In Germany you find usually two types of listed offers: Those from private people offering the house or apartment to rent, and those from agencies or brokers. Private people can either be landlords who own the house, or tenants who look for someone to take over and step into their terms of contract; or private people or companies who have actually rented a place and want to sublet it, either for commercial reasons or because they have to move to another place for a while. A last possibility would be property management institutions if you know any.
Surely enough if you want to save money you can always find the private advertisements either in local newspapers or on the Internet. As the tenant not automatically has to pay the agent or broker in Germany (the "Immobilienmakler", "Immobilien Firma" or short "Immobilien"), many tenants are happy to contact an agent or Makler instead of relying on private advertisement. Since the change of the Rental Law in 2015 no agency fee is to be paid by the tenant except when he hired an agent to find him an apartment. But on any apartments listed by that agent within his offers there is no agency fee for the tenant. (AllGrund offers Homesearch for a finders commission of 2 months cold rent plus VAT. All offers found on www.frankfurtrentals.de, the rental website of AllGrund, are free of agency fee now.)
By hiring an agency you deal with professionals who know the rental laws, the rules and how the contract has to be worked out between tenant and landlord. But there may be another aspect too. When it comes to negotiating certain points like the rent, work to be done in the house, terms of lease time and so forth, very often both parties are well advised to have an agent as a kind of mediator and also one who can really and reasonable negotiate.
The better recommendation is to work with a reliable agent who knows your language and gives you personal take care and then search with him. Negotiate with your employer who is relocating you to Germany to cover the agency expenses for you. We know by experience that often they will agree.
If you read german home listings, you will encounter some particularities and abbreviations. We try to explain them briefly:
2 ZKB = 2 Zimmer, Küche, Bad. That means a flat with two rooms, a kitchen, and a bath. Kitchen, bath, storage cabinets and hallways do not count as rooms. Germany does not list by number of bedrooms, so you have to figure out that probably 2ZKB means one living and one bedroom.
3 ZKBB = 3 Zimmer, Küche, Bad, Balkon. Now we have the balconey added in the second B. And another bedroom.
4 ZKBB = 4 Zimmer, Küche, Bad, Balkon. But that can be two bedrooms or three bedrooms. E.g. two bedrooms, living room and dining room.
2 1/2 ZKB = 2.5 rooms. The half room is usually a room that due to its small size cannot be counted as a full room.
The term "Studio" is seldom used. More often you find 1 Zimmer Apartment or 1 Zimmer Wohnung.
ETW means "Eigentumswohnung" and this means a condo or flat for sale within a multiple dwelling house. It refers to sales, not to rentals.
RH = Reihenhaus and is a town house or row house. Usually has only small piece of ground with it.
REH = Reihenendhaus, a townhouse at the end of a line of houses, usually more attractive and with larger land.
DHH = Doppelhaushälfte; semidetached home. Bigger than a Reihenhaus.
EFH = Einfamilienhaus; a house for one family. Can be RH, REH, DHH; but normally is being used for a single standing home.
Villa = well, thats self explanatory.
Bungalow = flat house with one level, sometimes with living space in the basement too.
ELW = Einliegerwohnung. Thats a separate small flat within a house, often used for a maid or as a guest apartment or being rented separately.
Mieter = Tenant
Miete = Rent
Vermieter = Landlord, lesser
mieten = to rent (verb)
vermieten = to let (verb)
NK = Nebenkosten; utilities (gas, water, electricity, garbage, tax, etc.)
In Germany flat and house sizes offered for rent are being quoted in m² or square meters (also: sqm or Quadratmeter). How do sqm convert to square feet or square yard? One square meter = 10,764 square feet. 250m²=298,996 square yard. So conversion is really not that difficult. To make it easy, just 10x the square meters and you roughly know the sqft.
Wohnfläche = Living space (in sqm). All rooms that one usually uses for living, including bath, kitchen, hallway.
Nutzfläche = other usage space not living space (only indoor). E.g. storage, attic, rooms or space smaller than 1.50 meters, rooms with no heating in them or no windows.
Rents are based on the Wohnfläche. A large Nutzfläche however is to be considered with a portion of rent, too.
ZH = Zentralheizung. Central heating. Can be with gas or oil.
GEH or ETH = Gasetagenheizung. Heating system with gas which is for that one flat only.
The best is to call the people offering. If no phone number is given, you may have to either fax or email them. Sometimes they quote a Chiffre code. In this case one needs to write them. Home Search Service Clients of AllGrund should contact AllGrund to do this for them.
To list your search with us, use this form. No fee is connected with sending the form as inquiry. A separate home search contract is prerequisite for a finders commission; this will be worked out by our staff with you at your demand. A personal contact by phone will follow upon your inquiry to the phone number you send us, or email contact if you prefer this to begin with.
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