How to Apartment Hunt

When looking for a property, it always helps to dress for the occasion. Due to the shortage in the housing market, landlords often choose between several candidates.  Don’t be offended if you are asked to document your financial stability (including a copy of your employment contract and three months of pay stubs). This is common practice.

If you are lucky enough to have a relocation agent, then the search will go more smoothly. Relocation agencies generally know the market inside out and can save you the hassle of contacting real estate agents by pre-screening the market, rental contract negotiation, etc. The depth of service and fees varies.

The best way to look for an apartment is to consult one of the many real estate websites.  Since most of the ads posted online show pictures of the rooms, building from the outside, view and surrounding area, apartment hunting online may help you make a decision more quickly. The leading national real estate portal is immobilienscout24, followed by immowelt and immonet.

You can also consult the classified ads in a local newspaper. The main local newspapers (Frankfurter Rundschau, das inserat, Wiesbadener Kurier, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) all have a special real estate section – usually on Friday/Saturday, which can also be found in their online version. The housing section can be found under Immobilien/Mietgesuche/Mietwohnungen. If you are looking for a flat share then check out the nationwide search engine

Whether you look for a property in the newspapers or online, the majority of homes for rent are advertised by real estate agents (Immobilienmakler). As of June 2015, the real estate agent fee (usually two months’ rent plus 19 percent VAT) is now paid by the landlord and no longer the tenant. When house hunting, make sure to get detailed descriptions of the properties and an exact address before you go on a visit – it is not uncommon for the same property to be listed with several agents.