New to Germany? Characteristics of the German Real Estate Market

In this article, you will learn everything important about the German rental market for rooms and apartments and discover its unique features.

Germany is a country of renters, with over half of its population living in rented accommodations - the highest rate in the EU. This is advantageous as it provides numerous rooms and apartments for rent. However, it also means there is substantial competition. In recent years, rental prices have risen significantly, particularly in popular neighborhoods in major cities. Yet, there are ways to find more affordable options, which you'll learn about in another video later. For now, let's explore three peculiarities of the German real estate market that might differ from your home country.

Unique Feature 1: Rooms are Counted Differently

In listings, the size of an apartment is specified in square meters, along with the number of rooms. Rooms include not only bedrooms but also living spaces. For instance, a 2-room apartment typically has one bedroom, one living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Kitchens and bathrooms are never counted as rooms.

Unique Feature 2: Rooms and Apartments Are Often Unfurnished

Most rooms and apartments are rented unfurnished. If there are furnishings, the rent tends to be higher, as landlords can charge additional costs for them. However, there's an exception for temporary arrangements. For example, if you take over a room for six months from a student studying abroad, she will likely leave her furniture in the room, and the rent won't be higher. Nevertheless, the deposit might be slightly higher than usual to safeguard against potential damage to the furniture.

Unique Feature 3: Kitchens Are Frequently Not Included

In Germany, landlords are not obligated to provide a kitchen. Often, apartments come with an empty kitchen, lacking countertops, stove, oven, refrigerator, and storage space. Therefore, pay attention to listings that mention "built-in kitchen available." If not, you'll need to purchase and install a kitchen at your own expense. Alternatively, you may have the option to buy the kitchen from the previous tenants at a reduced price if they are not taking it to their new place. When you later move out, you can sell the kitchen to the next tenant, known as an "Ablösezahlung."

Additional Unique Features

Those were the three most notable characteristics of the German rental market. However, there are a few others that become relevant during your move-in or move-out process.

For example, it's customary in Germany for tenants to paint the room or apartment - either before moving in or before moving out. This is stipulated in the lease agreement, so be sure to allocate some time for it.

Rooms or apartments in Germany are often rented on short notice, sometimes just a month in advance. Simultaneously, the notice period is typically three months. This means that in such a scenario, you would have to pay double rent for two months - for your old and new residences. But don't worry; only a few tenants need to pay double rent. Most landlords agree to let the current tenant find and propose a new tenant. If the landlord approves the proposal, you can move out before the notice period without paying further rent for the old apartment.

Before talking about moving out, though, you should first move in. Learn the essential terms you'll encounter in your search in the article "Understanding Real Estate Ads: The Key Terms Overview." Enjoy reading!

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