After graduating with my Master’s degree, I felt like I was moving into a new stage of my life. I’m no longer a student. I will soon begin a full-time job. I’m married!
To mark this new stage of life, I also decided it was time to move. So, that’s what I did!

Unfortunately, I live in a very popular city where there are a lot more people looking to rent apartments than there are apartments to rent. With a little patience and a lot of luck, however, I was able to find an amazing apartment.

Here is how I did it:

SEARCH ONLINE
The two most popular real estate websites in Germany are immobilienscout24 and immonet. Realtors and landlords often upload their listings to both websites, but sometimes they only use one or the other.

So, I checked both. Multiple times per day. And as soon as I saw an apartment I liked, I (in reality, my husband) either emailed the realtor/landlord or called them directly to set up a viewing.

MONEY TALKS

In a market where there are more renters than rentals, it can be hard to even get a viewing. After contacting a realtor or landlord, we were usually first required to fill out a form with information such as job, income, and nationality. The realtor would then obviously decide who gets to view the apartment based on these various factors.
VIEW & APPLY
In November, I was going to at least two viewings per week (while also finishing my Master’s thesis and planning a wedding). For 4 of the apartments that we viewed, we submitted an application. Here is a small overview of each of those apartments:
Apartment 1: Neubau
Pros: brand new, 2 bedrooms, ground floor with private garden
Cons: no grocery store within walking distance, far away from the city center & the university
Apartment 2: Uni-Nah
Pros: brand new, close to the university (where Marco works), ground floor with private garden
Cons: 1 bedroom, required a 5-year contract
Apartment 3: Stint
Pros: centrally located, huge balcony with a view of the river, floor heating, parking garage
Cons: 1 bedroom, over-budget
Apartment 4: Altbau
Pros: newly-renovated Altbau, 2 bedrooms, 3 stories, shared-use garden
Cons: no parking, located on the 3rd-5th floors
We didn’t get apartment #1. Before we got an answer from #2, we called the realtor to tell her that we weren’t willing to sign a 5-year contract. We did get #3, and Marco was ready to sign the contract, but it didn’t feel right to me, so we declined.
The last apartment we applied for was #4. Since there were so many great applications, however, the owner of the building wanted to interview the top 3 applicants. We had our interview on December 27 – just three days before our wedding. On December 28, we got the call that the apartment was ours.
On the day we signed the contract, our landlord actually told us that he chose us because of the romantic notion that we would be moving in just after our wedding 🙂

TIMING
The biggest issue when moving within Germany is getting the timing right. The standard rental contract in Germany requires a 3-month termination notice. However, most of the apartments that we came across wanted someone that could move in within 2 months.

Luckily, the rental market moves so fast in our city. So, we were able to get out of our old apartment and moved into our new apartment less than 2 months after signing our new lease and terminating our old one.

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And that’s it! Now we are living in a beautiful Altbauwohnung built in 1462! Since the apartment is so special, I am actually thinking of making an apartment tour video to show it off 😉

Leave a comment below if you want to see a video tour of the apartment!