Interested in moving to Berlin?
This post is an extract from my book The BreakingOut Guide To Moving To Berlin
In this post I take a look at the best ways to find a permanent apartment in Berlin.
Check out my book all about moving to Berlin – and how to get the best out of living and working in Europe’s coolest and most exciting capital.
How Easy is it to Find an Apartment to Rent in Berlin?
Berlin is a popular city, and it’s now more popular than ever with no let up in sight. It’s estimated some 50,000 people are moving to the German capital every year.
As a result there is high demand for accommodation in Berlin.
At the beginning of the university semesters i.e. March/April and September/October, there is especially high demand for accommodation in Berlin, so avoid conducting your search at these times of the year if you can.
Most people in Berlin rent their apartments. Berlin is a “Mieterstadt” or city of tenants. About 85% of all properties in the capital are rented. However, this does not mean that finding a suitable apartment in Berlin is easy. Far from it.
There are many reasons for this.
There Are Few To-Let Signs in Berlin
One immediate difference to the UK or USA, or even some other European countries, that you will notice in Berlin is how there are practically no “To Let” (zu Vermieten) signs to be seen on Berlin’s streets. Nor for that matter many For Sale signs either.
Germans rarely put up signs to advertise an apartment is available for re-letting or even for sale. I’m not exactly sure why.
Since tenants are expected to stay in the same apartment for the long-term, maybe landlords think it reflects badly on them if people can see they are having to look for a new tenant. It could mean there is something wrong with the apartment – or with the landlord? Having a high turnover of tenants is considered a bad sign.
Partly I think it’s because having a high turnover of tenants coming and going is seen as indicating that the property or the location is disreputable.
Or maybe it’s because there is no shortage of people looking for apartments in Berlin and so little need to put up a sign in the first place. I think this is part of the explanation. Housing has always been in short supply in Berlin.
Whatever the reason, it does mean you can’t just stroll around the city streets in the districts you like looking and expecting to come across suitable places to rent. Apartment hunting in Berlin is a bit more involved than that.
Landlords in Berlin Think Long Term
In UK it can be to your advantage in securing a letting to tell the landlord you are only thinking of staying for a few years. Landlords in UK tend to feel uneasy about the idea of a tenant staying long term.
It’s very different in Berlin. Unlike the short-termism of UK landlords, German landlords take a long-term approach. They do not usually want tenants who are likely to leave after a year or two. What they want is certainty and to avoid going through the process of finding a tenant yet again.
Landlords are very choosy in Berlin when it comes to long term tenants and they think differently from many in the UK. For them stability, security and reliability are everything. They want tenants who are stable and established in the city and who look like sticking around for the long-term in Berlin.
Unfortunately, foreigners are often the lower priority choice among Berlin landlords. This is because they think most foreigners will not be staying long-term. When you’ve just arrived in Berlin it’s not so easy to convince Berlin landlords that you fit all their tick-boxes.
Sitting Tenant Syndrome is a Feature of Berlin
Tenancies in Berlin tend to be open-ended ie of unlimited duration, which means many people stay put in the same apartment for much longer than in other countries. In some cases for decades. As a result there is less turnover of apartments in Berlin than in cities in the UK or US. So fewer new rentals come onto the market at any given time.
Also, rents for most contracts are based on the rent level which prevailed when the tenancy was first agreed, which gives tenants a financial incentive to stay where they are for years and not to move. You often come across people in Berlin who have lived in the same apartment for years, even decades.
I call it sitting tenant syndrome and it’s a feature of Berlin which I find unique to the city. There’s a bit of a bunker attitude amongst some native Berliners which is definitely foreign to me. I would not want to spend large chunks of my life living in the same apartment in the same district for years and years and never moving.
Rents Are Lower in Eastern Berlin
When I first came to Berlin, I was not interested in subjecting myself to the West Berlin rental scene. I had heard about the horror of mass viewings, Abstand, and sitting tenants.
In any case I had come to Berlin primarily to experience newly opened up East Berlin. There was also less competition for apartments in East Berlin and rents were also much lower in the East.
The great thing about Berlin is that you can live in and experience the former Eastern ex-Communist part of the city – and for a lower rent than you would pay in West Berlin.
Rents have since risen, but they are still lower in the East. One current example: I know someone who is paying just 250 Euros a month for a spacious modern apartment in Marzahn in Eastern Berlin. This was for a tenancy taken out several years ago. Current rents for new tenancies in that district are at least a third more – but still an incredible bargain in comparison with London.
Yet I faced incomprehension and interrogation from people in Western Berlin – colleagues, employers, and German friends and acquaintances (but not from non-Germans) as to why I, a westerner, chose to live in Eastern Berlin. As if it was pure “injun territory” and beyond the pale. This by the way was well after the Wall had opened up and Berlin was unified.
I found this response tedious after a while. Had these West Berliners not noticed that the Wall was now gone and you could now live where you wanted – even travel freely across to the eastern half of the city?
But Berliners (both east and west) can be notoriously parochial in their attitudes towards other parts of the city. You find this in all big cities, including London. But the fact that Berlin is a city of sitting tenants also does not encourage mobility.
Attitudes in Berlin have changed somewhat since and the “injun territory” attitude of some Western Berliners towards the eastern boroughs has declined. Also most newcomers do not hold limiting territorial views about the city.
Apartments in Berlin Are Usually Let Unfurnished
Unlike many short-term lets, permanent apartment rentals in Berlin are almost always unfurnished. In fact they are so unfurnished they may not even come with a kitchen sink – literally. Fittings and cupboard space may also be missing. These are all considered to be the responsibility and free choice of the tenant.
So in most cases you will have to be prepared to spend some money on fixtures and fittings when you move in.
My advice: you can sometimes find reasonable second hand furniture for free on Sperrmull days. These are the bulky refuse collection days that boroughs in Berlin hold throughout the year.
Residents place their unwanted bulky items on the street for collection. Anyone is free to take whatever they wish before the garbage service come by to collect.
Apartment Sizes Are Quoted in Rooms (Not Bedrooms) – and Square Metres
Note that in Berlin, the number of rooms quoted for an apartment size means just that. Rooms, not bedrooms as some people from the UK may assume at first sight.
Apartments in Berlin are always quoted in terms of rooms and not bedrooms. So a 2 room apartment means a 1 bedroom apartment. A three room apartment means a two bedroom, and so on.
Rooms and apartments are also often advertised in terms of the total number of square metres. The price per square metre is used in Germany for data analysis and statistical purposes and for setting the annual official Mietspiegel or rent level which governs rents for permanent tenancies in Berlin.
Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg are now the most expensive inner areas of town, followed closely by Kreuzberg. For new lettings, these are now on a par with the expensive western outer areas such as Zehlendorf and Dahlem.
Cheaper areas are Neukölln, Wedding, Treptow and Lichtenberg.
Marzahn, Hellersdorf, and Köpenick are even cheaper but they’re a long way from the centre. I once lived in Köpenick for a year and it felt cut off from the rest of Berlin, even though my rent was only about 100 Euros for a 2 room apartment.
My advice: If you want to find an apartment with a lower than average rent, concentrate your search in the boroughs east of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg.
Where To Look For Apartments in Berlin
Word of Mouth
The best and cheapest way to find an apartment in Berlin is word of mouth.
Ask everyone in your circle of friends and acquaintances if they know of an apartment which is vacant, or where someone will soon be moving out. Ask people at your place of work or study. Ask around all the time.
Online Apartment Search
In addition to this, you can check out online apartment boards such as www.wg-gesucht.de and www.studenten-wg.de
Craigslist Berlin is also a possibility. But on Craigslist you’ll be in greater competition with other expats as this tends to be used more by people who don’t speak German. The offers on Craigslist also seem to be more expensive on the whole. See berlin.en.craigslist.de
You can also try online real estate databases such as ImmoWelt.de ImmoNet.de and www.immobilienscout24.de Of these, immoscout has the largest number of listings.
The old standby – newspaper ad listings is still a useful channel. The Berliner Zeitung on Saturday has a big listings section for apartments in Berlin as does the Berliner Morgenpost.
You can also access their listings databases directly on the web, so you don’t have to purchase the actual newspapers.
Apartment Wanted – “Suche Wohnung” Posters
Some people resort to putting up “Apartment Wanted” posters on trees, lamp posts and public notice boards.
This has long been a tactic used by people in big German cities for finding an apartment directly without going through a Makler (agent) or chasing down ad listings. It can have success, but you need to make yourself sound appealing to potential landlords (reliable, good job with regular income, respectable etc).
Immobilenmakler or Real Estate Agents
You can arrange for the rental of an apartment through a real estate agent or Immobilienmakler. These can legally charge a fee of up to 2 months cold rent plus VAT for successful contracts. Never pay a fee before the rental agreement has been signed. Agents are not permitted to charge any fees in advance.
Using a real estate agent is the simplest way to find accommodation in Berlin, but it’s also the most expensive.
My advice: if you can afford it, a Makler is often the best and quickest solution. And if your employer agrees to pay the Makler fee, then it can be even more worthwhile. But if you are using a Makler, do not accept any Massenbesichtigungen (mass public apartment viewings).
“Direkt vom Vermieter” is an Advantage
Note that a fee can only be charged by an agent and not by the owner of the property. This means that if the apartment is being let directly from the landlord, then they are NOT legally permitted to demand a Makler fee.
Ads and listings which say “keine Makler”, “ohne Makler”, “direkt vom Vermieter” or similar mean the apartment is being let directly from the owner without any agent involved.
My advice: Keep a look out for “Direkt vom Vermieter” lettings. This will mean there will no agency fee to pay.
Sharing an Apartment
A flat-share in Berlin is known as a WG or Wohngemeinschaft (literally “living community”).
Flat-sharing is not as common in Berlin as it is in London. It’s more usual for people to have their own apartments. This isn’t such a problem in Berlin as rents are much lower than in other big capital cities.
WGs are however a classic way for students to rent their housing as it obviously works out cheaper for the individual residents.
However rents in Berlin have been rising in recent years and more people are interested in forming WGs in order to rent apartments, or else looking to join an existing one. If you’re with a group of people and are interested in doing this, then this can be a good way to keep the costs down and afford a better quality apartment in a good area.
Attitudes of agents and landlords towards WGs vary. Some will not consider a WG, while others have no problem. The rental agreement may be in the name of one person, or all members together. If the contract is signed to one person, then the other members will officially be sub-tenants or lodgers. The person who signs the contract is personally liable for payment of rent and other expenses.
In this case you can draw up sub-tenancy agreements for the other shares, or else just do everything by verbal agreement. It depends on how well you know the other members.
My advice: Unless your rental agreement is signed equally by all of your roommates, I recommend providing written sub-tenancy agreements for all members of the flat-share. You can buy sub-tenancy agreements (“Untermietvertrag”) from stationery shops or the large department stores.
How To Make Your Apartment Hunting in Berlin Easier
Here are some tips:
- Concentrate on looking in the eastern parts of the city.
- The further out of the inner area you are willing to go, the easier the search will be – as well as cheaper.
- Avoid searching in the most popular parts of town. This means Mitte, Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg and Prenzlauer Berg.
- Don’t start searching around the start of the university semesters – March/April and September/October – there is much more competition around those times.
- Avoid mass public apartment viewings – they cost nerves, stress, wasted energy and wasted time.
- Ask everyone you know if they know of an apartment coming up for re-letting.
- If you can afford it, use the services of an Immobilienmakler (real estate agent) – but don’t accept any mass viewings.
- Don’t listen to negative talk about apartment seeking in Berlin being “impossible”. It isn’t. And a positive attitude will help you more than a negative one.
What To Watch Out For When Looking For Accommodation in Berlin
Nachmieter and Übernahme
No, they’re not a comedy act.
Übernahme – literally “taking over” is the sometimes dubious practice of taking over the apartment of someone who is moving out. It can be a good way to source an apartment in Berlin – but it can also be a source of trouble.
You get to take over someone else’s rental contract when they are leaving so you become the Nachmieter or successive tenant.
And of course, sometimes money changes hands under the table between former and new tenants (Übernahme can therefore also refer to this “key money” transaction).
However for an Übernahme to be legit and legal you still have to be approved by the agent and/or landlord. Some people try to arrange an Übernahme without the landlord knowing. If you are only planning on staying for a short while it might be ok.
Otherwise an Übernahme can be a risky business in the long run as your tenancy may not be recognized as legal and legitimate later on down the road and that can lead to problems.
My advice: Only consider an Übernahme if it is fully legit and has the approval of the owners.
An Abstand is a one-off payment to the outgoing tenant for fixtures and fittings they are leaving behind.
An Abstand can be part of an Übernahme situation, but it need not be.
And an Abstand is not illegal, but it is if it’s being used as a form of key-money. By law the amount of any Abstand also has to bear fair relationship to the true value of the fixtures and fittings.
If in doubt contact the Mieterverein or Tenants Association (you will first need to become a member – see below). Chances are though that you will forfeit obtaining the apartment, but it will save you spending money on an Abstand.
I paid an Abstand only once in Berlin, for what was basically a load of bulky refuse that should have gone straight to the dump. Old furniture and an insane amount of built-in shelf space that the previous tenant couldn’t be bothered to remove (enough to fit out a bookshop).
The outgoing tenant had compiled a careful list of all the items he was leaving behind, each with a respective value, in order to try and justify his Abstand. You’d have thought he owned the property and was selling it to me.
I later contested the Abstand via a lawyer and as a result received half of the money back without having to go to court.
I later discovered that this Abstand business is a game that many tenants try to play in Berlin. They only get away with it because people are daft enough to pay.
I will not consider any apartments again where the previous tenant tries to demand an Abstand.
“Abstand” by the way is also the German word for distance. Traffic signs carry the words “Abstand halten” – keep your distance. Which in my opinion is also very good advice for the Abstand you come across on the Berlin rental scene.
My advice: An Abstand in Berlin is often just disguised key money or money charged for a load of stuff which is basically Sperrmull (bulky refuse).
Remember that the previous tenant is just a tenant – and is not the owner. So do not get involved in paying a former tenant any Abstand.
Abstand halten vom Abstand!
The Joys of the Wohnungsbesichtingung in Berlin
If you’re looking for an apartment in Berlin via a Makler or agent, then sooner or later you are likely to come across an invitation to a Wohnungsbesichtigung.
Wohnungsbesichtigungen are appointments to view apartments in Berlin arranged by real estate agents.
You mean the agent has chosen me specially to view this apartment? I must truly be a VIP…
Don’t get excited. Besichtigungen all too often turn out to be a “Massenbesichtigung” or mass viewing, even if they don’t actually use that word. These have long been an established procedure in Berlin and other big cities of Western Germany.
Massenbesichtigung are easily identifiable. Just look for a large gathering of strangers dressed in a variety of different garb from formal business to hipster casual and dropout Berlin all standing around outside the entrance to an apartment block, waiting for the Makler to arrive and let them in. You’ll then realize that you are most definitely Not The Only One.
I’ve only ever gone to a mass viewing once – and that was enough. It’s demeaning and in any case you only have a small chance of success. In my opinion mass viewings are simply a way for lazy landlords and agents to dredge for tenants. But for accommodation seekers they’re a waste of time and are best avoided.
My advice: Try to avoid mass viewings if you can. They are true horror and mostly a waste of time.
If I am paying a real estate agent a fee of two months rent for their work, then I expect them to provide at least a little service in return. Just inviting me to come to a Massenbesichtigung is not providing a proper service.
Only lazy and unprofessional Makler resort to Massenbesichtigungen.
Warm or Kalt?
No I’m not talking about your bathwater. These are terms used in Berlin to describe the rent you pay.
Rent in Berlin can be either kalt – cold – which means not including services or utilities, or else warm – which means inclusive of services and utilities.
Warmmiete may cover things like hot water, central heating, and local borough services such as garbage collection.
But note that a Warmmiete – the “all inclusive” rent – will probably not be 100% fully inclusive. There may be some additional utilities, for example electricity, or gas which you will have to pay separately and in addition.
Things like Internet connection or phone, if you still have one of those landline thingies will most likely also not be included in a Warmmiete.
As a rule of thumb you will need to factor in 50-100 Euros or so per month for utilities such as electricity, gas, and Internet connection – as well as for the monthly TV tax (previously known as GEZ, which everyone now has to pay whether they own a TV or not). This tax is currently 17.50 Euros a month.
Warmmiete in Berlin is typically around 25-40% more than the Kaltmiete.
My advice: Always make sure you find out what the actual Warmmiete is. Don’t just go by the Kaltmiete.
The Selbstauskunft Form
If you contact a real estate agent or attend a mass viewing, you will most likely be requested to complete a form called a Selbstauskunft.
This is a preliminary data form that applicants are often requested to fill in, to gather their contact, employment, income and other details to enable agents and landlords to do a preliminary sifting out of all the candidates.
The questions on these forms can be irritating and petty. These forms have a certain irony given the general German obsession with personal data privacy. That seems to suddenly be forgotten about when it comes to Makler “Selbstauskunft”.
Selbstauskunft forms also give an insight into the small-mindedness of traditional German society with their questions about debts, business bankruptcy, and even asking if you are in a relationship, have any pets, etc.
Signing A Rental Agreement in Berlin
The application procedure for renting an apartment in Berlin is quite involved.
First, there are the initial application, the viewing appointments, and the Selbstauskunft hurdles to jump through.
Next, assuming you make it this far and you have met all their tick-boxes, landlords and agents will then require a copy of your passport, a contract of employment or letter from your employer confirming your income.
They will often also want to see copies of your last three month salary statements, in some cases a copy of your bank statement as well.
If you’re self employed or freelance, then they will also require an income tax statement confirming you are registered, and most probably income reports or a reference from your tax accountant.
Make Sure Your SHUFA are Clean
No, not your shoes, your SHUFA.
SCHUFA is a German company that offers background screening of people’s financial information. They basically gather up data about you – and then sell it back to you for a fee. Nice people, nice business.
I don’t like this SHUFA organization – but then who does, apart from landlords. But you don’t really have any alternative as SHUFA have established themselves as the private “go-to” agency for credit reference checks, and they are used when applying for loans, mortgages, and renting an apartment.
Most landlords and agents in Berlin require a SHUFA report before they will consider letting to a prospective tenant. The rental agreement may also require that you have never been declared bankrupt or that you do not have any debts. This is where the SHUFA come in handy for the landlord.
You have a right to demand your SHUFA report from the SHUFA free of charge.
A Caution about the Kaution
It’s usual for landlords in Berlin to require a deposit, in German known as a “Kaution”. This is refunded when you move out, along with interest earned. However, the landlord is entitled to deduct the cost of repairs or replacements.
The deposit can legally be up to three months Kaltmiete (basic rent) maximum. Normally the deposit is paid into a joint bank savings book with interest. This prevents the money from being held without your agreement.
Most landlords in Berlin expect rent to be paid by bank standing order every month.
You may also be required to arrange third party insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) to cover the event of damage to the property caused by the tenant.
My advice: make sure your Kaution is properly documented in your Mietvertrag (rental agreement).
Pay Attention to the Hausordnung
There will most likely be a number of detailed rules included in the rental agreement. These may be listed in a separate section called a Hausordnung (or house order rules).
Typically they govern things like no noise permitted between 10pm and 7am, or in the afternoons between 1 and 3pm (known as the Ruhezeit – especially sacred in Germany), rules about pets, long term overnight stays of guests, running a business from the apartment, and so on.
Even more sacred than the Ruhezeit is the importance of separating your trash into the correct waste bins (known as Mülltrennung).
Do your Mülltrennung incorrectly and the whole wrath of the Hausmeister (caretaker), neighbours and possibly the managing agents or landlord will come down on you faster than you can get back upstairs to your apartment. Eco and Recycling are sacred holy gods in Germany that people cross at their peril.
And it’s not unknown for neighbours in Berlin to sneak on each other and report breaches of the Hausordnung to the Hausmeister (caretaker) or Hausverwaltung (managing agents).
Even little things like leaving your bike in the Hinterhof (rear courtyard) instead of putting it immediately away in the cellar can result in an anonymous note of admonishment appearing on it within 10 minutes (as has happened to me). German neighbours can really be that busy-bodying.
My advice: The apartment house rules tend to be taken seriously in Berlin so beware. He who violates the Hausordnung goes directly to jail.
And if you obey only one of the Hausordnung rules, make sure it’s the Mülltrennung rule.
Every year tenants receive a statement for the costs incurred in respect of the management and upkeep of the property, for communal services and local taxes. This is the Betriebskostenabrechnung. You pay a monthly amount for these services estimated in advance called the monthly Nebenkosten.
At the end of the year, the actual Nebenkosten incurred are calculated and the amount you have already paid over the 12 months is deducted. You have to pay any balance remaining, or alternatively, any surplus will be carried forward to the following year as credit.
You May Have To Redecorate When Moving Out
Traditionally, tenants in Germany were required to redecorate the apartment before moving out. The law has been changed and this rule no longer applies in the same way it used to, although some landlords are not properly informed and may still think it does.
The stipulation is now that you are required to return the apartment in the condition that it was first let to you. This may or may not mean redecorating at the time you move out, depending upon the state of wear and tear of the apartment.
Generally, the period of notice for a rental agreement in Berlin is three months. However, the longer the tenancy lasts, the longer the required notice period becomes – for both sides.
My advice: Do not automatically assume you must redecorate on moving out. It depends upon the state of the apartment compared to when you moved in.
Join the Berliner Mieterverein (Tenants Association)
It’s worthwhile to join the Berliner Mieterverein or Tenants Assocation. This gives you access to professional support, including legal advice on rental housing matters for a low membership fee.
Unlike in the UK where tenants associations tend to be informal groups staffed by volunteers and run on a shoestring, the Berliner Mieterverein is a professional organization with proper offices in town (Berlin Mitte in fact) and full time staff. They also have qualified lawyers who can give legal advice and assistance where necessary.
In that sense, the tenants association in Berlin is much more like a city authority housing advice centre.
My advice: make sure you join the Berliner Mieterverein. See www.berliner-mieterverein.de
Registering with the Authorities in Berlin
See the official Berlin city website for the details of your local Burgerbüro at service.berlin.de/standorte/buergeraemter
My advice: First priority immediately you have signed your rental agreement must be to go to the local Burgerbüro and do your residence registration and collect your Meldeschein.
Keep Positive in Your Apartment Search in Berlin
Apartment hunting in Berlin can often be hard work. It takes time, it takes stamina and it takes determination. The last thing you can afford is to become negative and discouraged about it. And this is especially where you have to be careful.
Beware of the attitudes you can encounter from some Germans along the way while you are looking for an apartment. Germans can be surprisingly negative and downbeat about things like job or apartment hunting, telling you the situation is hopeless and that you are wasting your time. “Es gibt keine Wohnungen” (“there are no apartments”) is a phrase I have heard too many times from people when I have casually mentioned that I am currently in the process of looking for an apartment.
This kind of response from Germans is something you tend to encounter in all big German cities, not just Berlin. It’s such a standard kind of response I’ve heard so many times that I’ve long since become used to it and I don’t pay any attention to it.
You can get this negative attitude particularly from the sitting-tenant contingent in Berlin who have a bit of a bunker mentality. They can delight in telling you horror stories of how it’s “impossible” to find an apartment in Berlin “without connections”. Or that all the apartments are already taken (sure they are). And that even if you do find an apartment, you will have to pay 1000 Euros or more a month.
Sometimes it can almost seem like Schadenfreude. I suppose it makes them feel better. You have it hard – but I have it good.
This kind of attitude in Berlin can be very demoralising if you are not careful. The best thing is to ignore it. People who have been living for years or decades comfortably in the same apartment without moving are unlikely to be in touch with the realities of the current Berlin rental market. Nor do they have present day experience with apartment hunting in the capital. So their comments and opinions should be taken with a generous pinch of salt.
Also, such people are unlikely to know much about the realities of rental housing markets in other capital cities such as London, Paris, Brussels, New York or other places, where renting is much more expensive. And by comparison Berlin is still a “Schlaraffenland” for tenants (a dream land or Alice in Wonderland).
Berliners think they have it bad with their housing. Certainly in recent years rents in Berlin have risen substantially and pressures have increased with migration, gentrification, and conversion to owner-occupation. But these are standard features of all big capital cities across the world. That’s just business as usual if you’re a big capital city.
And compared to other big world cities, Berlin and Berliners still have it good. So don’t let yourself be discouraged by negative Berlin-talk about the rented housing market. Berlin is still a city with a housing stock of over 85% rented.
And if there’s one big western city I would choose above all others to be a tenant in it’s Berlin.
My advice: Ignore the negative nay-sayers when looking for an apartment in Berlin and just get on with your search. It’s through remaining positive and upbeat that you will find a suitable apartment in Berlin – not by becoming negative.
Good luck with your apartment search in Berlin!
Make Your Stay in Berlin Go More Smoothly By Learning To Speak German
Being able to speak German will give you a big advantage when viewing and renting apartments. Not to mention day to day living and socializing in Berlin.
My advice: if you’re going be sticking around in Berlin for more than a few months, then get started right away with learning German.
It’ll be well worth it and being able to speak and understand German will make life in Berlin a lot easier.
You also need to know German for your interactions with the public authorities, such as for visa permits and the like. Government officials in Berlin are officially required to speak German in their dealings with the public. This they say (ironic as it sounds) is to avoid the potential for mistakes in understanding.
If you don’t speak German in Berlin, then you have to rely on having a German speaker coming with you whenever you have dealings with the authorities or landlords.
Learning German in Berlin
One of the best ways to get a head start in German is to study with an MP3-based self-study course. It was by far the best investment in learning German I ever made. More about this below.
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GermanPod – The Best Language Course For Expats in Berlin
You can give yourself a head start in learning German by signing up for the self-study MP3 based course offered by GermanPod.
GermanPod is now one of the world’s most successful digitally based online language courses. It’s not hard to see why.
GermanPod – The Best Language Course For Expats in Berlin
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