Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe, but wages are also high. Housing is particularly expensive, as is social insurance costs. Taxation is relatively low in comparison with the neighboring countries.
Use the Cost of Living calculator to help estimate costs.
Research, research, and introspection should define your pre-accommodation search. Familiarize yourself with the different areas and find where you want to live. Read blogs from the area, find official resources, visit the different areas. Ask yourself questions like:
How big a place do you want? A studio? A three room flat?
Where do you want to live? Somewhere close to your work? In the trendiest part of town? East or West?
What's your price range?
With answers to these important questions you can begin to think of a specific place.
Short-term accommodation can help you and your family get situated after the move without having to make any permanent decisions quite yet. They also offer the opportunity to get to know the area and your needs before picking permanent accommodations.
To find the perfect short-term rental, go to Subrent.
A flatshare (Wohngemeinschaft/colocation) is usually a great value and can provide an expat with an opportunity to get to know a new city with a local. A room in the center costs about CHF 450 - 600.
An important trait in any roommate situation is having boundaries and a clear understanding of what each roommate requires. To protect yourself against potential problems, make sure to have a contract that explicitly states rights and responsibilities.
Hostels are generally the cheapest option and provide a clean and safe temporary abode. Called Jugendherbergen in German-speaking Switzerland, they are almost exclusively for the young backpacking crowd. Usually large and raucous, private rooms may be available. Many hostels have tours that leave directly from their lobby or bar. Prices rise over the summer and on the weekends and the best places are booked well in advance. Prices range from 8 euros at large hostels on off-times, but average around 15 euro.
There are often a closing time at hostels where people still out will be locked out. This can be as early as 20:00, but is usually at midnight. They may also have lock-out times during the day while the hostel is being cleaned. They may also require light household duties like sweeping, dishes, etc.
Looking for cheap accommodation in Zurich isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.