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Old 27.07.2011, 10:29
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It will be. Golden rule is 25 to 33% of income should be spent on accommodation.
Is there any way you can get a 2nd income? I think if the family income is CHF 3200 per month, which you've stated, you will have a hard time making ends meet here.
Well, it is actually 3900, but it doesn't make a bit difference... I plan to work as soon as I can, but I don't speak German at all, and I am not good with kids (so no nanny job for me). Well, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't hurt a child, but they don't like me, I guess I am not fun enough....

Anyway, do you know if the 25/33 % rule is for the rent with the extra fee (heating...), or without ?

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OP, if you want to remain in the Zurich kanton, try areas like Uster, Dietikon, Birmensdorf - all these areas are definitely within 35-40 minutes of Zurich HB with a direct Sbahn. If you dont have any luck, you might have to expand your search into the AG kanton with places like Bremgarten etc.
You are right, i am looking in those area too. Prices are lower but yet, not what would make 33% of his salary (still above). Or maybe I am asking for too much.... I should lower my expectation and focus on smaller place I guess.

Last edited by Longbyt; 27.07.2011 at 19:18. Reason: same poster, same theme, consecutive posts
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  #22  
Old 27.07.2011, 11:07
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Well, it is actually 3900, but it doesn't make a bit difference... I plan to work as soon as I can, but I don't speak German at all, and I am not good with kids (so no nanny job for me). Well, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't hurt a child, but they don't like me, I guess I am not fun enough....

Anyway, do you know if the 25/33 % rule is for the rent with the extra fee (heating...), or without ?
The 1/3 of your income "rule" usually includes the Nebenkosten (so incl extras). But this 1/3 is based on pre-tam income. Is the 3900 you mentioned pre-tax or post?
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  #23  
Old 27.07.2011, 11:08
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Don't worry about being honest, I know that our budget is really low for the area. But this is almost half the salary per month my husband will have, so that really is our top budget.
Where will he be working? Even supermarket cashiers (or PhD students) earn more.
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  #24  
Old 27.07.2011, 11:25
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Where will he be working? Even supermarket cashiers (or PhD students) earn more.
Oh boy, don't get me started on that one ! I am so upset with that ! He is a post doctoral fellow in paleoneurobiology. Which means he already did his PhD and he is supposed to be considered as having 3 years of experience in his field... We thought that the average salary for a post doc was around 80000CHF and we thought that we would be ok with that, but he is what the swiss call 60% postdoc (work 100%, paid 60% of the regular salary). Don't ask me why, I have no clue. Apparently, it is quite common.

So yes, this is a real struggle to plan a move with that mount of money

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The 1/3 of your income "rule" usually includes the Nebenkosten (so incl extras). But this 1/3 is based on pre-tam income. Is the 3900 you mentioned pre-tax or post?
Well, it is pre-tax !

Last edited by Longbyt; 27.07.2011 at 19:19. Reason: Please check out Multiquoting! ;-)
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Old 27.07.2011, 11:35
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Well, it is pre-tax !
Just realized that after seeing your post above about the 60% post-doc position. Not to discourage you, but if there's excess funding, your husband does have some change of an increase in the degree of employment

As for searching for a flat, I would definitely look for near by areas, especially those places that are not "tax heavens." Places with higher local tax rates will tend to have lower rents and with the income you mentioned, the lower rent should benefit you more than the higher tax.
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  #26  
Old 27.07.2011, 11:36
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

where are you looking to live in zurich?
are you coming with your husband business? will they not help with relocation agent?
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  #27  
Old 27.07.2011, 11:49
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where are you looking to live in zurich?
are you coming with your husband business? will they not help with relocation agent?

We won't live in Zurich, but within 30 kms away, it is more in our budget And yes, I am following my husband.

The University really tried to help us find a place. The woman that took care of us was the nicest ever ! She did find a very nice place that belongs to the university. It was 1600CHF but we could have it if we wanted to. But they don't accept dogs. I guess only dog owners will understand us on that one, but we don't want to leave our dog behind. She shadows us for years now, and she is the greatest dog ever. Leaving her isn't part of the move.

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Not to discourage you, but if there's excess funding, your husband does have some change of an increase in the degree of employment
That definitely would be great !

Last edited by Longbyt; 27.07.2011 at 19:20. Reason: same poster, same theme, consecutive posts
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  #28  
Old 27.07.2011, 12:05
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

Have you read this through? How do agencies select tenants. It has some points in which might help you, and others.
Just for the record it is in this Sticky.
Sticky: FAQs - you SURE your question/problem/requirement is unique? Look here before asking
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  #29  
Old 27.07.2011, 12:22
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

I’d like to share my story with you because I think that we achieved the impossible.
We managed to get a flat in Switzerland without visiting it first, without the Betreibungsauskunft and not speaking German very well.
While still in Poland I found a very nice place on homegate. We’ve got two cats and we would never leave them behind. The flat had a beautiful fireplace and I got very excited about my cats lounging in front of it Also, the ad said “pets allowed”. At that point I had no idea how hard it is to get a flat in Zurich.
We wrote to the tenant (in English!), who happened to be a very nice Swiss lady, well-travelled and open to foreigners. We started to exchange emails with her, sending her photos of our cats, etc. (At the moment we still see each other from time to time: she’s really great). She was on our side, but she warned us that the agency were very anti-foreigners and it was up to them to decide who would get the flat. Apparently, the lady from the agency said at one point that only the Swiss would get a flat from her. We couldn’t visit the flat and needless to say we couldn’t get the Betreibungsauskunft never having lived in Switzerland.
My husband’s HR called the agency but the lady was adamant that we must visit the flat before she gave it to us. Finally, she agreed that our friend, who lives in Zurich, could see it on our behalf.
I realize it was a miracle, but we are a living proof that they do happen. I think befriending the former tenant was a very good move. Apparently, she rooted for us so much that she threatened the lady from the agency that it was illegal to turn a prospective tenant down only because they are foreign.
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  #30  
Old 27.07.2011, 12:38
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

Sagitta, you are a lucky lady ! Thank you for your story, it is nice to know that sometimes, everything goes just perfect
I hope i'll have that much luck in my flat hunting ! Plus, we are closer from Switzerland that you were (France), so we should be able to visit flats, which will help I guess !
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  #31  
Old 27.07.2011, 13:38
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

You should try Adliswil. It is only 16 minutes by train and they have apartments in your price range. As an example what I found on Homegate http://www.homegate.ch/mieten/wohnun...ctn-zh&ah=1600

just call them and ask them about the dog. good luck!
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Old 27.07.2011, 13:56
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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.. We thought that the average salary for a post doc was around 80000CHF and we thought that we would be ok with that, but he is what the swiss call 60% postdoc (work 100%, paid 60% of the regular salary). Don't ask me why, I have no clue. Apparently, it is quite common.
Actually, that is highly uncommon. While PhDs typically have a 60% job , post docs get 100%, meaning about 80-90k.
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  #33  
Old 27.07.2011, 14:12
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Actually, that is highly uncommon. While PhDs typically have a 60% job , post docs get 100%, meaning about 80-90k.
Really ?

I have to say, we suspected that it was a PhD offer that they turn into a postdoctoral offer for him. And they give him the salary they had planed for the position. So I guess, you've just confirm that.

So, in a way, that is really nice of them because what he will learn there will be great for his career... And he didn't had at the moment any other job offer...

Well, I've learnt many things today ! My budget is smaller that I thought and my husband will be almost the only PDF paid like a PhD ! Boy, tell me now that trains in CH are not that punctual, and I give up
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Old 27.07.2011, 14:33
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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Really ?

I have to say, we suspected that it was a PhD offer that they turn into a postdoctoral offer for him. And they give him the salary they had planed for the position. So I guess, you've just confirm that.

So, in a way, that is really nice of them because what he will learn there will be great for his career... And he didn't had at the moment any other job offer...

Well, I've learnt many things today ! My budget is smaller that I thought and my husband will be almost the only PDF paid like a PhD ! Boy, tell me now that trains in CH are not that punctual, and I give up
So here's the good news: the trains are brilliant, on time (most of the time), clean and a great way to get around Switzerland.

Perhaps it's a good time now to look at the cost of living here, and plan for what to bring with you rather than buy here. Quite a few people make regular runs to Germany or France to do some grocery shopping there, as food prices are also very high (see this article, as an example).
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  #35  
Old 27.07.2011, 14:52
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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So here's the good news: the trains are brilliant, on time (most of the time), clean and a great way to get around Switzerland.

Perhaps it's a good time now to look at the cost of living here, and plan for what to bring with you rather than buy here. Quite a few people make regular runs to Germany or France to do some grocery shopping there, as food prices are also very high (see this article, as an example).

Good, one thing I can be sure of !
We will definitely do grocery shopping at the border, french or german. That will help a lot I guess !
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  #36  
Old 27.07.2011, 15:04
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

I'm sorry if it's slightly tangential to the topic at hand but I find the ridiculously low salaries that even official institutions like the ETH give outrageous. Two people living on 3'900 pre tax is less than the minimum you get on social welfare (1950.-/cap) without the cheaper apts, free healthcare and no taxes....

Pretty much every expat (unless in banking, upper managemetn etc...) I talk to is underpaid for Swiss standards.
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Old 27.07.2011, 15:16
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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I'm sorry if it's slightly tangential to the topic at hand but I find the ridiculously low salaries that even official institutions like the ETH give outrageous. Two people living on 3'900 pre tax is less than the minimum you get on social welfare (1950.-/cap) without the cheaper apts, free healthcare and no taxes....

Pretty much every expat (unless in banking, upper managemetn etc...) I talk to is underpaid for Swiss standards.
I know that it sounds outrageous. And I can not agree more with you.

But in the meantime, I think they offer the job because he has no other proposition and they tried to help him. It was probably a PhD offer, and they turned it into a postdoctoral offer. Unfortunately with the same salary.

I guess it is also our fault, that we accept a job offer knowing that no swiss would accept a salary that low, and then complain about it. We could have said no... But it was the only opportunity within 6 months so saying non would have been crazy ! Arf, tricky situation....

Last edited by Amande; 27.07.2011 at 15:59.
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  #38  
Old 27.07.2011, 15:27
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

well, you can live with 3900 gross, even with an apartment in the city (though in Schwamendingen). We did that too when I started my PhD in Zurich, until my wife found a job. Which raises a question: what keeps you from looking for a job?
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Old 27.07.2011, 15:33
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

Hi Amande! I know how it is, being a postdoc myself (luckily paid 100%) - sometimes I feel some of us scientists should have never gotten our PhDs being stupid enough to agree on outrageous working conditions just to be able to do what we love Your husband should definetly try to write a grant proposal for his project to obtain his own (100%) funding: good options would be the Marie Curie IEFs and the ETH fellowships - closing dates should be september-ish so hurry up and good luck!

(BTW we applied for our appartment while still in Munich, having no Swiss bank account and having never seen it - we got lucky with the previous tenants who agreed to mail us the application forms and to our biggest suprise they proposed us as their 'nachmieter' to the agency - so the weekend after i quickly made my way to Zurich to check if it is not the most horrible place but in fact it was great and exactly what we needed...I guess we got lucky that not that many people came to see the place and maybe the previous tenants wanted to help us poor foreigners out - they were a Swiss-Swedish couple and the guy was also working at the ETH!)
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Old 27.07.2011, 15:45
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Re: Am I doing it wrong ? [trying to rent a place]

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what keeps you from looking for a job?
Hey hey, the language ! I don't speak German at all yet. But i am willing to learn. I talk with Biff about the possibility to work with children (Biff, if you read me ), in an international school. I don't have any experience, but yet, worth the try.

But I won't find anything prior to our move (mainly because there one month left before the D-day). So I won't be any help in increasing our budget to find a place....
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