New city. New job. It's also important to have a nice new home where you feel comfortable.

Be it a one-room flat, a room in a shared flat, your own flat or a house - classifieds in local daily newspapers, on the Internet or an agent can help with the search for a new home. Here are some tips for house hunting in Bavaria.

A young man sits at a breakfast table, reading the newspaper. He is holding a cup of coffee in one hand.
Your dream flat can be found without a rush over tea or coffee using the Saturday newspaper. © fotolia.com/nyul

Quick and clear: Online searches

An increasing number of housing hunters make use of the various online service providers, such as Immobilienscout 24 (website in German), Immonet (website in German) or Wohnmatch (website in German), to find the right home. The advantages:

  • You can search from anywhere in the world
  • The search screens help to filter for postings matching your requirements
  • You can use photos and floor plans to form an idea of what the housing looks like without having to go there
  • There is often an option for subscribing to a newsletter that will inform you about new offers

Always worth a look: Local newspapers

In addition to online announcements, studying classifieds in newspapers is also worthwhile. Most real estate classifieds come out on Wednesdays, as well as in the weekend editions of local newspapers and free weekly papers. In larger cities, there are also specialised newspapers with real estate classifieds, as well as adverts for used furniture, which means it is economical.

Helpful, but expensive:
Real estate agents

Finding a house or a flat via a real estate agent is the most expensive method of house hunting. Agents charge the future tenant a commission or brokerage fee for their work. It may not exceed two months of rent, excluding heating costs, plus value added tax (VAT). You have to pay the fee after signing the lease contract.

An alternative: Flat sharing

Sharing a flat allows you to make contacts quickly. You share bath, kitchen and everyday life - however, not everybody likes this. Young people and students often move in together in a flat with multiple rooms to save on costs, and to avoid having to finance furnishing an entire flat.

You'll find postings and free announcements for rooms in shared flats and sublets on bulletin boards at universities and on national online portals on the Internet, such a:

The first weeks: Temporary domicile

There are various options for the time up until you have found a flat to rent or purchase. You can rent furnished accommodation on a temporary basis so that you will indeed have a furnished flat at your disposal without having to move twice. Furnished flats can be found in all price categories. You'll find adverts on the Internet with online providers like Immobilienscout 24 and Immonet, as well as in local newspapers, or you can contract an agent.

Additionally, you can look for a flat to sublet. A sublet contract is not concluded with the landlord, rather with the main tenant. You can especially find sublets in cities where there are a lot of students, who often interrupt their studies for a stay abroad or a work placement.

Temporary housing can also be found in local shared living centres. These agencies are specialised in flats to sublet and temporary rooms in shared flats. Shared living centres charge a processing fee for their work. You can find shared living centres on the homepage of the shared living association Ring of European Shared Living Centres (Ring Europäischer Mitwohnzentralen e.V., REM).

Important:

Do not pay anything before signing the lease contract - not even processing fees. You should not sign the lease contract until you understand everything in it, it covers all important aspects and you agree with everything in it. Be sure to read the fine print and do not enter verbal agreements under any circumstances.

You can find addresses for agents in the telephone book and the yellow pages of the respective city, as well as on the homepage of the Ring of German Agents (Ring Deutscher Makler) (websites in German).

Tips for moves from abroad

The prices for renting or purchasing a property are based on the amount living space available in square metres, as well as on furnishings.

In Germany, flats are usually rented without furniture. If there is a kitchen, the announcement usually mentions it explicitly. That is why you should bring your own furniture and articles of daily use with you to Bavaria, or purchase them here.

It's best to start your search prior to arriving and schedule at least three weeks for the housing hunt once here. Finding housing can take quite some time, especially in larger cities.

Do not bring your family to Germany until you have found accommodation. If you are coming alone, prepare yourself initially for a longer stay in a hotel or with friends and acquaintances.