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Everything you need to know about housing in Germany
Home is where the heart is. If you’ve just arrived in Germany and are looking at setting up your home, this article is your guide to all things housing in Germany.
Buying or Renting in Germany
Most Germans prefer renting than buying a house, even though they spend close to 30% of their income on rent. One of the main reasons is that German property prices rise very slowly. So if you are new to the country and are thinking of buying a house, research the market thoroughly before making your decision.
If you’re planning on going the German way and want to rent, here are some basics to get you started.
German word English Translation
Markler Real Estate Agent
Mieter Tenant
Vermieter Landlord
Haus Independent House
Wohnung Apartment/Flat
Schlafzimmer Bedroom
Badezimmer Bathroom
Einbauküche Furnished kitchen
Wohnzimmer Living room
Balkon Balcony
The German – English renting vocabulary list
*Budget & Neighbourhood: Spend a little time understanding the different neighbourhoods in your city and what appeals most to your lifestyle. Costs of rentRent is expensive in big cities and that’s why most expats and immigrants opt to live in the suburbs. Allocate a suitable budget for rent based on your monthly financial income.
One option for paying your rent and keeping track of these payments can be done through Rewire. There are many benefits to opening a Rewire account such as personal IBAN account and free international MasterCard for both online and offline purchases. The other bonus for expats here is the multilingual support team (English, German, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tagalog and Hebrew).* Property descriptions: The total area of the apartment is called Wohnfläche and it’s measured in Quadratmeter (square meter). Properties are advertised stating the total number of rooms. This includes bedrooms, living and dining rooms. Bathrooms and kitchens are not included in this count. For e.g. If you are looking for a 2 bedroom apartment, your search will be for a 3 Zimmer Wohnung (3 room apartment).
Almost all apartments in Germany come unfurnished, this also includes the kitchen. So while moving into a new house, you have to spend not only on furniture and closets, but also install a kitchen.
* Rent terminology: If you are seeking the help of a real estate agent or company for your house hunt, then you would have to pay a provision (commission). Although for a cost, you sometimes do get lucky with a good apartment in a good location.
Most properties that are available for rent advertise the Kaltmiete (cold rent). This is the base monthly rent forof the apartment. Nebenkosten (building utility costs) includes water, electricity, garbage disposal and cleaning services. As a tenant, you will be required to pay the base rent, plus utility costs – , this is combination is known as Warmmiete.

It is also mandatory to pay your landlord a Kaution (deposit), and this is the sum of your three months base rent. Your landlord will maintain your deposit in a separate account and is liable to return this amount on terminating the rental contract.
Where to Find Properties in Germany
Below is the list of the most popular property search websites in Germany.
?Immobilienscout24MeinestadtImmoweltWohnungsboerseImmonetEbay-kleinanzeigen*Rewire Tip 1: Do check out your local real estate groups on Facebook. These will include postings from current tenants who are in the process of moving out.
Flats in FrankfurtFlats in BerlinFlats in Hamburg*Rewire Tip 2: Also check your country/community groups on Facebook for rental apartment postings, for e.g. Indians in Frankfurt, Filipinos in Hamburg & Bremen, etc.
Contact the person who has listed the property online and request a termin (appointment) to view the property. In your message, clearly describe why you are interested in the flat and a little bit about your background (where you work and how long you’ve been in Germany).
Here’s a sample letter template to contact property owners in German. Documents Required for Signing Rental Contract.

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It is advisable that you have your documents ready before signing your rental agreement. These are the documents required:-
Passport and Residence Permit
Einkommensnachweis: Your salary slip as a proof of your income for the last 3 months.
Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung: A letter from your previous landlord stating that you have paid your rent on time and don’t have any outstanding rent. In case you have just moved to Germany, then you can include a letter from your employer as proof that you’re employed in Germany.
SCHUFA: Your credit rating. You can get this document online.
Understanding the Rental Contract
The rental contract is a document that contains information regarding the flat, rules of the apartment building, amount of rent and deposit, and the rights of tenant and landlord. This is signed by both parties, agreeing to abide by the terms and conditions stated in the contract.
Everything from clauses on increase of rent and eviction of the tenant before the end date of tenancy will be mentioned in this contract. The contents of this document will be in German and it is advisable to seek help from a German friend or colleague to translate this for you.

If you or the landlord wish to terminate the rental contract, one can do so with a 3- month notice. Landlords are allowed to terminate rental contracts only for with a valid reason.

German laws largely favours the tenant. Pay your rent on time and keep in mind the Hausordnung (rules and regulations) of the apartment and you’ll surely enjoy making your house a home.

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