3500 and 4500 CHF for a 100-square meter, three-bedroom apartment outside of Geneva.
My acquaintance: 3000 CHF tops. Even expect to find a nice three-bedroom house/apartment for under 2500 CHF.

I challenge you to find a NICE house at those low prices within 1 hour commuting to Geneva Cointrin. Sometimes you do see low price adverts, but when you go and see them, the appartments are between a railway and an autobahn.

2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.

Silly me! I have lived here 21 years and rented appartments in Be, Fr, Vd, Ge and I have always paid at least 2 months deposit.

Social security pay about CHF 800 per adult and 600 per teenager (It varies between towns) per month. Plus all basic medical expenses, plus all basic dental costs, plus around 500 per person rental. So calculate for yourself and see how much you really need.

You make sandwiches for lunch. You take drnks with you to work. You don't eat out. You don't buy designer labels. You buy second hand when possible. Country walks are free, swimming in the lake is free. Cycling is cheap. I lived alone for 3 years on CHF 2,300 it really is possible in the country areas.

Last edited by Ittigen; 22.01.2011 at 11:49.
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Old 22.01.2011, 11:30
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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I suppose nobody. I suppose everybody.

The thing is, I thought that by reading the forum over the last few months I had become fairly well-informed about the realities of daily Swiss living, and then I had dinner last night with an acquaintance who had spent the last five years in Switzerland:

1. Forum: You will pay between 3500 and 4500 CHF for a 100-square meter, three-bedroom apartment outside of Geneva.
My acquaintance: 3000 CHF tops. Even expect to find a nice three-bedroom house/apartment for under 2500 CHF.

2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.

3. Forum: Bring your furniture. Bring everything.
My acquaintance: Bring nothing. Put everything back home in storage and save the container fee. He said you can buy good, used furniture and kitchen appliances at Emmaus or local furniture markets for a bargain. He did. His house is full of used Swiss furniture.

4. Forum: For a family of 5 to live comfortably, you will need at least 120,000 CHF annually.
My acquaintance: With 120,000 CHF, you will be able to save 1000 CHF per month.

In fact, I could go on, about how good the schools are in France, and how cheap the day-care centers are; how clothes in France are half the price of clothes in Switzerland, etc.
IMHO (swiss), both are right (Except for n. 2: Expect to pay the deposit in 90-95%% of all cases).

What your friend says is the reality for many people living here, whether they are swiss or have been here for quite some time.

BUT, you will (probably) be moving here, so you don't really know the place and you have several constraints, such as:

Finding a nice apartment is way easier if you already have a place and thus the time to look out for the right opportunity. And, it is way easier if you have a network.

Expect living costs to go down once you've settled in, as it takes some time to know where and when to shop, which insurance you really need etc.

In conclusion: What your friend says is possible if you a) are lucky or b) you have help from people who already live here or c) over time, once you've settled in.
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Old 22.01.2011, 11:45
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

I love sweeping statements!

The problem is not only a question of FINDING a house or flat for a specific price, it is also a question of whether one has a chance of actually renting it.

I know hundreds of people here and I don't know how much one single of them paid as a deposit on their flat. How many people did the acquaintance ask to use as 'anyone'?

Cost of living - the others have said it all. It depends what your 'living' involves.
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Old 22.01.2011, 11:48
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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2. Forum: You have to pay a deposit equivalent to three months' rent.
My acquaintance: Rarely does anyone pay more than one month┤s rent. Often you don┤t even have to pay that--if they like you.
-
The usual deposit in Switzerland equals 1 month. BUT it of course is more if you get an apartment in a co-operative, because you when taking residence in a co-operative automatically become a member.

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3. Forum: Bring your furniture. Bring everything.
My acquaintance: Bring nothing. Put everything back home in storage and save the container fee. He said you can buy good, used furniture and kitchen appliances at Emmaus or local furniture markets for a bargain. He did. His house is full of used Swiss furniture.
-
Neither. If you are to stay for less than a year or two, to move furniture will be too expensive, but if you are to stay for a considerable time, it may be worth the costs and the trouble


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In fact, I could go on, about how good the schools are in France, and how cheap the day-care centers are; how clothes in France are half the price of clothes in Switzerland, etc.
-
France and clothes ? I on many visits to Paris was shocked about the very high prices of clothes (costing twice as much as in Zurich). But bought stuff in Annemasse. My mother once was surprised to meet my cousin from Geneva shopping in Jelmoli ZŘrich. My cousin explained that the train-fare was recovered by shopping in ZŘrich instead of in Geneva, even if it was the same chain. I at the other last year was shopping in H&M Geneva which I considered better and even cheaper than the outlet in Zurich.
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Old 22.01.2011, 12:08
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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4. Forum: For a family of 5 to live comfortably, you will need at least 120,000 CHF annually.
The only thing that surprises me in all of that is that you think that this forum has a single opinion about anything. Especially about what's a decent salary and what's not - those ones go on for ever.

What's useful here is the wide variety of opinions and experiences, not a single one. So yeah, the forum's right and the forum's wrong. And so's your friend
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Old 22.01.2011, 14:19
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

As I suspected, opinion is divided. When I hit the ground in June I will decide for myself who was right and who was wrong. With experience, one supposedly becomes more circumspect, and the answer to the questions I asked in the forum might seem obvious a year from now. In this sense, it┤s curious how perception expands when experience begins to connect the dots and what seemed confusing at first sight becomes crystal clear. I suppose the accumulation of these experience could be called wisdom, and after I have lived in Geneva for some time I hope to be the wiser for it--and be able to save some money!

Thanks for the great feedback.
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Old 22.01.2011, 18:05
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

Bear in mind that when you come in June it will be to Geneva, so you will still have very little idea about what it might be like in Zurich, or in a mountain village etc. Things vary quite a lot from region to region from town to countryside and from person to person.
Everybody is probably right.
(I have paid 3 months deposit in 4 out of 4 places in Zurich area, 2,000 for 1 or 2 bed places yet known people who paid half that-unusual circumstances, or others who pay 3 times that... You can't rely on the experience of "anyone" it seems!)
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Old 22.01.2011, 18:25
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

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As I suspected, opinion is divided. \
You didn't really think everyone would agree with everything did you? Remember that Geneva is both a city & a canton.

120K is plenty to live on especially if you are used to budgeting your resources and you can get your apartment below CHF3000. Of course you probably won't be approved for an apartment costing more than that as it will go over 30% of your salary.

Don't underestimate the time it takes to find an apartment in Geneva. Great if you find one quickly. But you need to have a back up plan. The further out you get, the longer your commute, the less you will pay and the less competition you will have for the place. It's not unheard of to pay under CHF3000 for a 3 bedroom/100m2 in Geneva canton, not very likely in Geneva city.
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Old 22.01.2011, 22:37
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

You want to gauge opinion, the forum gives you access to lots, and everyone is right.... for them, as you pal's experiences are right for him.

Example, A friend in Zug can't understand why people pay 3,000 CHF+, when only pays 1,600 CHF for a place.

He live's in something rather bigger than a toilet with worse decor, he takes a 15 minute walk to work, he can't open his windows or sit on his balcony for traffic noise, but if he shoved in some ear plugs and braved it, his view is into a petrol station or an office building, and he's constantly reminded he lives above a restaurant by the smell. Mama G has a 10 minute walk an 10 minute train ride to work, we sit and watch the sunset, sipping wine in my lounger, listening to the crickets, watching kites circling about and even deer on occasions... The point there is standards and who pays for what.

Deposits, well that does seem to vary from an amount set by the owner to 3 months, He paid one month, we paid 2.

Furniture, bring yours or store and buy new, I know people who have done both. I guess that it would depend on how you feel about your stuff and how long you are coming for.... and who's paying, no?

As for how much you need, well that would depend on your lifestyle. If you want a nice place, 2 cars, to eat out a lot, a couple of nice holiday's, and private school for the loin fruit... 120,000 is not enough.

I think the bottom line is ask the questions, listen to the answers and apply them to what you would like... and expect some nice AND not so nice surprises along the way.
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Old 23.01.2011, 09:06
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Re: Constrasting realities: who┤s wrong

As others have said, these discussions are just great; so generalized. It all depends on what kind of arrangement you find; at least you know that somewhere between the feedback from the forum and what your acquaintance has said is where reality lies
One thing I would add is that you will doubtlessly need more money whilst you're getting settled - I don't mean just getting a roof over your head etc, I mean figuring out where to get the deals best suited to your needs, meeting people, and potentially those quick spur of the moment trips back home for reality checks.
Moving to a new country isn't always an easy ride, but certainly a rewarding one. You'll make it work if you want it to work.
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