Finding a place to live in Germany is one of the least fun experiences I’ve been through in my life. I naively thought that it would be like where I am from and I could walk into an open house say, “I want this place,” and then I could rent it. I was completely wrong.
It took my boyfriend and I six months to find an apartment in Hamburg, Germany. When we finally did find a place it was only because we had connections.
Because there is such a shortage of apartment in most of the major cities in Germany you can expect to go to an open house and have about 30 other people looking at the same place as you are. If you tell the real estate agent you are interested in that place they will then ask you for your credit record and proof of how much money you are making. Unless you have the best credit score and highest salary of every person looking at that particular place, you will not get the apartment.
There are a few things you can do to make this process a bit easier.
When you first move to Germany I suggest staying in a temporary sublet. You may have some competition, but it won’t be nearly as bad as the experience I mentioned above. The two best sites I have come across for this are Ebay-Kleinanzeigen and WG-Gesucht.
Is like the German version of Craigslist. WG- Gesucht is for shared apartment. You can find tons of short-term rentals and single rooms in a shared apartment listed on both of these sites. The other great thing is it is typically not too difficult to find a furnished place on these sites.
I have a friend who had no problem finding a room before he arrived in Germany using these sites. He talked to the renters over Skype, they liked him, and he moved straight in when he arrived in Germany. He had a three month contract which gave him enough time to search for a more permanent place.
Finding an apartment becomes a lot easier when you have connections. Someone will always know somebody else that has a place that they are about to rent. If you don’t have any connections I suggest posting on Toytown Germany that you are looking for a place. If you are lucky some nice person will respond with some possible apartments. If you are a woman join the Girls Gone International group on Facebook and post on there that you are looking for a place.
As far as long term apartments I would suggest checking out Immonet and ImmobilianScout 24. There are tons of new apartments posted each day, but as I said before you can expect to see ALOT of places before someone actually accepts you as a new tenant.
I hope this helps. If you need info about the visa process you can read about my experiences here. Best of luck and write to me if you have any questions.