Where to live in Basel

Finding a home
Basel has a great many interesting possibilities of where to live. But which one is right for you?

Surprisingly there are some parts of Baselland (BL) that are closer to the centre of Basel than some parts of BaselStadt (BS)… and certainly places like Allschwil and Binningen (both on tram routes and within easy cycling distance) which are both in the lower tax BL region take less time to get to from the centre than say Riehen which is actually a part of BaselStadt.

You may be surprised to find that two thirds of people in Switzerland rent rather than buy their homes, which means house prices do not move much and selling can take time. Properties are defined not by the number of bedrooms, but by the number of rooms they have in total, excluding kitchen and bathroom. So, a typical British three bed semi with combined kitchen/diner and seperate lounge would have four and a half rooms. A 4 bed detached with two receptions would be a 6 room Einfamilienhaus. Larger properties tend to be found more easily in BL than in BS.

Many people find their tax bills could be 10% smaller in BL than in BS, but a lot will depend on how much you earn, your marital status, how many children you have, and in which gemeinde (village or urban sub-community) you live in as there is no council tax here and local income tax is the main system of taxation.

Advisers from Grether MacGeorge GmbH have given seminars for newcomers in the past in conjunction with various bodies such as The Cantonal Tax and Social Security departments, as well as with expat groups and resource centres such as Centrepoint where you can also get some useful information here The welcome services can do a good job of shoehorning you into Basel more smoothly but tend not to give financial, tax or legal advice as this is not what they are set up to do. In these areas you may find that Independent Financial Advice is helpful if you want more choice than one bank or insurance company.

Until then have a look at the rest of this website which has a lot of interesting and free information about the way the Swiss and Basel tax systems work, ways of buying cars, mortgages and house purchase, and many more examples of the kind of advice you can expect from advisors at Grether MacGeorge GmbH.

When you do find somewhere you would like to live, remember that the normal notice period for flats or other rentals is three months, so be careful of signing up for longer: in Switzerland, once you sign a contract (for anything) it is usually enforced, even if it is too expensive, you changed your mind, you signed it in a hurry or think it unfair, or whatever. It is always best to sign for shorter than for longer periods of time. Never sign anything you don’t understand and if it is for a lot of money have a professional check it over for you. As with all legal documents, just being a native speaker of the language in which it is written does not mean you will always understand the legal implications of signing it.

Whatever you do, most people find Basel a wonderful place to live, it is very green, very much low stress, has low crime, excellent transport, arts, music and theatre events, has over 30 museums, lots of English speaking locals and some very friendly expats!

For further details, please get in touch with us to arrange a meeting to discuss your individual needs in more detail.