Finding a place to live in Berlin, can be a tough, being prepared and putting in a bit of effort on your requests can make the difference.
Read here if you want to find a room, find furniture for your new pad and the best net and power providers.
1. Here’s a list of places to find a room/zimmer:
Is your best bet, it’s the main place people in Germany look for new roommates or sublets. Try making an ad, specify what you want, the kind of living experience, add details about your personality and try and make it light and funny- think of it as a CV! Add a photo or two and you will get contacted! Be sure to also browse the daily ads and send emails to as many people as you can. Looking for a room is a bit of a full time job, unless you are lucky enough to know someone already there. Trust me the ad trick really works as most people don’t post ads themselves!
Is another website worth checking it, it doesn’t have an english setting though.
requires signing up but has a vast swathe of rooms.
Awful layout but again off the beaten track so potential to find a room here.
One of the worst laid out pages, but some less hotly contested rooms here.
I’ve left of a few other WG sites because they are so miserable to use and have very few listings. Let me know if you find more useful webpages.
iii) Facebook groups:
These groups tend to have a lot of rooms especially sublets coming up all the time! Check them out
Be aware, not many Germans use this site, and I have friends that have been scammed! Never give money to someone unless they give you keys. I would avoid most of the postings here unless you can meet people and they give you keys! There’s a common scam of people saying they’ll send you keys over Airbnb, don’t do it!
2. Finding Your Own Apartment to Lease
To rent a room , some longterm places will do 15 EUR a night rooms.
Has plenty of fully furnished 1 + bed places from 600-1000 EUR, it’s a great option for 2-6 months before finding an apartment longer term. They take care of all the annoying gas/electricity/internet bills and landlord issues, plus no need for the typical schufa etc documents. They have around 10k apartments over Germany. You can do your anmeldung here also.
iii) WG GESUCHT
Also has a section for wohnung (apartments).
v) The Standard Sites:
These are you main players on the German property market. They have a huge amount of property, but are also highly competitive.
Try some of the lesser known companies too:
3.What You’ll Need to Apply For Apartments:
Be warned it took us 6 months to find a place and your documents really need to be up to scratch!
i)Anmeldung- Registering where you’re living at the time you arrive, you have to go to a Burgeramt. Read the guide here.
ii) Schufa- Basically a German credit score (from here) , unfortunately you need to be registered at the burgeramt (see burgeramt registration). Once you have a registration at a burgeramt and a bank account would help.
iii) Payslips- You need your three most current payslips! You also need to be making 3x the cold rent (kaltmiete). So if you’re a group your combined payslips must be at least 3x times this. Some enterprising individuals have been known to shop their documents, but don’ do that it’s illegal!
Unfortunately its pretty hard to secure a place with overseas payslips, but you can always try! If you have just moved and only have a contract that can work in place of the payslips. Establishing a relationship with the agent can also make all the difference. Be friendly, bring a German speaking friend:
Or email us and we can rent you a pal to go to viewings and help you with the process. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
iv) Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung or Rent arrears- This is a form you can find by googling the above word. You need your past landlord or sublet contract holder to fill this out for you. If you haven’t rented in Berlin before, get your temporary sublet or Airbnb host to fill this out for you.
v) Misc– make sure all forms are perfect, nothing crossed out, scanned well, German landlords are super nit picky.
Kalt oder Warm– Kalt is the apartment without heating or electricity whereas warm can include some or all of these bills ( very rarely is internet included.)
Be sure to ask what is included in your “warm” flat – sometimes it is some of the bills or all. It depends on the heating system of the building and the company you sign with.
Some more terms:
Grundsteuer – covers up costs for local taxes
Beleuchtung – covers up costs of lights in the corridors and stairs
Hausreinigung / Hausmeisterdienst – covers up costs for having a janitor
Gartenpflege – covers up costs for garden and private outdoor spaces maitenance
Abwasser – covers up costs for waste water – sewers
Fahrstuhl – covers up costs for lift maintenance
Schornsteinreinigung – covers up costs for chimney sweepers
4. Furniture for Your New Place
Free your stuff berlin– great for furniture, or random free things- with mostly very helpful and generous users. I got my bed, desk and oven from this page!
Needy Monkey – Borrow tools or services from people in your hood!
Ask Doppel– For further advice about any questions you may have.
Sell your stuff Berlin– Decently priced or free furnishings.
Craiglist has free and for sale sections
Ebay Classified , has much cheaper furniture than many of the second hand stores and operates the same way craigslist does, so no bidding.
1&1 is one of the cheapest and fastest providers- rated highly by German consumer watch. They offer 16mbit/s unlimited for 20 EURO a month with modem for no minimum period.
Kabel Deustchland offers 25 Mbit/s for 25 EURO a month for 24 months.
O2 offer 16 mbit/s for 15 EURO for the first 3 months but it goes up to 30Euro after 3 months.
Congstar offers 16 mbit/s for 25EURO but with no minimum term and free modem rental.
For the best deals its best to check the main providers deals as they are constantly changing. Also be aware some providers take 3-6 weeks to install.
NOTE! Torrenting here is heavily policed if you download a movie or two you can face a huge fine!
Get a VPN that allows you to get around German internet blocks ( it directs your computer’s IP to another country): We use TorGuard for quicker speeds otherwise try:
i) Tunlr a free service that lets you use your BBC Iplayer, or Netflix/ Hulu accounts. It’s a bit slower than the paid services.
ii) VPN Defender is another free service, check it out.
If you need faster speeds, or want access to lots of different countries, check these fairly cheap paid services:
Strom Vergleich is the place to put the companies to the test. It largely varies based on where you are and the size of your Wohnung. Also some companies will only do 24 month deals, Prioenergie offers the cheapest in Neukölln for 12 month contracts.
The cheapest are generally:
- Extra energie (http://en.adklick.net/programs/1682/extraenergie.html)
- Prio energie (Green energy)
- Grunwelt (Green energy)