Flats, houses and rooms in Berlin with no provision- Search for provision-free, cheap, apartment in Germany
Berlin real estate company for foreigners
Me and family moved to Berlin few years ago. One of the main problem that we faced when we moved here was to find a nice apartment. One of the challenge was the language, we spoke only broken German. The culture was another problem - it is not very easy for foreigners to get an apartment. In addition, there is also a lot of paper work to be done, for just applying for an apartment.
In this article, I like to address two questions
- How to search for an apartment in Berlin?
- What to look for while selecting an apartment?
1. How to search for an apartment?
Step1: Most of the best apartments are advertised in the websiteImmobilien Scout 24. You can register and search for an apartment. The website is in German but a dictionary is more than enough to get the key words ( apartment, rent, cost). In Germany rent has two parts, warm and cold. Cold rent is fixed. Warm rent varies depending on the cost of heating, garbage, parking, lift and so on. Just remember that neither warm or cold includes the cost of electricity, which you have to pay extra to companies likeVattenfall. If you has gas heating, then you have to pay for gas company , for instance Gasag too.
The problem with Immobilien Scout 24 is that the person who put the advertisement has to pay, so what private people do, is to advertise in newspapers or in websites like Studenten-WG. These apartments will be cheaper too.
While looking for an apartment you should be careful about a term called 'Provision'. This is the commission for the agent. It is usually 3 times the cold rent. Around 600 Euro. We never gave Provision to get an apartment, because we took directly from the owners or from companies that give apartments as ' Provision- free'.
If you are catholic or protestant and go to Church in Berlin, ask the priest, if the church owns some apartment and if there is anything free. Believe me, this is the most easiest and cheapest way to get an apartment for foreigners. More over you can trust that you won't be cheated. I know that Catholic church owns a lot of apartments in Berlin.
Step2: Get in touch with the house owner.
If you send an email in English that you are interested in the apartment, you may not get a reply back or get a negative reply. If you get a reply, you should suspect that there is something wrong in the apartment. This was our experience.
So either you can use Google translate and send an email or ask some of your German speaking colleague to make a call for you. People here are either shy to speak English (younger generation) or don't know English or very arrogant and want you to first learn German. In our case, some of our German friends made a call for us.
Berlin property prices are sky rocketing
2. What to look for while taking an apartment
a) Neighborhood: Some rich areas in Berlin are Charlottenberg, Prenzlaurberg, Mitte, Pankow and south of Berlin. This means, you will find it difficult to get cheap food and other items. As far as I know, one of the best place to live in Berlin is around Gesundbrunnen Center. On one side of the center is like a little Turkey and other side pure German. Shopping and apartments are cheaper in the Turkey area (This is in the Wedding district). The German dominated area is the Pankow and Prenlauerberg ares. Gesundbrunnen Center is in the 'Wedding-Pankow-Prenlaurberg' border. Thus you can get the advantage of all these districts. More over 'Berlin wall' is just walking distance from Gesundbrunnen Center. Btw Gesundbrunnen Center is a shopping center and Train stop.
b) How old is the apartment?
You can find apartments in Berlin build in 1890s. The older apartments are cheaper than new ones. I prefer old apartments. We presently live in a church apartment build in 1900. It has tall ceilings and big windows and floors made of pure wood (not from Ikea:-))
c ) MOLD
One of the main problem with Berlin apartments is MOLD in the wall. According to the contract, you may be asked to open the windows for 10 - 20 minutes every day. In German they call it 'Shimmel'. One week after we moved into our last apartment there were molds in the walls. Later it spread to all the rooms, including bedroom. It was horrible !!. Some people suggest to take humidity meters with you when you go for looking for an apartment.
We wish you good luck in finding a nice apartment. I will continue writing about different experiences in Berlin. Stay tuned on.
More hubs about apartments in Berlin
- Private Single, family and student apartment or housing in Berlin, Germany - Basic German for foreig
Berlin is an international city and many foreigners come to Berlin for work, study and travel. For those coming to Berlin for work or for study may find it daunting to find an apartment in Berlin. One of the main problem people face is the language.
Step3: Apartment visit
You may be given a date and tell that there will be public showing of the apartment. When you go take with you the following documents. 1. Passport copy and original, 2. Last 3 months salary papers or employment paper (copy) , 3. If possible, a letter from your previous house owner that you have paid all their rents 4. SHUFA ( ask some of your German friends, they will help you get this paper).5. Your German bank card ( they need the account number and bank number so that they can take the rent directly from the account)
I suggested you to take all the documents with you because it increases your chance to get the apartment. Just remember one thing, the house owners prefer Germans over foreigners. But they are also lazy. So if you have all the papers ready and tell you are interested, sometime he will ask you if you want to sign the contract on that day. NEVER SIGN THE CONTRACT WITHOUT READING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Everything will be in German. So politely tell him that you like to read it before signing it, so take the contract papers with you and ask some of your German friends to see if there is anything unusual in the contract.
TRAP: When you sign the contract, ask clearly how many months before you have to inform them before you leave. For most of the apartments it is 3 months advance notice. For some apartments, according to the contract you have to stay there for first one year, only then you can move. This is a big TRAP. Never take such an apartment.
Do you need help to find the apartment in Berlin?
If you have specific questions or need help to find the apartment/flat in Berlin, send an email to me. On the top right there is an option to send the message. I will try to reply back as early as possible