The war for apartments in Berlin

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I moved to Berlin in 2015 under the naive assumption that finding an apartment in the largest city in Germany shouldn't be too difficult, especially already having a job lined up, rental references, and plenty of funding in the bank. Clearly, I was in for an extremely rude awakening, as I ended up spending 9 grueling months bouncing between temporary rooms and hostels. When I finally (at random) managed to score a permanent room in a WG situation, you better believe I held onto it for dear life!

 

I've been here for 4 years now, and although I get along perfectly well with my housemate...I'm getting to a point where I'd really like to be on my own with my own place--especially since having been at the same job for the past 4 years and been promoted, I know that I am more than able to afford a decent apartment.

 

But in Berlin, the competition is cut-throat! With every showing I went to, there would always be a MINIMUM of 10 other people there (with another 10 or so showing up right after us), and putting my application in with a stack of 30 other applicants felt like playing a lottery.

 

I know about real estate agents here, but never used one. Is it possible to use one and pay them a sizeable commission to get me a decent apartment? Money is not an issue, I can afford a €1200 apartment with my income. It's just that I don't want to go back into this same routine of running all over Berlin for months on end for absolutely nothing! I swear, finding a JOB is easier than finding a place to stay in Berlin!

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32 minutes ago, razorsandroses said:

But in Berlin, the competition is cut-throat! With every showing I went to, there would always be a MINIMUM of 10 other people there (with another 10 or so showing up right after us), and putting my application in with a stack of 30 other applicants felt like playing a lottery.

 

The best way to find a place in Berlin is through your network. Tell everyone you know you are looking and ask for recommendations.

 

32 minutes ago, razorsandroses said:

I know about real estate agents here, but never used one. Is it possible to use one and pay them a sizeable commission to get me a decent apartment?

 

If you are going to hire a Makler, make sure you get a recommendation. Many do not earn their commission.

 

You might also just want to wait a few months and see how the pandemic plays out.

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You have the luxury of not being desperate to find a place at the moment, so at least you can take your time and look. I scoured the internet everyday for a month before I found my apartment, but I didn’t have to move, so there was no rush. Because of that I was able to take my time and find something that I really liked.
 

Also, try looking in other areas other than the hotspots (i.e.-Xberg, Prenzlauerberg, Friedrichshain)

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The war for apartments in Berlin is the result of forcing the rents to meet arbitrary non-market conditions.  You can find an apartment anywhere else in the world and the price will be set by supply and demand.  Some might think it's not "fair" or "right", but that is seen through the eyes of those buying vs selling.

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Agree the problem is the cost of new buildings. What it costs to build a place and what people can afford are on 2 different planets. Also the fact that Berlin is run by a bunch of commies means they are very hostile to the private sector and view landlords as blood sucking vampires 

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I searched the internet for 3 months before i found my one-room-apartment in lichtenberg. The way it happened was just coincidence or good timing i guess...

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In Berlin one needs to show that the salary (Netto) should be three times more than your rent.  Some house- owners don´t say this openly but when they receive the Salary slips from applicants, they know. if you say you can afford 1200 euros a month your take-home salary should be 3600 euros.  Even then it is pretty difficult! I have been looking for a bigger place for the past one year!. However, I would never ever pay over 850 euros as rent in Berlin because when people who can afford are willing to throw a large amount of money as rent, this city would soon become another rotten city like new york where landlords become slumlords. Of course, if you have children and if you are looking for a 3 or 4 rooms apartments then I guess over 1200 euros as rent is ok. 

 

Ther rent in Berlin has stabilized since February 2020. So a lot of tenants will receive some money back by end of this year. Thanks to the measures taken by the left government in Berlin ( CDU tried their best to block this amendment though).

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Sure, so long as you have savings for the down payment, which are quite considerable in Gemany compared to other places, usually about 30 percent?

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well, that depends on your financial situation... and the bank(er) you talk to.

 

10% down payment is relatively easy to get - and even zero down is not impossible (speaking from personal recent experience)

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On 4/15/2020, 1:11:27, karin_brenig said:

 if you can afford to rent for 1.200,- a month, you can probably also afford to buy for about 500.000,-

 

Initially, you wrote €700.000 :).

 

In the Netherlands you can borrow ca. 4.5 times your annual gross salary at the bank. For €500.000 you need to earn roughly €110.000. Do you know the factor in Germany? I assume no downpayment or "just" 10%.

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I initially wrote 700.000,- and realized my mistake, is that OK with you?

 

As for an income "factor" that banks go by when deciding how much money you will be able to borrow - I don't know if one exists. But I'm sure banks have a "formula" for how they value your ability to pay back any kind of loan. Your financial situation is more complex than just your income. Everybody has a "history", maybe assets, maybe life insurance, maybe savings, maybe investments, maybe partners, parents, sponsors... I think banks look at the "whole package" when making a decision.

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On 4/15/2020, 1:19:38, karin_brenig said:

well, that depends on your financial situation... and the bank(er) you talk to. 10% down payment is relatively easy to get - and even zero down is not impossible (speaking from personal recent experience)

 

Why did you even bother commenting? 

 

I think you misunderstand the whole concept of how this forum is meant to work.

 

If you have the experience and/or knowledge then why not share that instead of posting such trivia.

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oh, I see, good question - why did I bother?

yes, I do have experience and knowledge, which I shared: you can get a mortgage loan to buy your own place, instead of renting, even if you have little, or no, savings.

 

I understand you are frustrated, in lockdown, and bored :) that's ok, I feel your pain.

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Look, you posted on this thread and tried to offer some advice regarding renting vs buying.

 

You made a comparison and got that wrong by €200,000. 

You go on to say that everyone has a history, maybe this, maybe that, maybe, maybe, maybe but no solid links or claims to what you are saying.

You don't even know if banks have a formula to decide the amount of finance to give to somebody.

 

Then you post to say that it is quite possible to get zero percent finance let alone just a 10% downpayment.

 

I question your comments and the best you can do is to try and make it out that you have shared all you know and make it personal against me regarding the current lockdown etc.

 

Given what you have shared I don't think I am alone in coming to the conclusion in saying that you are not exactly the best qualified and come across as knowing very little and close to fuck all about the subject.

 

Now may I suggest you go and do some more research before trying to make it personal towards me as you could not be any further from the truth if you tried.

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On 4/16/2020, 3:03:45, Sir Percy B said:

You made a comparison and got that wrong by €200,000.  ... Then you post to say that it is quite possible to get zero percent finance let alone just a 10% downpayment.

 

oh, I'm sorry, so you need a link, and some more explanation - no problem.

 

My error about the purchase price was because that number 700.000,- € is currently stuck in my head (this is the price range I am currently financing). I realized the error immediately, corrected my mistake - but obviously not fast enough for you. For that, I apologize.

 

Before I even thought of the possibility of taking advantage of the current interest rates, I educated myself on this website:

https://www.immobilienscout24.de/baufinanzierung/ratgeber/finanzplanung/finanzierung-ohne-eigenkapital.html

 

You will have to spend quite some time (hours, if not days) studying that material, following links to more detailed information from that original link. Which is why in my post here I only gave you a hint: it is totally possible to get financing with little (or no) savings - but it all depends on your personal situation, and how the bank(s) see it. I have no way of knowing your (or OP's) financial situation - hence the "vagueness" of my statement. For that, I do not apaologize.

 

What I've learned from this article (see link above), I summed up in short. Just to give the OP, struggling to find a place to live, an idea to do their research in a different direction: buying, instead of renting. You are right, I should have included my source of information in the original post. For that, I apologize.

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Apart from her understandable slipup with figures, Karin's comments are in principle reasonable. It is of course poss to finance the total costs of a house purchase without savings; whether that's advisable is another matter. Of course this comes at the price of much higher interest rates. Personal circumstances are crucial as she says, not the least having a high and stable income and an excellent credit history. Then the type of property, location, new or secondhand etc. 

Of course the lenders have variable conditions and use algorithms to decide your worthiness to pay them mountains of interest over the term!

If you google terms like "Hauskauf Nebenkosten finanzieren," "Hauskauf ohne Eigenkapital,"  you'll get loads of info and examples of the kind of calculations that will be made.

Depending on all these factors, the difference in total amounts of interest paid over the period of the loan can be eyewatering.

And that's assuming it's business as usual after the current situation stabilses ...

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23 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

Just to give the OP, struggling to find a place to live, an idea to do their research in a different direction: buying, instead of renting. 

Which I am going to give serious thought, thank you very much

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One thing I alway recommend is to go to "Wohnungsgenossenschaften" rather than looking online for example. I did it like that and got an one bedroom apartement within 2 days. 

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1 hour ago, goodtimezz said:

One thing I alway recommend is to go to "Wohnungsgenossenschaften" rather than looking online for example. I did it like that and got an one bedroom apartement within 2 days. 

 

When was that? Most of the Genossenschaften that I know are no longer taking new members.

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