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Flat-Hunting in Berlin


Guide for Moving to Berlin 

(Step Two)
Flat-Hunting Berlin

Part II: Flat-Hunting In Berlin

Now that you’ve found your short-term sublet and you are physically living in Berlin (read part one), buckle down and get ready for the hard work. There are several different sites where you can search available apartments; some are better than others and I will share my experiences so that you have a good idea where to start. First, be aware that scammers are a HUGE issue in the Berlin housing market and they continually manage to scam people out of their hard-earned money so I feel an obligation to share what to watch out for so that you can avoid this situation.  

(1) Only use official, professional sites to find an apartment;

(2) NEVER send money via wire transfer WITHOUT PHYSICALLY ENTERING THE APARTMENT AND SEEING IT FOR YOURSELF;

(3) If you ever get an email reply that starts with, “Thanks for the email; I am renting the apartment because I no longer live in the Berlin/Germany area,” THIS IS A FLASHING RED WARNING SIGN;

(4) NEVER SEND MONEY VIA WIRE TRANSFER OR SEND COPIES OF YOUR ID/PASSPORT OR ACCOUNT INFORMATION.

As obvious as some of these seem, you’d be shocked at how many people are constantly getting scammed here in Berlin; in fact, I’ve just read yet another account on a Facebook ex pat female group that was written by an American female who arrived late at night from her international flight and made her way to the apartment address she had paid for via wire transfer, only to find that the apartment address didn’t exist. This is only one account of multiple I have read about in the 8 months I’ve lived in Berlin. 

Now that I’ve covered scams and have listed out the things to be aware of, we can move into the meat of this blog post- the best of the apartment websites all the way to the not-worth-your-time sites.  

Berlin

My experience with these sites is that there are two main sites for apartment/flat hunting: immobilienscout24.de and immowelt.de; I had ok luck with immobilienscout and great luck with immowelt. My insight is that the majority of agents and landlords use these two sites, but more reliable agents seem to use immowelt. I actually found my apartment using immowelt.de and went to multiple viewings and showings via immowelt than immobielienscout- I received far more email replies from agents using immowelt. I highly recommend this site over all the others available, including all of the Facebook pages.  

Remember that this information I am sharing is coming from me alone, I don’t work for or get any money for advertising these sites. Also, my requirements for housing is possibly different than yours; this beginning information is for entire apartments that you will rent yourself, but if sharing an apartment by renting a room rather than the entire place is what you want, there are plenty of search options available for those types of places. I will list these search engines at the end of the post, but I can’t speak to any of them or which is best because I didn’t use those sites. 

I moved to Berlin with my animals and I’m older than many who move here (I’m in my 40s) and I had absolutely no interest in sharing a space with strangers. I’ve done that in my life during my college years, and while I recognize how invaluable an experience that can be, I’m beyond it as an adult female who likes peace and quiet and having my own space. I experienced my fair share of scammers responding to my emails, but I noticed that it occurred in higher numbers when I used immobilienscout24 and I never had it happen using immowelt.

There are multiple agents in town that list available housing options; you can do a google search and find these websites; there are also multiple Facebook pages dedicated to flat searches. On Facebook you can search for “flats in Berlin,” or other combinations to find all the different groups. I would recommend staying away from Craigslist because I’ve heard it’s full of scammers and I have not heard of anyone being successful finding a flat using Craigslist. 

There is also ebay-kleinanzeigen.de where people list available flats; I never used this site and can’t share any tips or insights regarding it. Now, if you are interested in finding a shared apartment the web site I have heard very good things about is called, wg-gesucht.de. As you can see, there are a lot of options here for flat-hunting. The main things are that you need to be smart, watch out for scammers, and be prepared for a long hard slog before you find an apartment. 

I was remarkably lucky with my search and found an amazing apartment in my price range and approved me to get the flat- my search took all of two months total once I was here in Berlin. But many, many people share their stories of spending close to a year searching for an apartment and getting one; others relate how they keep moving from sublet to sublet every few weeks to a month because they haven’t been successful- this is why many opt to enter a WG and rent a room in an apartment. Either way, you need to make sure that it is all legal and aboveboard and be aware that you are competing against a multitude of other people for a great apartment. 

In my next blog posts I will cover the required paperwork needed for the apartment search and information regarding the Anmeldung (residence registration) that you’ve possibly heard people complaining about before (read here). 


About
Tres C is an American who’s lived and worked all over the world and who has traveled extensively. She moved to Berlin in July 2017 with her dogs; she’s excited to share her hard earned knowledge about relocating to Berlin through her writing on this blog.

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