Tips On Navigating The German Housing Market And Finding Your Ideal Home

If you plan on moving to Germany, then it is essential that you figure out your accommodation. Lack of accommodation will negatively impact your resident permit applications as well as visa extensions. The German real estate market is vibrant with its complexities and nuances. As such, you need to ensure you can navigate it, especially as a foreigner.  Here is how to ensure you have a smooth home-renting experience in Germany.

Have a budget

Before you get started with house hunting, you first need to ensure you can afford it.  Properties in Germany range in price depending on their size and location. Once you have a budget in mind, you can then look up apartments or homes that are within your budget and in a location of your choice. 

Know the types of apartments available

There are different types of homes in Germany and it helps to know where you would want to live.  Here are the main types most foreigners go for:

  • Studios. These are one room apartments perfect for single people moving to Germany. They come furnished with a bed, desk, and a chair.
  • Shared apartments. These are popular amongst students and young professionals. You get a bedroom to yourself but share the common areas in the home like the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. They are perfect if you relocate with friends or have people you want to live in close proximity with.
  • Family apartments. They are perfect for you if you have family or a larger group of friends. Often consist of two bedrooms and large living areas.
  • Luxury apartments.  These apartments are found in big cities in Germany. They come furnished and with all utilities. 

Finding an apartment

Most people looking for an apartment in Germany will do so on websites. Since you are a foreigner, it is important that you look out for phishing scams as well as con artists. Always check out reputable sites or get an agent to help you with the search. To ensure you are getting a good deal, here are some tips for working with agents in Germany.

  • Work with reputable sales agents and be on the lookout for fakes, that will ensure you do not get scammed. 
  • Never pay in advance for property viewings or deposits on a home you have yet to view. 
  • Do not give a copy of your ID to agents unless you can verify their legitimacy. Your details can be wrongfully used.
  • If you have reason to think you have been scammed, file a complaint with the police and inform your bank to reverse the payment.

Websites like Immonet and Immowelt are reputable when it comes to searching for property. If you are unsure of where to start, then this is a good place to start.

Rental laws in Germany

One thing you need to remember is that there are laws governing renting property in Germany. In knowing what they are, you ensure you have the necessary paperwork to get property. 

Aside from the rental market being competitive, you also need to know about cold rent (Kaltmiete) and warm rent (Warmmiete). Cold rent is the base price of an apartment, while warm rent is the total monthly price inclusive of utilities and any other fees.  Always ensure you know what the rent is before signing a lease, lest you be surprised.

There are no statutory laws on how many months a lease would be but most landlords would ask for a lease that is 6 months to a year.  If you need a shorter lease period, then talk to your landlord before signing. You also need to remember that you have to give at least 3 months’ notice prior to ending your lease and moving out before the time is up.

Rental laws state that tenants are allowed to maintain their privacy. Your landlord, cannot therefore enter your home without prior notification, nor can they change your unit without letting you know.  Always ensure you ask for a written rules and regulations list before leasing an apartment. They will help ensure that you are not paying any penalties or being asked to vacate because you did something contrary.

Another rule you need to abide by is the noise pollution rule. House parties going late into the night or playing loud music are not allowed on residential properties. If you do not follow these rules, then other tenants can have you reported.

Germany has a fee called (Mietkaution) which refers to the deposit you have to pay on your home. It is usually here for months of cold rent. If the fee is too high, you can always request to pay it in installments. Ensure you have this agreement in writing before signing the lease.

Another thing you need to remember is to ask for all the rules regarding rent payments. Some landlords can be very strict when it comes to this, and if you delay, you end up paying very high fees. 

Ensure you have liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) to protect you from property damage and legal fees.  The cost is usually reasonable, but it is essential when renting a property.

Landlords will use your credit score to determine whether or not to lease you the apartment. Make sure you know what your credit score is before you go home. Also bear in mind that you might need to get a guarantor for the agreement, like a close relative or a friend.

    Once you find a home you like, ensure you have all the necessary paperwork at hand. It will go a long way toward ensuring the process is smooth. Where in doubt, talk to any expats, especially those from their country, since they can offer more insight on the entire process.

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