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Old 11.07.2011, 11:32
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How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company assistance?

I would really appreciate the thoughts of the experienced forum members on this. We are arriving in October from New Zealand with a 1, 5 and 8 year old. I understand it can take us a couple of months to pick up an apartment. What do people do in the meantime - I guess we would not have our furniture so would need serviced apartment or something similar?? Also how do children settle into state primary school if they are having to spend potentially a couple of months in an area which is different from where they will end up living. I have been reading comments on schooling and living and v much appreciate this resource! Thanks - we are looking forward to being in Zurich.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:36
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Im sure its the same in Zurich as in Geneva, we have residence appartments which are furnished and rentable by the week for temporary accomodation. A quick search should work. On the school I cant help
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:45
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Hi, we stayed in a serviced apartment when we first arrived. it was a while ago so I can't remember the name of it, but I'll check with my husband. But I'm sure there will be plenty of them around. I just had a quick look on google and there seemed to plenty of them advertised.

As for school, if you had an idea of the area in which you might live you could possibly apply to the school administration and explain that you will be in temporary accommodation for a while but ultimately living in the area. Or you could search for temporary accommodation near by.

You won't have any say in which schools/kindergartens your children will attend once you are settled in an area. For example, here in Meilen there are two primary schools and we had no say in which one my daughter will attend for first class next year. But if you find an area you like you can at least get them into the system. We applied for my daughter for kindergarten in Meilen while we still lived in Zürich and that was no problem.

I would try to avoid having them change schools/kindergartens, though, as it will be a huge adjustment for them anyway, going into a new school with no German (if that's the case!).

Good luck with move. We have absolutely no regrets about moving to Switzerland, and my daughter is really happy in the local school system.

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Last edited by tildaoz; 11.07.2011 at 11:47. Reason: added something
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:48
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

you can find some furnished apartments on homegate.ch.

Search the forums to find neighborhoods that might be good for you and use Google Earth or Google Maps to get a sky view.

SBB.ch can give you commute times using public transport.

I think a lot of expats put their kids in bilingual schools so maybe another forum search for that.

Good luck. Maybe negotiate with your company to provide some support.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:49
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

can you not come over before hand and sort out a place to live before the family come over?

finding a place really isn't as hard as people make out, sure, in the city decent places are like rocking horse poo, but look outside in the villages and you'll be spoilt for choice, swiss and commuting just don't seem to mix, so just make sure you look at villages with a main train line into zurich (or whichever city you'll be working in) and you'll be fine

re schools, in zurich area at least, if your children have no or limited german then the school will give then extra german lessons to get the upto scratch
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:59
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

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How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company assistance?
Stupid question:

Have you actually asked to have company assistance?

Politely contact them and mentioned that you obviously did not know the "renting market" situation and would like to try negotiating a temporary solution:

1) Either the assistance of a flat hunter (should definitely help you in finding somewhere much quicker; and should "only" cost 2000chf + for your future employer).

2) Or Temporary accommodation or help towards hotel cost-

3) Or something much less common: if it's a big company maybe they have some rented properties around (usually to host VP's and heads) that you could rent temporarily.


Don't hesitate to ask/discuss with your future employer!!!
It's so common here in Switzerland that they are all aware of difficulties.

And given your situation (little kids) who wouldn't try to help you?
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:09
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Thanks very much Kate for your thoughts. Meilen is an area we keep coming back to - we have seen some positive posts particularly on the primary schools there. If you have time I would be keen to know if you feel the integration programme run at the primary schools for non German speakers to get them up to scratch is good in your area. I also appreciate your feedback on serviced apartments. Thanks Catherine.
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:16
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Thanks for all your input. You may be right that we need to re - engage with the company for some assistance although not too promising on that front. Will def check out serviced apartments and flat hunters - (although I see people seem to have mixed views on their usefulness?!) Great encouragement though that its all manageable so thanks.
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:24
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Another alternative to service apartments which will cost an arm and leg since they are: a. furnished and b. the size that you will be looking for a family of 5 will be www.ums.ch

This is a site where current homeowners or tenants post their apartments up for a fixed short term rent due to going on a holiday or long sabbatical.

You will be basically living in their home/taking care of their stuff. Some of the housing is very reasonably priced. The only down side is that you will have to pay a month's rent for commission to ums. Worth checking out - good luck with the move!
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:58
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

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Thanks very much Kate for your thoughts. Meilen is an area we keep coming back to - we have seen some positive posts particularly on the primary schools there. If you have time I would be keen to know if you feel the integration programme run at the primary schools for non German speakers to get them up to scratch is good in your area. I also appreciate your feedback on serviced apartments. Thanks Catherine.
Hi Catherine, we love it here in Meilen. I've been very happy with the support my daughter has received, as a (previously!) non-German speaker. She has had two extra German lessons per week for the last two weeks, and is entitled to one more year, I think, if she needs it. The attention to detail by her Kindergarten teacher has been amazing, and that's with regard to all areas of my daughter's development, not just language acquisition.

We haven't had any direct experience with the primary school yet (but will from August) but I have friends with kids in both of the primary schools who have been happy. Of course it's always the luck of the draw when it comes to individual teachers, but the school community itself seems great. There are also lots of easily accessed activities for kids (sport, music etc).

There's also a big international community, which certainly makes it easy when you don't yet speak the language.

We thought we'd miss living the city, but it's really easy to get anywhere from here, and we don't have a car.

Let me know if you've got any other questions. You can also send me a private message, if you like.

Kate
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:02
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

The way we did it was to find apartments on www.homegate.ch that fitted our requirements, and we used google maps to check the location and www.sbb.ch to check the transport routes...

Then we gave a list of 5 apartments to our employer, and asked them to do the rest.

The 'catch' is that we moved in sight-unseen and had to adapt to what we had - but we are very adaptable people, so we were happy with our choice (and found the standard of apartments way higher than what we had lived in previously in Australia)...
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:27
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

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can you not come over before hand and sort out a place to live before the family come over?
This is what we did, albeit many years ago.

Temporary housing was out of the question for us (we have dogs), so I flew out (from the US) on a house hunting trip to find a place before the move.

We used a relocation agent who had viewing appointments set up ahead of time. I only had a few days to do this, so it was a case of 'here's what's available, choose one.' But that is not so different from how the market works once you are here anyway.

The relo agent's services was part of the company package, but were I to do it all over again I would NOT use the company's agent but rather use an independent agent who worked directly for me.

Agents who work for you have your best interest at heart, will help you set realistic expectations of the ZH market, and tend to work harder on your behalf, because that's how they get paid. Good money well spent. In contrast, the company's agent kept pushing us to go beyond our budget, assuming that housing was company paid (it was not).

All in, even if I had paid for the relo agent's services myself, the cost of house hunting before we moved over was less that what I would have spent on temporary housing.



Good luck, and may you enjoy your Swiss adventure!
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Old 12.07.2011, 00:12
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

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Thanks for all your input. You may be right that we need to re - engage with the company for some assistance although not too promising on that front. Will def check out serviced apartments and flat hunters - (although I see people seem to have mixed views on their usefulness?!) Great encouragement though that its all manageable so thanks.
Whether you can manage on your own depends on what you are expecting to accomplish. If it is just finding temporary housing from a distance, and if you are happy renting something sight unseen, then yes, it is "manageable". You need at least 3 bedrooms in a family friendly environment and this does not come cheap. You may also not find furnished housing in the area where you ultimately want to live.

A lot of companies are cutting back on relocation support. Sometimes they provide the new employee with a relocation allowance and expect him/her to decide how to use it. It can be a lump sum that is expected to cover many things. Other times there is very little assistance offered. Rarely does someone in HR have the time to assist you at all.

I work with mainly with families and particularly families with pets. Temporary housing has always been very limited in the region I work in, and with pets never an option, so house hunting is done in advance to secure an unfurnished home as soon as possible.

Often it makes more sense to pack up your current house earlier and send contents to arrive here for when you need them and try to stay with family/friends in your current location. Just a suggestion you might want to consider.
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Old 12.07.2011, 09:09
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

a lot depends on your budget, if you have a modest budget, it might be the case of taking the one property that is in budget and in the right location
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Old 13.07.2011, 12:14
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

I had the same problem--family of five, relocating to Geneva from Chile. What did I do?

First, I looked at the hotels/motels and the other residential hotels. I discovered that they were small, expensive, and mostly unavailable.

Then I went on glocals.com and, fortunately, I found a flat for two months, subletting from an American couple. Of course, it was over the summer--July and August--so it was much easier to find accomodations, with summer vacations and all. Then there was the problem of the deposit. Contrary to what everyone says, I did wire money to secure the deposit and I didn´t get burned. It might have helped that I spoke with the tenant via skype before I agreed to do anything.

Hope this helps.
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Old 14.07.2011, 10:07
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Thank you for everyone's input. Have a clearer picture of how to proceed - if anyone has actually stayed at any of the serviced apartments before with a family I would be keen to know how they got on. Will also be checking sub lets. Cheers Myken
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Old 18.07.2011, 11:58
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Hi

We made our first move from Melbourne at the end of November in 2008. We wanted to settled the kids well before the cold of January! My hubbie came out here 2 weeks prior to myself and 3 kids making the long journey. We decieded not to go with temp. accomodation because we asked the company to allow us to utilize funds to purchase new furniture in Zurich instead of paying for a furnished apartment for 3 months and a lease car. We narrowed down a search for suburbs prior to our initial departure and soon realised that the suburbs we hoped for were not available and not in our financial means.

Our objective was to secure a new/near new apartment 35mins to the CBD using public transport. Fortunately my hubbie was able to source a great suburb 5 mins from Horgen which we now call home. We applied for our apartment on day 7 and recieved a quick reply ...choose it as it was commutable to the International schools ( of which we now regret spending the cash for).

Take into consideration even if you are here for just two years...placing your kids in the local school system. We live in Hirzel and transferred our kids after 6 months of international schooling at the ages of 9 and 11 years...now 2 years later we still have very happy kids who have experienced a rich village childhood (filled with precious memories because of the various village school traditions). Our eldest has gone from no knowledge of German to being a sucessful entrant to the Zurich Gymnasium (that offers english immersion later on) and she is becoming quite fluent in Swiss German as well....as with her siblings. This was achieved thanks to the wonderful dedicated staff at the local school in which we have not paid a cent for their education. At the end of the day when we go back home they have gained a great cultural experience and of course language proficiency.

Yes, we took a risk in having to find accomodation quickly. We purchased everything from scratch as it made no sense to ship things across from Australia...keep in mind one would have to pay all the port taxes and more on used goods. We quickly purchased some items from IKEA for the immediate term in Dec 2008 and ordered other needed furniture accordingly.

My advice, would be to continue to probe the forum and analyse feedback before making a decision. Remember to bring plenty of passport photos of your family before you come they can cost an arm and a leg over here (as you will require these for Gemeinde registration so forth)

Sorry cannot help you out with accommodation in October...we are moving out of our apartment and it is only available in December!

Good Luck!
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Old 18.07.2011, 19:25
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

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How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company assistance?
We used a company called aw-immo.
info@aw-immo.ch in ZH. We are a family aof 4.
We rented a furnished apt on a monthly basis untill we found somewhere.
They spoke English. Our apt was at Kruezplatz Kreis 7 opposite the Arturgut spielplatz which is great for young children.

Last edited by Longbyt; 21.07.2011 at 09:13. Reason: Please leave square brackets and their contents in place when shortening quotes.
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Old 21.07.2011, 09:10
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Thank you for all your thoughts - very useful reading. Much appreciated.
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Old 23.07.2011, 07:40
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Re: How do you sort temporary accommodation for a family of 5 without company help?

Hi,

as i am in a desperate need of an apartment for my family, could you tell me your agent's contact, please?
Thank you
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