You finally found your first apartment in Germany! Here is a checklist for the perfect start


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You are moving into your first apartment in Germany. That means regulations, decorations and countless other things. Here is the ultimate first apartment checklist for you.

Don’t get me wrong, but hostels, hotels and Airbnbs are fun! However, you now have a new apartment in Germany! Whether there is another reason to stand on your own two feet from now on, your first apartment is always a special event. Use the checklist below to help you to keep track of the many to-dos that are pending now.

Before moving into your first apartment

Before you can move into your first apartment, you first have to find a suitable apartment. Finding apartments in some of the bigger cities in Germany is not that easy.  You are bound to encounter what everyone else encounters:

  • There are housing shortages
  • Rising rental prices
  • Mass viewing appointments with 100 other interested parties

So it’s worth learning how to look for an apartment in Germany where you will learn:

  • how to discover the ideal apartment,
  • how you stand out from the crowd,
  • what you should pay attention to when viewing the apartment.
first apartment

Do you have the confirmation? Congratulations!

The first apartment of your own is within your grasp and of course the anticipation is huge. But first the rental agreement has to be signed. It is important that you study this carefully before signing:

  • How much is the rental deposit?
  • Which services are covered by the ancillary costs?
  • What is the notice period in case you want to move out again?

The apartment handover

Often times, the lease is signed when the apartment is handed over. You will not only be given the keys for the front door, the apartment door, the cellar and the mailbox. 

At the handover

  • record defects in the apartment in a handover protocol with the landlord,
  • note down the current meter readings for electricity, water and, if necessary, gas,
  • ask for the confirmation of the accommodation provider, which you should present to the residents’ registration office within 2 weeks.

If it is contractually required by the landlord or if you wish it yourself, you can paint the walls in the next few days. This is much easier now – in the still empty apartment – than after moving.

first apartment

Planning your must-haves and nice-to-have list of things to get for your first apartment

Before you move into your first apartment, you should plan what things you absolutely need or want in your new four walls. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down.

  • which things from your previous household are no longer needed,
  • what you have to bring with you from the old apartment,
  • what can be taken over in the new apartment,
  • what has to be procured fresh (as a new purchase or used goods from the advertising market).

Don’t rush to IKEA before you have made the list!

first apartment

Planning your moving-in day

Moving into your first apartment is difficult on your own. Ask friends, acquaintances or colleagues in good time whether they will help you. With enough people, the effort for each individual is low and the move is even fun. Of course, you can also contact a moving company. 

In any case it belongs to

  • to take care of the transport vehicle in good time (rental vans, borrowing vans from friends or hiring a moving company),
  • To organize a well-located unloading area for the moving van in advance (for this it is best to apply for a so-called “no-hold-on-demand ban” from the city for a fee),
  • to provide sufficient provisions (e.g. with sandwiches and a “we-did-it-beer”).
first apartment

So you are finally moved in!

The last box was dragged into the new apartment, all helpers toast, exhausted but satisfied. The move is done! The next few days will be about furnishing the apartment according to your own ideas. Should the lamp be in the hallway or rather in the living room? Where does the big plant come into its own best? 

Now that you have finally arrived, don’t forget the following:

  • the registration or re-registration at the residents’ registration office (take your identity card and home owner’s certificate with you!),
  • Change addresses
  • Cleaning and disposal
  • Regulate finances
  • Update subscriptions and memberships
  • Switch utilities
  • Make your new apartment your home
Tim Gumbert
Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.


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