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Old 25.01.2020, 10:47
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Rental application from overseas

Hi,


We are relocating to Switzerland mid year, and due to the timing of our move we'll need to find/apply for a rental property from overseas i.e. prior to moving.



From your experience, are Swiss landlords receptive to this?



We're looking to relocate to Bern/surrounds. Has anyone had any experience with how competitive the rental market is?



Thanks in advance!
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Old 25.01.2020, 10:53
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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We are relocating to Switzerland mid year, and due to the timing of our move we'll need to find/apply for a rental property from overseas i.e. prior to moving.

From your experience, are Swiss landlords receptive to this?
Whilst there is nothing stopping you from applying for anything, do you have someone here who can view properties for you?
You don't need to be a resident here to apply for a flat or rent one, you can sort that out afterwards.
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:13
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Rental market is very competitive, what you want/need would be somebody here to help you avoid surprises or a scam. If possible ask your employer to help you.
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:23
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Re: Rental application from overseas

You donít need to be a resident to apply, but I doubt you will find landlords agreeing if you do not have a resident permit*, particularly if you are non-EU.

It is a sellerís market.

*Or the paperwork confirming you will be issued a permit.
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:30
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Re: Rental application from overseas

It's unlikely that anyone can view it for us, and I'm not sure yet whether our employer will help.



I'm looking on sites such as immoscout and homegate - are there scams on these sites? That's surprising! I live in Australia and have never heard of a rental scam through major real estate websites. Most, if not all, advertisements are legitimate and through registered property agencies. Of course, I know of scams through airbnb etc.


I guess it's a brave new world for me.
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:34
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Again if you your employer can get a relocation agent for you - quite common in Switzerland - you really need this.


Otherwise it's hard to get a place to rent even if you're Swiss living in Switzerland. The percentage of properties available to rent or buy at any one time is very low.


It's common for a lot of people to compete for a rental - the last time I viewed one, there were 30 people at the same viewing at 8.00am - and if someone is standing in front of the agent with a file full of paperwork (photocopy job contract, salary slips, proof they have no debt agency chasing them, a Swiss passport or permit in hand etc) then the landlord is going to prefer this over someone from abroad who has get to get their permit sorted.
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:36
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Thanks Bowlie (for some reason I can't quote you on reply). I'm married to a German, so residency is not an issue. But thanks for the advice.
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:38
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Re: Rental application from overseas

I had success renting via sabbatical homes if you are in the academia. Would your industry have dedicated sites you can check?

I also got lucky being able to rent from a private person while still abroad. Could be the luck came from the fact that I did have a local check it out (to see if suitable) and "seal the deal" for me, which you don't seem to have.

Does you company work with a relocation agency? (I see it's already been asked. )
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:38
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Again if you your employer can get a relocation agent for you - quite common in Switzerland - you really need this.


Otherwise it's hard to get a place to rent even if you're Swiss living in Switzerland. The percentage of properties available to rent or buy at any one time is very low.


It's common for a lot of people to compete for a rental - the last time I viewed one, there were 30 people at the same viewing at 8.00am - and if someone is standing in front of the agent with a file full of paperwork (photocopy job contract, salary slips, proof they have no debt agency chasing them, a Swiss passport or permit in hand etc) then the landlord is going to prefer this over someone from abroad who has get to get their permit sorted.
Neko is that true for all areas? We're looking to live in a town on the outskirts of Bern e.g. Worb or Munsingen. Surely it's not the same all across Switzerland?
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Old 25.01.2020, 11:51
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Neko is that true for all areas? We're looking to live in a town on the outskirts of Bern e.g. Worb or Munsingen. Surely it's not the same all across Switzerland?
It's like everywhere, the more you move away from the towns the cheaper and less competitive it gets. Munsingen should not be so bad, and 30 people at 8:00 for a home at Munsingen will only happen if the price is incredible cheap.

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I'm looking on sites such as immoscout and homegate - are there scams on these sites?
Yes.
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Old 25.01.2020, 12:14
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Could starting off in a temporary home, airBnB etc, whilst looking for something permanent be an option?
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Old 25.01.2020, 12:25
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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I had success renting via sabbatical homes if you are in the academia. Would your industry have dedicated sites you can check?

I also got lucky being able to rent from a private person while still abroad. Could be the luck came from the fact that I did have a local check it out (to see if suitable) and "seal the deal" for me, which you don't seem to have.

Does you company work with a relocation agency? (I see it's already been asked. )
Thanks Funnybone. Do you (or anyone else) happen to know how much a relocation agent would charge to find a home for us?
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Old 25.01.2020, 12:28
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Surely it's not the same all across Switzerland?
Unfortunately it is. You'll understand this being an Australian... The rule of thumb for land use in Switzerland is, 1/3 mountains, 1/3 farming and 1/3 residential, so you immediately have physical limitations to the housing market, as well as the usual market forces such as an increase in single person living, etc. Just as an example of how competitive the housing market can be, several times I've received an alert for a newly available property on my phone at 10am on a Saturday morning whilst I've been out shopping, and by the time I've got home an hour or two later, it's been removed from the market because all the viewing slots or application forms were taken. I've also attended a couple of viewings when there have been over 50 applicants viewing at the same time, and the more determined ones were sitting at the dining table completing their application forms on the spot to present to the vendor along with their full application pack.

It's best for foreign applicants to prepare their application pack https://www.homegate.ch/rent/advisor...new-flat/apply and I'd add comparis.ch to your search sites as it collates the available properties from a number of sites in one place.

Competition for housing is much higher with the 'reasonably priced' properties. Depending upon the area you hope to live in, this can be any property under CHF 3,000-, so they more you're prepared to pay, the better your chances of securing what you want.

Both you and your husband will be required to apply for residence permits when you arrive in Switzerland. As far as I'm aware, that process cannot begin before you're physically in the country.

You're also best advised to apply for your Betreibungs upon arrival also. This process takes a few days (they have a very quick turnaround) and is basically a form to prove that you don't have any debts or debt defaults within Switzerland. I know it doesn't make sense when you first arrive in the country, but we found it made a lot of difference to how your application is received by prospective landlords.

A common route for new arrivals is to rent a serviced apartment until you find your feet and get to know the area. Whilst that may feel like a waste of time and money, it's the most expedient way of making the move. Better that than enter into a year long lease for a place that you end up not liking, or find inconvenient, within a couple of months.
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Old 25.01.2020, 12:54
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Neko is that true for all areas? We're looking to live in a town on the outskirts of Bern e.g. Worb or Munsingen. Surely it's not the same all across Switzerland?
Itís not that bad everywhere, there are some hotspots where the rental market is really tight ( Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne etc) but other areas are not as bad.
Itís not too bad in the areas surrounding Bern, if you were looking for something in the city it would be a different story.
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Old 25.01.2020, 13:16
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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I'm looking on sites such as immoscout and homegate - are there scams on these sites? That's surprising!
While there are fewer out-and-out scams on the major sites, be aware that being 'economical with the truth' is not unknown in Swiss real estate. Renting sight unseen - if you are even successful as an applicant - could end up with you very much disappointed and very much out of pocket.

Unless you are desperate, or have money to toss out the window, it really would be unwise to rent sight unseen.

A relo agent could help you on this end, albeit you will need to manage that relationship to ensure that the agent truly understands what you need and want. Be aware of cultural differences as you discuss your priorities, and that you need to understand who the agent truly is working for. But even an agent relationship that needs a fair amount of your time from afar might be better than renting sight unseen.

Cost will vary, and should be discussed and agreed upon upfront. Some work on a percentage or (multiple!) of the rent, some on a flat fee, some on an hourly fee, some on a combination of the three. (I last used a relo agent 20+ years ago, so the eye-wateringly expensive fees I paid are likely no longer relevant.)

And given that getting out of a mistake could cost you tens of thousands in paying out the rental contract, investing in an agent could be a good alternative. Especially if you are not fluent in the local language.

If you can't spring for a relo agent, then look at temporary housing for some months on arrival. Once here, start the house hunting odyssey.


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I guess it's a brave new world for me.
Yes it is.

Understand that consumer protections here are likely not what you are used to back home. 'Selber schuld' (It's your own fault) is the prevailing norm, so make sure you thoroughly understand any contract you sign.



Good luck with your move.
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Old 25.01.2020, 13:17
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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!
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Old 25.01.2020, 14:21
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Hi,


We are relocating to Switzerland mid year, and due to the timing of our move we'll need to find/apply for a rental property from overseas i.e. prior to moving.



From your experience, are Swiss landlords receptive to this?



We're looking to relocate to Bern/surrounds. Has anyone had any experience with how competitive the rental market is?



Thanks in advance!
Give these people a call. They might be able to help or advise

https://www.barnes-suisse.com/en/con...rnes-bern.html
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Old 27.01.2020, 23:58
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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!

There are self-storage places around so it should be relatively easy to find a place to store your belongings when they arrive. I would also recommend a short-term rental so you have time to see which area you wish to live etc. The tourist office may also have a list of short-term rentals.
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Old 27.01.2020, 23:59
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Re: Rental application from overseas

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Hi,


We are relocating to Switzerland mid year, and due to the timing of our move we'll need to find/apply for a rental property from overseas i.e. prior to moving.



From your experience, are Swiss landlords receptive to this?



We're looking to relocate to Bern/surrounds. Has anyone had any experience with how competitive the rental market is?



Thanks in advance!
Finding a home from overseas is very difficult. Not impossible, as I have done this in the past for clients, but landlords are not always receptive to this.

Temporary furnished housing often appears to be a better option but it gets complicated when you have children who will attend local school and you don't want them to have to change schools if you change areas. If you have dogs (as I believe you do) you have an even bigger challenge finding temporary housing which will allow them.

You can rent furniture while waiting for your shipment to arrive, which means renting a permanent home is not impossible while your shipment is in transit. Or you try to pack up your things earlier and find a temporary living situation there.

The fact is that you need help on this side so it would be worth asking the employer here to arrange this for you.
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Old 29.01.2020, 00:59
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Re: Rental application from overseas

Hello everyone,
I'm new here as a writer but have read dozens and dozens of posts and all have always been very helpful.

I've reached a point of actually asking a question here, and want to pick up from this thread. My situation is very similar to AussieKathryn's but I'm in Portugal and have already come to peace with having to go to Zurich in person to find a permanent rental.

My husband will be working for a Swiss company and has the job contract. I am expecting our first baby and we'll move with our 2 lovely english bulldogs, plus all our furniture
You can feel my pain.

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.

Based on your experience, what are our chances of securing an apartment during this week we'll spend there? What other documents from Portugal should we bring with us apart from the work contract?

Considering that we have a list of about 10 pet/child friendly apartments in our budget that we'll try to visit.

Thank you in advance for your insights.
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