How to find an apartment in Frankfurt: Your guide based on my experiences

Instead of locations and rent prices, I’m talking SCHUFA, viewings and email templates (in English and German!). The most important aspects that often go forgotten!

Since moving to Frankfurt, I’ve lived in three shared apartments and eventually moved into my own place. I previously held an event on apartment hunting in Frankfurt and have recently helped out a friend, so I thought it was about time I share these goodies on the blog.

I’ve separated this guide into the following chapters:

  1. Getting started
  2. Responding to an ad
  3. Attending an apartment viewing
  4. Following up after an apartment viewing
  5. Next steps

You can probably apply this guide to apartment hunting all over Germany, but it’s is based on my experience, which was only in Frankfurt.

1. Getting started

Prioritise & Compromise

Get started by writing a list of your priorities for your new home, as well as noting down the aspects that you’re willing to compromise on. Your list may change over time, but it’s good to have a clear idea of where you’re happy to be flexible. Oh, and please know that if you’re doing this, then you need to be dedicated. You’ll unlikely find an apartment by having quick scroll one every fortnight. You might want to consider the following:

  • Location
  • Price
  • Size 
  • Moving in date 
  • Balcony
  • Kitchen (Yes, in Germany it’s normal to move into an apartment that doesn’t have a kitchen, meaning have to buy your own. Read more here.)


Websites

Below are the websites I used and have recommended over the years. I was offered two flat shares through WG-Gesucht and found my own apartment via Immo Scout24.

Important: You pretty much have to sign up to Immo Scout24’s MieterPlus membership in order to get a flat. Based on my personal experience, I would say it’s worth it.


Vocabulary

GERMANENGLISH
UntermieterSub-tenant
ZwischenmietenSub-letting for a limited time
BefristetLimited/ Temporary
UnbefristetUnlimited/ Permanent
WG (Wohnungsgemeinschaft) Shared apartment
Zweck-WGWhen you live together to live together, not to make friends
MaklerEstate agent
Vermieter/inLandlord
Mieter/inTenant
AltbauOld-build
NeubauNew-build
Selbstauskunft Self-disclosure 
SCHUFA (Schutzorganisation für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung)*Credit record


SCHUFA

This is your credit record and is a must for when finding your own apartment. You can obtain this via the website at any time, but the reason I thought the Immo Scout24 MieterPlus membership was so worth it is because the price included a SCHUFA.

2. Responding to an ad

Once you’ve scrolled through numerous ads, zoomed in on all the photos and referred back to you ‘prioritise and compromise’ list, it’s finally time to start contacting responding to the ads! This can be daunting, especially if you brave it in German. To save you some hassle, I’ve created two templates (in English and German) that you’re welcome to use and adapt.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you’ve read the ad properly
  • If it doesn’t fit your criteria, don’t contact them (it’s a waste of everyone’s time)
  • Check how the person wants to be contacted (call/email/whatsapp etc)
  • Go to the next available appointment!

Contacting an estate agent

When looking for my own flat, I often found that ads were posted by estate agents.

English

Dear Name
I hope all is well. I am interested in the advertised apartment on road.
To quickly introduce myself, I am age years old and have been working as a position at company for X months. I would like to move into the apartment alone.
It would be great if we could arrange a viewing in the near future.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,
Alisa Jordan

German

Guten Tag Frau/Herr Name
ich interessiere mich sehr für die von Ihnen angebotene Wohnung in der Adresse. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn wir einen Besichtigungstermin vereinbaren könnten. 
Vorab kurz zu meiner Person: Ich bin age Jahre alt, arbeite seit X Monaten als Stelle bei(Unternehmen, und möchte gerne alleine in die Wohnung ziehen. 
Ich freue mich auf Ihre Rückmeldung. 
Danke und viele Grüße 
Alisa Jordan

Contacting a potential housemate

When looking for a shared apartment, I often found that ads were posted by the housemates.
When responding, you might want to refer to any special requirements in the ad.

English

Hello Name
I have just seen the ad for your shared apartment. The apartment and location look great and tidiness and cleanliness are also important to me. 
I have been living in Frankfurt since X and am looking for a new place to live as my ‘Zwischenmiete’ contract will soon be up. 
I work full-time and it would be good to live with people who I could talk to and eat with from time to time. 
Is the room still available? If so, could we arrange a viewing? 
Thanks!
Alisa

German

Hallo Name,
ich habe gerade euer WG Angebot gesehen. Die Wohnung und Lage sehen super aus und für mich sind Ordnung und Sauberkeit sehr wichtig.
Seit X wohne ich hier in Frankfurt. Da meine Zwischenmiete ausläuft, suche ich nach einer neuen WG.
Ich bin auch berufstätig und es wäre gut mit Leuten zu wohnen, mit denen ich quatschen und zusammen essen kann.
Ist das Zimmer noch verfügbar? Wenn ja, könnten wir eine Besichtigung organisieren?
LG
Alisa

3. Attending an apartment viewing

I remember feeling super nervous before going to flat viewings. You want to show potential new flatmates that you’re friendly without coming across as too keen, and you want to show potential new landlords that you’re keen but won’t be an annoying tenant. Here’s my advice for both:

WG

  • Expect a tight schedule
  • Be open, tell them about yourselves
  • If you don’t feel comfortable, feel free to leave
  • Ask questions based on your ‘priorities and compromise’ list
  • Ask when they’ll make a decision and when you’ll next hear from them

Own Apartment

  • Be prepared for group viewings
  • If an agent shows you around, remember that they will not necessarily make the final decision
  • Ask questions based on your ‘priorities and compromise’ list
  • Ask when they’ll make a decision and when you’ll next hear from them

4. Following up after the apartment viewing

There were times when I hadn’t even been at a viewing for two minutes, and I knew the apartment wasn’t for me. However, I on leaving the viewing of my current apartment, I had already decided where to put the furniture. I just loved it!

I wanted the apartment so badly that I didn’t only immediately send over the requested ‘Selbstauskuft’ but also 3 pay slips, my SCHUFA, and I even attached a professional photo so they’d remember who I am. Seems to have worked for me!

Whether you like the apartment or not, I’d strongly recommend sending a follow-up message after the viewing.

I’ve separated this part into four sub-sections with templates that you can use, so just scroll to whichever one is most suitable for you.

WG – You liked the apartment

English

Hallo Name,
Thanks for inviting me to the apartment viewing. The apartment is really nice and the bedroom is perfect! It was nice to meet you and it would be great if we could live together.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Alisa

German

Hallo Name, 
danke, dass ich die Wohnung Besichtigung durfte. Ich finde sie sehr schön und das Zimmer ist perfekt! Es war schön euch/ dich kennen zu lernen und es wäre toll, wenn wir zusammen wohnen könnten.
Ich freue mich auf eure/ deine Rückmeldung. 
LG
Alisa

WG – You didn’t like the apartment

English

Hello Name,
Thanks for inviting me to the flat viewing. Unfortunately the flat is not for me but I wish you the best of luck with finding a new flat mate. 
Alisa

German

Hallo Name, 
danke, dass ich die Wohnung Besichtigung durfte. Leider ist die Wohnung nicht für mich, aber ich wünsche dir/euch viel Glück mit der Suche.
LG 
Alisa

Own Apartment – You liked the apartment

English

Dear Name,
Thank you for the opportunity to view the apartment this afternoon.
The apartment is really nice and certainly met my expectations. It is small and cosy, just how I imagine my first home to be after living in shared apartments. The location is perfect as it has a lot to offer and I already spend a lot of my free time in the area.
Please find my Selbstauskunft, pay slips from the last three months and a copy of my SCHUFA certificate attached. 
I would ideally like to move in in 4 weeks. However as I really like the flat I would also be prepared to move in sooner or later, depending on when suits you best. 
I look forward to hearing from you. 
Best,
Alisa Jordan

German

Guten Tag Frau/Herr Name
vielen Dank, dass Sie mir die Möglichkeit gegeben haben, Ihre Wohnung zu besichtigen.

Die Wohnung ist sehr schön und sie erfüllt genau meine Vorstellungen. Sie ist klein und gemütlich, also so, wie ich meine erste Wohnung nach dem Leben in WGs haben möchte. Da die Gegend viel zu bieten hat und ich dort schon jetzt einen großen Teil meiner Freizeit verbringe, ist die Lage für mich auch optimal. 
Anbei finden Sie meine Selbstauskunft, meine Gehaltsabrechnungen der letzten drei Monate sowie eine Kopie des SCHUFA Zertifikates.
Idealerweise möchte ich in 4 Wochen einziehen. Da mir die Wohnung allerdings so gut gefällt, bin ich bereit auch früher oder später einzuziehen, je nachdem wie es Ihnen am besten passt.
Ich freue mich auf Ihre Rückmeldung.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Alisa Jordan

Own Apartment – You didn’t like the apartment

English

Dear Name, 
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to view the flat this afternoon. 
I have given it some thought and have decided that it is unfortunately not for me.

Best,
Alisa Jordan

German

Guten Tag Frau/Herr Name, 
vielen Dank, dass Sie mir die Möglichkeit gegeben haben, Ihre Wohnung zu besichtigen.
Nach einigem Überlegen habe ich festgestellt, dass sie leider doch nichts für mich ist.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Alisa Jordan

5. Next steps

Congratulations in advance for when you find your next home! 😊🥳

I know this can be a painful process, but from my experience, the more committed and prepared you are, the quicker and easier the process!

It’s likely you’ll next step will be looking for furniture and maybe a kitchen. Feel free to check out blog posts on these topics!

For now, happy home hunting! 🏡

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