Living in Berlin is an awesome thing to do. Whether you are in business, freelancing, working online, or simply living the life of a digital nomad, one of the best places to live in Berlin is as close to the city center as possible. This means being amongst the lively atmosphere and bustle of the city, but with easy access to all the best places to eat, drink, meet people and generally have fun.
Many things contribute to finding your perfect apartment in Berlin, including your expat experience and the location itself, but the most important factor is the right approach. Here are 6 secrets you need to know about finding housing in Berlin.
1. How to find accommodation in Berlin
TIP: Don't just rely on Real Estate Agents
The rental market in Berlin is competitive. Traditionally, it’s normal to wait (and pray) on Real Estate Agents to respond to your apartment requests. But this is an old-school mistake. Today, there are plenty of ways to browse through available apartments and rental inventory in Berlin, including Homelike, which currently boasts more than 1,000 apartments – ready and available at your fingertips. This means you can request apartments free of charge and move in right after the request has been approved and the first month paid for.
Instead of connecting with a Real Estate Agent, use your #digitalnomadskills to find your home away from home online.
2. Understanding the quirks of renting an apartment in Germany
No Kitchens Installed?
Germany certainly has a few quirks when it comes to renting apartments. The first major quirk that surprises most expats is that when renting unfurnished houses or apartments they typically do not come with the kitchen. Wait, what?
You might be thinking aren’t tenants entitled to functional kitchen equipment? Actually, the answer is that German landlords are NOT obligated to fit kitchens in apartments before renting them out, but the space that is intended for a kitchen must-have connections for water, electricity, and possibly gas. This means it’s the tenant’s responsibility to organize a kitchen for themselves.
If an apartment already has a kitchen installed, it is also common for the previous owner of the kitchen (ie. the previous tenant) to sell or sometimes rent the kitchen to the new tenant.
However, for Digital Nomads venturing to Berlin, there is an exception to this strange rule. According to the Berlin Housing Supervision Act, all the rented apartments in the German capital must be equipped with cooking facilities and at least one sink. This rule does not apply to apartments and houses for sale, which can be empty.
Whether you’re renting in Berlin or in another city in Europe, Homelike offers apartments with fully-equipped kitchens by default, so you don’t need to worry about bringing the kitchen sink 😉
What does Cold (Kalt) and Warm Rent mean?
Germany is considered to have the most advanced and affordable housing market in Europe. Yeah, really! As you start browsing for apartments to rent you will come across apartments classified as Cold (Kalt) or Warm rent. It might catch you off guard, so let’s break things down for you plain and simple.
There are two kinds of rent in Germany: cold and warm.
Cold rent means that the tenant pays for their own heating, water, electricity, etc., but doesn’t get any other service. In other words, cold rent is just what you owe every month to the landlord and nothing more. All other household expenses you pay yourself.
Warm rent, on the other hand, includes all these services as well as furnished apartments. It could also be classified as an “all-inclusive” rent, such as electricity (“Strom”), gas, or water expenses. It may also include the internet and even TV or Netflix, but this is not typical.
In the case of Homelike, we only offer apartments of the “warm rent” kind. This is so we can deliver the ultimate convenience to you . If you’re unsure whether you want to stay in Berlin for a month or two and then venture off to another city or country altogether, then finding a fully furnished apartment with “warm rent” is going to be a good choice for you.
Either way, whenever you start the rental process make sure you have a sound understanding of the rental contract and what it includes and does not include.
How does Germany count rooms when renting an apartment?
Unlike other countries where the number of rooms an apartment has typically referred to the number of bedrooms — when someone rents an apartment in Germany, every room is considered a “room”. For example, if someone rents an apartment with two bedrooms and one living room, that person will have three rooms. Another example could be that 1 Zimmer (i.e. 1 room) is not a 1 bedroom apartment but a one-room or studio apartment.
The information may differ depending on where you are searching for the apartment, but this is an important one to be aware of so you don’t waste your time looking for the wrong thing.
3. Look For Furnished + All Bills Included (like Internet, Electricity, Gas, Netflix, etc)
“That must be hard to find”, you may ask. Well, it’s not anymore!
Finding furnished apartments means there’s one less thing for you to worry about. Now add the benefit of “all-bills included” and that makes two (BIG) things you no longer need to worry about 😀
Is your lifestyle is all about having the freedom to move when you want in the simplest, most convenient way possible? Do you want to skip the stress of lugging around furniture or worrying about internet installations and gas bills? Instead, you should be able to move to a new place, plug in your laptop, and get to work, just as you would anywhere else.
Oh, and what about having access to a washing machine that’s not a 10-minute walk away down the street?
Homelike has you covered here, too. All of our apartments in Berlin are:
- Fully Furnished
- All-inclusive rental price (this means, no separate monthly bills for you!)
- Have access to a workspace and washing machine
- Fully functional kitchen with enough to make more than just baked beans on toast!
- Provided by Trusted Landlords, and
- No Booking Fee
4. Finding accommodation BEFORE you move is no longer stressful
If you’re new to Berlin, there are a few things you need to do to comply with government regulations. This includes obtaining your Anmeldung and your German health insurance. According to Germany-visa.org, freelancers can choose between public and private health insurance.
The next thing is Anmeldung or residence registration. (for details, see our guide here). To register your address, you need find a signed rental agreement. You cannot use a hotel address for Anmeldung.
Finding suitable accommodation was typically one of the most time-consuming and stressful parts of the moving process.
But, not anymore. Now you have the luxury of choosing as many apartments as you would like to request to book. Once your (free) request is sent, the Landlord will be notified and will respond accordingly. If your request is accepted, then you decide whether you would like to complete the booking process.
Of course, if you’re short on time or simply don’t want to wait for a response, you can even book apartments instantly, meaning you’ll never have to be in the city, joining those long lines of house-hunters competing for your chance to get a foot in the door. Simply select Instant Booking from the search filter options, choose the apartment that meets your needs, and complete your booking. It’s that easy!
So, instead of Couchsurfing to find your feet when you first arrive in your new city, now you can feel at home immediately in your readymade and fully-equipped furnished apartment.
Find Instant Bookable Apartments in:
5. A helping hand when registering your new address (Anmeldung)
Wherever you decide to move to, if you are staying in Berlin for more than 3 months, you’re going to need to register your new address with the local municipality in Berlin. If you don’t speak German (yet) or are just unfamiliar with the bureaucratic process, it can become quite overwhelming.
The resident registration process is otherwise known as Anmeldung in German. The actual paper you receive after registering for your new home address is called Meldebescheinigung. The Meldebescheinigung in Germany is a document that is required for people to register their information with the government. It’s not always legally binding and can be done as a precaution, but it can involve a lot of paperwork and will include personal details such as the person’s address, identification number, marital status, and occupation.
Thankfully with Homelike, you’ll get a helping hand from our Customer Support team and the Landlord of your new apartment, so the new address registration process runs as smoothly as possible.
6. Find the best neighborhoods in Berlin before you move
Just because you’re new in town and willing to experiment doesn’t mean you want to live in the same neighborhood as the next laptop cowboy in Starbucks. You have certain tastes and preferences with where you want to live. You might not even like Starbucks to begin with! 😀
But, if you’re unsure of what neighborhoods would suit you, we’re here to help. We’ve broken down Berlin’s sprawling metropolis into more manageable chunks, giving you an insight into the city’s separate districts.
Whether you want to live in a trendy nightlife hotspot, a gentrified hipster zone, or one of Berlin’s laid-back green areas, we’ve got you covered and will help you work out where to live in Berlin.
No matter the type of person you are or the type of life you’re looking for in Berlin, there will be a perfect district for you. Want to know where to live in Berlin? Our ultimate guide to the best Berlin neighborhoods is for you.
OK, let's recap...
As the savvy Relocation Expert that you are, now you know you have:
With all of the above, we’re confident you can finally cross out the following urban legends:
1. Finding a place in Berlin can be challenging
2. Finding a place to live in Berlin can take a lot of time
3. Finding a place to live in Berlin can be frustrating
4. Finding a place to live in Berlin might break the bank
5. Finding a place to live in Berlin to work remotely is a huge hassle
We hope these 6 Secrets To Finding An Apartment In Berlin has helped you in your journey to your next destination.