The countdown to our flight leaving for Germany has hit 26 days. And we still don’t know where we will be living when we arrive. We have two simple goals.
- No long-term contract. Since we won’t be able to check out the place before we move in, we don’t want to be committed to an apartment or location that we hate. Fortunately, most of the cheaper places don’t have contracts and require only three months’ notice to move out. One place that my boss’s secretary keeps pushing is 595 EUR a month and has a year contract (Vertrag “Fair-trahk”). It’s in a really nice part of town, has two bedrooms and two balconies, and it’s fairly new. But it’s frickin’ expensive! The other place she’s pushing is a room–yes, only a room–in someone else’s apartment. That would be fine if I were single, but we want our privacy. It’s cheap and temporary, but not worth it.
- Nothing over 500 EUR. This place is supposed to give us a roof over our heads until we actually physically look at and find “the perfect apartment.” The cheaper the better, because we won’t be wasting as much on this temporary place. I’m hoping to find a cute little studio for around 300 EUR, but so far, every time we find one we like, it’s taken by the time we get in contact with the leasing agent.
Facts About Renting an Apartment in Germany That Americans Might Find Interesting.
- Most landlords require a “Kaution” (cow-zee-own) or deposit that is usually equal to two or three months rent. As much as it sucks, it makes more sense to me from a business point of view than the deposits we pay here. I mean seriously, after carpet cleaning, patching holes in the wall from pictures or fights (this is SW Missouri, after all), repainting the walls, and covering the random middle-of-the-night broken things, the $350 deposit is gone pretty quickly. At the place we were most seriously considering at the moment, that means 1050 EUR, plus the first month’s rent and an agent fee of 700 EUR. It would be almost 2000 EUR right off the bat, and only half of that would we ever see back. Now we aren’t seriously considering it anymore. :)
- German apartments are B-A-R-E. As in you have to bring your own kitchen cabinets, sink, refrigerator, and closet. So you want to look for a place that has “EBK,” or “Einbauküche” (ein-bow-ku-shuh), or built-in kitchen, at least. Weird, huh?
- A “three room apartment” means a living room, kitchen, and bedroom.
So that’s what I’m stressing about on the German side of things this week. What about here Stateside? The Pathfinder and the couches. We were able to sell the washer and dryer quickly, but now the two biggest items are still hanging around, with nary a bite. Yesterday, an engaged couple stopped by, test drove the Pathfinder and seem very interested. They just need to see what they can get for his truck and if they’ll be able to get enough for the Pathfinder. We should hear back from them on Monday. *wipes the sweat off her brow*
Couches… hmmm. We had two potential buyers before I even left for Germany, but I think they weren’t expecting us to ask so much. We’re asking $1,500. The couches are high back (your head and neck are supported when you lean back), all sections recline (no one is stuck with out the comfy recliner), and despite a few cat scratches (“NAVEED!!!”), are in excellent condition, not even two years old yet. And they are nice leather. We paid almost twice our asking price when we bought them new, so we don’t feel like we’re trying to make a ton off them. I think part of the problem might be that people have very specific taste in furniture, and it will just take a while to find someone with the same taste. Hopefully it won’t take more than 26 days!
Links for this post:
- XE.com: See what a 500 EUR a month rent would mean in dollars
- ImmobilienScout24.de: Here’s the site we’re using to search for a place to live
- IKEA.com’s “Küchensysteme” or “kitchen systems” : Apartment doesn’t come with EBK? Buy one from IKEA.
- Know someone who needs a new car or some nice leather couches? Check out an updated list of what we have for sale.