What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
No particular things for myself - as I have a Swiss wife, she could very well prepare me for moving to and living in Switzerland.
- There are no real needs to bring to Switzerland. Anything you need is available here as well.
- Don't bring washing machines, tumblers, kitchen appliances, as they usually belong to / come with the house or apartment that you buy or rent. Moving these things is very unusual in Switzerland.
- When you bring electrical equipment: check plugs and voltage. Swiss electricity comes at 230V/50Hz and plugs and sockets are of type "J", which means that any plug of type "C" or "J" will fit into a Swiss socket, and any other plug won't.
- Switzerland is expensive. In particular, medicins, health care and body care products are very expensive. Many Swiss buy them abroad (in Germany) whenever possible.
- Switzerland has the best public transport system of Europe, and one of the best of the world. Living without car may be very well possible for you in Switzerland - consider this when you plan to import a car.
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Keep in mind:
- There is no free choice of school for your children, unless you are willing and able to pay for (expensive) private schools. Your children will usually go to school in the quarter you live. If you have specific school preferences for your kids, take this into consideration in the neighborhood choice.
- Not only property prices vary highly between city and countryside, and between the various cantons. Also taxes and costs for (mandatory!) health insurance may vary a lot. Example: the canton of Zug may sound very attractive at first sight, because of the extremely low taxes. You'll quickly find out that this is (more than) compensated by prices for housing. Check out tax and health insurance rates at www.comparis.ch.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
www.immoscout.ch is a good website to find houses/apartments, both for sale and for rent. When you consider to buy a house:
- may be a good idea as mortgage interest rates are low
- keep in mind that a bank will not give mortgages for more than 80% of the value of the house. You need to finance the rest of the house yourself
- check which legal conditions you must oblige when buying property. In particular, try to organise your work/stay permit before you buy, as this will make buying conditions easier and cheaper.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Property is expensive, whether you buy or rent. In the cities of Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern, prices can be astronomic.