Looking for a flat
Wether if you are looking for a flat or for a shared-flat (WG), you will have to work hard to get one. It can be complicated depending on where do you wanna live and, sadly, Düsseldorf and Köln are one of those “complicated” places to find a future flat. However, I am going to give you some helpful advices.
First of all, you should know that, here in Germany, flat interviews are really important. So just prepare your best smile (and lot of information about yourself) and go for it! By the way, in this country is really common to rent unfurnished flats (also in the WG rooms). These are the possibilities you will find when looking for an apartment:
1. Unfurnished apartment (the most common thing) – Unmöblierte Wohnung
2.Apartment + kitchen: You will have to buy it to the old renter or you will “buy it” while paying the rent, the price of the kitchen will be included in the rent.
3. Furnished flat: Good luck!! Usually you will have to buy the furniture to the old renter or to the landlord – Möblierte Wohnung
If you are looking for a shared-flat (WG) where you can meet new people I highly recommend this website: http://www.wg-gesucht.de/.
Here you can find all the information related to your future room, including photos, information about which kind of person your future roomies are looking for and the price of the rent.
I recommend you to contact as much WGs as possible. Check first that your hobbies, age, way of life… fit with the requirements of the ad. The more emails you send the more options to get an answer. If you are not good enough speaking german, do not panic! You can always contact people in english, most of them answer.
Rent a flat
Here it comes the difficult part. There are lots of websites, however, the most used is the following one: http://www.immobilienscout24.de/.
To find a flat you have to work hard. The demand is really high in Düsseldorf and Köln, also the prices are increasing rapidly. I recommend you to contact the real state agency by telephone (if possible), because once they have a considerable amount of candidates requests they do not answer more emails.
This time the interview depends on which kind of meeting you have. Sometimes people organize visits which last 15 minutes, other times it can last more than one hour. It depends on how much information you want to obtain about the owner and the flat.
In Germany there are different kind of landlords:
- Private landlords
- Real states
Sometimes the owners of the flats are quite flexible and they allow the renter to accomplish the pre-selection. The other option is that the real states take care of the pre-selection process. In the last case, it is possible that the real state agency carry out an open door day, where they invite 10-20 people to visit the flat at the same time.
If you pass the pre-selection process (congrats!!) it is time for the final process. Now the landlord will decide who will be the next renter basing his decision on thousand of documents which will be required from you.
All the landlords (also for the WG) will ask you about your net income (in many cases they also will ask you for a copy of your work contract). Other documents they will ask you for:
- Auskunft: Documents with personal information like income, family status, bank account…
I know this concept does not exist in countries like France or Spain. The SCHUFA is an official default document. If you are living in Germany since less than 3 years ago you have to ask if you have a SCHUFA or not, it depends on the person. Here you can find more information about it: https://www.schufa.de/de/.
Social Networks are a helpful tool. There are expats groups where people tend to post lot of information. Take a look! It is usual that people post when they leave their flats. Contacting them is a fast way to get a flat visit without waiting for the real state.
Be patient and keep looking! In the meanwhile I wish you good luck!