House renting situation in Berlin

27 posts in this topic

We are married couple (both blue card holders) looking for a house (Semi-detatched, Single family/free standing, end of terrance house...) with at least 4 rooms anywhere in all Berlin.

Despite the fact the we have a stable income and we are applying in houses with monthly rent around 30% of our household income, we are not being able to find a house. We are using immoscount24 and we contact properties listed by both private and agencies by email mainly due to lack of knowledge of German. But we send a message in German and we try to call whenever possible. The outcome are always:

* No response (especially the private landlord = 100% no response)
* Not being selected for the second round after visiting the apartment

1) Please share your knowledge about the house renting situation in Berlin and do you have any tips and advices on how to find a house ? 
2) Do you know an agency that can help us find a house 
3) Why landlords are not selecting us (We have both a positive Schufa and high income and highly educated, no debts, no pets, positive history with previous landlords...) does that have to do with the fact that we are not Germans ? 

Can you please share your knowledge, I'm really puzzled   

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Rental Line in Berlin

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------you are here.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Ala me said:

We are married couple (both blue card holders) looking for a house (Semi-detatched, Single family/free standing, end of terrance house...) with at least 4 rooms anywhere in all Berlin.

 

In case you haven't noticed, there are not many houses (relatively) in Berlin and most of them are owner occupied. There is not a huge market for rental houses and most investors only buy apartments to rent.

 

40 minutes ago, Ala me said:

due to lack of knowledge of German.

 

This could be an issue with private landlords who don't speak English.

 

40 minutes ago, Ala me said:

3) Why landlords are not selecting us (We have both a positive Schufa and high income and highly educated, no debts, no pets, positive history with previous landlords...) does that have to do with the fact that we are not Germans ?

 

I suspect that not speaking German is more of an issue than not being German (just because it is easier for German landlords to communicate with tenants who speak German).

 

Have both of you been working at your current jobs for over 6 months? Many landlords to not want to rent to tenants who have not passed their Probezeit. You might want to consider getting letters from your respective employers that you are still employed with them and are not about to be fired (ungekündigtes Arbeitsverhältnis).

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Put together a 'PDF packet' including your photos, intro letter (in German), Schufa, letter of good standing from employers confirming hours and salary, last 3 paystubs, and a letter of reference from a current or previous landlord so you have it on hand to send to any potential landlords / agents. Only send it after a viewing when you are interested with a note that it is confidential and may only be used for the purposes of renting that property.
 
Also, you need to call to reply to adverts. If your German is not up to scratch, then get someone you know to call and arrange viewings / follow-ups for you.
 
Best of luck!
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, I've said this before, and taken heat... I'll say it again - just in case it helps:

 

I was personally in that same situation half a dozen times in my life so far - good, stable income, perfect financial history, and still struggling to find a suitable place to rent. Until I had a scary idea: buy!

 

If you can afford to rent an entire house anywhere in Berlin, you should currently be able to buy something similar - and maybe even pay less per month. I'm not sure how "long-term" your plans are in Germany, but anything over ten years should be a no-brainer.

 

Good luck! 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, karin_brenig said:

buy something similar - and maybe even pay less per month.

I would say that without the 'maybe'. In some cases a monthly mortgage payment can be just a fraction of the rent you'd pay.

Ours is around a half - and it's only as high as it is as I insisted on a larger monthly payment. 

Our neighbours' monthly mortgage payment is less than a quarter of what the flat would be rented out for... ;)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

well, I've said this before, and taken heat... I'll say it again - just in case it helps:

Thanks for sharing.  As one ages must one buy outright, or can one put down 25-50% and finance the rest?  That’s a question for me as this probably operates quite differently than in the US where my mother bought her last house at age 70 with 10% down and financed the other 90%.  Her mortgage payment was cheaper than renting and she eventually sold the place and made money.  It was a win all the way around.  

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

13 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

If you can afford to rent an entire house anywhere in Berlin, you should currently be able to buy something similar - and maybe even pay less per month. I'm not sure how "long-term" your plans are in Germany, but anything over ten years should be a no-brainer.

 

I just love it when clueless white Germans give such great advice to foreigners, NOT! :wacko:

 

Before suggesting buying to foreigners, it would be a good idea to ask if they are planning on staying long enough to make it worth it and whether or not they've been here long enough to obtain permanent residence permits. Two third country nationals with temporary permits will find it next to impossible to obtain a mortgage in Germany. 

 

BTW, it is never a " no brainer"; you need to do the math.

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, engelchen said:

I just love it when clueless white Germans give such great advice to foreigners

 

What does it matter what colour they are?! :huh: 

 

Does it matter if they are not planning to stay forever? You're not obliged to sell upon leaving and if you do leave you can sell or rent it out and make money. ;)

 

I obtained a mortgage without a permit and without even being a resident. Since when were residence in Germany or permanent residence permits requirements for buying?! :huh:

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, engelchen said:

 just love it when clueless white Germans give such great advice to foreigners, NOT! :wacko:

 

Not the first time @karin_brenighas spoken out with utter bull other than to promote the, 'if I've been there and done that then you can too'.

 

13 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

If you can afford to rent an entire house anywhere in Berlin, you should currently be able to buy something similar.

 

Seriously, I really want to be polite but I tried that in another thread, shut the f--k up you haven't got a clue what you are talking about.

Isn't there a German forum you can contribute too or have you been banned from posting your garbage there too?

 

11 hours ago, lunaCH said:

What does it matter what colour they are?  :huh:

 

I think you haven't been here long enough to even understand the comment that @engelchen posted, but rather than understand, you want to turn it on its head and make it out as racism?

 

If my memory serves me right,  aren't you the lunatic from Switzerland that keeps trolling Toytown? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Sir Percy B said:

aren't you the lunatic from Switzerland that keeps trolling Toytown?

No. But you're clearly the resident bully. :rolleyes:

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

Thanks for sharing.  As one ages must one buy outright, or can one put down 25-50% and finance the rest?  That’s a question for me as this probably operates quite differently than in the US where my mother bought her last house at age 70 with 10% down and financed the other 90%.  Her mortgage payment was cheaper than renting and she eventually sold the place and made money.  It was a win all the way around.  

 

with the current interest rate on mortgage loans it is possible (and certainly advizable) to make reasonable down payment - and finance the rest.

 

When I bought my first condo in Munich - long time ago - I had only 10% down payment, and interest rates where around 8%. I owned that property for 18 years, I still owed money on it. When I sold it to have some "starter money" for our move to the US, renting that same condo would have cost 50% more than what I was paying for the mortgage.
 

In 1995 I also bought an investment property, to save on my taxes, with 20% down and the rest financed at around 5%. I still own that property - and it isn't paid off yet. Income from renting it out is just barely covering the cost of mortgage and upkeep, maintenance, insurance... So, basically my tenant is buying it for me, and helping me lower my tax burden. When I retire, this will be paid off and add to my pension :)

 

When we moved to the US in 2006 we bought our house with a 30% down payment (profit from selling the condo in Munich), financing the rest at around 3% interest. We still own that house, it isn't paid off yet (about 54% of the purchase prize remaining), and we let family live there (rent-free). Over the time that we owned it, the market value has increased by 50%. Feels good to have a "fall-back" plan, in case stuff doesn't go as planned.

 

Now back in Germany we bought a house with 0% down and an incredibly low interest rate of 1.37%. We couldn't afford to rent the house that we bought. The extra perk is an "inlaw apartment", that we'll rent out - making our tenant help with the house payment.

 

Now, I realize that not "everybody" will be able, or even interested, to "copy" my lifestyle/ideas. I also realize, that there are plenty of envy and hate to go around. That's ok :) the Universe loves everybody nonetheless. And Darwin's law still applies.

So, let's recap... "white German" (actually more like dark pink German and US-citizen, with some French and Maroccan in my ancestry) "talking BS" (actually more like speaking from personal experience) and being "clueless" (actually, that's true - I still don't have a clue 99% of the times)... y'all think I should go find myself a different forum? Don't worry, I speak my mind on more than one forum already.

8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, lunaCH said:

 

What does it matter what colour they are?! :huh: 

 

Does it matter if they are not planning to stay forever? You're not obliged to sell upon leaving and if you do leave you can sell or rent it out and make money. ;)

 

I obtained a mortgage without a permit and without even being a resident. Since when were residence in Germany or permanent residence permits requirements for buying?! :huh:

My hausbank who have my paychecks every month for the past 8 years, did not give me a loan until I had the permanent residency. 

Another one , which gave me the best interest rate even wanted my wife s PR copy even though my salary was enough to pay the EMI.

 

Engelschen is right.

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, lunaCH said:

Evidently different banks have different requirements. ;)

yes to that!

 

My "Hausbank" since 1978 hasn't been able to help with any of my real estate financing projects.

Hypobank was OK for two of the places I've bought - but they were completely unable to do this last "stunt" with us - no problem, I learned a ton about how to find the right bank for your personal situation.

 

Very interesting detail too: even within a bank, it matters which branch/location, and which person at that specific location, you talk to. Mortgage loans seem to be a form of art ;)

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

Evidently different banks have different requirements. ;)

In my experience I will say , allmost all banks will ask for PR. Also, why would mortgage brokers bring that up in the first consultation, if it is equally probable to get a loan without PR. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jubinjohn said:

In my experience I will say , allmost all banks will ask for PR. Also, why would mortgage brokers bring that up in the first consultation, if it is equally probable to get a loan without PR. 

Perhaps they ask because there is no cost to them to request the information, and then they have the freedom to decide whether or not to steer things in a direction that either helps or hinders the customer getting a loan.  At best it’s an innocent question, at worst it can be used to discriminate against certain groups of people, and in reality the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes we need to read between the lines.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I dergistered from Germany all my banks cancelled my overdraft facility and when I asked why I was told it was due to an EU regulatory requirement. Maybe that has to do with why it's hard to get a mortgage as a non-resident.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BethAnnBitt said:

Perhaps they ask because there is no cost to them to request the information, and then they have the freedom to decide whether or not to steer things in a direction that either helps or hinders the customer getting a loan.  At best it’s an innocent question, at worst it can be used to discriminate against certain groups of people, and in reality the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes we need to read between the lines.

That is my point. I dont see it as descrimination. I mentioned it to state that having a PR is important to get a long term loan. It is logical too, why would a bank risk  effort to get its money back, if the person have only a limited validity residence permit.

 

When i see that mortgage brokers check this info, i assume that there is a good chance that the banks reject that application if the applicant has no PR. 

If it was not the case a broker will lose his commision by rejecting a potential customer. 

 

 

1 hour ago, BethAnnBitt said:
1 hour ago, BethAnnBitt said:

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My overdraft privilege was revoked too - by my Hausbank since 1978 - three months after moving to the US. They didn't specify why, and I didn't really need that feature while I was living abroad. Overdraft line of credit is not comparable to a mortgage loan. Getting a (new) mortgage loan in Germany when you aren't even living there would (of course) be next to impossible to do. My mortgage - obtained in Germany in 1995 - was perfectly fine during my stay in the US, since I continued to pay (out of my German bank account, which I regularly transferred money to from my US checking account).

 

But the OP here is living (and working) in Berlin - so legally and technically they should be able to find financing for their real estate purchase. And, at least in my humble opinion, that should be easier than trying to rent.

 

As with all business, expect to educate yourself, or be "educated" by the circumstances - an bank, in this context:

https://www.settle-in-berlin.com/10-things-most-german-banks-wont-tell-you-about-mortgage/

 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now