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Old 29.01.2020, 06:59
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Re: Rental application from overseas

I would say you'll have less competition in that price range rather than if you were aiming for something less pricey, so there's your first plus.

As for documents, it can vary. I only showed a passport upon arrival and rented an apartment without having to show anything else.
Some agencies/landlords may require a permit, others a document that shows the permit has been applied for or is secure, others may want to see a job contract.
Sometimes a Swiss certificate of solvency is asked for, but if you are not already resident, I don't think it is possible to be issued with one.
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Old 29.01.2020, 09:14
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Great advice - thanks alot.

Does anyone happen to know how much a relocation agent would charge?

It takes six weeks to transport a container from Australia to Switzerland, so it was always our plan to rent an airbnb or similar for the first month or so until our personal effects arrive. However I think my idea of having a rental property prior to arriving in Switzerland may not come to fruition!

6 weeks........your too optimistic !


The sea passage alone takes about 55 days on a direct sailing, plus the time for stuffing the container, transport to container temrinal plus stack dates, count 2 weeks minimum for all this, so already 70 days ALL GOING WELL....which it never does.


Your container arrives in Antwerp or wherever, 1 week for customs clearance and formalities, tranport to Switzerland by the container handler, another 2 weeks in reality.


Total is more like 85.90 days which is 3 months/12 weeks if you prefer
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  #23  
Old 29.01.2020, 10:04
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Re: Rental application from overseas

@AussieKathryn: renting outside the crowded city centers is much easier and you may cut your rent by 1000 CHF. Just make sure there are good train or bus connections to the city because towns go to sleep early, quite early. Concerning documents as non-EU national but moving from another Swiss canton, I only got asked by the real estate management: (i) job contract, (ii) a certificate from the cantonal debt collection office (DE:betriebungsamt/FRffice de poursuite) to prove my salary belongs to me and not to old debts. Landlords want to know your income because there's this rule of thumb: if the rent is less than 30% of the tenant income, the default risk for the tenant is low. If you try to rent below this rent/income ratio you'll be fine.

@natp: there are towns in the Zürcher Oberland closer to Zürich than Winterthur with lower rents and nicer views. Look around two lakes: the Pfäffikonsee and the Greinfensee.
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Old 29.01.2020, 11:11
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Immo scams are sadly a fact in Switzerland... friends of mine fell for one when they searched for a studio flat for their daughter and lost 3000.-

Kathryn, I could assemble a list of links of regional rental agencies for you covering the Worb/Muri/Kehrsatz/Münsingen/Belp etc. area.


Since your hubby is German it wouldn't be a problem writing/phoning to one of those agencies to make further enquiries in regards to renting a flat.

What would you want in regards to rooms/comfort/balcony/garden,bathrooms, elevator etc etc?

Do you prefer to rent a detached or semi or would you like to start in a flat, assimilate yourselves with the country and region and then search for a house yourself??
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Old 29.01.2020, 11:15
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Based on your experience, what are our chances of securing an apartment during this week we'll spend there?
It will be a bit risky. Apartments you have arranged to view might be rented while you are 10 km from Winterthur; apartments you view on day 1 might not see a decision for three weeks because they have just 2 applicants and they want to see how it goes.

Also, it could be that you see a place and you get accepted, but then they send you the contract by mail and you have to sign it and send it back, the point being that you might not get the keys before the end of your week.

Be prepared to spend some extra money for two or more weeks in a temporary accomodation. Maybe everything works well, but 5 working days is a short time, don't be unprepared.
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Old 29.01.2020, 11:23
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Re: Rental application from overseas

If you don't mind a place 1hr+ away from HB, there is plenty in areas like Glarus/Luchsingen .. 3.5 room appartments, reasonable new, next to train station.. for 850 CHF a month, no competition, you can get it right away

https://www.20min.ch/schweiz/zuerich...larus-23934000
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Old 29.01.2020, 11:44
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Also, it could be that you see a place and you get accepted, but then they send you the contract by mail and you have to sign it and send it back, the point being that you might not get the keys before the end of your week.

Be prepared to spend some extra money for two or more weeks in a temporary accomodation. Maybe everything works well, but 5 working days is a short time, don't be unprepared.
With our first apartment, I did all the running around collecting contracts, taking them to my partner's workplace to be signed, etc. Nothing went in the post and we managed to complete the process in 15 days. The agency said it was the fastest they'd ever processed a rental application.
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Old 29.01.2020, 11:54
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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With our first apartment, I did all the running around collecting contracts, taking them to my partner's workplace to be signed, etc. Nothing went in the post and we managed to complete the process in 15 days. The agency said it was the fastest they'd ever processed a rental application.



.....15 days ?


You visit, accept contract gets posted, you sign and return, takes 4-5 days max.


Etats de lieu, providing th eguarantee is in place and rental paid, you get the keys.


Takes 10 minutes for a guarantee to set up with the bank
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Old 29.01.2020, 12:08
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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You visit, accept contract gets posted, you sign and return, takes 4-5 days max.
It can be, but it's not a guarantee. When I first arrived I visited the apartment on a Friday and I signed and got the keys the following Monday; but for my current apartment it took at least 2 or 3 weeks of regular mail going back and forth, if not more. There are many variables you can't control.
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  #30  
Old 29.01.2020, 12:13
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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We are planning to spend a week or so in Zurich, next week, to make as much visits as possible and apply to as many flats as possible. We are looking mainly in Winterthur just to be away from Zurich and increase our chances a bit. Our range is 2500-3000 CHF for a 3+ rooms (2 bedrooms) apartment.
Natp, my move over here was 20+ years ago, but the market is still as tight as it was back then so perhaps my experience might apply...

We did what you are planning, also with two dogs. Only difference was that my trip was 3 days, not a week. Our goal, like yours, was to secure a place in that time so that we could move in directly when the dogs and I arrived.

We used a relocation agent. This was provided by the company, but if your husband's relo package does not include this service you can still hire an agent yourself.

I spoke with the agent prior to my trip to define our needs. The agent's job was then to set up appointments for the days I planned to be in town.

As we were looking for a house with garden, not a flat, our choice was quite limited - in fact there were only three properties available in the entire canton. But hey, that made the choice easier.

So day one: I saw three places, picked one, agent got the landlord's approval and took care of the paperwork. Done and dusted and back on a plane to Chicago.

Now it helped that I wasn't too picky. My priority was a garden for the dogs. Location, as long as my husband's commute wasn't too terrible, wasn't a priority, nor was the condition of house itself. After all we were only going to be there a year, max two. (Twenty-plus years on...)

The place I chose was rather run down - which actually ended up being a plus, as there was less worry about damage caused by the mutts. Turned out I got lucky, as the location was fantastic, neighbors very nice. We ended up staying there five years.

(In hindsight, had I stayed rather than moving to where we are now most of my posts on the forum might have been written from a very different perspective... )

That I came with a 'we are only passing through' mindset helped in the intial house hunting. Had I come expecting to stay and thus looking for the perfect place I would likely have had a difficult time. The house or flat you choose now can be short term; you can look for the dream place later, when you have learned more about what you really need/want in your new life here.

If you have limited time for house hunting, perhaps consider an agent. While ours fell short in some other areas, certainly having someone do the advance and follow-up work for you can be well worth the price so that the short time you have here is used efficiently.
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  #31  
Old 29.01.2020, 12:17
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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.....15 days ?
You visit, accept contract gets posted, you sign and return, takes 4-5 days max.
Etats de lieu, providing th eguarantee is in place and rental paid, you get the keys.
Takes 10 minutes for a guarantee to set up with the bank

That largely depends on the agency/landlord and how they do things!

Some agencies may really be that uncomplicated and quick.

The majority though, want additional info such as the 'Betreibungsauszug', to organise that paper also takes time, then some are indeed asking the previous landlord/agency for references.... gathering all that also takes time.

Furthermore, some agencies hand out a pink paying slip to a specific 'locked' account, for you to pay in the deposit. Even if you do it at the respective bank directly, it may take time to process.


And then there are those aqgencies who wait if there are more applicants, in case they don't like you that much or think you don't fit in well with the other tenants etc etc....the reasons for delays are manifold.


Got quite an insight for 15 years in my landladying/janitoring days.....
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  #32  
Old 29.01.2020, 13:17
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Re: Rental application from overseas

meloncollie Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

I will definitely consider an agent, but I don't know any. Do you have any recommendations? We are mainly looking for flats on homegate and flatfox.
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Old 29.01.2020, 13:54
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Since both OP and natp are planning to move to Switzerland with dogs, I'd like to refer you to this recent thread about getting permission (by no means automatic) to have dogs in rented accommodation.

https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-...ve-pets-2.html
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Old 30.01.2020, 11:28
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Thank you doropfiz, very useful!!!
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Old 30.01.2020, 11:48
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Do you have any recommendations? We are mainly looking for flats on homegate and flatfox.
It looks like the agent we used retired and closed the agency a while back. (Not surprising, as it was 20 years ago.) So I can't give any personal recommendations.

I would suggest simply contacting several agencies (search 'relocation agent Zürich'. A search in English is fine, assuming you need an English speaking agent, as agencies catering to the expat population will likely have their websites in English. If your German is not up to snuff, an agency that only works in German won't be of use to you.) I did that search and several agencies pop up. If you are hiring privately, look for someone who lists private (as opposed to corporate) relocation assistance as one of their offerings.

Be aware that agencies who highlight 'executive' relocation assistance might be on the pricier end.

If your company has not yet offered relocation assistance, is there still room for negotiation to include this? If so, ask. Often large companies have preferred agencies. Be aware, though, that in such a situation the agent works primarily for the entity who signs the check. Your company's interests might not exactly align with yours... If possible, negotiate an amount to pay for an agent, and then hire the agent yourself.

You might also start a thread asking for relo agent recommendations in the title, so that more people will see and hopefully respond. While the days of relocation package perks as a standard are behind us, there are still some people who might have more recent experience than mine.

If you choose to use an agent, do be very clear about your priorities. Separate the 'must' from the 'would be nice'. The more focused you can be the less work for the agent - which might result in a savings to you.

Speaking of which do make sure you fully understand costs involved. There are different pricing models, from multiples of the rent to hourly fees to flat fees. Get every discussion in writing and ask for an official quote for the project.

All the best with your move.
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  #36  
Old 30.01.2020, 16:03
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Re: Rental application from overseas

I live in a new building that was finished in 2018. The first tenants to move in came from Florida and had their flat secured before they got here, they just saw the building advertised on the internet, applied and they got the one flat in the building that was completely finished, which they admit they thought was sheer fluke. They didn't see it until they got her, the images on the property co's website were CGI. I did wonder if it might be because the property owners are also the architects.

When they moved across to Basel they were in the building for 3 months on their own whilst the other flats were still being completed.
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Old 30.01.2020, 19:11
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Re: Rental application from overseas

I signed up for my flat around a year before the handover, because it was newly built and had only pictures on the internet to make my decision.
So it is possible , to rent a flat without having a inspection date, but usually this counts mostly for newly built flats.
For the first flat i rented in zurich, i applied from my home country and got the contract.
In most cases, the landlord will prefer somebody, who watched the flat and applied for it.
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Old 31.01.2020, 11:47
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Again, thank you all for your insights! Very helpful!!

I am gathering the documents we'll take with us for the applications next week, and to add a personal touch I wrote a "letter of interest" for the landlord. It says the reason we are moving to Zurich, our expat life in 4 other different countries, and how quiet and friendly we are. All in a very professional tone, of course, and written in German - although I don't speak it, and the letter even makes it clear (it says that it was translated by a German friend of ours).

Do you think it's too much? Is that something Swiss landlords will appreciate?


Thank you!
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  #39  
Old 31.01.2020, 12:45
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Do you think it's too much? Is that something Swiss landlords will appreciate?
I think that's excellent and you've probably done all that you can at this point. Swiss landlords...any landlords... appreciate effort.

I've had 2 lots of 3 tenants in the house I rent out in the UK, which is my former home of 18yrs. The first tenants had 2 English Mastiffs and a Yorkshire Terrier. The current tenants have a French Bulldog. I've only had sight of the dogs because photos were attached to the standard (and extremely cheap) pet damage insurance policy that each tenant took out.

You may only meet an agent acting for the landlord and not the landlord themself, so a useful exercise for you might be to think like a landlord for a moment. Several of my family and friends are landlords, and their reasons for doing this are varied: to put their kids through university, to build up a pension plot, to have a home they love to return to when they retire, purely as an investment, because they're a workaholic joiner who loves the refurbishment process, to have something to occupy themself with whilst they're to ill to work full-time, etc... Many landlords have invested a great deal of time, energy and finances into a property. They possibly had many late nights doing work on the place themself, and handpicked every last fixture and fitting.

All a landlord wants from a tenant is someone who will look after their investment. That's the bottom line. Somebody with a bit of common sense who will let them know if there's the beginning of a problem the property before it becomes a real, and expensive, issue. So when you do eventually view the place, if it's what you want, don't be a 'tyre kicker'. Compliment the choice of fixtures and fittings. Ask how appliances work.

Good luck!
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Old 31.01.2020, 12:51
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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We are mainly looking for flats on homegate and flatfox.
Add Comparis to your search list. That site collects together the ads from numerous other sites in one place, but I have noticed a very slight delay between a property going live on Homegate and also showing in a search on Comparis.

https://en.comparis.ch/immobilien/default
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