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.