This is the second chapter from the Landing Pad’s “Moving to Berlin Guide” about what to do when moving to the German capital, and in which order.
Once you have your paperwork in order, finding and getting an apartment is the next challenge. See PART 1 “The Paperwork” here.
Finding an Apartment:
PART 2 – Getting a Long Term Lease.
Unfortunately gone are the times it was easy to find a flat to rent in Berlin. Due to gentrification and popularity of the german capital in the last years, rents are rising, as is the competition with other applicants. On a more positive note, it is still is however, easier and more affordable than in other european capitals like London or Paris.
As with most challenges relocating to a new city, with organisation, patience and perseverance, and depending on your financial situation and how selective you are, you should be able to find a new home between two weeks to three months.
You may consider (especially if you have a family) renting a furnished apartment for 2-3 months while you search for a long term lease. See below for tips on where to find furnished apartments.
The search begins
Consider your preferred neighbourhoods. I suggest keeping a few options open to keep your search broader and up your chances of finding somewhere suitable. Next determine what your budget is and how many rooms you need, and you’re set to go.
Here are the designated websites for your home search in Berlin.
These three are the main websites in order of importance. I recommend registering with all three and setting your account up to get hourly recommendations fitting your search mask. It is imperative that you act fast. As soon as something comes up that may be of interest to you, contact the estate agent to request a viewing. In some cases I also recommend saving a PDF view of the exposé, especially for the smaller apartments, as they tend to be taken off the web in a matter of hours as the agents try to avoid being over run by requests or having too many people showing up to one viewing.
Most entries on these websites are likely to be on one of the other three above as well.
If you are on Facebook there are several English speaking relevant expat groups you should follow. In the groups you find mainly furnished temporary apartments, sublets, or someone looking for a “Nachmieter” but also long term leases. In the case of a Nachmieter, the tenant is looking for a new tenant to take over their contract and it usually involves the tenant wanting to sell you their furniture or kitchen. Unfortunately because of the desperate situation some people are in to get an apartment, there are people out there taking advantage, so be wary of being swindled.
In some of these groups you will also find long term leases:
This option is seriously worth considering to make for a smooth relocation to Berlin. Renting a furnished apartment for 1-3 months whilst you search for a long term lease can take a bit of stress out of the situation. Of course these apartments are more expensive, but all costs are included. There is a fee to be paid to the agencies – either a percentage of the total time you rent from them, or a fee included in the rent. These websites are in English and the customer service representatives will also speak English.
If you are having difficulty navigating the system or have some specific questions about how to go about your home search, you can book a Skype consultation with me here. I also offer full service relocation packages, with more information on that here.
Best of luck to you and stay tuned for the next chapter of the Landing Pad’s “Moving to Berlin Guide”.
Contribution by Emily Archer, founder of Landing Pad Berlin, an organisation on a mission to help internationals feel settled and at home, and get the most out of their experience living and working in the German capital. Emily is Managing Director at Archer Relocation.
Emily Archer is a Relocation Consultant and your first new friend in Berlin. Originally from Australia, Emily lived in Melbourne, Sydney and Barcelona before moving to Munich in 1999. Resident to Berlin since 2003, Emily has now been in Germany for more than 18 years. Emily founded Archer Relocation early 2015 desiring to use her first hand experience and professional skills to assist fellow expats moving to Berlin. Archer Relocation offers the services you need to make your arrival in Berlin a smooth one, including home search, bureaucracy, immigration, and family assistance.
Meet Emily at the next Landing Pad Event and get all your relocation questions answered.