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Old 20.10.2008, 21:56
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relocation agency?

Hi,

I am brand-new to the forum, and I am moving to Zurich next month.
A colleague who moved here a few months ago told me that the
relocation agency used by our company gave poor service - specifically
they made no effort to show any apartments after the first three
apartments. I guess they had fulfilled their contractual obligation
but then it was goodbye.

Can anyone recommend a relocation agency where they had good
service, such as willingness to show lots of apartments? - ok, I know
there are not so many apartments but that is something else...

Thanks,
Paul.
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Old 23.10.2008, 16:11
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Re: relocation agency?

Hello Peebix,
When we moved here mid last year, we also did not think that we were particularly shown a lot of properties. I also agree with your point that there just aren't that many in the market (for what we were looking for any ways, namely a semi/detached - pet friendly, single family house w garden). We ended up looking ourselves through homegate and found our current place which has worked out great. Once we found it online, we asked the relocation specialist to make appt's to see it, find out more details about it and then help with the contract etc.
Ours was a housing specialist within the company, but we definitely had to start looking for ourselves and once we liked something, we had to take it up fast.
Hope these comments help a bit.
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Old 23.10.2008, 17:26
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Re: relocation agency?

They can be hit and miss, the more pro active you can be the better though. What we did before we even set foot in Switzerland was to scour immoscout and homegate for all the properties in our budget that we fancied, emailed it to the relocators for them to set up the viewings.

Worked a treat for us, we saw what we wanted plus some they found (which weren't all that) and got the one we wanted. They then sorted all the arrangements and even accompanied MG to the inspection before we signed the rental agreement.
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Old 23.10.2008, 17:56
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Re: relocation agency?

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They can be hit and miss, the more pro active you can be the better though.
I totally agree! The best bet would be for you to proactively look at these websites yourself, and treat whichever relocation agency / person you get, simply as a back-up strategy!

*Good Luck*
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Old 23.10.2008, 18:32
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Re: relocation agency?

We didn't use an agency but my husband's employer was 'required' to help us - as it was, we were arriving with a family of five without ever having been here - so they really had to make it as easy as possible...

We scoured homegate.ch and found about 8 properties that 'suited' our criteria and budget, then emailed that list to the employer and they did the phone calls to see what was available.

Also, because the apartment is part of our arrangement, they handled the deposit and we sublet from them - if things go sour, we will be out of an apartment, but realistically if they do go sour we are likely to be taking the first plane home again...

We were prepared to move in sight-unseen as it was more important to us to have a 'roof over our heads' and we trusted them that the place would be 'live-able' - again, as the employer, the headache would would be theirs, not ours.

Those were our strategies, we didn't ask for any cash for our moving, but they did do the leg-work and continue to do so (we email them with any problems with the apartment and they handle it)...
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Old 23.10.2008, 18:34
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Re: relocation agency?

When I moved to Zurich about 3 yrs ago, I used a firm called Office Pool. They did a great job for me and charged about 1800 CHF for two tours and about 10 places shown, plus the handover inspection, etc. They are at www.officepool.ch

You can find a thread here which discusses: apartment search firms?

or do a search on EF for www.officepool.ch as I think there are several threads over the past few years which have discussed this.

Good luck. The housing market has gotten tougher since I moved here.

fduvall



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Hi,

I am brand-new to the forum, and I am moving to Zurich next month.
A colleague who moved here a few months ago told me that the
relocation agency used by our company gave poor service - specifically
they made no effort to show any apartments after the first three
apartments. I guess they had fulfilled their contractual obligation
but then it was goodbye.

Can anyone recommend a relocation agency where they had good
service, such as willingness to show lots of apartments? - ok, I know
there are not so many apartments but that is something else...

Thanks,
Paul.
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Old 23.10.2008, 18:42
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Re: relocation agency?

Hi,

Plenty of good advice on this thread. The pimping agency that originally brought us over in 2001 used a relocation company to find us an apartment - they screwed things up on several counts - long story; but we insisted the apartment we got had a 1-month notice period. This meant we could arrive and look for a more permanent place ourselves once we had the lay of the land.

This was in the days before EF existed so I emailed an old friend in ZH to ask about the hows and whys - it does pay to do your homework.

An ex-colleague in Basel used one relocation agency to help him find an apartment and it turned out all they were doing for their SFr300 tab was to look at the property ads in the local newspapers and websites - it wasn't like they had a portfolio of empty apartments on their books. Total scammers.

If you can read and understand German - and the vocabulary is fairly repetitive on property ads - then it is worth looking at homegate.ch as others have suggested if only to get an idea of what you want.

In bocca al lupo (good luck),
Cheers,
Nick
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Old 23.10.2008, 19:17
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Re: relocation agency?

Our relocation agency was so so. They advertised one thing and did as little as possible.

Their biggest farce was that they would scout apartments for you. We received nothing from our agent for weeks. I finally asked, why no listings? Our agent said there was nothing on the market. Bullcrap. After several weeks of nothing, I took control and started hitting every website that offered apartment listings. My personal favorite is homegate.ch.

Give your relocation agent a checklist of what you want in your apartment (location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, elevator, washer/dryer inside apartment, pet friendly, storage, etc.). Revise it as you go and give your agent any updates.

Check homegate.ch everyday for new listings and contact your relocation agent to set up an appointment as soon as you see one that catches your fancy. Make sure that your agent checks the apartment's amenities against your checklist and have him/her tell you where it comes up short. It's nice to have this information before you go see a place. It also saves you from getting so excited about a apartment, putting in an offer, having the offer excepted, only to find out afterwards that they don't except pets and you just happen to have one that you love deeply and refuse to part with. Beware this actually happened to us.

If an apartment looks really great from the advertisement, have your agent put in an application as soon as possible (even before seeing the place). You can always say thanks, but no thanks later.

Don't let your agent or your own frustrations ruin your dreams of finding the perfect apartment. Yes, it's a tight market, but if you take the suggestions that everyone has offered, I'm sure you'll find your perfect place. It took us 4 months, but we found a great apartment in a great location and are very happy.

Good luck to you!
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Old 23.10.2008, 20:00
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Re: relocation agency?

hi,

we have just moved over here and my husbands company used network relocation. they were brilliant and i cannot fault the service. we chose a few places to look via homegate etc but they found us places that were not even on the market.
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Old 03.11.2008, 15:00
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Re: relocation agency?

Thank you everyone for replies. Good to know that there is a friendly forum like this, especially for the mythical time on the horizon where I will have a few more minutes in the day,
Paul.
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Old 05.11.2008, 08:00
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Re: relocation agency?

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If an apartment looks really great from the advertisement, have your agent put in an application as soon as possible (even before seeing the place). You can always say thanks, but no thanks later.
Be careful to read the fine print - there can be fees associated if you were accepted based on your application and then declined to accept the apartment.

Also, why would anyone submit an application for an apartment they have never seen? This sounds ridiculous to me and I would never do it. I know there are agencies that will not accept an application under these circumstances, which I agree with. I don't care how many times I have seen a property, I am not the person who has to live there. In certain circumstances, I will visit an apartment on my own, take additional photos, etc. to send to a client, but that's it. I have had clients say to me "you choose the place," but I won't do that, give advice, make recommendations, find, but choose? - no way. The only exception to this is a temporary flat, where the client needs something very short term, and knowing it is not permanent, this is a different situation altogether.
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Old 05.11.2008, 09:10
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Re: relocation agency?

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Be careful to read the fine print - there can be fees associated if you were accepted based on your application and then declined to accept the apartment.

Also, why would anyone submit an application for an apartment they have never seen? This sounds ridiculous to me and I would never do it. I know there are agencies that will not accept an application under these circumstances, which I agree with. I don't care how many times I have seen a property, I am not the person who has to live there. In certain circumstances, I will visit an apartment on my own, take additional photos, etc. to send to a client, but that's it. I have had clients say to me "you choose the place," but I won't do that, give advice, make recommendations, find, but choose? - no way. The only exception to this is a temporary flat, where the client needs something very short term, and knowing it is not permanent, this is a different situation altogether.
Fortunately, we were never assessed fees here in Zurich, but it's good to know.

I'm not sure if the apartment market is as tight in Baden as it is in Zurich, but during our apartment search we were always competing with multiple applicants. In one particular case, there were over 30 applicants. The sooner you let the owner know of you're interest, the better. You also do this as an agent, because your client asked you to do this. Even though, I may not have been able to see all apartments before I requesting an application be submitted, I did make arragements to see the apartment before the owner made their decision. For me, I was able to determine from pictures, location and amenities if the apartment was worth the effort of submitting an application. This process worked very well for us. We submitted 7 applications, of which 3 were accepted.

Also Mrs. Doolittle, I am writing these suggestions as a client, not an agent. I'm not sure how many times you have relocated, but I've moved many times and find the process anything but fun. I made my suggestions based on my experiences in hopes that someone would benefit from what we learned the hard way.
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Old 05.11.2008, 09:13
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Re: relocation agency?

We had a not so good experience with a relocation agency- they expected us to put down a very large down payment to join, and would only show us 7 places (in a up to 4 week period, mind you)- and if we liked one of them, they'd apply on our behalf (success not guaranteed) and if we didn't like any of the places, we'd lose our down payment.

We walked out of there, went through homegate.ch, contacts at work, friends etc, and ended up seeing more than 7 places in the first 4 days of being here.

Ultimately, we found our house through a listing on englishforum. GO ENGLISHFORUM!

My opinion is that unless you are very time poor, you can find a place:
1. Just see as many places as you can that meet your needs, and be prepared to compromise a little.
2. Always make follow up phone calls to the owner or the current renter saying you loved the place- the current renter recommends someone to the owner, so create a good impression! Dress nicely, etc. My husband observed that every place we saw which we went to see straight after work- business clothes, carrying a laptop bag, we were offered. The places we saw wearing jeans, those were hit and miss.
3. Follow up on all your applications. They want people who rent the house to be really keen on the house.
4. Pursue all your avenues, friends, family, coworkers, temporary housing neighbours - and of course, this forum.
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Old 05.11.2008, 09:21
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Re: relocation agency?

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Hi,

I am brand-new to the forum, and I am moving to Zurich next month.
A colleague who moved here a few months ago told me that the
relocation agency used by our company gave poor service - specifically
they made no effort to show any apartments after the first three
apartments. I guess they had fulfilled their contractual obligation
but then it was goodbye.

Can anyone recommend a relocation agency where they had good
service, such as willingness to show lots of apartments? - ok, I know
there are not so many apartments but that is something else...

Thanks,
Paul.

Hi Were going through the same process right now . With an agency who specialises in relocations. She has already made over 20 appointements for us to view. We are also searching ourselves on www.homegate.ch they also have information in English available if your german is not so good.
When we find somewhere on homegate i simly mail her and she arranges the appointments for us . I do not know how much she charges , as the company my wife works for is paying the bill. If you want her details , ill be happy to mail them to you .
There are lots of properties around, it just depends on where you want to live and what your budget is .
Good luck searching
Karl
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Old 05.11.2008, 09:23
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Re: relocation agency?

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Also Mrs. Doolittle, I am writing these suggestions as a client, not an agent. I'm not sure how many times you have relocated, but I've moved many times and find the process anything but fun. I made my suggestions based on my experiences in hopes that someone would benefit from what we learned the hard way.
If you look at my webpage, you will see that I have been "the client too", so to speak, many times. I have done so many moves I have lost count. Most were without the assistance of a relocation firm. So I do know what my clients are going through, been there, done it. You are absolutely right, moving is NOT fun, and has to be one of the most stressful times for anyone.

Fortunately, the market in the Baden area is not as difficult as Zurich and as this is the area that I specialize in, I often receive advance notice of apartments becoming available before they hit the market.
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Old 05.11.2008, 09:27
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Re: relocation agency?

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Hi Were going through the same process right now . With an agency who specialises in relocations. She has already made over 20 appointements for us to view. We are also searching ourselves on www.homegate.ch they also have information in English available if your german is not so good.
When we find somewhere on homegate i simly mail her and she arranges the appointments for us . I do not know how much she charges , as the company my wife works for is paying the bill. If you want her details , ill be happy to mail them to you .
There are lots of properties around, it just depends on where you want to live and what your budget is .
Good luck searching
Karl

20 appointments...the bill for that is going to be outrageous. I can't imagine why anyone needs to see that many places.

Most of my clients are paying privately, so money is a very real issue. But I have to say that even for my corporate accounts, there is no budget for viewing 20 apartments.
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Old 05.11.2008, 09:44
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Re: relocation agency?

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20 appointments...the bill for that is going to be outrageous. I can't imagine why anyone needs to see that many places.

Most of my clients are paying privately, so money is a very real issue. But I have to say that even for my corporate accounts, there is no budget for viewing 20 apartments.

We wanted to see as many places as possible, because we are totally new to the area, (Zurich) and had no idea about where was best to live or the knd of place we wanted. Except for the fact we needed a place big enough and willing to take our pets, as well as us. Of the places we saw some where to far out from work, others way to close to railway lines, or had no Parking facilties, or simply too small for us.

In general though they were all of a high standard, and i cant help having a wife whose a bit fussy about where we live :P I have no idea of her charges, but non the less she has been extremely helpfull.
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Old 05.11.2008, 10:00
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Re: relocation agency?

Your chances of getting a place you've applied for maybe a lot higher if you go through an agency (I have no experience in this area) but my husband and I saw over 30 places in total, in about 18 days. Of that many places, we applied for about 7 places, and we were finally offered three places.

20 places doesn't sound outrageous to me, but then- I'm not the agent showing the place!
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Old 11.11.2008, 12:45
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Re: relocation agency?

Thanks everyone for comments, and thanks InShan for the dress-nicely tip. I had been maybe headed for jeans wearing, which would be irrelevant for apartment hunting in my current location, but I will upgrade that. And I just swapped my old Windows laptop for a sleek new Macbook, maybe this is also a help

I am in the same camp as people who like to do a blitz and see many apartments. I once looked at 25 apartments, all not so great, and just before I signed a lease for a wrong-feeling place, I found a top-floor of a great 19th century wooden house. Perseverance sometimes works.

This is not relevant to the topic, but I will be arriving in Zurich from the US pretty much sight unseen. Last week I had a work trip including a stay at Bergell in the south. What a truly very beautiful country this is. I guess it is easy to forgive the difficult property market when you visit the mountans a few times!

Paul.
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Old 11.11.2008, 12:46
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Re: relocation agency?

p.s. i meant mountains not mountans, must find the spell-checker on this thing...

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Thanks everyone for comments, and thanks InShan for the dress-nicely tip. I had been maybe headed for jeans wearing, which would be irrelevant for apartment hunting in my current location, but I will upgrade that. And I just swapped my old Windows laptop for a sleek new Macbook, maybe this is also a help

I am in the same camp as people who like to do a blitz and see many apartments. I once looked at 25 apartments, all not so great, and just before I signed a lease for a wrong-feeling place, I found a top-floor of a great 19th century wooden house. Perseverance sometimes works.

This is not relevant to the topic, but I will be arriving in Zurich from the US pretty much sight unseen. Last week I had a work trip including a stay at Bergell in the south. What a truly very beautiful country this is. I guess it is easy to forgive the difficult property market when you visit the mountans a few times!

Paul.
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