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Accommodation in Germany

Finding the perfect apartment in Germany can be a bit of challenge. You have many options depending on your budget and personality.

Do you prefer to live alone and have complete privacy? Then renting a single room apartment is the best choice. You are young and looking to make new friends and build new connections? Then you would be better suited for a WG, you will definitely have fun.

Germans tend to rent a flat instead of buying one, especially in towns and cities. Houses are mostly common in villages and on the outskirts of smaller towns. The country offers a wide range of rental opportunities.

Table of Contents

Before you rent

Before making the decision to rent an apartment, you have to check how far it is from your university. It is true that you can reach almost anywhere in a German city with public Transport, but spending 2 hours a day only in transportation is not a clever decision, after a few months you will get tired and may have to reduce your sleeping hours to get the rest of work done. Try to look for an accommodation that is 30 minutes away or less from your university.

What to look for in an apartment ?

You found a nice neighbourhood, perfect now what to look for in the apartment?

Again it depends on your personality. But let’s be realistic, you need only the basics bed, study desk, chair, wardrobe, fridge, stove and bathroom. Some rooms and apartment are rented without furniture, you just get 4 walls, floor and bathroom. You will have to buy everything (I don’t recommend that, if you are new in Germany.)

From personal experience, If the apartment has a kitchen with a stove, a washing machine, a bathroom and an empty room for you. Go for it. Buying a bed, a mattress and other accessories will surely cost some money, but not nearly as much as buying a new kitchen.

I moved out 8 times in 4 years. My Rule Of Thumb is “The less you have the better.” You are in Germany to study, keep your life simple, you are not at home anymore, you need a quiet place to focus on your studies. After graduation and having a plan in mind of where you are want to live and which job you want to have, then you can have your own apartment and get what you want.

Stay focused on what really matters.

WG

Wohngemeinschaft (WG) is very popular in Germany. The concept is simple, a group of people rent an apartment together and share the kitchen, Bathroom and living room. If this is a new experience for you, you will get used to it. There will be an interview anyway to see, if all of you can live together.

Single Room Apartment

You may prefer to live alone, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. I can definitely relate!

I lived in a couple WGs, one with 3 Persons and one with 5 Persons, had good experiences and bad ones too and also lived alone in a single room apartment.

Which one was the best?

I had fun living in a WG as well as alone, each option has its advantages and disadvantages. I met a lot of new people, heard a lot of crazy and funny stories, built up a strong network, made some wonderful friends that I can trust (You will surely love them, if you meet them!). I had fun! But now I prefer to live alone, I don’t get disrupted and I can focus on my work and be more productive.

Studentenwohnheim

Germany offers this great option of living for students. They provide small rooms and WGs for rent for student. The whole residence of the building is made up of fellow students. I lived once in such room for 1 year, the rent was only €205. I didn’t have much in the room though, just a bed, a desk, a bathroom, a fridge, a wardrobe and a small gas stove. I had to go to the basement, paying €2 for washing and €1 drying.

The worst disadvantage was the location. I needed 1 hour and a half to get to university and another hour and a half to come back. Another disadvantage is that it is really difficult to find a room in a Studentenwohnheim, you must be enrolled in a university and apply for a room and you may be on a waiting list for 2 years.

Rent Average Price

The following table contain prices for WG and Single Room apartment in big German cities.

The prices represent averages, you can find apartments that are less or more expensive. These are the average prices for March 2020.

Berlin München Frankfurt Hamburg Stuttgard Köln
WG €550 €650 €500 €450 €470 €450
Single Room Apartment €930 €1,200 €950 €890 €900 €800

Apartment Contract

Now the serious part kicks in. May I have you ATTENTION please!

Rule Number 1: Read your contract very carefully and take your time while reading it. You have the right to take your time and ask questions, if something is not clear.

Rule Number 2: Look if the contract is open or limited, when you should give or get a notice before moving out of the apartment. If it is less than three months notice, try to renegotiate the terms.

Rule Number 3: Check if the rent is Kaltmiete or Warmmiete, if it is Kaltmiete your utilities’ costs will not be included in the rent and Warmmiete is the opposite (all inclusive). Kaltmiete price must be included in the contract eitherway.

Rule Number 4: You will pay “Kaution” (Security deposit), the landlord is the one deciding the price. Usually you pay 3 months upfront of your Kaltmiete or around €1,000. You can always renegotiate the Kaution, if it is too high. Make sure before paying it that the Kaution is also included in the contract and see the term, when will you receive it back. Normally you get it back after 1-2 months, but a lot of people reported that their contracts state they will receive their deposit back after 6 months. Take Care!!

Rule Number 5: Never rent an apartment without a contract, you won’t be able to register in the Bürgeramt (Citizen Office), this document is necessary to activate your bank account and receive your bank card as well as important documents.

Buying Furniture & Equipments

So you found only an unfurnished apartment. Not a problem at all.  Then where to buy stuff?

You can check for second-hand furniture on E-bay kleinanzeigen as a first option, there you will find things for an affordable price for example studying desk, chair, beds etc.

Open your Facebook account, type in search free give away in ….. (your city). Some people don’t have room for a piece of furniture and it is in a good condition, you just have to pick it up. If you live in Berlin you will find those type of groups and also Free Advice In Berlin, check it out!

If you choose the option of buying new furniture, Ekea is the best place to go. You will find everything you need for your new room. You will have to assemble the parts of the furniture. You will also need to buy some tools.

Again keep in mind, stick to the basics.

The Golden Rules

  1. Look for an apartment not far than 30 minutes from your University.
  2. It is okay to rent an unfurnished room or apartment, don’t panic.
  3. Read and understand your contract well, before signing it.
  4. Simplify your life, you don’t need as many things as you think!

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