Getting a flat share in Berlin is pretty much the number one priority for a lot of us. For some, it’s also about finding a social life as much as a roof, or else a stepping stone for their own place one day.
For others, there is simply no other choice. 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.
This guide shows you how to find a good place, a good match and get noticed through the noise of hundreds of other applicants.
Table of contents
- Where to find flat shares in Berlin
- Tips to secure a good flat share in Berlin
- Flat share in Berlin FAQ
A flat share is called WG (pronounced “VayGay”), short for “Wohnungsgemeinschaft”. It is as popular as ever in the city. It shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find one from the moment you are tat bit organized.
Try offline first
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.
If you attend a language course in Berlin, talk about your current search with your fellow students. Chances are that they are in the process of looking too, or heard a good tip.
There are also several specialized website for you to find a flat share in Berlin, I’ve made you a sweet list :
- WG Gesucht (the most popular one, with no doubt)
- WG Suche (also available in English)
- Studenten WG (for students)
- Studenten Wohnung
- Craigslist (for the English speaking crowd out there)
- wgay-gesucht.de/en/ (for LGBTQIA+ friendly people)
- Facebook Marketplace for Berlin
Active Facebook Groups
- WG Berlin
- Berlin.Startup.flats & Flatshares.
- Wohnung & WG Berlin
Think of the coliving concept as “serviced flat shares”. It’s completely furnished, with cleaning services, utilities, sometimes with premium amenities & services such as gyms, stocked fridges, spa. Common areas are designed for mingling, collaborating & having fun. It’s naturally more expensive but it can’t maybe help in the first few months to get started. Check:
Make you first intro memorable to be noticed
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. 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.
Chose your medium well as well. You can get far by simply avoiding boring old words. Try WhatsApp voice messages with music, a cool short video, a cool drawing. Get your personality out-there and make use of your talents.
How I do make sure it will be a good fit?
There are simply no way to make sure your future roommates aren’t psychopaths but a few rules can help your chances.
Move in with people in the same life phase as you
Even though flat shares used to be for 20-something people, nowadays some stay in WGs until their mid 40s. 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 lives. 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”, “profiteers” or “psychopaths” 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.
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.
Do your homework before meeting IRL
You got invited to meet in real life? Congrats! Now it’s all about making a great impression and convince you can be a good fit. But don’t forget to be convincing on the nitty gritty as well. Come to the meeting prepared.
Bring proof you can pay rent:
This can be done in a few ways and not everyone will ask for all of it, but at least one of the following:
- Bring a copy of your SCHUFA report. More info about in this post.
- You may also consider bringing some sort of certificate from a previous main tenant or landlord that you always paid on time. In German, this is called “Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung“.
- You can also bring copy of your payslips or employment contract.
- If your parents or other relative is paying rent for you, bring something about that.
Bring proof you have insurance:
I know: this is very German. But nothing screams reliability more than somebody who has insurance. For anybody living in Germany, I’d recommend a contents insurance policy and a personal liability insurance policy. Follow the links for more info on each.
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 will give you more time and peace of mind to find a good flat share in Berlin. You can also use youth hostels, AirBnB or Wimdu if you are more comfortable with these options.
You might also 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 as well.
A high demand increases prices when the supply cannot satisfy all requests. This might lead to some people taking advantage of the situation. Aside from asking to connections you might have in Berlin, you can also ask for advice on the Facebook groups I mentioned in this post to double check if the price is all right. You can also refer to this map made by Immobilien-Scout & WG-suche for guidance. Based on their data, an average room costs 429€ in a flat share. It fluctuates on your location of course as you can see on this map.
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.
It is a temporary rental often offered by people leaving for holidays or a long trip. It is by nature limited and could a great alternative to get started. Make sure that you are not paying more that you should: it’s allowed for the main tenant to raise prices for the subtenant. It should match the rent’s price, no more.
You have to be more creative than the rest of the crowd. Try leaving a WhatsApp voice message if you have access to a phone number. You can try to do an intro video if you feel like it too, and send it instead of a long paragraph. If you can draw, make a 2 strip comics about you. Use your natural talents to stand out. Keep it short and to the point, you can always expand on it when you meet in real life.
Good luck and feel free to ask questions in the comments !