Upon sharing the news of our move to Geneva, many jokingly asked if we would be making an appearance on House Hunters International – to which I immediately said no, certain I would be “cast” as the head in the cloud dreamer, wanting to expand the budget, contrasted with my oh so patient husband – the “fiscally responsible leader of the family” who wouldn’t go above an X number (my husband is a CPA and I am far more right-brained so we basically could write the episode for them.)
Before I rip on this channel let me admit that I watch it nearly every night and totally understand why it (and the Food Network) were purchased by Discovery for $11.9 billion.
But – the abhorrent men ALWAYS want a “man cave.” She ALWAYS really hates wallpaper and insists on very specific countertops. They all make jokes about how her shoes won’t fit in the closet. And in the international version, they never seem to grasp that there are no style McMansions with “great rooms” and swimming pools outside the US. But they seemingly always hover about the ultimate question: will they chose the suburban chalet with character or the modern small apartment close to the city center?
That last one checked out for us. Knowing this wasn’t our forever home, we went for the city center. Our priority was to be in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood, in HGTV language “close to shops and restaurants.”
You might know that Switzerland is a very expensive country. Very few Swiss own their homes, and reportedly 40% of Geneva’s population is composed of expats – so the fight over minimal rental inventory is intense. With low expectations and armed with many hours of HGTV, we knew it would be an uphill battle from the start.
We were fortunate to have a relocation agency who scheduled appointments with 8 apartments in our targeted areas with just a few requests – in a fun neighborhood, with an updated kitchen, and either a washing machine in-unit, or the hook-up to add one. We saw places between 8am-6pm, made an offer on one around lunchtime, which was accepted the next day! We were truly shocked and still are incredibly grateful. It is not the place not on the left! That’s a charming little chalet (despite that large crack) that we saw in Carouge on our first trip. I may post a few photos on Instagram when we are unpacked so do follow along if you’re aren’t already!
Our first appointment was a really lovely place in our desired neighborhood – very popular amongst expats, Eaux-Vives (pronounced OH-VIVE if like me you struggle with French.) It ticked all the boxes and was far more spacious than we had imagined after watching so many Americans balk at European apartments on House Hunters. The rest of the places in Planpalais, Champel, and Eaux-Vives were all really lovely- but we couldn’t beat the first spot.
As one might expect, we had a few paperwork hiccups but received our keys last week. Our shipment of belongings allegedly arrives from the US this week (while my darling husband is conveniently out of the country) and I am transitioning over our temporary apartment in Champel to Eaux-Vives now. Lugging suitcases across town is far less enjoyable cardio than skiing or hiking but I’m relieved that we will be settled soon and that the guest room will be open next week!
If you need me, I’ll be at Ikea! I live there now – but I was so relieved they offer combined delivery and assembly here! worth.every.penny.
My in laws also arrive this SATURDAY! We can’t wait to show them this beautiful city that is starting to feel far more like a new home. We are also heading to Zermatt and Munich while they are visiting so please do send me any of your recommendations while we are there in the comments or contact me here!