Today I would like to share with you some tips for those who want to find a place to live in Germany or just have the curiosity to know how the process works in here.
I need to start by saying that I will be telling my experience in finding a place in the city I live, Münster, but the websites, tips and process applies to the whole Germany.
And before we really get started, another thing I have to point: IT’S👏🏼 NOT👏🏼 EASY!👏🏼 – I live in an university city and it can take you several months to find the right house due the high demand.
Where to Start?
There are a few ways to find a flat/room/house around Germany. The first one – and probably the best/most effective one is, through people. There’s always someone who knows someone that is offering a place. So as soon you get here, let people know you are searching for a place!
Besides that, here are the main websites where you can take a look and start your search:
Yes, eBay! When you live in Germany, eBay will be your best friend! You can find everything, second hand furniture, free furniture (this deserves a whole new post, I need to tell you how I furnished 90% of my house on eBay!), clothes and flats!
You can first register (pink highlighted square on the right) and then click on Immobilien – the second pink square on the left, and start looking for what you want! You can select a lot of filters to find the type of place you want.
Unfortunately this eBay doesn’t have the English version available What I do is to open the site in Chrome, then activate the translation to English and voilà!
I must say that this is not the most popular website to find houses, but it was the one I found mine (I will share my experience at the end) so it’s the reason why I included here.
WG is one of the best ones when you wanna find a place, specially if you are looking to rent a room in a shared flat/house.
They also have the option to switch languages to English and Spanish – just scroll all the way down on the website and you will see the option to change languages, which makes things a bit easier for us 🙂
As you can see from the image, is kind of the same thing as eBay, but here you can choose to find a flat-share, 1 room flat, flats or houses.
I like this website because it’s very easy to navigate and people really put an effort when advertising their places. They will tell a little bit about themselves and also tell what they expect from you as a flatmate or as a tenant.
This one is very similar to WG-Gesucht, but you won’t have the option to change the website to English.
Just an extra info: WG-Gesucht and WG-Suche are mainly focused on shared flats. Of course that you can still find flats and houses, but that’s their main focus 🙂
This one is a very broad website to find places, you can find places from flat until nursery homes!
Writing your Profile
Once you know where to find a place, you need to have a good profile. Make sure to have as complete as possible, with pictures, your e-mail, phone number and the most important: a nice letter!
Present yourself, inform where you are from, you age, the languages you speak, your hobbies, what brings you to Germany, for how long you are here for, what you like to do in your free time, if you are a smoker or not and if you have pets (very important info in here, since some places don’t accept smokers and/or pets).
After that, read carefully people’s ads, since in some of them they will ask you to inform something extra that you might not have it in your standard letter. Is also nice to make each application personalized, insert the person’s name and something else you found nice about the room/flat that got you interested in applying for the place.
Visiting a Room/Flat
After you apply for a room/flat, the landlord/room owner will schedule a day so you can visit the place. Most of the times they will inform the same day/time for a certain amount of people who also applied for the place, so don’t be scared if you get there and you see 4/5 people checking the place as well – as I said, is not easy and the competition is high!
Make sure to check everything and ask all the questions you have! (I can make a separate post just for the most common questions when renting a place). This is the place you will live, so make sure you know everything about it!
If you are visiting a room, make sure to talk to the flatmates as well, see if you like them and if your interests are aligned with theirs – it’s very important to have flatmates that you get along with, makes the whole flat sharing experience better, or less stressful hahaha
Documents for Application
After checking the place, you will apply for it. The required documents will depend a lot from place to place. But from my experience and the people I know, they will ask you for a copy of personal documents, an income proof, the SCHUFA (SCHUFA is a German private credit proof that you can request in your bank – it costs around 30.00€) and sometimes they will ask you to have a house insurance as well.
The documents can variate from case to case, but those above are the most common ones.
After this, they will analyze your profile and your documents and will give you an answer if you got it or not 🙂
I’ve been living in Germany for two years and lived in two different houses. My first house was a rented room in a shared flat with a german girl. A person in the company I work was leaving the room and I was informed that it was available. I lived with this girl for one year until we both decided to leave the apartment and move to another place – she found a place closer to her work and since she was moving out, I decided to look for a place for myself instead of finding a new flatmate.
The story of my second flat is an exception, because things happened very fast and the place is a rare find.
I found my flat on eBay Kleinanzeigen. I sent a message to the landlord and the visit was on the following week. When I got there to visit the flat – I kid you not – there were at least 10 people checking the place as well. The flat is very well located and with a good price for the location/size.
Everyone was speaking german and I was the only non-german speaker. My boyfriend who went with me told me, “Lari, there’s no way that you will get this place, forget about it”. OH WELL, I sent my application and on the following week I was signing the contract! lol this is really an exception because usually it doesn’t happen this fast and landlords usually prefers people that can speak in German for communication purposes.
BE AWARE OF SCAMS!
Before I finish this post I must warn you about scams. They exist and very much common in those websites.
If the flat is very nice, perfect size, fully furnished, low rent – be suspicious! They will usually ask you to make a deposit into another person of your trust in western union or any other transaction website. They will also claim that they are not in town, therefore they can’t show you the flat and they will be so very very nice with you. So be aware of that and don’t fall for this, if you’re in doubt, start asking more information to the person you are talking to, like their phone number, a contact of the previous tenant… I’m pretty sure they will stop replying to you 🙂
I guess that’s it! I hope I was able to cover most of the process of finding a house here in Germany.
Please let me know if there’s anything else you would like to know! In the future I can make a post about what to ask in an interview to your landlord, and another one on finding cheap/second-hand furniture – which I love doing it! 🙂
I hope you liked, tschüss!