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Old 24.01.2013, 16:47
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"Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

Anyone used or heard of a service that you can pay an admin fee and then they'll find an apartment for you with-in 3 months based on what you are looking for. They'll help visit the place for you if you're unable due to work or other commitments and they'll send photos within the hour so you can reply whether you want the place or not. They'll help you through all the steps to finally getting your keys and checking the place on the first day you move in.

Unsure if I can name the service as that'll be counted as advertising, I'm sure there's a few services that exist like this.

Anyway, if anyone has experience with such a service - would you recommend or not? As I'm looking to find a place in Geneva and currently work and live in Lausanne so it'll be quite difficult for me to visit places though the fee is 850 CHF which I don't have at the moment (given that I've only been working 2 months).

850 CHF does seem like quite a steep price (given my budget isn't much higher for renting a place out) but the service seems very well set-up and they help guide you all the way. A friend of mine has used the service recently to find a place in Servette and he recommended them to me, though I'm wondering if I can just use homegate.ch and find a place I like and do things manually?

Plus once I do find a place and go to the sign the lease, I'd have to pay the first months rent + deposit. I'm unsure how much that would be, if it's half a month's rent than that will be doable but if it's 3 months rent then I'd have to seek help from family/friends or other.

I'd be looking at signing the contract for a minimum of 1 year (though to be on the safe side, I think I'd do a yearly contract and renew each year).

My budget is 1,200 - 1,300 per month for an apartment, I earn just over 4,000 per month after all the taxes so in theory if the deposit is half a month then I should be able to organise things pretty easily as that would technically be: 850 + 1200 + 600 = 2650. However if it's more than I'd have to save up a couple months.

A deposit of 1 month might be do-able as well as that'd be 3,250. I have some savings left over from my first months' pay-check and could borrow some from family if I can't pay for living expenses.

I think I calculated a rough estimate of about 1800 per month for living expenses (food, travel, phone, insurance) though it's only based on limited data averaged up.
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Old 24.01.2013, 17:10
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

Good luck with that. 3 months deposit is normal here. And for your budget you can expect a studio or a 1.5 room at the most.

850 is a pretty good fee. Usually they ask for a months rent

1800 month for living expenses should be ok. Maybe even less than that

Edit: There is also something called Swiss caution to help with the deposit but i have no idea how it works
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Old 24.01.2013, 19:41
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

I'd say 2 months rent as a deposit would be the norm - i'm in my 5th apartment in Switzerland in 12 years and all were 2 months.

This service exists in Zurich, and the company is called Mata Dienst - we paid 80% of the cost of the first month's rent, but had a place within 7 days (Of course you still pay the full rent to the landlord)
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Old 24.01.2013, 19:47
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

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Anyway, if anyone has experience with such a service - would you recommend or not?
We have had this service when we moved to NY and then again when we moved to London. I just found it very efficient and professional in both cases. I told the person all our requirements and after less than a week we meet 1 day to do all the viewings (they did them before that to avoid disappointments) and in that précis day we found something we liked in both cases and we got the property.

When moving to Swizerland but, we were offered the help of an HR lady. We did the same: sent her all the requirements, then I travelled 1 day from London to CH and she took me to view the properties. I also found one that I liked and we got it. She helped with all the paper work.

This kind of help is really useful when you don't have time, you don't know the language, you are new in that country, etc. If you are good at explaining what you want and you are someone ready to take decisions on the fly, then this service is for you. If you are a dubitative type of person, then, I would avoid it as it may cost a lot of money.

Good luck!!
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Old 25.01.2013, 09:24
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

Hmm well my requirements are quite basic and simple - I totally open to living anywhere.

When I found a place in Whistler, BC - I was so desperate to live anywhere that the first place I went to visit I said yes but it turned out to be a great place (though shared bedroom).

When I found a place in France, it was probably the 4th or 5th place I visited with a friend - we tried finding a place together (or separate places if we could) but all the places we found were for 1 person and they weren't well situated, finally we found an empty / unfurnished place and it was a very good deal.

For Geneva, I know most of the areas but I haven't really slept in those areas so I don't know how noisy it can be below the 3rd floor. However where I am now in Lausanne (also the first place I visited) is on the ground floor and I don't think I'd like to live below 1st or 2nd floor.

So, my requirements are just for the floor and possibly for a washing machine.

Thanks for the help guys, I think I'll try to save up a bit more and try the service out towards end of February so that I should have enough to pay for a 2 month deposit.
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Old 25.01.2013, 09:29
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

Not sure if you are looking in Geneva or Lausanne, but both are very very difficult property markets will little or no vacancies, esp. at the lower end of the price scale where you are looking. It could take you a very long time to find something, then you might easily be one of 50 persons who want the apartment, and could easily be passed over again and again. If need a place urgently and do not have the time to househunt as a near full time job for several months, it would likely be to your advantage to go with an apt. finder. What is the alternative if you do not find a place?, live in hotel for many months?, I would balance these costs and then that should guide you.
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Old 25.01.2013, 09:37
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

Hmm well I suppose that I have confidence in finding a place. I know both Geneva and Lausanne can be very difficult to find places as you compete with all the students plus all the international interns for UN/WHO/CERN etc.

However for finding the place in Lausanne, I was maybe very lucky as it only took me 3 days of searching/sending out emails to people for visits. Though that was for a sous-location, I suppose it's a bit different to find a more "permanent" place.

If I don't find a place - I would be able to live at a friends' place, however the location is not good (it'd mean travelling about 2 hours to work each day via public transport).
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Old 25.01.2013, 13:54
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

I'd agree with runningdeer - the market is extemely tight in Geneva. If you have a network make full use of it because it's probably your best chance. And get looking on the many property sites (Homegate, Immostreet, Immoscout, Comparis etc). I imagine that the university and the hospital as well as the international organisations such as WHO may be useful if you have contacts with access to their internal advertising (the latter have a lot of interns coming and going).
You may get lucky and never have to pay that agent
For the deposit take a look at Swisscaution:
http://www.swisscaution.ch/en/home

Good luck
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Old 25.01.2013, 14:06
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

Get on every forum you can. We have a relocation agent, but the flat we *hope* we have secured was found on a forum before it even got advertised with an agency... The agent obviously helps with all the paperwork and is invaluable with their contacts and knowledge, but you can find stuff yourself as well.
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Old 25.01.2013, 14:14
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Re: "Apartment Finding" Service (you pay and they find for you)

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Hmm well I suppose that I have confidence in finding a place.
I admire your optimism, but the reality is a housing shortage and still something like less than 0.1% vacancy rate I believe.
 




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