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Looking for an Apartment


Flats for rent are listed in many of the newspapers. These lists often come out in the weekend issues (Saturdays). You can find these offers in the classifieds section ("Kleinanzeigen") and then look for the property section ("Immobilienteil"). This has flats to rent ("Vermietungen") and flats to buy ("Wohnangebote"). There is either a telephone number that you can call or a "Chiffre" number. In this case a letter must be sent to the newspaper quoting the "Chiffre" number. The newspaper will then forward the letter to the respective person advertising the flat.

If you want to place an advert yourself as someone looking for an apartment, then it’s best to phone the newspaper’s "classified ad" department as they can help you further. Placing an advert normally incurs a fee.

Most newspapers also have Internet websites. You can check flat offers and place adverts at any time on the Internet, irrespective of the day the flat offers were or are due to be published. There are also a number of companies offering services to help look for an apartment. In many larger cities, magazines that specialize in real estate offers are available. It is also possible to gain an overview of the property market in your respective city and to look at offers over the Internet. There are also a number of special abbreviations used in adverts that describe the apartments on offer. Here are some of those terms:

Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents are private companies that deal in renting or selling apartments. The addresses of real estate agents can be found in the "Yellow Pages" (look for "Makler" or "Immobilienmakler"). Most of these companies charge a fee, which is called a "Courtage" or "Provision" in Germany.

Housing Office

When looking for a flat it is often helpful to visit your local Housing Office ("Wohnungsamt"). They offer information on "Wohnungsgesellschaften", which are state-run housing associations that provide flats for rent.

Housing Benefit

A "Wohnberechtigungsschein" ("WBS") is a certificate needed to live in apartments that have been built using state subsidies so as to reduce rent costs. The "Wohnberechtigungsschein" is only available to people below a certain income level. People who have limited means can also apply for housing benefit from their local town hall. This housing benefit is called "Wohngeld".

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