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The Surfer

Looking to move into a new apartment?

Here’s the ultimate to-do list!

Apr 7, 2022
Reading time 2 min.

🌈 A quick taster for you:  

  • Ever thought about swapping apartments?
  • Licenses, utilities, insurance — know what’s what! 
  • Use your move to save money.  

🧐 Why do I care?

We might all have a dream apartment in our minds — but, more often than not, it stays just that: a dream. Finding an apartment in most German cities is usually a real pain! If you've already got a good one, then props to you! Today we’re here to let you know our tips and tricks, and what you need to think about for a stress-free move.

🔍 What exactly is happening here?

  • Register: It's a must. 
    First things first! You are obliged to register your new address whenever you move. To do this, you need an appointment at the Einwohnermeldeamt — which is usually part of the Bürgeramt. It can often be tricky to get an appointment, so it’s wise to book in advance. And watch out: any change in address needs to be registered within two weeks of the move, otherwise you could be fined up to €500! There are grace periods though, so check the website of your city. To register your new address you’ll need a valid ID card and a certificate from your new landlord confirming the address.
  • The funky TV license fee
    This is a topic which gets discussed again and again — yup, every household in Germany has to pay the TV license fee. Even if you don’t have a TV. If you’re moving into your own apartment or a flat-share for the first time, you simply have to register online. If you’re changing your apartment then you have to re-register online. It's best to do it in a timely fashion, or else you might be surprised by a big bill in a couple of months.
  • Forwarding your mail
    Germany loves snail mail. You’ll mainly receive just a lot of ads, but something official-looking will probably turn up in your mailbox every now and then. That's exactly why the forwarding order at the post office makes sense. For just under 30€ per year, all letters will be forwarded to your new address — which gives you enough time to let everyone know about your new ‘home sweet home’.
  • Out with the old contracts, in with the new?
    Gas, water, electricity, internet: all the things you need in your new apartment. If you’re moving into a shared apartment, then of course you need to cancel all your old contracts in good time. If you are moving into your own apartment, then you can either re-register with your existing provider or take the opportunity to move to a cheaper contract — in which case of course you’ll need to terminate your old contract. If your current contract can’t be continued in the new apartment then a ‘special termination’ right applies which makes it easy to get out of the contract. It’s worth checking on comparison sites like Check24 or Verivox, to see what the cheapest providers will be for your new home.
  • Household insurance
    If you’re in training or studying, and don’t live in your own apartment then you might be covered by the household insurance of your parents — it’s definitely worth checking! However, if you live alone, it may make sense to take out your own household insurance so that you’re covered in the event of a fire, a burst water pipe, theft, and so on. It’ll also cover you if your bike is stolen from your apartment, a locked basement, or bicycle parking space.
  • The question of all questions: how do I even find an apartment?
    One thing is for sure: more is more! Spread the word! Tell as many people as possible that you’re looking for an apartment! There are of course also the classic sites, Immoscout24, Immonet, and Immowelt, as well as WG gesucht and Ebay Kleinanzeigen. If you already have an apartment but are looking to swap it, then you can search on Ebay specifically for an apartment exchange. This is especially useful if you want to change from a 1 room apartment to a two room apartment, because there will probably be a lot of takers.

🤓 What does this mean for me?

Moving is always exciting. Whether it’s a new city, being away from home for the first time, finding new-found freedom, or moving in with your best friends or partner! But it is always pretty stressful — especially in the planning stages. We hope that this post has removed at least a little bit of that stress by giving you an overview of the most important things to consider. 

Do you have any questions? What topics do you find exciting? What should we write more about? Feel free to reply directly to this email with your ideas!

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