illustration: Sophia Halamoda

Only few things can prove harder than finding a place to stay upon moving to Berlin. We have all had our fair share of stories in our quest to find a decent room somewhere relatively close to where the wild things are. On the plus side, the German capital is huge with various “centers” showcasing many beautiful neighborhoods to live in. However, this might be the only good thing about the Berliner housing situation, since prices have risen greatly as a result of the huge demand in the last few years. Looking for a place can prove exhausting, frustrating and intensely distressing.

The main lessons I have learnt from the housing hunting are to be able to sell myself in every possible way and never give back. To avoid any misunderstandings, your search for accomodation should become a salient issue among friends, relatives and pretty much anybody who could potentially help you out. Looking for a room or an apartment resembles some aspects of a campaign. It is not sufficient to create a profile on a few online platforms, such as WG-Gesucht or Easy-WG, and copy-paste your message in response to a few ads you saw.

Create a stand-out Profile

First of all, your profile needs to be as diligently and thoroughly created as possible. Give it all out there, so that people who might view it, get a proper impression of who you are. Upload photos of yours, add your hobbies, give your personal touch, invest some time and energy; even if it makes you think at times that you should not bother that much, you really should.

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Send personalized eMails

Should you find any ads that meet your criteria, take the time and answer the people by stating exactly what drew you to their ad, elaborate on why you specifically like their place. Write enough, but not too much. Nobody is interested at reading a detailed analysis of the last decades to your life. There are a few ads, that urge you to state at the beginning of your response a certain code word, so that the people that posted the ad in the first place, know that you have actually read it. No comment.

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Make the most out of Social Media

As you have probably already noticed there is a group on Facebook for pretty much everything. Imagine how many there are, when it comes to such broad and relatable issues, such as accommodation in Berlin. I am pretty sure there are groups for people of a specific nationality searching for a place when moving to Berlin. Join every single group there is out there and post a little ad stating your basic info: who you are, where you are from, what you are looking for etc? Sounds like a Tinder profile? Well, there are not that many differences in this case. Keep it short and interesting. Post it everywhere including your wall. Contact friends, relatives, people you despise, anybody that can be of help. Finding a room in Berlin should become your personal, presidential-like campaign, everybody should be aware of. I have personally seen people writing about it even on their Tinder profiles; even though it might sound over the top, it certainly does not harm.

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Organize & Discipline

These two words really do sound terrible, I know. Set a goal, such as sending a minimum of 10-20 emails per day, make sure you check your email account constantly. In my experience searching for a place, before arriving in Berlin, might not prove that fruitful, since people would actually like to get to know you in person as soon as possible. You will reach a certain point, when you will feel, that you physically cannot spend another minute on looking ads. Just make a short break and then keep going!

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Be Aware of Scams

Do not believe anybody, who is willing to give you a room after you transfer money to their account, without having met them in person first. It might not necessarily be a scam, but do you really want to take the risk? Email addresses, like “johanna2345@…” or the lack of interest from the tenant in Skyping with you, are not encouraging indications. Moreover, join as many Facebook groups on housing as possible and make sure to check them a lot of times during the day.

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Stomach the Bizarreness

Be prepared to feel a bit odd at least, when you walk into the so-called “WG-castings”. I remember once visiting a place and having a talk with my potential flatmates. They had actually written down on a piece of paper abstracts from my email to them and were asking me about these issues thoroughly. After all, it was supposed to be a casual talk, not a job interview. The following week, I went to a house viewing, where at least 20 other “applicants” were present. It felt so surreal given the fact that it was not an open house in the Hamptons, but a mere viewing of a 14 square meters room in Neukölln – please feel free to break down the whole-Neukölln-is-such-a-cool-place-to-live-hype for me in the comment section below.

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By and large, it is stressful, it sucks, but the more focused you are, the sooner you will be over with this nightmare. And never forget: you are searching for a place in – what I personally consider – one of the most diverse, interesting, wild and exciting places in the world.

Diesen Artikel auf deutsch lesen.

Nikos
by
on October 27th, 2016
in Stories