Our 5 tips for finding a flat share


So you're finally moving out of the family home. What now? Searching for your first flat share can be complicated and confusing, but when you know what you're looking for and where you need to look, your search for a flat share is bound to succeed We share our five most important tips.

Our 5 tips for finding a flat share

The essentials at a glance

What’s the best way of finding a flat share?

To start off with, it's a good idea to set out your criteria, listing everything that you want in a flat share. Real estate and flat share portals, social media channels and university services are all good places to look. A speedy but personal application will get you through to 'casting' for the room, where you can get to know your future flatmates. Just sign the rental agreement, and you're done!

Tip no. 1: Listing your criteria

Before you start looking for your dream flat share, you should be clear about your must-haves and no-goes. After all, living with your family is very different from living in a flat share. But don't stress: there's a flat share out there for everyone.

Size of the flat share

The size of the flat share is a crucial factor. Do you like being surrounded by people and enjoy communal living? Then you can definitely look at a bigger flat share. If, on the other hand, you need a lot of alone time, you’d be better off having just one or two flatmates.

Type of flat share

Flat shares can have very different vibes. There are party pads where something’s always going on, or others where the people share a common interest. You’ll also find places that offer a good balance of communal and private living. You should have a think about which one would suit you. If you're not on the same page as your potential flatmates as to how it’s all going to work, it can quickly lead to mutual frustration.

Your flatmates

Many listings mention who your flatmates are and what they do. It’s important to make sure that everyone’s on the same wavelength. If your flatmates work but you're a student, you might have quite different daily routines. Age may also come into it: lots of people in flat shares are looking for potential flatmates of the same age, but others are multi-generational, with people of different ages living together.

The apartment/room

Just like any property search, you’re bound to have a few non-negotiables when it comes to your flat share. What’s your monthly budget? How big do you want your room to be? Do you want to live somewhere central, or somewhere a bit quieter? Will you be bringing your own furniture, or do you want a furnished room? Lots of flat shares don’t have a living room at all, so as to fit in more people. That might be a criterion too.

Tip no. 2: The search

This can be a confusing process at first, especially if you're also moving to a new city. We’ve listed the best portals to help you navigate your way through the flat share jungle.

Standard real estate portals

As with any other housing search, real estate portals like Homegate are a good place to start. As these portals tend to be quite large, you can be certain of finding lots of potential options on there. You’ll also be able to get a good idea of how the price of a room in a flat share compares to a 1-bedroom apartment or studio.

Dedicated flat share portals

Alongside the standard real estate portals, there are also websites that specialise in letting rooms in flat shares. The special thing about these portals is that you can post a search listing for a suitable flat share yourself.

Small ad portals

Small ad portals also have listings for rooms in flat shares. However, these websites are not specifically geared towards apartments or flat shares, so the number of search results can vary.

Social media

Social media can also come in handy when searching for a flat share. For one thing, you can reach out to your own network and ask friends to share your post. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to flat shares. These are often for specific towns and cities in Switzerland. Facebook Marketplace has a property category, too, where you might find rooms in flat shares advertised.

Universities and organisations

Students have all sorts of options when looking for a room. Lots of Swiss universities have their own flat share agencies or even run residence halls. Then there are not-for-profit organisations like the Jugendwohnnetz (JuWo) or WOKO. Do bear in mind, though, that some of these providers require tenants to meet certain criteria, such as age or student status. You can find a list for each city at swissuniversities.ch.

Tip no. 3: The application

Have you found a flat share that looks promising? Then it's time to apply! Like normal properties, flat shares are in high demand and rooms often get snapped up quickly.

But even though you’re under pressure, make sure you take your time when you apply, because first impressions matter here, as in so much else. You want to come across as genuine and personable. Personal messages are always well received; this isn’t a time for copying and pasting.

It’s best to introduce yourself briefly and say what you do and why you're looking for a flat share. Maybe you've noticed that you have something in common with your potential flatmates? Perfect! Mention that in your application. Giving a quick outline of what you would like about living in the house or apartment also goes down well. Your future flatmates will know right away if you're likely to get on.

Tip no. 4: Your 'casting' as a potential flatmate

Woohoo! You’ve been invited to your first viewing! That said, a first 'casting' with potential flatmates can be somewhat intimidating. Just remember that the flat share needs to work for both you and them, and it’s all about getting to know each other. This is the time to ask any questions and cross-check the answers against your criteria. The current tenants will probably have a few questions for you, too. Again, it’s important to be honest.

At the same time, you shouldn’t just discuss the criteria from your list, but also formalities like the rental agreement, additional costs like internet or TV, and the rent itself.

Tip no. 5: The rental agreement

You’ve done it! Your search for a flat share is over. Now it only remains to sign the rental agreement. As with any kind of contract, you should read it through thoroughly. If you have any questions, it’s best to get an answer from your future flatmates.

Don’t despair if your search doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to. You still have other options, like moving into your own apartment or setting up a flat share of your own.