I'm Thomas and my goal is to make the flat-search for expats easier.
While waiting in a 50-meter-long line, accompanied by 50 other people who were also waiting to see an apartment that was both affordable and conveniently located—I had a lot of time to think: How many years would it take until I would finally find a flat in Zurich? Would my hair be gray by then and would I be a millionaire who could afford one of the ridiculously overpriced city apartments? Flat hunting means pain, especially in a city which is new to you.
A few weeks later I founded FLATSforEXPATS an internet service that connects expats offering an apartment or a room in Switzerland with expats looking for a place to stay. Expats in Switzerland have some serious disadvantages when it comes to finding an affordable apartment: they lack connections! I’m Swiss and the only way I actually found a flat was by one of my 680 Facebook friends in Switzerland who knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, who finally offered me to take over his flat in Zurich. Lucky me.
But what if you're new to the city and don’t know anyone? What if you’re not able to smoothly persuade a landlord in accent-free Swiss German (or French or Italian) that you're the absolute best potential tenant among these other 120 but you barely know how to pronounce “Grüezi” properly? I had the idea to create a website that helps to overcome the disadvantages of being a foreigner in Switzerland and reduces the flat hunt stress.
In Switzerland it’s quite common that you need to present a replacement tenant that is willing to take over your flat when you're leaving it (a so-called “Nachmieter”). On my website, expats in Switzerland looking for a new tenant or flat mate can submit an ad for free. They must confirm that they've not published their offer on any of the big real estate websites like Homegate or similar sites. This greatly reduces the competition for a particular flat or room and raises your chances of actually getting the place.
Expats in Switzerland who are looking for an apartment or room can register in order to get access to the offers. Only registered users will get the exclusive flat and room offers from other Expats who would like to pass their place to another expat. It does not matter if you’re not fluent in Swiss German yet-all offers are published in English and you can conduct all communication in English.
I personally guarantee you that FLATSforEXPATS is no rip-off or scam, but an honest attempt to make it easier for expats in Switzerland to find apartments, rooms, tenants, and flatmates. I met lots of rather desperate flat hunting expats in Zurich and I think it would be great if FLATSforEXPATS could make it easier for expats to find a place where you feel at home...
Good luck for the flat-search!