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Old 28.11.2011, 04:27
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lead time required to rent in June 2012?

Our family is relocating to the Zurich area from N. California. We are planning a trip in the spring and hoping to be able to finalize our housing situation for June.

Can anyone recommend what is the best time to come to CH to look for housing if we want to rent starting in June 2012?

I've been following available properties on Homegate, and have a sense that we will be able to find what we are looking for, and I also have read in the threads/stickies that most change of housing happens in March, June and September, but I'm just not sure when would be the best time to come over. Come in March to rent in June? or End of May to rent in June?

I am hoping to avoid transitional housing if possible (we're bringing kids and pets!) We'll be targeting areas with reasonable commute times to Zurich (hubby's work) and Baar (kids' school) -- and are otherwise pretty flexible about location.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 28.11.2011, 13:58
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

Tough question, but I think you are still in time for a June move-in My personal experience was some difficulty (36 flats applied to) to find something while in Zurich (but I limited my search to a particular area) and no success organizing anything from abroad. However, some friends have had better or worse success rates - a lot of it seems to be luck.

Two things that may help
1) consider looking a bit farther outside the city as prices are a bit lower and maybe availability is better.
2) consider a housing agency. In my opinion the price is a bit high (1-2 months rent), but given your unique needs (kids, pets) this fee could quickly be eclipsed by the cost of temporary housing.

Good luck!


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I am hoping to avoid transitional housing if possible (we're bringing kids and pets!) We'll be targeting areas with reasonable commute times to Zurich (hubby's work) and Baar (kids' school) -- and are otherwise pretty flexible about location.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 23.12.2011, 14:45
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

we are also moving June/July 2012 and my husband said there are more apartments available before school term starts.. ?? Not sure if this is true....

also does anyone know how up-to-date home gate is ??
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Old 27.12.2011, 19:57
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

Fairly up to date I would expect. Other websites to look at are www.immostreet.ch and www.immoscout24.ch which both have a lot of their information in English, although not the actual property descriptions. If nothing else these will allow you to find estate agents and get their website/telephone number info to see what else they have that might be suitable for you. Your husband's company's HR people may also be able to help with finding accommodation.

I would suggest that March/April would be better than waiting until May for a June move. If you're lucky enough to find what you're looking for during your visit, then you'll need some time for sorting out the contracts and arranging your move, especially if bringing furniture and pets. Make sure you check on pet travel requirements well in advance.
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Old 27.12.2011, 21:01
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

Someone please correct me if I am wrong...

Many, many rental contracts specify that properties can usually only be handed back on 1st May and 1st November. Leaving a property outside these dates means either you pay for an empty property, or with luck, you can find someone to take over your liabilities. This ridiculous arrangement suits the owners, as everyone moves at the same time, and the chances are higher that the property will be quickly rented out again.

Many contracts demand two or three month's written notice before either of these two fixed dates. Thus there are many properties on the market from seven weeks before the 1st May and 7 weeks before the 1st November (Allowing an agent one week to get the property advertised as being available).

So the best time to look for property is soon after the 7th March and after the 7th September. You might also have to pay the rent from 1st May until you arrive at beginning of June: otherwise you might not secure a tenancy. However as everyone is trying to rent trucks and find cleaners at the same time, you might be able to negotiate a handover in the middle of May, with both tenants sharing the cost of the empty property in May.
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Old 27.12.2011, 21:06
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

Fortunately, my contract does not stipulate anything other than giving a minimum of 3 months notice in writing ( a standard contract / Mietvertrag )
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Old 27.12.2011, 22:09
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

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Our family is relocating to the Zurich area from N. California. We are planning a trip in the spring and hoping to be able to finalize our housing situation for June.

Can anyone recommend what is the best time to come to CH to look for housing if we want to rent starting in June 2012?

I've been following available properties on Homegate, and have a sense that we will be able to find what we are looking for, and I also have read in the threads/stickies that most change of housing happens in March, June and September, but I'm just not sure when would be the best time to come over. Come in March to rent in June? or End of May to rent in June?

I am hoping to avoid transitional housing if possible (we're bringing kids and pets!) We'll be targeting areas with reasonable commute times to Zurich (hubby's work) and Baar (kids' school) -- and are otherwise pretty flexible about location.

Thanks for any advice!
I would recommend an initial visit just to determine EXACTLY which areas/villages are going to work for your family. Once you have determined the VERY SPECIFIC area where you would like to live, you can monitor the websites every single day.

We looked at 5 apartments/houses in the entire canton of Vaud just to weed out the areas that would not work for us. After that, we looked at 15 apartments in the immediate area that we determined would be the best location. After that, I found our apartment myself on the internet the morning it became available and had secured it by that afternoon.

It's a process here, not a slam-dunk. Good luck!
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Old 27.12.2011, 22:12
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

And, I forgot to add, that perfect apartment was not available for three months, so we lived in a temporary apartment from April to July.
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Old 27.12.2011, 22:14
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Re: lead time required to rent in June 2012?

Yes, you're right Sbrinz, many contracts are tied to specific moving dates. When we rented our house here in Fribourg canton we moved in at the end of September (the canton's official moving dates are end of March and September) with 6 months' notice from either party. And you may well have to pay rent if you move out at any other time and can't find a suitable replacement tenent. The best time to come will depend on what canton you're moving to and when/how many official moving dates it has. That being said, if the property is empty as ours was, it's not such a vital consideration. It just happened that moving in on one of the official dates suited our needs as well. I'm sure the agency and landlord would have been quite happy to let us move in earlier if we had wanted to as they'd start getting paid sooner.
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