The offer of available housing, in fact, fails to cover the very high demand and this creates a deep gap that very often translates into months and months of
Untangling yourself among the various announcements written in German, the often crowded visits to the building, the costs of renting and ancillary expenses, everything can prove to be particularly difficult.
So let’s see how to find a home in Germany without losing your mind!
1. First home in Germany or before work?
Finding a home in Germany is often the most complicated step, even more than finding work.
Before starting to look for a house in Germany, you will need to make the first important distinction: where are you looking for from home? From Italy or from Germany?
The reason I told you to bring this question is simple: depending on where you are, the search method changes.
Moreover, many people who just decide to move to Germany immediately start looking for work.
Nothing could be more wrong!
The first step to be taken – except in exceptional cases – is precisely that of finding accommodation.
The reason is very simple, let me explain to you.
In order to work regularly (and therefore legally!), The worker must be in possession of a special identification code, a sort of tax code called Steuerindentifikationsnummer (Steuer-ID), which can only be obtained after having registered his German residence at common.
The choice to find a job before an accommodation can be recommended in only one case: if you are looking for a very specialized job where your contribution – and only yours – will make a real difference to the company.
But … there is a though!
If you do not have a work contract in Germany and at least 2 or 3 payslips to present, as well as a document that states that you have no debts in Germany, called Schufa (which we will see better at the end of this article), it is very difficult for an owner you deliver your home.
To fully understand this situation, try to reverse the situation for a moment and put yourself in the position of a tenant.
You have worked your whole life to put aside some money that you decide to invest by buying a house to rent.
One day a foreigner arrives for the first time in Italy, he doesn’t have a job, he has no guarantees, he doesn’t know the language and he would like to live in your home.
Be honest with yourself now: would you rent it for yourself?
So you got it right: no home, no work but no job, no home.
How can you get out of this vicious circle?
The solution is simpler than it looks.
You will need to proceed for three distinct phases:
- 1st STEP: search for temporary accommodation that does not require guarantees and where one can take up residence
- 2nd STEP: job search and stipulation of a work contract
- 3rd STEP: search for a definitive accommodation (at this point we have all the guarantees and documentation generally required).
Therefore, finding a first (temporary) accommodation is not the same thing as finding permanent accommodation. So even the search for the first and second are two different searches!
To learn more about this, read the free guide How to move to Germany in 3 steps: I’ll explain these points in detail.
Now let’s see together how to find both temporary and final accommodation.
2. Find the first accommodation
When you look for the first accommodation, you will have to search for:
- something temporary
- that does not require guarantees such as payroll or employment contracts
- possibly where you can take up residence
The third point is in doubt and I’ll explain why.
If you can immediately find accommodation from Italy where you can take up residence, you’re already halfway there! You will have fewer hassles and can move faster.
If instead, you will find a holiday home or a hotel room that will not allow you to take up residence, being in Germany will still be an advantage because you can continue your search directly on site.
This means visiting the properties in person, getting to know the owners and making themselves known.
A tip on all: pay close attention to scams! Unfortunately, they are very frequent even on the major sites for home search but are quite easy to locate.
Usually, the story that is told is always the same: the owner is abroad for work or for family reasons and cannot let you see the house personally. However, he will send you the rental contract to be signed and a copy of his identity documents in exchange for a deposit to stop the house.
I don’t have to tell you that the documents and the contract will be fakes and that the pseudo-owner will disappear with your deposit paid, right?
However, you can also read my guide on scams, it will help you to recognize when it is an unserious offer and you will learn to avoid them.
Now let’s see which are the most popular first houses and where to find them!
At the moment the fastest and safest way to find the first home in Germany remains Airbnb.
With Airbnb, you just choose the area, the number of people who will live in the house, the type of property and the dates you want the rent.
And dadaaaan! Your home is ready for you
The advantage of Airbnb is not only that of being able to obtain a home immediately but also that of having a completely secure economic transaction, without the risk of incurring the scams that are increasingly spreading on the web.
Try asking the owner if you can take up residence until you find new accommodation: they often say yes. This will allow you to immediately look for a job as soon as you set foot in Germany.
Being hosted by someone
Obviously, the simplest way to get the first home would certainly be to have someone host you. If you can also register your residence, you are in an iron barrel!
Unfortunately, not everyone has this possibility.
If you don’t have friends or relatives that can host you for a while, don’t worry: let’s see other solutions!
Works with board and lodging
When I talk about work with board and lodging, I am not referring only to Italian restaurants.
There are many other jobs that offer food and lodging and that can prove to be an excellent first accommodation solution in Germany.
If you opt to become an au pair, you will be hosted by a family for a certain period of time, you will receive room and board as well as a small salary (generally around 250 euros per month) and in return you will have to take care of the house and the children present in the family.
Room and board will be paid by the host family and you will also receive pocket money of € 260 per month.
The hours of work must not be more than 6 per day and in any case, must not exceed 30 weekly. You will also have a free day per week, you will be entitled to holidays and to attend a language course.
Less known but just as effective is the job search at farms that offer food and lodging in exchange for the workforce. Given the type of employment, it is obviously a predominantly seasonal job.
Usually, there is no salary, but surely there are 3 huge advantages:
- it’s a great way to get into German culture and learn the language better
- you can calmly look for accommodation and a job already – without charge – in Germany
- probably who will host you will be happy to give you a hand to settle in Germany, perhaps helping you in your search for a house or a job.
Finally, many companies make their own facilities available to let their employees sleep and then have the opportunity to return home at the weekend.
Hostels and hotels
If you opt for a period of adventure looking for a home, you can simply book a hotel or hostel for the period you decide to spend in Germany.
The monthly cost, however, is close to that of a rented apartment, so consider a budget of at least around € 300-600 a month just for sleeping, to which you must then add the food, the means of transport and any vices.
This option is clearly to be considered if you decide to start with a small budget.
Finding a hotel, a hostel or a holiday home will allow you to stay in Germany and have the opportunity to seek better accommodation directly on site.
Another possibility is to ask hoteliers directly if it is possible to register the residence: some hotels and hostels are willing to grant it.
Couchsurfing literally means surfing from one couch to another, and that’s exactly what you’ll do!
That of CouchSurfing is a community of people who offer and receive free accommodation, often for a few days, in exchange for cultural exchange.
It is an excellent opportunity to spend time with new people, exchange experiences and become familiar with the surrounding reality!
Doing Couchsurfing is totally free and you won’t have to pay anything to be hosted.
In return, however, it would be nice to help at home, always keep the place where you sleep clean and maybe cook some Italian dishes, the Germans are crazy about it!
This was exactly the road that led me to Germany.
Since often the availability of staying guests is generally not very long, Wohngemeinschaft, be very useful for personally looking for accommodation in the area, such as a room in a shared apartment (called Wohngemeinschaft , abbreviated WG). Small tip: do not overdo the nights required. More willingly you always ask for the availability of being hosted for a couple of nights and if there is the possibility of staying a few more days.