Housing In Germany

Having found a job or been assigned a job in German, you’re perhaps overjoyed at the new adventure you’ll be taking on. Once the excitement of the realization that you’ll be moving to Germany has settled in, there are a number of things you’ll have to start looking into. Housing, transportation, furnishing are just a few of the things that will be on your long, long list. Housing in Germany is a bit different than housing in the United States. Of course there’s the language, and figuring out who to contact, what and where to research is just the beginning.

There are a number of portals online that provide information on real estate in Germany. You’ll be able to view what apartments or houses are on the market and get an idea of what the pricing is like. However, when it comes to German real estate and the way rooms are counted, as well as what is included in the two different forms of rent, you’ll want to have full understanding so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

For starters, what you’ll generally see when looking either in the newspaper or on the internet for German apartments is, kaltmiete and warmmiete i.e cold rent and warm rent respectively.

What is kaltmiete?

Kaltmiete is the part of the rent that only covers the cost of the apartment. This can be broken down, and you’ll be able to calculate what amount you will be spending per square meter. When seeing an attractive figure adjoined to kaltmiete, many get excited as they then believe the apartment they’re getting is a steal. However, there is more to come, and in some cases, a lot more.

What is warmmiete?

Warmmiete includes the kaltmiete and utilities. The utilities covered by warmmiete may include heating, water, trash collection, property tax, lighting for stairwells, maintenance. Electricity is generally not included in your warmmiete and is something that you’ll have to look into yourself.

The difference that you get between the warmmiete and the kaltmiete is the nebenkosten.

Other costs you can expect to pay are security deposit and realtor fee if you have used a real estate agent. These costs are a percentage of your rent and are typically paid at the beginning of your lease.

What do you need to do before signing a lease agreement?

Before signing the contract be sure to read and comprehend everything that the contract entails. Take pictures of the state of the apartment, ensure that you have got proof of anything that was broken, bent, out of shape, scratched. This will ensure that you won’t have to withstand these costs once you’re ready to move out.

Other things to know:

·         Trash is taken out on several days of the week. Be sure to know how to separate your trash and where to dispose of batteries, glass bottles and jars, paper etc.

·         Know where you are allowed to park.

·         Know where to leave bicycles, strollers etc

·         Know the quiet hours.


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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