Many people asked me to share where I found apartments, so this is a comprehensive list of all the information that I gathered while searching for my own apartment in Berlin.
I found my apartment on Immowelt. Immonet is similar. Very useful was also Ebay Kleinanzeigen. Immowelt & Immonet are primarily rented through agencies, but also some private people, while for the latter it’s the more private people than agencies. On Ebay Kleinanzeigen many apartments are also offered with (some) furniture that one can take over for a negotiable price.
Other webpages I used were:
Additionally, I browsed through this Facebook groups (there are many more though!). Naturally, what is offered here is mainly rented through private people and one will find a lot of offers for shared flats and sublets:
Webpages friends recommended, but I didn’t use:
There is also a list of agencies I didn’t use:
Most of the flats I was interested in were either rented out by private people or by the agency Vonovia. While the flats they offer seem great and believe it is a professional organisation, it was notoriously difficult for me to reach the respective agents to arrange viewings. Friends warned me that one needs to compete with many other people during the viewing and often a contract is signed immediately. I didn’t experience that as the only viewing I managed to make with Vonovia was the one where the agent didn’t show up as she forgot to tell me that the flat was already rented out.
Generally, because competition is so high and descisions are made very quick, it is essential that you carry all the important documents (and several copies, so that they won’t run out) with you at all times. Those include:
- Your passport
- Mietschuldenfreiheitsbestätigung: A statement of your former landlord that you don’t have any debts with them
- Your last three paychecks
- The SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft: If you haven’t lived in Germany before, this document will say that there are no entries related to you in their system. While paying 30€ for a document like this might seem like a waste, it still makes a good impression to landlords that you took care of that document and that you don’t have a negative entry.
- Ideally your employment contract
- Any other documents that prove that you will be able to afford the rent are of advantage
Some landlords may require you to fill in an additional form, called Mieterselbstauskunft. This is an example of how it can look like.
How you approch the landlord/ agency can also influence your chances: be friendly and personal. Don’t just write “I am interested in your flat, please write me more information.” Landlords and agencies literally get hundreds of messages for every flat that is posted, so try to imagine, what you would want to read were you in their situation.
Lastly, be aware of scams. There are lots of them cruising around the webpages. I encountered 3 scams, and these are only the cases where I bothered looking into the situation closer. The general rule is, when it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t. If you are still curious and want to test what is behind it, you can go along with the process of exchanging information about the flat. However, as soon as they ask you to transfer money, because allegedly they are abroad and need proof that you can pay before meeting you with the key, DO NOT do it. It is 100% a scam. If you want, report it to the administrator of the website/ FB group or to Airbnb, which the scammers often claim to use for the “safe money transfer”.
Good luck for your flat hunt!
PS: Please let me know if you have more questions. Also, I am curious about your experiences with apartment hunt in Berlin. Do share them here!
Written by Julia Heuritsch | Last edited: 4th May 2018