Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Get Settled in Germany
Step 1: Find an Apartment
Step 2: Wohnungsbesichtigungstermin – How to Make Your Future Landlord Pick You
Step 3: Signing the Home Rental Contract
Step 4: Getting an Anmeldung in Germany – Registering an Address
Whether you’re an incoming Student, moving for your internship/job or just feel like changing your environment.
Finding an accommodation in Germany is no easy feat – Yet!
Of all the areas German Universities excel in nowadays, it’s rather surprising to see how badly they’re failing in accommodating the new students coming to Germany.
Unlike the horror stories I’ve heard, I was lucky enough to have some close friends pick me up from the airport and take to a warm, home-cooked meal in a cozy apartment.
Most students aren’t that lucky.
If you want to come to Germany, you’re expected to accommodate yourself with little to no help from the University.
Apparently, living in Germany for years doesn’t make any difference.
People are still flabbergasted to thought of moving and don’t know where to start.
In this article, I plan on sharing 8 methods, some popular and some unique, to help you get started with Home-Hunting.
Table of Contents
If you’re in Germany and you haven’t heard about WG-Gesucht – you’re probably living under a stone.
It is ranked among Germany’s most popular and well-known accommodation websites.
Specially if you’re a student.
Countless people, myself included, have WG-Gesucht to thank for.
Having said that;
There are a few extra tricks I’ve learned along the process that’ll make it easier for you to find the perfect home in the perfect place.
It makes no sense living 50km away from where you work/study. Does it? I thought so
Before getting started, a little piece of info.
Gesucht offers you 4 types of accommodation options
- WG-Zimmer: This is a room in a shared flat. You’ll end up sharing the kitchen and the bathroom with others.
- 1-Zimmer-Wohnung: A studio apartment with your own Kitchen/Bath. Full Privacy
- Wohnung: An apartment ranging from 2+ rooms.
- Haus: Got a Husband/Wife? Kids? Cats or Dogs? Love gardening? Then this is the option for you.
Moving on with the tutorial.
Let’s put in our search parameters and see what it fetches.
I decided to search for a WG-Zimmer in Stuttgart.
Next, we are going to filter the results according to our needs.
Click on the “Weitere Filter” option.
Here, you’ll have a bunch of options to mess around with.
Let’s focus on the important ones for now.
- alle Mietarten: Are you looking for a permanent accommodation? Or Temporary?
- max. Miete: How much rent are you willing to pay monthly?
- frühestes: What’s the earliest date you can move in?
- spätestes: Till when can are able to wait before you can move in?
Regardless of your situation, these 2 are going to be the most important filters as they’ll help you avoid rooms that are either too expensive or just won’t be available according to your schedule.
Another filter that’ll make your future life a lot easier is the “Stadtteile” filter.
It gives you the option to choose rooms/apartments in different parts of the city.
Before you choose anyone of the multiple options, head on over to Google Maps and search for the city you’re moving to.
Using your mouse to Zoom-In and Zoom-Out, you’ll be able to read the names of multiple city parts.
Assuming that you’re moving to Stuttgart to work at/near the Mercedes-Benz Museum, you’ll surely want to live near there aswell.
Makes no sense travelling >1 hour just to get to your job.
With that in mind, I was able to locate 6 parts of the city near where you’ll be relatively closer to your work location.
Next, head on over to WG-Gesucht and choose these locations.
As you can see, I was able to find 5 of the 6 parts I choose off the Maps.
Utilizing this small step makes sure that you won’t be travelling for hours to get to work.
Once you’ve used all the filters and hit search, you’ll see a list of available rooms that you can apply for.
From this list, you can now use the addresses provided by the advertisers to calculate how far and/or how long you’ll have to travel.
You can use DeutscheBahn or the Local Travelling App for this purpose.
Once you’ve found a room that you feel matches your requirements, always read the text writer by the renter.
Somethings you need to focus on are,
– Can you pay the required amount of Kaution (aka Security deposit)?
– Are they looking for someone of a specific gender?
– Are they looking for Students or Workers only?
– Are they looking for people who won’t just stay locked in their rooms all day long?
Following these steps will make sure that you won’t get overwhelmed by the number of options at your disposal and would make sure you find something closely matching your requirements.
While WG-Gesucht caters mostly to students and single-room accommodation, Immobilienscout24 is probably Germany’s biggest website to search for apartments altogether.
Note: We found our 3-Room Apartment in Duisburg through this website aswell.
Here, you have the option to filter before you even hit search.
Considering that we’ve already chosen the parts of city where we’d be comfortable in living, we can choose it directly from the drop-down section.
I’ve decided to search for a 1.5 room apartment in Stuttgart – Bad Cannstatt for under 950€
Currently, there are 6 apartments meeting my criteria that are listed on the website.
Here, you can look up the addresses once again and calculate the distance from your work/university.
An important thing to take into account is that the advertised rents are only Klatmiete aka Cold-Rent – Without Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas, Internet).
You’re almost always going to pay upwards of 50-70 for as an individual. To know the exact amount, click on any one of the rooms advertised, and read the information provided by the renter.
As you can see, you’re going to pay 70 for the Nebenkosten (Utilities) on top of rent.
In total, you’ll be parting ways with 1,020 per month for rent.
Note: When looking for rooms/apartments, ALWAYS look for the date when it would be available. For some odd reason, either people forget to take down their ads or Immobilienscout24 does a poor job of keeping the listings updated.
For e.g, I came across this room while searching – It was listed on the 1st page for 30+ results.
As you can see, this place is free from December 2018 .. I’m writing this in June 2019
So, always do your due diligence.
If you’re a student looking for accommodation, believe it or not, but there is still hope that your University might save the day.
Studierendenwerk are commonly referred to as University housing.
Basically, it’s a bunch of university owned buildings with a multiple apartment, ranging from 2-4 rooms, that are rented out to students.
So, if you’re not enrolled at the University, you might want to move on to the next point (It’s a mind-blowing one tbh)
Google the term, “Studierendenwerk + City”
I’ll choose Stuttgart for this example.
No matter which city you choose, you’ll always find the Studierendenwerk website.
You can recognize it by the similar domain name – just a different city.
Next, we’re going to apply for a room.
Clicking on the website takes us to their Homepage.
Here, we’re met with several options.
However, the only one that should interest us is “Online-Bewerbung”
It’ll take you to an online form that you have to fill and submit.
According to the waiting list, you’ll be contact as soon as a room is free for you (ofc also depending on your move-in date)
Tip: Once you’ve applied online, I would HIGHLY recommend you visit their offices and speak with someone in charge. If you make it clear to them that you have no place to stay and are desperate, they’ll surely prioritize your case – I say this from experience, where some people have gotten a room within 2 weeks while the waiting list would’ve taken months.
Address can be found on Google as well.
4. Facebook Groups – Part 1
One of best and yet one of the most unknown method is based on a website that is most probably open in one of your tabs.
Nowadays, there the Facebook groups dedicated to every possible niche that has problems.
The idea here is to search for city-based accommodation groups.
We’ll start that by searching for a variation of accommodation terms + city
For e.g, “Wohnung + City”
For Ingolstadt, a couple of groups seem interesting.
They both have almost 15K members actively posting every day.
Once you’ve been accepted into the group, you can change the settings to see the latest posts by members. You can do that by just a couple of mouse clicks.
Oh look, just 6 hours ago..
Since there is a lot of activity going on in these groups, you need to be fast in contacting the people regarding their ads. Most of the good places get snatched up within hours.
Moreover, you can post in these groups as someone looking for a room and if your requirements can be met by someone, you’ll get contacted.
5. Facebook Groups – Part 2
Another interesting way to use Facebook is to find country specific groups.
If you search for your “country + student + university/city”, you’ll probably find a group of your fellow countrymen dedicated to helping each other in the city.
Being a Pakistani living in Duisburg, we have a very active group where people offer and receive help in all sorts of areas – from accommodation to arriving to general favors.
Similarly, if you’re an Indian living in Berlin,
Almost all international students have country specific Facebook groups for every city.
It’s just a matter of finding them and joining then.
Tip: If for some reason your country or city does not have one, I would highly recommend that you start one – The amount of support your countrymen would be willing to offer is always more than you’d receive from elsewhere.
6. eBay Kleinanzeigen
Kleinanzeigen means classified ads.
If you have something to sell locally and you want to avoid the 10% ebay charges – This is the website to do so.
People are advertising all sorts of stuff here.
From jobs to rooms to furniture.
Choose the city you’re moving to and change the category to either
- Auf Zeit & WG: Temporary and permanents WG room for rent
- Mietwohnungen: Apartments for rent
On the next page, you’ll have to option to filter the results.
Tip: If you choose “Auf Zeit & WG” – make sure to either select befristet (Temporary) or unbefristet (Permanent)
Again, don’t forget to read the ad text before applying.
7. University Mensa Advertisements
Another method that requires very little effort on your part requires you visiting your Universities cafeteria (Mensa).
Almost all the Universities have an advertisement board where people from all walks of life can pin advertisement posters.
Here is a picture from my University;
The advertisements range from parties, groups, accomodation and jobs among other things.
More often than not, the contact information will be attached along with the posters.
This method is extremely beneficial if you’re a student because the goal of this advertisement board is to connect the University students with one another. Since the cafeteria is one of the most visited and crowded areas on any University, the offers don’t long and therefore you must act quickly.
Tip: Take pictures of the posters, find something interesting and call them immediately.
8. Wohnungsfirmen (Rental Firms)
Finishing this list is a rather traditional method of finding accommodation – Agents.
Given that Germany has the lowest rate of homeownership among all the countries in Europe, it’s no surprise that Germany has a number of companies in the real estate rental market.
Here is a list of top German companies you can contact and possibly get accommodated.
Most, if not all of them offer accommodation all the big cities of Germany.
Moreover, you can google the term “Wohnungsfirmen + City” and find some local ones aswell.
With these companies, you’d re required to fill out a form with your information and requirements.
Once they find something that is a good fit for both the involved parties – they’ll contact you.
There you have it.
8 methods to help you find accommodation in Germany.
If you happen to know a method that’d be a good addition to this list, lemme know in the comment.
Happy ‘House’ Hunting.