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Search for accommodation for foreigners in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

June 06, 2017

Wohnungssuche Expats Deutschland Schweiz

New in Germany, Austria or Switzerland and on a housing search?

We will show you how to find your perfect home.

Finding a house is often a difficult affair. Especially in large cities and urban areas one finds a tense housing market. The high demand for housing seekers meets a low supply of affordable housing. It is even more difficult to find a place to stay in a foreign country.
This is why we have a few tips and tricks for finding accommodation in Germany and Switzerland:

1. Overview of accommodation Search in Germany and Switzerland:

You can get an initial overview of the housing market in your destination on various internet portals for Germany and Switzerland.
Here you can refine your search by different criteria (price, number of rooms, square meters or district). To translate websites use Google iTool.

2. Language barriers in housing search

Unfortunately, most portals only offer their ads in German. If you have little or no knowledge of German, you often understand only a few of the information. The display is full of abbreviations. But what do dg, DG, KM, EBK mean? Among the most common abbreviations are:
Accommodation search German

A list of all abbreviations that can be found in apartment listings is available here.

Of course, there are also a few portals that allow you to search for accommodation in English. These include Athome.de for Germany or homegate.ch for Switzerland.

  • If there are still linguistic or other problems with the search for accommodation, cities or social offices, such as Cologne or the welfare Office Nuremberg, provide assistance with housing mediation.
  • In case of problems for housing seekers in Switzerland, various portals offer answers to many questions.
  • 3. In which part of the city do you want to stay?

    An important decision that needs to be taken into consideration during the search for accommodation in Germany and Switzerland is in which part of the city you want to move. In large cities in particular, there are a large number of districts that offer different living conditions.

  • Would you like to stay close to a wide range of bars and restaurants? Or rather on the outskirts of the countryside?
  • Which traffic connection is important to you?
  • Which people should be their neighbors?
  • On the Internet, you can find out a lot about the various parts of the cities in Germany and Switzerland. Find out beforehand which aspects are important to you, so that you will feel comfortable in your new city.

    4. The right price

    The search for accommodation for foreigners is not only complicated by language barriers, but often there is no knowledge about the rental prices in Germany. Here, the rental level, which is available for the search for accommodation in Germany and Switzerland, helps. It specifies the local comparative rent, i.e. how high an average 3-room apartment is in a particular city. This is often indicated directly on the apartment portals. Inform yourself about the rental mirror so you don’t have to pay too much for your apartment.

    5. Who can help with legal problems?

    After the search for accommodation in Germany or Switzerland, comes the move to the new home. Unfortunately, sometimes not all problems have ended, but new ones are added.

  • Is the neighbour too loud?
  • Will the landlord suddenly increase the rent?
  • What rights and obligations do I have as a tenant?
  • What can the landlord do? What is he not allowed to do?
  • The first source of information is the websites of the Swiss and German tenancy law.

  • Once more serious legal problems arise, so that you need legal support, in Germany the German tenant confederation or other tenant associations, which exist in many cities and where one for a small annual contribution can become a member.
  • In Switzerland, there are among other things the tenants ‘ association Switzerland, which also helps in legal disputes.
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