How to find an apartment in Switzerland as an expat

How to find an apartment in Switzerland as an expat

It's not easy to find the perfect place to live and it's even more difficult if you move to a different country. In this episode we answer the all-important questions for English speakers moving to Switzerland, who are looking for the perfect apartment. Should you rent or buy? How much will it cost? Where to find an apartment in Switzerland as an expat, and which documents will you need before you can secure a lease on a new place. After this episode you'll know where and how to start looking and be prepared for when you find the place you could start to call home, whether it's in Geneva, Zurich or Bern - or somewhere in between.

If you still have specific questions or need help finding an apartment in Switzerland, we would love to discuss it with you in our Facebook group 'Switzerland for English Speakers'.

Notes on this episode of Your British Guide to Switzerland: How to find an apartment as an expat

This is where it all began for this episode: in our Facebook group, Kate from Moscow asked: "How to find an apartment to rent in Switzerland?"

General things to know about finding a place to live in Switzerland, should you rent or buy, is it difficult to find a place, what possibilities you have as an expat when you move to Switzerland and what are the prices you can expect?

How do you find the perfect area to move to?

  • A flat-share is called a WG in German, short for Wohngemeinschaft
  • For a bit of fun and to get the feel of a place, check out this hipster map

But seriously, start your search for your dream apartment in Switzerland with these useful links:

Once you've found a Swiss apartment you like: these are your next steps, from the first contact to signing the contract

  • Ask for a visit, your first contact
  • The actual visit, what to expect, do's and don't's: What you shouldn't forget to ask while you're there
  • The application: required papers and special documents for expats
  • You will need an 'Auszug aus dem Betreibungsregister' (statement from the debt register)

Here you'll find related questions in our Facebook group.

  • Linda: "You need to register yourself in the community that you reside in"
  • Marco: "with no permit B it's almost impossible"
  • Daniel: "We bought a place easily enough, if you have the deposit ready, just talk to your bank manager, and they're sure to get your finance approved. Our purchase was a very quick and painless experience!"

And, we made a little surprise for you - a visit to the Dählhölzli zoo and animal park in Bern!

Listen to our podcast wherever and however you like!