5 Tips for Apartment Hunting

by Dhritishman Hazarika

I decided to write about my experience and provide you with the secret tips and tricks so that you don’t have to experience the troubles I went through. Consider this article as the holy grail of finding accommodation as an international student in Germany. 

1. Register at Student Dorms

To get a student dorm, you have to register before your first semester. They are very popular and therefore it is wise to apply about six to seven months prior. So, as soon as you get your acceptance letter from your University, start applying to these dorms directly. Mail your University or StudierendenWerk regarding the contacts that you should refer to for accommodation. It is a general notion that as soon as you get your University acceptance letter, you start your visa application process. 

2. Check Online Services

There are various online services for finding an apartment, some examples include Immoscout24, WG-gesucht, Immowelt and Kleinanzeigen. Check out the pages and choose a couple apartments that are interesting to you. Then follow these Do-s and Don’t-s: 

  • read AD carefully
  • write a detailed introduction 
  • optional: add pictures
  • activate email alerts
  • reach out to many landlords
  • check the place before signing the contract
  •  do not pay or sign anything up front 
  • do not offer to pay more 
  • do not give up 
  • apply to places without “Anmeldung”
3. Use Your Personal Networks

It may sound counterintuitive but sometimes it helps to also check pages not designated for renting. You can join Facebook or Telegram groups for internationals in Germany. In addition, let colleagues, fellow students or friends know that you are searching. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might be surprised by the connections other people have.

Adhere to the same Do-s and Don’t-s that are mentioned above to avoid any scams. 

4. Look Up the Range of Your Semester Ticket

Check which cities and/or towns are covered by your semester ticket for free transportation. This may increase the range in which you can look for apartments. The ones closest to the university are likely going to be more pricey and harder to get. The public transportation system in Germany is rather well so there are plenty options to get where you want even if you don’t live in the city center. 

5. Know Some German

It is unfortunate but some landlords feel more comfortable if their tenant speaks German – at least to an extent. But don’t worry, if you yourself do not speak German yet, maybe you have a German friend who is willing to come to the apartment viewings with you. Alternatively, you can also approach your local DEGIS community for help. This additionally gives the impression that you’re integrated and eases potential worries your landlord might have. 

For more tips and tricks you can also check out the DEGIS Starterpack.

Much success on finding an apartment. 

Dhritishman Hazarika came to Germany from India. He is studying Particle and Astrophysics and the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. 

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