Finding an apartment in Switzerland

After I settled down a bit, I began looking for rental apartments. I couldn’t go on staying forever at the Hotel Hessengueetli, obviously. I searched websites like www.homegate.ch, www.immoscout.ch and www.immostreet.ch, where you can find apartments, houses etc to rent or to buy. These websites provide all the information that one needs to know about an apartment like its location, size (in square meter), number of rooms, how far it is from the city or a grocery store etc. along with pictures and details of the person (generally the current tenants or sometimes agents) you need to contact. If you wish to view an apartment, you will need to call the contact person and make an appointment to check it out. If you like the apartment, then you will have to apply for it by taking an application form from the contact person, filling it with all the details and sending it by post to the address given in the form. Other documents like a copy of passport, permit, letter from the company etc might be needed along with the application form.

You are lucky if your application gets accepted. I wasn’t, at first.

Everyday, I would make a list of all the apartments I’d found on the net the night before. I would call ahead to have appointments fixed to view them in the evening. After work, With the help of google maps I’d go looking for them from one end of the town to the other. I found a few that I liked and applied for them. And I waited to hear back from the owners or the agencies that took care of those apartments. More waiting later, I lost all hope of ever finding a place for myself. I’d applied for more than 10 apartments but none of them had accepted my application.

A month was up and I had nowhere to go. I had no choice but to extend my stay at the hotel. As there was no kitchen in my room, I had to endure frozen foods for another month. Yuck! I was miserable, but I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. I continued searching, until one day I got a call from an agent saying that I could have an apartment if I wanted, in Schlossackerstrasse. It was small, with one big hall that had a tiny kitchen counter in a corner, a bathroom and a store room. There was a stove and a refrigerator too. There were inbuilt wardrobes big enough to keep all my stuff. It was enough for a single person. And I was on my own. Yay!! I was happy I’d finally found an apartment!!

Since I didn’t know anyone, I had to do the moving all by myself. I decided to take 2 days to move all my stuff to the new apartment, carrying just a few items at a time. I did not want to stress myself by carrying all the luggage in one go. By then I had bought a couple of chairs and a small table from Ikea at very low prices. I bought a bed-cum-sofa and fixed it on my own , thanks to  my dad from whom I learnt to fix things.

I began cooking too. My mom had insisted upon my carrying everything I needed to cook Indian food, so that I didn’t have to go hunting for an Indian store immediately upon my arrival. I was glad she did, even though I had complained about having to carry a ton of luggage! And every time I cooked, I was reminded of home, of her.

The Rent (687 CHF, i.e. about 721 US Dollars) included Water and Heater charges but not the Electricity and Internet. I had to pay for them separately.

You can read about my big move and the first month in Switzerland here and here.

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3 thoughts on “Finding an apartment in Switzerland

  1. Dear Madi,
    Super writing. Beautifully expressd!!
    “All along the train ride, I saw cows dotting lush green fields and gorgeous tiled houses. It reminded me of my aunt’s village near Mangalore. I couldn’t stop thinking… India is just as beautiful as Switzerland, if only we took as good care of our surroundings as much as we nurtured our own homes…”
    This is exactly how I felt when I saw Scotland! I used to say it reminded me of nicely washed cleaned and polished Mangalore!!
    Sue

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