Inside the Chalet

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WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT HOUSES OR APARTMENTS FOR RENT OR SALE?

There are several online resources to find housing in Basel. We found our apartment on www.homgate.ch. You can also look at www.immoclick.ch or at www.alle-immobilien.ch.

If print is more your speed, you can also find listings in the front section of the free newspaper, Baslerstab, which is available in newspaper stands all around Basel and Basel-land if you aren’t already finding it shoved into your mailbox every morning.

Additional information about housing in Basel is available at www.basel.ch, the official Basel tourism website.

CAN AMERICANS PURCHASE PROPERTY IN SWITZERLAND?

Yes.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY TO BUY OR RENT HOUSING?

Housing in Basel is expensive. To purchase property the rough rule of thumb is 10,000 CHF per square meter. Generally speaking, expect to pay in excess of 1 million CHF. Housing is slightly less expensive in Basel-land, but don’t expect any bargains. (Note: mortgages work differently in Switzerland than they do in the US. However, banks such as UBS often run free, English-language mortgage workshops to explain the ins and outs.)

Most people – including Swiss people – rent. While this is unusual for Americans, the benefit of this system is a large number of very high-quality, well-maintained rental options. Would you ever see granite countertops and a Miele dishwasher in an American rental apartment? 9.

As with buying, when renting in general you get more space for your money in Basel-land compared to Basel-stadt. Rentals vary within Basel-stadt, too. Prices in GrossBasel are most expensive, with less expensive options in Kleinbasel and in underappreciated areas like the Gundeli (behind the SBB) and St. Johann areas. Rentals are based on the size (square meters) and number rooms in an apartment or house. For a 140 sqm 5 room apartment in GrossBasel, on average you can expect to pay anywhere from 2400 to 3500 CHF. That same apartment in the Gundeli could be 2100 to 3000 CHF. Prices for apartments should indicate if they include(“inkl.”) or do not include (“+”) utilities. More information about housing costs is available here.

The size, style, quality and layout of apartments varies widely in Basel, so it pays to look at a good number of apartments or houses before settling on the one.

Keep in mind that number of rooms (zimmer) does not mean bedrooms. A 5 room apartment doesn’t have 5 bedrooms. Instead, it probably has 3 bedrooms, a living room (wohnzimmer) and a separate dining room (essenzimmer). Kitchen (kuche) and bathrooms (badzimmer) are not included in the room count.

It is common to see a listing with “half” a room, e.g., 4.5 zimmer. Usually this is Swiss for “it doesn’t have a separate dining room, but the living room is big enough to park your table.”

HOW DO RENTAL CONTRACTS WORK?

Because so many people rent housing, the rental contracts are quite extensive.

Many Americans moving to Basel are relocated by their company, and have the services of a relocation company at their disposal to help them through this process. However, if you are moving to Basel under different conditions or if you are moving within Basel following your initial relocation from the US, consider contracting with a local relocation service to review your apartment contract. The cost is well worth it especially if you are not yet fluent in German. Some of the available relocation services in Basel include: Regio Basel WS Relocation GmbH, PRIMACY Relocation GmbH (Steinentorstrasse 13, Postfach 4010 Basel).

HOW MUCH DO MOVERS COST?

The thought of moving in Basel can be pretty intimidating and I would consider hiring movers a must. To give you an idea of costs, a couple we know recently hired movers to move their somewhat modest amount of belongings and it cost them 2200 CHF using a company called Jost. Their bid for that job was about half the price of another well-known moving company, Keller.

Remember that if you are moving to or from Basel from or when you arrive in Switzerland, you need to report your change of address to the Residents Registration Office of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and/or your new canton within 8 days.

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