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Old 12.08.2021, 18:04
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Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

Hello all,

My husband and I are getting a bit desperate to find a 3-3.5 room flat in Zurich. We are both affiliated with a university (he as a professor and I as a research scientist), and it is important to us that we are close to work, so we're not looking for apartments a bit out of the city as many have suggested in previous threads. We are currently in a temporary apartment provided by the university, and we need to have a new place lined up by November 1st at the latest.

I am not sure what we are doing wrong, really. We both hold Class C permits and have a decently high combined income, and I've included all of the relevant documentation (our permits, our debt extract forms, a nice cover letter about us and our intention to stay in Zurich long-term, our work contracts, our passports). We've even had the current tenants recommend us strongly, to no avail.

Does anyone have any leads or plans to move out of a 3-3.5 room flat soon that they would be willing to hand over? We are looking for something <3500 CHF and strongly prioritise having a renovated kitchen. If not, any advice on what I'm doing wrong?
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Old 12.08.2021, 18:24
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

You don't mention the language you're using to make applications, and that can play a role. Are you applying in a local Swiss language?
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Old 12.08.2021, 18:28
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

Websites to try:

www.immoscout24.ch
www.immostreet.ch
www.homegate.ch
www.home.ch

For private rentals, i.e. not through an agency:

www.petitesannonces.ch
www.anibis.ch
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Old 12.08.2021, 18:29
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

On terms of salary, the rule of thumb here is that you spend about one third of your (combined) income on rent. If you're applying for places that are more expensive than that they may be concerned you can't pay. If you are applying for places that are much cheaper they may think you're not being serious about it or not planning to stay very long.

I have personally found that it sometimes helps to give your application a personal touch. So don't just be an application among many but make sure the people who make the call know you are motivated. A short phone call can help for example, to let them know how this apartment is just so perfect for you.
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Old 12.08.2021, 18:48
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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You don't mention the language you're using to make applications, and that can play a role. Are you applying in a local Swiss language?
English, unfortunately. I fill out as much of the application that I can in German (e.g. birthdate, marital status, etc.), but I unfortunately am not yet able to write a cover letter in German. I know this is probably hurting us to an extent, but it seems really ridiculous that it would disqualify us this much in a city full of transplants...
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Old 12.08.2021, 18:52
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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On terms of salary, the rule of thumb here is that you spend about one third of your (combined) income on rent. If you're applying for places that are more expensive than that they may be concerned you can't pay. If you are applying for places that are much cheaper they may think you're not being serious about it or not planning to stay very long.

I have personally found that it sometimes helps to give your application a personal touch. So don't just be an application among many but make sure the people who make the call know you are motivated. A short phone call can help for example, to let them know how this apartment is just so perfect for you.
Thanks for your note. The places on the upper end of our budget only amount to 15%, which is lower than 1/3, but we just really don't need any more room than 3-3.5 rooms and we are really happy with the quality of the apartments in that price range! I try to make it very clear in our cover letter that our jobs are permanent! Good point about calling though-- I'll try that. Thanks!
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Old 12.08.2021, 19:01
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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English, unfortunately. I fill out as much of the application that I can in German (e.g. birthdate, marital status, etc.), but I unfortunately am not yet able to write a cover letter in German. I know this is probably hurting us to an extent, but it seems really ridiculous that it would disqualify us this much in a city full of transplants...

It's much the same as applying for a job. You're not putting your best foot forward. You're potentially creating a barrier between you and the opportunity, and potentially asking them to bend to your will right from the off.



Much like job application letters, flat application letters can be reused (just changing basic bits of info each time). Ask someone you know to help you to draft a good template in German, or pay for help. The questions on the application form should be predictable, so you can also get together a set of answers for that in German, hopefully, that you can also reuse.
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Old 12.08.2021, 19:09
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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English, unfortunately. I fill out as much of the application that I can in German (e.g. birthdate, marital status, etc.), but I unfortunately am not yet able to write a cover letter in German. I know this is probably hurting us to an extent, but it seems really ridiculous that it would disqualify us this much in a city full of transplants...
If the person in the office doesn't speak good English it might be a reason to reject you, especially if your application is lying next to one that is equivalent in all other respects.

People try to keep their own job as easy as possible.
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Old 12.08.2021, 19:10
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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Thanks for your note. The places on the upper end of our budget only amount to 15%, which is lower than 1/3, but we just really don't need any more room than 3-3.5 rooms and we are really happy with the quality of the apartments in that price range! I try to make it very clear in our cover letter that our jobs are permanent! Good point about calling though-- I'll try that. Thanks!
then maybe try low-balling your salary on the application?

Try to make them think you are committing 25% at least.
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Old 12.08.2021, 22:18
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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then maybe try low-balling your salary on the application?

Try to make them think you are committing 25% at least.

This, just leave one salary off the application.... been there, done that....
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Old 13.08.2021, 01:41
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

Have all your documents ready, in the local Swiss language, on paper and electronically to upload onto the ad's online form, if any.

If the country from which you came had any document which proves that you are of good financial standing, include that. If not, state in your covering letter that you have no debts (as long as this is the truth) and have all your finances in order, and the deposit available immediately.

As soon as the electronic form opens, or as soon as you have viewed the apartment, submit your documents immediately. That means: don't sleep over it for a night or two, considering whether you're interested. By that time, the flat may well already be rented out.

A day or two after you've applied, phone to say you understand that they may still be processing the applications, and you'd just like to say that you've thought it all through, the rooms are pretty, the space is just right, the journey to your work at the Institute of xyz is ideal, and you're very interested.

Practice this conversation in the local language. Show yourself in the best light - as one who is already working hard at integrating. This, though by no means absolute, can be understood as a good indicator of your becoming the kind of tenant who is likely to not only pay the rent punctually, but also to adapt to the Swiss ways and house rules, so as not to cause trouble with other tenants.

If you start out a conversation slowly, then falter and have to switch to English, that still shows goodwill.
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Old 13.08.2021, 11:36
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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Hello all,
My husband and I are getting a bit desperate to find a 3-3.5 room flat in Zurich. ....
In Zurich is hard to get an apartment, my Swiss friends are also searching literary for years to get a better apartment to move. And than, bam, they get something, and they move.

1. change the application to German, it is official language, but no need to mimic the local dialect, I haven't met yet anyone who would like that (mimicking)
2. take into account that: sometimes they get 500-800 applications, they reduce them to 10% of that number in an extremely fast process, i.e. dumping the rest by just glancing at the envelope. So, no need to spent too much worries on "why you" or too much time to make a perfect application.

Last edited by nejc; 13.08.2021 at 13:24.
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Old 13.08.2021, 17:49
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

It occurred to me, OP, that you might perhaps be selecting which apartments to view, by some criterion, not realising that you should at least go to view many, as long as you have the time to do so. Going to lots of viewings helps to learn about the market.

You might also identify a factor you'd considered as essential which is, here in the city, unusual. From previous enquiries, I remember folk who'd listed, as essential to them, such factors as "two locked garages" or "two parking spaces" or "a swimming pool" or "a garden", or "a workshop", (plus the much discussed quetion of "own washing machine") only to find out later that, while all of those things definitely do exist here, they are not automatically available.
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Old 13.08.2021, 18:09
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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English, unfortunately. I fill out as much of the application that I can in German (e.g. birthdate, marital status, etc.), but I unfortunately am not yet able to write a cover letter in German.
Translate the letter in Deepl https://www.deepl.com/en/translator. It's absolutely fine to present this along with the original English version, and it shows you were making an effort to be understood.

Download a scanning translation app to your phone for when you are given forms to complete.

Compliment the landlord of the apartment's fixtures and fittings. Tell them how much you love the place and how happy you'd be to live there. On the whole, landlords put a lot of time and effort into presenting a good rental in the price range you're looking at. They want a tenant who will enjoy living there, rarely complain, and most of all, they want a tenant who will take care of their investment. In many cases, you've literally got their pension plan in your hands, so be calm, considerate, understanding and respectful. Those are the traits a landlord is looking for.
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Old 14.08.2021, 14:52
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Re: Leads on 3 room flats in Zurich?

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Websites to try:

www.immoscout24.ch
www.immostreet.ch
www.homegate.ch
www.home.ch

For private rentals, i.e. not through an agency:

www.petitesannonces.ch
www.anibis.ch
This is really so helpful! Thank you so much.
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