Tips for finding an apartment in Germany


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In metropolitan areas such as Munich, Berlin or Hamburg, inexpensive apartments in good locations are in short supply. With these tips for finding an apartment, seekers can increase their chances in the competitive housing market.

Low supply, high rents, abundant competition: especially in and around the big cities, looking for an apartment is not a dream. With the following tips for finding an apartment, seekers can still find the perfect apartment and assert themselves against the competition.

Tip 1: Prepare yourself well

There are plenty of tips for finding accommodation, but many people forget the first important point. The starting point of any apartment search is thorough scheduling. Because from the search for an apartment to the award of the contract, weeks sometimes pass. If you want to avoid unnecessary time pressure because the old apartment may already have been given notice, you should start looking for a new place to stay in good time. In principle, tenants should start searching at least three to four months before they plan to move.

For families with children, the summer holidays are often the best time to move, as the children can start the new school year straight away when they change schools. Accordingly, most moves take place in the summer – so many are looking for a new apartment in the spring. For those looking for a place without school-age children, winter would be the best time to look for an apartment, as the competition is less at this time of the year.


When looking for an apartment, preparation is half the battle. Tenants should therefore think carefully before actually searching . Do I want to live as quietly as possible or centrally? Does the apartment have to have a balcony? Do I want a daylight bath?

Tips for finding an apartment

Tip 2: Be ready to make compromises

Seekers should be aware of what they need and what they want to pay for it. Is 100 square meters with a roof terrace in the city center realistic with the set budget? In order to be able to assess this, searchers should know the current rental prices in the area.

One of the most important tips for looking for an apartment is one of the most important tips in metropolitan areas: Tenants should be prepared to lower their expectations and be prepared to compromise. Perhaps the offered apartment does not have a daylight bathroom, but it can score points with a small balcony and proximity to the workplace. Those who are a little flexible can find what they are looking for more quickly.


A list of desired criteria, arranged according to individual preference, rounds off a good preparation. It helps to narrow down the search precisely and still leaves enough room for maneuver.

Tip 3: Use multiple channels

Once all the preparations have been made, the search can begin. Word of mouth, newspaper advertisements, real estate portals or apps – seekers have many options to find their dream apartment. Those who are well connected can, with a lot of luck, get hold of an apartment through hearsay before it is advertised. 

As a rule, rent seekers use the usual channels. The easiest way to explore a wide range of housing offers today is to search real estate portals such as immobilienscout24 and immowelt. Numerous restrictions can be entered here in the search mask: For example, district, rental price, number of square meters, but also desired equipment features such as balcony, cellar or parking space.


Tip 4: Be active yourself

Instead of searching through all channels for new housing offers every day, seekers can also become active themselves. With a personal search ad, you can hope to be found by landlords or brokers. This contains information about the size, location and characteristics of the apartment as well as a brief description of the searcher. With a little luck, a landlord or broker will have a suitable counterpart ready.

Tips for finding an apartment

Tip 5: Correct contact

At some point it happens: the apartment you discover sounds promising, the location is also ideal and the price is right. Seekers therefore want to check directly on site whether the apartment corresponds to the expectations in reality.

In order to get hold of a viewing appointment for the possible dream property, interested parties must get in touch with landlords or brokers. Here, seekers should take into account that brokers and landlords often receive a large number of inquiries every day. Points can therefore be awarded to those who provide the most important information with the first request and who are friendly. 

Tip 6: Score points at the viewing appointment

If the contact is successful and an appointment has been made to view the dream apartment, the anticipation increases. When people looking for an apartment enter the premises, they can be shocked: This is the case when several interested parties are already strolling through the rooms and trying to impress the landlord. But don’t worry, if you arrive well prepared for the appointment, you don’t need to fear the competition and can stand out from the competition:

  • Punctuality, a well-groomed appearance and proper clothing are taken for granted.
  • The top priority when viewing is a minimum of courtesy and decency .
  • Anyone who asks a question to the landlord should also have read the apartment advertisement carefully .

What definitely helps is to have an ace up your sleeve: The so-called application folder is popular with landlords and brokers, which contains documents such as a profile, a letter of motivation, a self-assessment, SCHUFA information and last pay slips in compact form. The applicant portfolio is voluntary, but already symbolizes serious interest when viewing it and can thus increase the chances of winning.

Tip 7: Answer questions

During the viewing, those looking for a rental come into direct contact with the landlord. “Are you moving in alone?”, “What do you do?”, “Do you have a pet?” As a prospective customer, you should expect to be questioned by the landlord. Good preparation can help here. By the way: Potential tenants do not have to reveal anything about themselves – which is why they should arm themselves against inadmissible questions.

Tips for finding an apartment

Tip 8: Check the rental agreement

Whether classic or via app – everyone will find what they are looking for at some point. The apartment seems perfect – the anticipation of moving in increases. Just quickly sign the rental agreement and then you can finally start. But be careful of a hasty signature. The lease should be checked thoroughly in any case, because it is not uncommon for the lines to hide ineffective clauses. Mostly, however, there is only an outdated sample form behind it, which can easily be replaced.

In case of doubt, however, it cannot hurt to have the rental contract checked by a specialist for a small fee. Once all questions have been answered, the signature can be placed without hesitation and nothing stands in the way of a pleasant tenancy.

Tips for finding an apartment: Summary

Every landlord wants to get the perfect applicant for their apartment. A good first impression is important; Suitable documents show you as a tenant who makes payments on time. A well-prepared application portfolio increases your chances on the hotly contested housing market enormously. 

Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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