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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 don’t 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 seller’s market.

*Or the paperwork confirming you will be issued a permit.
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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, 11:38
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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, 11:36
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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, 11:30
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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, 11:38
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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, 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, 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, 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, 23:59
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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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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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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, 11:23
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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, 11:15
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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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