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Old 16.04.2009, 05:57
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Locating housing from the US

Hi all. My husband got a job offer from the University of Zurich for next fall and I am trying to pull everything to move there from the US. From the looks of things, it is hard to find housing when one is not physically in Zurich and at the same time it takes a while to find housing once there.

We have a 4 year old so I would like to have as stable a move for her as possible.

So. How does one go about finding housing when abroad? We want to be car-free and live in the city but we also want the neighborhood to be easy for short legs to get around. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 16.04.2009, 05:58
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Re: Locating housing from the US

Oh, and I'd rather not be scammed.
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Old 16.04.2009, 08:03
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Re: Locating housing from the US

As you've probably heard it's a difficult housing market. That said I don't think it's impossible.

The easy thing to do is to pay a relocation firm, and in fact it's hard to imagine anything else working from a distance. You might as well try however because the relocation people charge a month's rent up front.

The good news is that it's really easy to live carfree in Switzerland, especially with kids, and that removing the car expense from your budget makes stuff in walkable neighborhoods seem more affordable. We've lived carfree in Lausanne with two little ones for years, and have no problem (especially no parking problem!) Zurich is five times as big so it should be easier.

So, I think there is a sticky thread on the subject around here, but I couldn't find it. I did find this useful post by googling the site: http://www.englishforum.ch/other-gen...ng-zurich.html
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Old 16.04.2009, 12:01
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Re: Locating housing from the US

Hello, good luck with the move. Plenty of houysing around in or out of the city. We moved to Kloten , which is only 15 minutes by train to Zurich, transportation here is very good , and Zurich is very easy to get around. Prices outside of the city can be a little cheaper than in the city centre.
try www.homegate.ch to get an idea of prices. The site is in English as well as german, french and italian . If you speak German you shouldnt need an agent, just update yourself through the forums about the pitfalls. You should be ok .
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Old 16.04.2009, 17:45
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Re: Locating housing from the US

Thanks! I have been looking on homegate.ch (although I don't speak German yet), I am under the impression though that landlords wanted to meet tenants before they rent to them.
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Old 16.04.2009, 18:02
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Re: Locating housing from the US

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Thanks! I have been looking on homegate.ch (although I don't speak German yet), I am under the impression though that landlords wanted to meet tenants before they rent to them.
They do generally want to meet you first. If you have the time, best thing to do is have an agent set up a load of meetings with landlords over a week, and come to visit them in one go - clearly a pain, but it may be less painful in the long run.

If you're looking in Zurich city you'll find the market still very tight (I'm looking at the moment). In some of the surrounding areas it will be easier (and cheaper, and more outdoors space for a 4 year old to run around in). There are other threads where people have discussed the various areas.

Good luck for the move, Zurich is a great city to live in,

Ali.
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Old 16.04.2009, 18:20
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Re: Locating housing from the US

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Thanks! I have been looking on homegate.ch (although I don't speak German yet)
Homegate can be viewed in English by clicking on EN. If you can't find it here's a link to Homegate which already is in English:

http://www.homegate.ch/homegate/rent...ault&a=default
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Old 19.04.2009, 17:23
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Re: Locating housing from the US

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As you've probably heard it's a difficult housing market. That said I don't think it's impossible.

The easy thing to do is to pay a relocation firm, and in fact it's hard to imagine anything else working from a distance. You might as well try however because the relocation people charge a month's rent up front.
I have worked with clients from a distance. There are circumstances where someone can just not be here to find housing, or other cases where the perfect property has come on the market and if one does not act immediately, the property will be gone. Not sure where you get your information about fees charged by a relocation company but my fees have absolutely nothing to do with the rental amount nor are they billed up front.
There are agencies that charge the incoming tenant a percentage of the rent. I have never heard of these agencies renting to anyone who has not seen the apartment personally.
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Old 20.04.2009, 16:40
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Re: Locating housing from the US

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Not sure where you get your information about fees charged by a relocation company but my fees have absolutely nothing to do with the rental amount nor are they billed up front.
We used an agency to find our current apartment, they charged one month's rent, and only billed after we had a signed lease in hand.
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Old 20.04.2009, 16:54
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Re: Locating housing from the US

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We used an agency to find our current apartment, they charged one month's rent, and only billed after we had a signed lease in hand.
I'm confused...in your earlier post you said they billed you up front.

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You might as well try however because the relocation people charge a month's rent up front.
Anyway, in the Zurich region that would pretty way be the only way to go. Landlords are unlikely to rent to people they haven't seen and the OP will need the connections that relocation consultants have with landlords and agencies to try and get past that initial hurdle. It can be done, no doubt about it, but probably not without some professional assistance.
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Old 20.04.2009, 15:39
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Re: Locating housing from the US

We moved from the US last August (also with a little one) and hired a relocation agency. Fees were one month's rent, but considering the uphill battle you'd be facing for not physically being here.
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Old 20.04.2009, 18:37
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Re: Locating housing from the US

Zurich is a great place to live. We left to go to Geneva for work and will be back to Zurich in July!! When you are looking on homegate, have a look for Horgen, Oberrieden and Thalwil. Plenty of walks in the forest or by the lake and an easy commute into central Zurich. Best of luck!
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