Are you moving to Zurich soon? That's great, Zurich is a very nice city indeed. Unfortunately because it's such a nice place, many people want to live here and flats are very scarce. Be prepared to view at least 10 to 20 rooms before you might get lucky to find one. Here are 5 tips to find a room:

  1. "WG"

    First of all, your are looking for a "WG Zimmer". A shared appartments is called a "WG" in Swiss German (pronouced "wea-gea", as in weather), which is short for "Wohngemeinschaft" (which literally translated means "livingcommunity". Does the name of this newsletter make sense now?

  2. Write a meaningful application

    You might soon be sharing your home with the people you address. Tell them what you are doing, how you like to live, if you prefer a quiet environment or enjoy having people over all the time. Tell them how you spend your weekends. Take your time to write a honest and meaningful text, bonus if you attach a picture. This is expected here in Switzerland and key to get invited to viewing a room.

  3. Watch out for scammers

    Scammers are criminals who pose as advertisers and whose aim is to steal your money (or personal information). They are especially looking for people who are not familiar with local customs. Some points to watch out for:

    • The offer seems too good to be true: The rent price is below the market average. The pictures look great, at least much better than anything else you’ve seen for that price.
    • You are asked to provide a lot of personal information/documents before being able to view the room.
    • The landlord is abroad or the flat belongs to a sibling or friend who is abroad. The landlord is unavailable for viewings
    • A request to send a deposit to secure the accommodation or book the room, especially with a service like Western Union

  4. Renting from abroad.

    If you don't have the chance for viewing an appartment, arrange a Skype call. Here you have to be extra careful to avoid scammers. Try to use your common sense. (e.g. can you find the person on Facebook or LinkedIn?). People who claim they will send the key by mail are always scammers. Also, try the Facebook groups listed in the links below.

  5. Use your network

    Many rooms are passed on without ever being advertised. Use your network to find a room. Of course now your are thinking you don't have a network in Zurich yet. Be creative: e.g. write to your future work colleagues and tell them you will be looking for a room. Write to the responsible HR person or contact person at your university.

I hope this was helpful. Make sure to check these links: