How to find a place to live in Berlin

Flat in Berlin MitteBerlin is a huge city and finding a place to live isn’t very difficult if you’re open to trying out all the different neighbourhoods, and not just the cluster inside the ringbahn (the train that goes around the major points of the city, in a circle). The property market in Berlin is very competitive, and rents are still lower here than in the rest of the country or any other European capital. However, they are going up at a really fast pace, so if you’re planning to move here because it’s a city where you can have a good quality of life on a low budget, then you better hurry and move soon.

Although there are some houses with gardens and picket fences on the outskirts, in the city itself most housing comes in the form of five storey buildings that have been renovated and divided into flats. These beautiful homes, mostly previously destroyed during the war, offer high ceilings, spacious rooms, beautiful floors, and a lot of character. If you’re into a more standardized place to live, there are also many new building projects, where you can find a modern living space waiting for its first inhabitants.

Finding places to live in Berlin

Checking for flats and houses online is the easiest and fastest way to find a place in Berlin. You can search for flats and houses, based on your exact requirements (such as budget, amount of rooms) on websites like Immowelt, Immonet, Immobilienscout24, Wg-gesucht, and Studenten-wg. Then you show up for the viewing, possibly queue up until it’s your turn to go inside for a look, and then leave your contact details and personal info with the estate agent in charge. And if you are lucky you will get a call after a couple of days and get the appartment.

How to get an appartment in Berlin

However, you have to keep in mind that competition is really high, and out of the 50 people who show up for these viewings, the one who will get to call the place home will be the person who provides all the information required by the estate agents, including working contract (preferably unlimited, and P.S. give your job title an interesting name, i.e. if you’re a secretary, call yourself a CEO’s PA; if you’re a freelance writer, call yourself a Published Author – you get the gist), bank statements showing proof of salary receipt for the last 3 months, a valid Schufa (a credit report, easily attained at one of the appointed branches that can be found all over the city), and maybe a letter from a guarantor, if you want to increase your chances of getting the place.

Have all information complete for the house viewing

People will stop at nothing to get the place of their dreams, so you shouldn’t, either. Dress nicely for the viewing, be friendly and polite, shake the estate agent’s hand, and make sure to hand them a copy of all your documents in person at the viewing, and follow it up by emailing them again to the agency as soon as you get home. Did anybody say houserassment? That’s right. Fight for that place. It will be the setting of your new life in Berlin. Continue reading if you are not sure which neighbourhood in Berlin suits you best.