Finding somewhere to live in Germany, like everywhere else in Europe, can be difficult and time-consuming.
© ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.comYour search for accommodation will require a great deal of effort, and is best conducted at home before you reach Germany, especially if your family is accompanying you.
If you travel to Germany alone and have not arranged your accommodation in advance, you can stay temporarily at a guesthouse or hostel. Always ask your research organisation or university whether they can offer you accommodation for a limited period of time. This sort of arrangement is rare, however, and availability will be limited; places in student hostels are not normally offered to visiting post-docs.
There are various ways of finding accommodation when you arrive. You can look at accommodation advertisements in local newspapers. They have large supplements particularly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can, of course, also place your own advertisement. Another possibility is to look at the noticeboards in universities or institutes, where flat-sharing offers (for singles only) can often be found. Flatsharing agencies also exist which provide accommodation on short-term leases.
The most expensive way of finding accommodation is to use an estate agent, as this involves paying up to two months' rent as commission. This is only really viable for longer-term stays. Make sure you only use an agent who is a member of the Immobilienverband Deutschland (IVD) (German Association of Estate Agents).
Advertisements for accommodation can be difficult to understand due to the many abbreviations they contain. If you have problems understanding them, or have any other questions about accommodation, it is best to seek the advice of colleagues who have been in Germany for some time, or ask your research organisation or the Akademisches Auslandsamt (international office).
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