House Hunters International, Geneva Edition – Part Two

 

I am packing for my trip to Geneva.  I am having some trouble posting pictures, but promise I will get it figured out sooner or later.  Our realtor recommended that I only take pictures of the apartments I have an interest in to keep from being overwhelmed.  She also wants to make sure I am able to tell them apart when I review them at the end of the day.  I will probably take a few pictures of the extremely hideous too for him (and you) to see.  If I don’t, how can he know that I really picked the best of the best?

 

 

House Hunters International, Geneva Edition – Part One

We are about to become residents of Geneva. We have not yet seen the city.   On Monday, that will change for me.  He has some meetings for work, so he will not be able to go until later.  This means that I will be picking out a residence in one of the world’s tightest housing markets all by myself. Strangely, he seems unconcerned.

The housing market in Geneva is in a state of crisis with a .05% vacancy (of course, half of all statistics are wrong).  The city is wedged in between a lake and the French border so there is not much room to expand.  Therefore, finding an housing in Geneva is notoriously difficult.  Here is my understanding of how it works:

1. Being me, I would have liked to stalk properties online before going.  This has been strongly discouraged because anything that I see online, even mere days ahead of my visit, will no longer be available when I arrive.  As a result, I am merely looking places online to determine how little our money will get us (although it still looks like a great place to live).

2. Fill out questionnaire for realtor. For an American, this contains some unexpected questions.  Those of you who watch House Hunters International should not be surprised by this.  I had to check a box that said whether or not I wanted to bring my own kitchen.  I love my house, but for me this is a no brainer.  We will not be bringing our own kitchen.

3. A Régie is the Swiss version of a realtor/estate agent.  Property owners use them to rent their apartments and handle the complex paperwork.  They show the apartments.

4. After viewing apartments, I should be prepared to put in multiple offers immediately (before the end of that day).  We know people who have put in four; we know of people who have put in over ten.  This step includes signing a paper that we are not delinquent on any local debts.  By the way, that paper costs $20-25. Even putting in an application can carry a fee.

5. We wait a few days to see if any of our offers have been accepted.

6. If unsuccessful, start again at step one.  Cross your fingers.

 

First Time For Everything

We have been to Geneva‘s airport, train station and absolutely nowhere else in the city.  Essentially, we committed to move city sight unseen.  Thanks to the magic of the internet, we have learned a lot about the city.  Here are some basics about our soon to be new home:
  • Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland behind Zurich and the most international city in Europe with over 40% of its population coming from outside Switzerland.
  • French is the predominant language spoken in Geneva, but most citizens speak at least one other language. English is spoken by about a quarter of the local population and by the majority of foreigners.
  • It sprawls on the banks of Lac Leman (sometimes referred to as Lake Geneva) and forms a peninsula  that is surrounded by France.
  • Geneva has the shortest commuting time of any major city in the world.
  • It has the third highest quality of life of any city in the world.
  • Dog droppings are listed as the top complaint of citizens in Geneva, annually.  How nice is it that dog droppings are the city’s biggest problem?
  • Its most famous landmark is the Jet d’Eau (the world’s tallest fountain situated in the lake). If you keep checking this blog, I am sure you will see lots of pictures of it in the future.
  • Oh yeah, and it is the 4th most expensive city in the world. Wowzers.

Parlez-Vous Français?

Bonjour.   We are working hard to be able to butcher the French language.  Bordered by France on three sides, they speak French in Geneva.  I am lucky because I have the opportunity to take lessons.  My teacher has me reading The Count of Monte Cristo in French.  It is not short, so I may be a resident of Geneva (or even living back in the states) by the time I finish it.  He has Rosetta Stone.

In case you were wondering, the picture is the entrance to an elementary school in New Orleans.   They speak French there.

 

We’re Moving!

We are happy to announce that in July we are moving to Geneva, Switzerland.   To help our friends and family keep tabs on us, we are starting this blog.  Here’s what to expect:

  • Nothing of any redeeming value 
  • The mundane 
  • House Hunters International, Geneva edition
  • Sticker shock at Swiss prices
  • Cooking failures (we will be doing much more cooking because we won’t be able to afford eating out)
  • Excessive photos (those of you that know me are already aware of this problem)
  • Anything useful or interesting about Switzerland, Swiss culture and the Swiss
  • Travel postings.