Searching for a place to live in any part of the world is in most cases a headache. In Germany, the high demand for apartments for rent in Berlin makes finding a place to move into a very frustrating affair. In this article, I’ll share with you some tips to ease your apartment hunting in Berlin.
Let’s get into it.
1. You Will Not Get an Apartment Overnight
To find the right apartment for you will take time and a lot of work. The German Tenants Association says “it can take several months for an individual with a middle-income salary to locate a centrally located flat.” So don’t be in a rush actually the more time you spend apartment hunting the better. Rushing the process could, for example, see you move into an apartment that you hate within days or sign a rent agreement that is not in your favor.
Take time to understand the Berlin rental market, documents required to rent an apartment and how to make a good first impression on potential property managers.
2. Always Be On the Lookout for New Apartment Listings
Because of the high number of people looking for apartments in Berlin competition for the few available houses is stiff. Property managers usually receive many viewing requests from potential tenants immediately after posting their apartment online.
To give you a better chance of getting an apartment check for apartments on offer regularly and aim to be among the first to send a viewing request. Once their mailboxes are full property managers are likely to work on a first come first basis meaning making an early application could make a big difference.
3. Be Ready With Your Paperwork
When you’re invited for a property viewing know that you’re not alone. The property manager has likely selected a dozen or so other candidates to see the property. So you need to give yourself an edge over the rest. One way to do this is to come prepared with the necessary documents required to rent the apartment. Some of the documents to carry along with you to the viewing include:
- Proof of your salary for the last three month. This will show you have a source of income and will be able to pay the rent.
- A copy of your identity card or passport.
- A “Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung” which is a letter from your current landlord to prove you pay rent on time. If you’re moving out from home you could carry a “Mietschuldenfreiheit.” This is a letter indicating you lived rent-free at your previous or current residence.
- A credit rating from your bank will also be important. A positive rating shows the property manager they are unlikely to have a problem collecting rent for you. A negative rating, on the other hand, may make it extremely difficult for you to get an apartment to rent.
4. Do Your Research on a Property Manager
When you move to a new apartment you hope to have a cordial relationship with the property manager. At times having such a relationship can be difficult. Some property managers are rude, dishonest, lazy, etc. To avoid moving into an apartment with a property manager you can’t get along with always do some research on them. Your research may lead you to information about how some property managers in Berlin use tricks con their tenants out of their hard earned money.
5. Call Instead of Sending Emails
Property managers usually get hundreds of emails in regards to their properties. A large number of emails may overwhelm the property agent and they can overlook some. That’s why you should follow up your emails with a phone call just in case your email is overlooked.
By making a call you may be able to set up viewing sooner than via email. When you’re given an opportunity to view an apartment ask these questions:
- Is the property owned by an individual or a property company? When you rent from a private individual be prepared to have your contract cancelled if the owner decides to personally use the apartment.
- Are their plans to modernize the apartment? Any modernization plans could result in higher rent.
- Inquire about the heating and water costs. This will give you an indication of how much more you’ll pay on top of your rent.
6. Don’t Sign Your Rental Contract Immediately
When you find an apartment you love you might be tempted to sign the rental agreement on the spot. Don’t do that. Before signing a contract take it to the Berlin Tenants Association for them to go through it and state it is above board.
Doing this simple action will ensure you don’t enter into an agreement with hidden or unclear additional cost.