Are you looking for an apartment to rent? Are you setting in Berlin or moving alone or with friends and family? Independently to the reasons why you are looking for an apartment to rent, you should organise your research. It will economize you a lot of time and energy and you will appreciate your moving in the best conditions.
Furthermore, in a city like Berlin, where the number of housing are not enough to cover all the needs of the population, it could go very bad and annoying. Based on our experience as real estate agency, here are the 5 golden rules to rent an apartment quickly and in the best conditions.
1. Your search criteria you shall define.
It is the first step of your research: make a point on what you are exactly looking for. You should take care of:
- The location
- The budget
- The type of apartment you are looking for (1 bedroom, 1 living-room etc)
You could eventually do a list of the things you are sure you do not want to find in your apartment. If you do not like climbing 5 floors, do not apply for an apartment on the 6th floor without lift. In the same idea, do not have a precise idea of what you are exactly looking for. It could limit your research. Once you have written down both lists, prepare your application.
2. Your application you shall prepare.
The vacancy of unoccupied apartments in Berlin is under 2%. The landlord will just have to choose who will be his tenant. In order to maximise your chances to get the apartment, you have to show that you are a serious tenant and that you will not be a problem for him.
Therefore, you shall write a complete application with the more informations as possible. Prepare an introduction text that presents you and with all important informations (statut, incomings, guarantors, duration during which you wish to have the apartment, pets, smocking or not, etc). Explain the reasons of your research and why the apartment you are applying to matchs your search criteria.
If you are looking with other persons, be sure you are okay with the research (have a look to the last point).
3. Your documentation you shall gather.
In order to apply to a renting offer, the landlord asks for numerous documentation, such as:
- A personal presentation (such as a cover letter, see 2.)
- The 3 last pay slips of each person present on the contract
- A letter of your employee, that assures your employee statut and your salary
- A guarantor, particularly for students who do not have fixed salaries (« Bürgschaft »)
- Schufa (more informations here)
- Mietschuldenfreiheitbescheinigung: a letter from your formal landlord, which assures that you have payed the rent in time and that you do not have to pay him money anymore
- A photocopy front and verso of your ID card
It is always a good point to have a paper version of all your documentation. But more and more landlords prefer digital version. Create one pdf document with all the documents you need. It is more simple to treat 1 pdf document for each person as 10.
To this file, you will attached the Selbstauskumft. This document will be given by the agency in charge of the apartment or by the landlord himself. It is a sort of inscription to the list of applicants.
4. Your apartment you shall choose.
It is useless to answer at all the offers available on the internet. In order to organise your research as best as possible, do a follow-up of your applications. Create a spreadsheet with all the informations you are looking for (surface, link to the offer, equipment, rent etc). Once you will have done your selection, send your application.
If an agency or an owner calls you back, be sure you are able to see immediately from which apartment you are talking about. Otherwise, you will look desperate. It will not eliminate your application but it is not a good point anyway. The aim of the agency and of the landlord is to find a serious tenant. Be able to answer this. Be organised and proactive, it is essential to put a maximum chances on your side.
5. The visit you shall organise.
Before the visit
Have a look at the documentation available on the offer. It generally contains all the informations useful to make your choice. If an information is missing, contact immediately and directly the person in charge of the apartment; it may avoid a useless visit for you and for the agency. It is better to have them as friends instead as “ennemies”.
Be sure to be organised as best as possible before doing the visit. Have a look at the plan of the apartment, be sure that the location is okay for you, and validate the charges and the costs. Ideally, you should have already validate the apartment as a place to live in; the visit is a last verification before saying “yes“.
After the visit
The apartment fits you? You will have to be very quick in order to make sure and have a maximum chances as possible. After visiting the apartment, in the following hours, send your pdf file and confirm your interest for the apartment. Precise from when you want to take the apartment and precise the amount of the loan. Structure the informations of your email, to make it easy to read and to understand for the person in charge of the selection.
After an hour, call to make sure the person received the documents and if she/he has any question. If the person could not have access to her email, ask when it will be possible. Call at the new time. Wait 2-3 days; if you have not received an answer in that time, contact again the person in charge of the apartment. Continue your research as long as you have not signed any contract. Once you will receive the renting contract, prepare the money for the withdrawal; you will have to pay the first renting months and the deposit before the key handover.
And when you are looking with other persons?
First of all, you have to coordinate yourself. Be sure you are ready to live all together and you will make the research from the beginning to the end. For the agency as for your friends, it is uncomfortable to face a last-minute desistance when the landlord has given his agreement for all the applicants.
Be sure you are okay on the type of apartment you are looking for. Create an online file where everyone will access to the pdf documents of the others (1 pdf per person). Have an online, common calendar to coordinate the visits. Keep you informed and have time limitations, online chat over messaging applications will help you out to stay well connected.