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Old 08.09.2011, 00:13
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Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

Hello,

I am new to the forum and have found it incredibly helpful so far. My girlfriend and I are moving to Basel in one week and will only have two weeks to find a place. I found a post on the forum on apartment hunting in Basel but it was from 2007 so I was hoping some of you that have just moved to Basel could share some insight on your experiences. We are both EU citizens and both have work contracts. Our combined income is decent, considering our budget for a place is about CHF 1,500. Here are a few of our most pressing questions:

1. Is two weeks enough time?
2. Will we be interacting mostly with agents or landlords or both?
3. If so, do they generally speak English or should we get an interpreter?
4. Could anyone recommend any good agencies?
5. Our work permits are being processed but may not be ready by the time we sign our apartment paper work. Will this be a problem?

I know its a lot, but any help at all would help us immensely!
Thank you in advance
F
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Old 08.09.2011, 00:54
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Re: Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

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1. Is two weeks enough time?
2. Will we be interacting mostly with agents or landlords or both?
3. If so, do they generally speak English or should we get an interpreter?
4. Could anyone recommend any good agencies?
5. Our work permits are being processed but may not be ready by the time we sign our apartment paper work. Will this be a problem?
Wow, you didn't give yourselves much time at all!

Unfortunately, two weeks is not likely to be enough time to find a "forever" type place but you may be able to find an "okay for now" spot for a year while you give yourselves some time to explore where you really want to be. However, September / October is one of those times of year with heavy moving so it's not a horrible time to be looking (just bear in mind that lots of other people will be looking too).

You will likely be interacting with "both" agents and landlords, depending upon the place. You also may be interacting with current occupant - this is what we found ourselves doing when we got our place. The occupant leaving gave us the tour of the apartment and then passed our application along to our landlady.

I believe that in most cases, if you're dealing with an agency, they probably have someone who speaks English who can assist. If dealing with landlord directly (or current occupant), it's fairly hit-or-miss. Our landlady speaks some English, the occupant who showed us the place didn't speak any though. It probably would be wise to get a translator if you can, one source that others have recommended is RentARentner.ch which is a listing of retirees who offer their services for a variety of things (including interpreter duty).

For your last two questions, unfortunately I don't have any idea. I "lucked out" in that respect as my husband is native Basler so didn't need to worry about it.

Good luck in your apartment hunt, congratulations on the jobs and welcome to Basel!
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Old 08.09.2011, 07:40
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Re: Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

I found my Basel apartment in 4 days and moved in the following day. During that time, I shortlisted about 20 apartments and looked at four. At that stage I did not have all my paperwork completed - but I did have the cash in my pocket for the rent and deposit :-) Two of the owners I met, did not speak English, but were goodnatured about me not speaking German.

But, be prepared for the fact that some generally easier to let to locals, or at least someone who speaks German. Actually, as a tenant I also think it is easier to be dealing with a landlord where you have the common language - I certainly appreciate the fact that my landlord speaks English.

Check out what is available on www.homegate.ch 15000chf will get you a very nice 1 br apartment, or a few mediocre choices of a 2 bedroomed one. If you can budget another 500, you will have the chance to be looking at some very nice 2 bedroomed places. ( generally, rent should be under a thrid of your salary. )
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Old 08.09.2011, 08:20
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Re: Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

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Check out what is available on www.homegate.ch 15000chf will get you a very nice 1 br apartment, or a few mediocre choices of a 2 bedroomed one. If you can budget another 500, you will have the chance to be looking at some very nice 2 bedroomed places. ( generally, rent should be under a thrid of your salary. )
Oh! That reminds me!

One thing that took me by surprise was the room descriptions. If you are looking for a 1br, the description for those is generally a "2 zimmer" (2 rooms, very often no distinction between br and living room). Following that, a 2br is generally a "3 zimmer" and so on. Any description that includes "half" rooms (ours is 2.5 zimmer) can mean that one of the rooms is extra large (comfortable eat-in kitchen) OR that there is some small "room" like an extra large entryway or a small child's room or a room suitable for a small study.

I poured over descriptions of apartments before my hubby was ready to move out, with google translate or babelfish at the ready, so descriptions of apartment accoutrements were among the first things I learned to understand.
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Old 08.09.2011, 17:24
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Re: Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

I know of a 1 br apartment that is available - nice area, good transport links. P me if you are interested in more details.
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Old 08.09.2011, 23:11
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Re: Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

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I know of a 1 br apartment that is available - nice area, good transport links. P me if you are interested in more details.
Thanks Biff,
First, thank you for the reassuring advice.
I am very interested! Do you knkw the address and price? Would in be possible to see it on the 17th or 18th? Thanks again,
F
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Old 24.09.2011, 12:21
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Re: Moving to Basel, Any Tips?

So here is an update,

In about four days we were able to see about eight apartments leisurely. We got the first place we applied for within 24 hrs. The second place, which we liked even more we got within 48 hrs. and have sealed the deal. It's a 2-room apartment (ie, 1 bedroom, 60 sm) in Grossaltbasel. Almost every agent spoke some English and they were all very accommodating. So here are some facts about what we had in order to get an apartment in Basel,

- Combined income: approx. 8,800 chf
- We are both Eu citizens
- We both have one year work contracts
- Neither of us had work/residence permits in hand, but one of us had a paper stating that a permit had been issued.
- No one was interested in the paper stating that we had no debt in Switzerland, since we had just moved there.

So finally, the only papers we handed into the agencies were a copy of our passports, work contract and agency form.

Hope this will be helpful to all of those moving to Basel in the near future, especially those who have become discouraged by the horror stories often posted here! And thanks to all those who offered us suggestions!
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