When the family grows, when you have to leave your student apartment, or when you move to a new city, you need a new home. And then reality strikes again: the housing market is tight, rents are high and you want to avoid double rent payments as much as possible. And not to forget, the whole thing has to be done promptly, because your new studies or job are starting soon. The search for an apartment in many German cities is an arduous process. That’s why we’ve compiled the best tips and the most common mistakes in apartment hunting for you.
The best tips for apartment hunting
- Start looking for an apartment early enough. Sounds obvious and yet it goes down far too often. If you’re not pressed for time, you can comfortably look at current listings every day until your luck shows up. But if you have a fixed deadline for which you need the new apartment, start looking at least 2 to 3 months in advance.
- Clarify your budget. There are still dream apartments, even in tight housing markets. Unfortunately, they are often only available at unbeatable prices. That’s why it’s important to know what you can and want to spend on rent. As a rule of thumb, you should not spend more than 30% of your net income on rent. In tight housing markets, no more than 40%. If you know your rent limit, you won’t waste time on overpriced apartments or be seduced by a dream apartment that immensely limits your financial freedom.
- Check distances of regular routes like the distances to your university, job, or to the next supermarket. The farther away from the action an apartment lies, the cheaper it usually is. But there’s a good reason for this: long commutes can drastically reduce your available time during the day, which you’ll miss for more enjoyable activities.
- Use your network to find an apartment. Some very attractive apartments are not advertised publicly but are found through personal contacts. Therefore, talk to your friends and family about your apartment search. Post on social media what you are looking for and with a little luck, you will find a suitable apartment.
- Post a rental request on Hominext. You don’t always have to search for yourself. Let landlords find you, too, by posting a rental request on Hominext. With an attractive rental request, you will automatically receive inquiries from suitable landlords. If you boost your rental request, you maximize your chances and receive advertisements from all platforms in one email.
The biggest mistakes when looking for an apartment
- Avoid the months around the beginning of the semester for moving to more popular college towns if you can. For public universities, the semester usually begins in October and April. As a result, demand for apartments is particularly high during these and surrounding months, both for single apartments and for apartments suitable for shared flats.
- Avoid virtual tours and give preference to in-person tours. Even though this may take a little more time, it’s worth it to get a personal impression. In addition, you will get to know the landlord, roommate or even realtor and can much better assess how you get along on a personal level.
- Don’t fall for scams when looking for an apartment: Never transfer the deposit or rent if you are not 100% convinced of the landlord’s trustworthiness. Also, don’t carelessly send personal documents like copies of your ID. Be especially suspicious if the landlord is supposedly abroad and can’t come in person. Another warning sign is if you can’t visit the apartment before you rent it.
With these tips and knowledge of the biggest apartment-hunting mistakes, you’ll be well-equipped to go apartment-hunting. The Hominext team does its best to support you in your apartment search!