Find a flat share in Berlin

For many of us foreigners, it’s very difficult to arrive in Berlin and start living in our own flat right away.

We don’t have the money, we don’t have the time and we don’t have the papers ! So the best solution is to find a nice flat share in Berlin with friendly room mates. It is often a great way to save some cash and meet cool people within days.

flat share in berlin

Flat shares in Berlin are numerous…

A flat share is called WG (pronounced “VayGay”), short for “Wohnungsgemeinschaft”. It is very popular in Berlin, since many young people with limited budgets are living here. It shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find one from the moment you are tat bit friendly and tidy person.

The best way for you to find a flat share in Berlin is certainly through your own network. If you are interested in Berlin in the first place, it’s probably through a connection you have already here. It is the best place to start investigating.

If you are coming to Berlin to work for a specific company, be sure to check that it doesn’t offer relocating services for foreigners. It could also be part of your benefit package.

If you are coming as a student to one of the universities, it could also be  the best way for you to start looking for a flat share in Berlin. Many of those universities have a international office where many international students meet and find an accommodation solution together.

There are also several specialized website for you to find a flat share in Berlin, I’ve made you a sweet list :

If you aren’t too sure that you are a perfect match for the people publishing the offers, you can also use this platform. It matches people that could fit inside a flat share in Berlin and other cities in Germany.

A few Facebook groups have also emerged as alternative options. Those are:

 

…but competition is fierce

It is very likely that you will pass through several filters before even being invited. Being fast is the key as people offering a flat share in Berlin are flooded with answers once they have posted an offer. As far as i can tell, answering to posts in English is no problem but it is always a plus to be able to convince in German.

Keep your introductions short, relevant and memorable to maximize your chances. Once invited in the flat, be nice, smile and show some willingness to blend in the existing lifestyle of the flat share. I have found very important to be willing to participate to the community life with activities such as cooking, nights out, or others. It helps a lot.

Prepare for the interview for the best :)

Prepare for the interview 🙂

How i do make sure it will work out?

There are simply no way to make sure your future roommates are not psychopaths but a few rules can help you to find good matches.

  • Move in with people in the same life phase as you

Even though flat shares are usually for 20 something people, some stay in WGs until sometimes their mid 30s. This means that they are probably no longer students anymore and will have different expectations on common life & routine. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to move in with people that are on the same page as you in their life. If you are a student, move in with students. If you are struggling young professional, move in with some.  You get the idea. This maximize the chances for compatibility.

  • Have a good look at common areas

A thorough inspection of the kitchen & bathroom can tell a lot about the state of the flat share. It says a lot about hygiene of course, but also about respect to one another. It’s a good way to rate common life. If you see a lot of group portraits & pictures of them in the kitchen, then it’s a sign they do stuff together and there is a good atmosphere for example.

  • Turnover rate matters

This might help to detect “parasites”, “profiteer” or “psychopath” roommates; ask (discreetly) how many people lived in the flat the past 2/3 years. If the number is much higher than normal, it might mean that the Hauptmieter is behaving in such a way that people can’t bear life with them. Either they don’t do their share of chores, they are not sociable or they profit from your misinformation to charge a high-rate.

  • Lifestyle check

In general, don’t pick flat shares which promotes lifestyle too far away from yours. We all learn from each other and it’s good to be different, but if it makes life impossible, it’s not worth it.

Or else check this excellent guide by Sophia Halamoda :)(click on picture)

Or else check this excellent guide by Sophia Halamoda 🙂 (click on picture)

Tip 1 : There is a good chance that you won’t be able to find the perfect WG right away. Don’t hesitate to find a Zwichenmiete in one of those websites for a month or more if you can. It is a temporary rental often offered by people leaving for holidays or a long trip. It will give you more time and peace of mind to find a good flat share in Berlin. You can also use AirBnB or Wimdu if you are more comfortable with this option.

Tip 2: You will often find the expression “Zweck WG” in offers you will find on the website. This means that the flat share is only aiming at sharing the costs and won’t be about having a social life together. It might be what you want but be warned that it’s very serious nonetheless. On the opposite, you will often find people that expressly want room mates that are looking for a dense social life within the WG.

Tip 3: If you have sent numerous requests with no luck, you might consider renting your own flat and searching for roommates instead. In that case, you might want to have a look at platforms like Wunderflats which provides fully furnished flats. You can rent them without a SCHUFA record and they make sure you can register there.

The best flat mates + the perfect flat + great social skills = The best flat share in Berlin ever !

Good luck !

56 Comments

  • Reply Maria 20/01/2017 at 16:18

    My name is Maria and I just moved into the city. I have to say thanks because your site is the reason why I was FINALLY able to find my new place to live! 🙂

    My search for a place was actually a really stressful experience and a pain, that’s why I’m writing to let you know that I wanted to recommend that you extend your list.The ones that helped the most were:

    https://www.wohnraumkarte.com
    https://medici-living.com
    https://studenten-wg.com

    Bye 🙂

  • Reply Gina 03/01/2017 at 16:05

    Hi,
    My student colleague and I are searching for a two bedroom flat or apartment in Berlin for a minimum of 6 months. We will appreciate if you can make recommendations on affordable places

    Gina

  • Reply Brian 28/10/2016 at 08:48

    Hello!
    My partner and I are looking for a place to stay at in Berlin for a minimum of 6 months, but could be extended indefinitely if everything works out. I’ve been looking all over on sites such as wg-gesucht and haven’t had any luck yet. I’m beginning to think about furnished apartments but most of them are pretty expensive. I was able to find very decent offers on spotathome.com. The site claims to get you in direct contact with the landlord and that they would take care of all the difficult elements in the transaction. All you have to do is come from abroad, inspect the apartment, and sign the contract. My questions are, are you familiar with websites such as this, and is this service legitimate? Also, provided that it is, since I am in direct contact with the Landlord and not subletting, I would be able to obtain my Anmeldung without any problems, correct?

    Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/10/2016 at 10:18

      Hi there Brian. I don’t know this provider in particular and it looks like they are based in Spain & the U.K, so they might not have the real knowledge of the local market in Berlin. I usually recommend Wunderflats when it comes to furnished flats in Berlin. They are based here and they make sure you can register at the flat you rent with them.

      • Reply Brian 28/10/2016 at 15:30

        Okay thank you!
        What about Nestpick? I remember seeing it mentioned multiple times on this site (maybe in the comments section). Would that be a good option in Berlin or is its situation similar to spotahome?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/10/2016 at 19:58

          Nestpick is another option that i used to recommend but there has been some quality issues with them reported in this article or this one. I am more cautious now until something changes.

  • Reply Amber 04/10/2016 at 23:01

    Hello! I’ve been looking for a flatshare in Berlin for two weeks now – the thing is, I’m moving there on November 12th. As of right now, I’m still in Canada. I have only had ONE person reply out of the probably 75+ messages I’ve sent on WG-Gesucht and various Facebook WG groups. Would you recommend searching while still abroad? Or is it a waste of my time – should I just give up and try again when I arrive in Berlin?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/10/2016 at 09:27

      Hi there Amber. People will probably prioritize prospective roommates that are available to meet in person within the next few days so it’s definitely better to be on site for your search. Maybe start again the week before your arrival and try to find a way to differentiate yourself to attract people’s attention.

  • Reply Leah Mizrahi 02/09/2016 at 00:56

    Hi there, I am moving to Berlin from New Zealand. I am looking for a flat share – I know this isn’t a forum for that but I thought I would give it a go!
    I work in the film industry and am coming over for a movie. I am 27, tidy and independent. Thanks!

  • Reply 鋒狂德意志Week 1.2 - 唔住Hostel住乜好 – 鋒狂德意志 07/08/2016 at 17:33

    […] Studenten-WG:無英文,多數放租俾學生哥或者房源係學生宿舍 Settle in Berlin: 柏林搵屋功略,英文,我未認真睇因為未需要住。 […]

  • Reply rachel 08/06/2016 at 13:52

    Hi, I am currently on the hunt for a WG. I have just moved to Berlin from Dublin. I have seen on a few profiles on WG-gesucht that you need a Schufa document. As I have just moved here I don’t have those documents yet. I thought I would need an address first to register and gain all of these documents so I am not sure what to do.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 08/06/2016 at 17:57

      This is the typical egg-chicken situation for a lot of people coming from abroad and starting with a WG is usually a way to go around it. I must say i find it strange that people on WG gesucht ask for that document! Is it landlords or the Hauptmieter asking for it?

  • Reply Ben 21/04/2016 at 22:43

    Has anyone used Nestpick or Uniplaces? Likely leaving after a 10-month stay (on a DAAD scholarship) so the ease is ideal. Also curious for any other places that rent furnished rooms for reasonable prices (less than 500 euro).

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 21/04/2016 at 23:06

      Have you had a look at Wunderflats ? It might be what you are looking for ?

      • Reply William Kavanagh 24/05/2016 at 17:17

        Hello,

        Is this ‘Nestpick’ only for students? I find the prices in Wunderflats to be a little on the heavy side. Is this normal for long stay temporary accommodation in Berlin?

        Thanks

        Will

        • Reply settle_in_Berlin 24/05/2016 at 18:13

          I think Nestpick is targeted a little bit more at students than Wunderflats is yes. Those platforms are a bit more expensive that’s true but you pay for more convenience, more safety & more service.

  • Reply Jason Hyndman 20/04/2016 at 02:17

    What kind of luck have people had with Craigslist. I have seen several places, but due to the nature of the website I am careful when communicating with people advertising. Just wondering if you or anyone you know has had a positive outcome using it, Thanks!

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 20/04/2016 at 09:33

      It’s craigslist. So in my opinion, there are mostly legit offers but it’s good to be careful. Look at this for a few tips

  • Reply Zulkarnain Mohd 27/01/2016 at 21:39

    Hi Sandra,

    When can we come & view the flat?

    Thanks.

    -nine-

  • Reply Eddie 18/01/2016 at 10:03

    Hi everyone! Thanks for the information, it’s very interesting! I’d like to add another website in order to look for housing in Berlin, it’s name is Beroomers (www.beroomers.com) and it was very useful for me when I moved to Germany.
    Thanks and regards!

  • Reply Zulkarnain Mohd 04/01/2016 at 19:10

    Hallo,

    I’m from Malaysia, newly married to my beautiful German wife looking for a long term rent in any part of Berlin.

    I’m currently promoting Malaysian product & services to Europe & my wife is still at uni but doing her part time job in one of an established production house in Berlin.

    If it’s a shared flat, we would prefer the typical German cleanliness & rest is good as we’re pretty easy going couple to live with.

    Our preference will be as per below:
    Move in Date: 01/02/2016
    Location / Radius: Berlin, Germany
    Estimated Max. rent: EUR 350.00 per room / month including utilities

    Lets catch up for a coffee once you’re free.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    @nine

  • Reply Month the First: aller Anfang ist schwer (or, how many bureaucratic processes can be navigated in one month) | die Metropole 06/10/2015 at 19:49

    […] I soon found out that searching for a WG (a flatshare) in Berlin as a foreigner is the hardest and most soul-crushingly stressful thing in the world. Despite sending about 300 emails over the course of 3 months, I had only […]

  • Reply ali ibrahim 07/09/2015 at 07:26

    Hallobiam ali 23 years old i look to find some one have aroom to share in berlin this is my number.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 07/09/2015 at 09:50

      Hi Ali. I edited your comment to remove your phone number out. It’s not safe to publish it in the wild like this. Please post an email adress instead.

  • Reply Fergal McCarthy 22/06/2015 at 17:17

    Fantastic Website, very informative!

    My girl friend and i are moving to Berlin in Sep and it seems to be next to impossible to find a flat share when you are looking as a couple, This is a common aspect when seeking accommodation in a flat share anywhere in the world really so I’m not surprised, as you mentioned in one of your previous replies…”I don’t think there is a lot on there for couples but it’s simply not very common for couples to move in WGs around here (and anywhere else?). I would rather recommend that you guys find a flat for yourself, like a 1-zimmer-wohnung. It will make life easier for everyone and it is still affordable”…

    And tbh we would prefer to have our own flat however to refer to your open line,…”For many of us foreigners, it’s very difficult to arrive in Berlin and start living in our own flat right away”, which i believe is very true, without any precious history of living in Germany it is difficult for German landlords to trust foreigners.

    So if its hard for couples to get a flat share and if its hard for foreigners to live in their own flat straight away,what do we do and where do we go??

    If any couples out there have any experience of this we would appreciate some advice.

    Thanks for this website 🙂

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 23/06/2015 at 12:05

      I can see how difficult the situation can look. But despair not ! There are potential solutions.
      Solution 1 : You have money. In this case, when applying for a flat, let the landlord know that you are ready to give an extra 2-3 months worth of deposit to show good faith. Maybe that works. Try to get a paper from your previous landlord with a nice stamp stating you left the contract debt-free. Maybe that helps too even if in English.
      Solution 2 : Short term all-furnished flats. A number of agencies/landlord have furnished flats that they rent to exchange students or similar profiles. They usually limit the contract to 9 months and rent is a bit more expensive, but hey, it’s a foot in the door. At the end of the contract you can ask a Schuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung to conquer your more long-term flat.

      If anyone else has other ideas, do write in. 🙂

    • Reply Chris Moore 15/08/2015 at 13:20

      Hey,
      I just thought I’d let you know that my girlfriend and I are in the exact same position. It is extremely difficult to look as a couple and we’re currently trying to find a way around it. People don’t seem to like to rent out a room to a pair and it’s difficult to walk straight into your own apartment. Are you guys students? I ask because my girlfriend is, whereas I’m a graduate.

    • Reply Danni 20/08/2015 at 17:39

      Hey, if you find a way around this please send me an email. I am moving to Berlin in the first week of September and my boyfriend will be following around November. It seems difficult to even find a room with a double bed!

      • Reply Chris 21/08/2015 at 13:23

        My girlfriend and I have just found a place after extensive searching. It seems that the best approach – or what seemed to work for us – was book into temporary accommodation such as Airbnb and start looking into sublets. If you’re lucky someone will take a liking to you. The initial process is extremely complicated: you have to find somewhere to stay, register with local authorities – which can take ages, apply for a bank account, then hope someone chooses to let you a property over the masses. Unfortunately it’s a real sellers market and apartment viewings are flooded with people. However, we managed it fairly quickly.

  • Reply Chris 24/04/2015 at 17:35

    I already found several WGs but as I’m in Mexico, its really hard to trust in people from 9000 km away. How can I be sure I’m not getting into a scam and how can I not be into a fraud?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 27/04/2015 at 10:18

      As a rule, do not transfer anything before seeing the flat in person. Scams often attract people with low prices in interesting locations and ask for security deposit right away. You want also to see people you will live with. I’d do like this :
      1- Fly over here and book a hostel for the first week or go for couch surfing.
      2- During that first week, find a temporary zwischenmiete
      3- During that zwischenmiete, find something more permanent.

      This way, you gradually save yourself from the pressure of finding something right away. No scam possible.

  • Reply Maxim 26/02/2015 at 15:29

    Dear Host,
    thanks’ for the interesting web-site. I really appreciate your efforts. Could you please advice when searching for Zwichenmiete do we have to ask for landlord’s permission? Do we have to ask for the current tenant to show his renting contract? Is this the normal way to rent in Zwichenmiete?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 26/02/2015 at 23:17

      When subletting a room, the landlord should theoretically give the green light to the main tenant. It’s not the sub-tenant’s job to ask permission. A proof for the current contract is also something that you are allowed to ask i guess. All of that is very theoretical since it’s lot of zwischenmiete are done under table based on trust. The only thing i would require in any case is a written contract between you and the tenant to make clear what the conditions of the contract are; what is paid, how much, is there are any deposit, what is the deposit for, etc.

  • Reply Indrani Ashe 22/01/2015 at 22:38

    Hi, thanks for your help, I have found your list of links very useful. I have a quick question…In my current flatshare in the uk it was very important that i have a uk bank account to pay for it via transfer..and as you discussed in another article, i have to have a residency permit to get a bank account…do you know if this will be a problem in germany ?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 24/01/2015 at 15:07

      It’s not mandatory to have a german account but i think it’s more convincing for landlords that you have one. It also helps build trust.

  • Reply hmmm 28/10/2014 at 22:33

    Hello and thank you for your posts, they are very helpful all. I’m not from Europe or UK, and can’t make sense of the rent scheme here. I don’t see anything that indicates if the rent is per week or month. It’s only and always per month in the States; here the posts are randomly per some unspecified (week or month)term and it’s impossible to know if you’re looking at an inexpensive place or a week scheme-…does any landlord actually accept rent 4 times a month?! grumble.. not efficient.

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 29/10/2014 at 11:52

      It is monthly yes. I believe that it is only in the UK where rent is still on weekly basis. Although i’m not sure. in Germany, Monthly definitely.

  • Reply King 04/10/2014 at 10:30

    Five friends are in desperate need of flats to share. Two of us are looking for two bedroom flats, two is looking for a-safe-contained and one wants to share a-two-room apartment.
    Please, contact us with the email above. Thanks

  • Reply aqsa 13/09/2014 at 11:11

    Hello Guys !Nice Blog If you are looking for an apartment, you might want to check out Place Match . Posting an ad is Free and I found it to be useful in finding my place.
    Hope that helps 🙂
    Cheers, Aqsa Rao

    • Reply Yfara 22/09/2014 at 21:59

      Hi Aqsa,

      The link is not working.Can you tell me again?

      Greetings Yohana

  • Reply Christin 06/02/2014 at 12:41

    Thank you for the info specially for the sites!I have been to Berlin once and I really like it! I am going to move in Berlin for Y months and finding a flateshare from abroad is very diffuclt for me..Do they have tge habit to announce their flatshare offer whith a kind of..commercial in tge streets or I don’t know in a kind of boards with oter offers? I am asking because I don’t find something just from the internet..Here in Greece tge best offers are placarded in the streets!

    P.S I have been to Generator Hostel Mitte..It was quiet a cheap offer and a good accomodation as it was in a nice location (next to Museum Island) and clean..I think for one week living in a hostel it’s ok.But if you’re going to wait till find an accomodation then you have to search for more comfort. .!

    • Reply Christin 06/02/2014 at 13:04

      Excuse me for some orthographically “errors” but I am trying to write from a touch screen! Where yousee tge it’s a tge O:-) 😛

  • Reply Josh Mac 14/12/2013 at 04:53

    hi great website very informative and handy !
    my girlfriend and i are moving over in february and i was
    just wondering what the deal is with couples for flat sharing? nothing on the wg-gesucht.de website indicates anything about couples allowed. any help would be great thanks?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 17/12/2013 at 14:04

      I don’t think there is a lot on there for couples but it’s simply not very common for couples to move in WGs around here (and anywhere else?). I would see that as a drawback for both the couple (less intimacy) and other people (different dynamics, have to put up with likely couple fights, etc). I would rather recommend that you guys find a flat for yourself, like a 1-zimmer-wohnung. It will make life easier for everyone and it is still affordable.

    • Reply Claudia 11/02/2014 at 18:37

      We are about to rent 2 rooms in a lovely luxurious flat just around the Kudamm with a separate bathroom. My daughter and I would not mind sharing with a couple. Feel free to contact us, if thats still of relevance to you.

      best wishes, Claudia

      • Reply Benjamin 25/05/2014 at 01:19

        hello, i am interested if the room is still available. i am looking for a shared apartment or a room to rent. my number 015217914637

  • Reply Markus 27/11/2013 at 23:28

    I totally agree that new people in Berlin should live in a WG – to get know the language, the culture and the people!
    I am personal even really into helping people to have a good start here in this town!

    But for the first thing: Read something about german culture – exactly like this blog – and try to adopt yourself!

    And then, if you are looking for a flatsharing – write something about you! Tell why you want to live in a flatsharing, what kind of things you like, be interested in the people you will find there!

    The basic problem of renting a room in a WG in Berlin is, getting 100 mails like:
    “Hello, I am really looking for a room. I like music and having a beer sometimes. Can I see the room. What documents do I need to bring?”

    With a mail just like this, and 100 other ‘competitors’ – you shurly will not get any response…

    German WG-Culture is mostly in living together, a kind of finding friends. So be personal, write some personal things, tell about yourself, be unique and really be interested in the culture, the language and in the people living there already. And of course you may send your really good and personal mail to a lot of people. Then you will sound interesting.

    And do not forget: You need to look for the people – not for the room!

    That’s why I was writing the post above.

  • Reply Markus 27/11/2013 at 01:49

    Please do NOT tell the people to write a short introduction!

    If you offer a room in Berlin you usally get more than 100 emails with the same blablabla…

    The best way to find a “Wohngemeinschaft” which really means “Living Community” in german is, to write about yourself and introduce you in an open and interested way to the flatmates! More then 20 sentences, photo, facebook, mobil number…

    And for germans it is quite disappointing, if they invite someone for a WG-Casting, and then this people are just smiling and say yes to everything and are not interested in the flat and in the other people. This is very very unpolite.

    The best way to find a Wohngemeinschaft is, to know what you are looking for, being interested in the other people and search exactly for what you want. Be direct, honest (to yourself and the others) and if you are just looking for a room – take a hotel!

    You need to look for people, not for rooms!

  • Reply stephen bigler 06/11/2013 at 16:08

    Heya,I just read your article and found it very interesting.I am looking to relocate to Berlin in the New Year.I know that finding shared accommodation would be difficult to start off with so instead of jumping into finding suitable accommodation straight away I will opt to spend my first few weeks in a long term hostel.I would be very grateful if you could suggest any good long term hostels ??

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 19/11/2013 at 19:47

      Never been to an hostel in berlin. Can’t recommend or help you sorry.

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