Flat hunting - How to save

Tip 1: Compare and assess market value
  • The property market by browses the largest Swiss online real estate portals for you. The Comparis rating and saving potential indication provide useful information on whether the rent is rather cheap or expensive compared to similar objects.
    To the Property Market by

  • "Price development of houses and flats" by displays the current and historical rents of objects located in the same area on a map. This helps you evaluating whether your dream property is rather cheap or expensive compared to the neighbourhood.
    To the price development of houses and flats

Tip 2: Careful with low additional costs paid on account
  • In order to rent expensive flats without difficulties, additional charges paid on account are frequently set too low in the advertisements. The latter may result in high additional claims. Payments on account that are lower than 10 per cent of the net rent call for caution on the tenant's side.

Tip 3: Saving potential with regard to insurances
  • When you move to a new home the value of your household effects can change. The household effects calculator by helps you finding out whether your household effects are still adequately insured.
    To the household effects calculator

  • Save with your household effects insurance. The premium comparison by provides you with quotes from various insurance companies and enables you to directly compare them.
    To the premium comparison household insurance

Tip 4: Saving potential with regard to taxes
  • Living in the appropriate municipality can possibly mean a lower tax burden. The tax comparison by helps finding the cheapest municipality within a canton.
    To the Tax comparison by

  • In most municipalities the domicile of 31 December retrospectively represents the tax domicile for the whole year. So, if you move to a cheaper location, it is worthwhile to deposit the papers before year end. Should the tax burden be higher at the new domicile, it is reasonable to register only after 31 December at the new municipality in order to benefit from the low tax rate of the old municipality. (This regulation does not apply for the cantons of Zurich, Glarus, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Fribourg and Neuchâtel.)

Tip 5: VHKA - Consumption-based billing of heating and hot water costs
  • Many tenancies still set a flat rate for heating and hot water costs. Therefore, ask for the consumption-based billing of heating and hot water costs (VHKA/VWKA) . This system calculates the costs according to the principle of "the polluter pays". Low consumption thus leads to lower bills and guarantees that the increased consumption of the neighbours is not co-financed. For new buildings VHKA is compulsory according to the applicable energy law. However, these regulations don't apply in the case of old buildings. 
    Further information (german only)

Tip 6: Evaluate energy consumption
  • The average heating oil consumption per year for heating and hot water lies at around 15 litres heating oil per square metre. However, this figure fluctuates widely and depends on the building envelope and the building services. Old buildings tend to have a worse heat insulation than new buildings. Older buildings with solid walls though - particularly the ones from the 20s and 30s - may prove to be relatively energy efficient. Consider hence the building technique and the construction year when choosing your dream home and ask the landlord for the average heating oil consumption.
  • Those who are looking for an energy saving home, can check the so-called "Minergie" (or passive house) standards for orientation. In these houses the annual heating oil consumption ideally decreases to around 4 litres per square metre.
    For further information contact the Minergie website