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Old 30.03.2012, 14:19
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UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Hello All!

My name is Ryan, and I currently work for a large multi-national investment bank in Canary Wharf, London. Recently, I accepted the chance to move to a new office location in Geneva, Switzerland.

I thought I would introduce myself, look to form some relationships online and see what information I can get from those (you) who have been through this experience before. Having read through some information online it appears key that I decide where to live and establish myself in the local community, while being conscious of locality, commute time, cost and community mix.

I am currently married, with a 17 month old boy and a baby due in 6 weeks. So by the time the move takes place (3-6 months) I shall be a father of 2, which I am sure brings certain challenges in Switzerland.

Given that I have never been to Switzerland I am far from familiar with the local situation in terms of property rental costs, local taxation, health insurance, canton-specific taxes, etc.

It would be great if people could advise on several locations which offer reasonable accomodation pricing for 2-3 bedroom flats/houses within 1 hour commute of Geneva (over the French boarder if deemed more beneficial). Alongside the above, it would be good to know the average monthly cost of an equal-sized family within 1 hour commute of Geneva so that when the renumeration is discussed in the coming weeks, I can challenge the offer, and look to settle for an amount which would realistically reflect the true cost of living in such a country.

I look forward to some open and frank dialogue, as I am yet to be convinced that the move is 100% ideal. So any good/bad/ugly info you have would help my family and I decide if to move, and if so, where.

Regards,

Ryan
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Old 30.03.2012, 14:38
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Rental costs? London will look like a bargain...

Welcome btw.

Edit: For a family of 4, I'd look for something not less that 130m2. Given your IB background, I imagine you'll find something good yet affordable.
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Old 30.03.2012, 14:40
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Well, congrats on your offer & the new baby.

There is so much to say about what you posted that I (hate to do it but) have to suggest you check out the many and various threads on the forum about living in Geneva.

Housing is a huge PITA to find in the area and expensive, even for Swiss standards. If you are still in negotiations (it's not clear as you say, you've already accepted the job?) then you should insist on 6 months temp housing and a relocation agent to help you find a place, at the very least.
Homegate.ch is the go to site. Not the only one, but start there to give you an idea.

If your company already has an office here they should know all this. But you should be prepared to ask more details about the lack of housing and how they deal with it.

Anyway, have a peek around, welcome, etc!
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Old 30.03.2012, 16:17
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Thanks MiniMia!

I shall look into the housing situation, and glance at the site that you recommended.

I would ideally like to live over the boarder in France and commute if possible, so anyone who currently does this or knows how best to execute, any information would be wonderful!

My company are not paying for re-location, as the role is not being moved to Geneva, it is a role currently posted there - but I am to replace a current contractor, which will ultimately mean the cost of the move is up to me.

The role has been accepted in principle of the renumeration matching the standard of living and expectation that I have set. Therefore, should it fall below, discussions will cease and the move shall be off.

I am simply dipping my toes in the water to see what Switzerland is like, where the best/cheap places are to live (outisde of the obvious Geneva/Zurich).

Also, another concern was the family (children) element, and knowing what the do's and don'ts are having children in Switzerland, which would then also include insurance and the general cost of living for the essential commodities.

Once again, thanks for your help, and any further info you can personally share would be of great benefit, as I seem to have looked through most threads that bare relevance to the questions I still have... some answered, some didnt.

Regards,

Ryan
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Old 30.03.2012, 16:41
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

If you are not being helped with the move then housing is a big & serious issue. One to be aware of. You should mention it to them that your research is bringing up this red flag. They might have solutions, suggestions, comments.

The other issues change quite a lot depending if you live in France or Switzerland, as does housing recommendations depend on where in Geneva you are working. So, where in Geneva is your office?

Usually no more than 1/3 of your salary (before taxes, etc, I never remember if that is gross or net. ) is the budget for housing. Of course you can go under. (We were only spending about 20%). But you can just that as a guide to see what is available for that budget and under.
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Old 30.03.2012, 16:47
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

MiniMia: The office is located at the following location... "ROUTE DE FLORISSANT".

I plan to ideally rent for 12 months, and then re-assess the situation on whether I should buy or not. I agree that HR/the company should know of places or have accomodation they are able to recommend.

Taking my expected wage into consideration, I believe that I should have ample budget to rent a sizable property over the boarder in France, no more than 45-60 mins from the above location.

Apologies for talking in code, but I too don't know my salary or where would be best suited and yet affordable to live - its tough until I know what I can afford. However, I would expect to pay no more than 1,000-1,500CHF per month, or the Euro equivilant in France (am I being a little tight with that amount?).

Regards,

Ryan
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Old 30.03.2012, 17:07
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

As miniMia says, there are already several recent threads about moving to work in Geneva and living over the border in France.
Your choice of area should really be based on which side of the lake your office is, as crossing the city during rush-hour can be a nightmare even on public transport, it's even worse in a car. I'm not even going to mention the parking issue.
So decide that first, then look at towns or villages with easy access to shops, crèches, infant schools, etc.
Housing really is very difficult to find at the moment, the commutable frontalier regions being almost as bad as Geneva so be prepared to compromise.... you might want/think you can afford a detatched house and garden but honestly you'll be lucky to find one.
Ask (politely but firmly) for help from your employers, if they want you badly enough they should help you with contacts, etc. as often places are handed on by word-of-mouth and don't get onto the open market.
Your rental budget is very low, for a two-bedroomed flat in Geneva you'll be looking at starting at 2,000 easily.

This web-site might be of help with some of your questions.
http://www.frontalier.org/index.htm

I see you say Route de Florissant which is Rive Gauche (Left Bank), so you'll be looking at an area going from Evian in the north, Annecy to the south (that's quite a hike though and you'll need a car as there's no public transport worth mentioning into Geneva) and Annemasse, possibly Bonneville to the east.

Last edited by Anjela; 30.03.2012 at 17:28. Reason: Adding info
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Old 30.03.2012, 17:28
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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However, I would expect to pay no more than 1,000-1,500CHF per month, or the Euro equivilant in France (am I being a little tight with that amount?).
Yes you are.
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Old 30.03.2012, 17:31
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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MiniMia: The office is located at the following location... "ROUTE DE FLORISSANT".
The key is to stay on the same side of the river.

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I plan to ideally rent for 12 months, and then re-assess the situation on whether I should buy or not. I agree that HR/the company should know of places or have accomodation they are able to recommend.
I wouldn't plan on buying. Not unless something drastic happens within the next 12 months. But that's something you'll learn.

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However, I would expect to pay no more than 1,000-1,500CHF per month, or the Euro equivilant in France (am I being a little tight with that amount?)
Ryan
A little tight??? You won't find anything suitable in the price range, unless you hit the 60+ minutes from Geneva area.

I think you might be in for a rude awakening...
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Old 30.03.2012, 18:20
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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Yes you are.
I thought so... however, I am prepared to move further and spend less.
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Old 30.03.2012, 18:30
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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I thought so... however, I am prepared to move further and spend less.
I think Belgium is how far you'll have to go! :P
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Old 30.03.2012, 18:36
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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I think Belgium is how far you'll have to go! :P
Ha! This is exactly why I am on this forum, as I know nothing about local pricing. However, I am due to head out next month with my wife, so hopefully this will all be put into perspective and I will look more of a twit for saying "1,500".

Again it all depends on the salary on offer, the places available at the time, and the cost of living vs. the UK, as to whether I sign on the dotted line or not for this role...

I certainly have no plans to buy yet, however, if Geneva is long term, then I have the capital and the ability to "look" at purchasing further a field to ensure the total money I waste in rental cost is not too much. (A dream I know, but a reality I may need to face sooner rather than later)

Thanks again for your wise words...

R
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Old 30.03.2012, 18:38
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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This web-site might be of help with some of your questions.
http://www.frontalier.org/index.htm

I see you say Route de Florissant which is Rive Gauche (Left Bank), so you'll be looking at an area going from Evian in the north, Annecy to the south (that's quite a hike though and you'll need a car as there's no public transport worth mentioning into Geneva) and Annemasse, possibly Bonneville to the east.
Anjela, thanks for the advice on the location and the offer of a site which may answer more of my questions. I am sure there is more than enough here to arm me with the details to make a concious decision on a location and the rough costing of commiting to such a location... thanks again!
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Old 30.03.2012, 18:54
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Not at all, glad to help.

Please do us a favour though, come back once you've decided what you decide and let us know why you made the choice you did.
So many people come here asking for advice (which is freely given and some people go to great lengths to help), then don't bother to give us feed-back; and it would be nice to know the outcome once in a while as we're a nosey bunch....
Well I am!

Good luck with your house hunting.
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Old 30.03.2012, 18:56
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Of course, I will give you feedback sooner than most, as I am eternally grateful to all who have provided such open and candid feedback. The proof of the info will be shown when we head over in the coming weeks. Only then will we know the true picture of life in Geneva and only then will I make my informed decision - I look forward to saying "yes", providing they pay me £1,000,000's to match the lifestyle you all live! :-)
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Old 30.03.2012, 19:13
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

Just don't "translate" too many of the prices back into GBP. I know that's the natural instinct. But that's not going to help you at all. I'll tell you right now, you will find almost everything much more expensive. Just see what the offer is & how much that will get you IN Switzerland. Not "back home".

Good luck!
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Old 30.03.2012, 19:24
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

It might be wise to get a cheap flight over and check out the place.

You do not say what sort of housing you currently have and if you commute to the City or if you live outside of London.
It can be a huge shock if you say have a little house with a garden and end up in Geneva in a flat.
It is imperative that you and your wife are happy with your accomodation as the shock of moving to a new country plus new baby could become stressful.
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Old 30.03.2012, 19:36
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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Just don't "translate" too many of the prices back into GBP. I know that's the natural instinct. But that's not going to help you at all. I'll tell you right now, you will find almost everything much more expensive. Just see what the offer is & how much that will get you IN Switzerland.
...
Besides Geneva and Zurich,

is Switzerland really more expensive than London?

Do you get a 130 square meter flat at London for 1000 franks?

Now, that was a question, yes.


thanks
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Old 30.03.2012, 20:15
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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Besides Geneva and Zurich,

is Switzerland really more expensive than London?

Do you get a 130 square meter flat at London for 1000 franks?

Now, that was a question, yes.


thanks
He's working in Geneva. How far from there do you think you have to go to get a 130m2 flat for 1000CHF? That's a question right back at you.

Anyway, we can't really compare "Switzerland" to "London".
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Old 30.03.2012, 20:43
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Re: UK Family of 4 moving to Switzerland

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He's working in Geneva. How far from there do you think you have to go to get a 130m2 flat for 1000CHF? That's a question right back at you.
...
Well, I wouldn't try at Brussels as it's not very cheap.

I didn't come up with "Pay attention not to translate everything to British (e.g. London in this case) standard".

All I would have liked to know was if London is really cheaper than Geneva or than Switzerland.
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