How to find flat shares in Berlin

Flat shares are commonplace in Berlin and an excellent option for young people moving to the city, especially for those on a budget or those who simply don’t want to live alone. In Berlin a flat share is known as a Wohnungsgemeinschaft, or WG for short. Expats, or those new to the German capital, may find out the hard way that competition is fierce when it comes to good flat share opportunities. Read on for our top tips on how to find a flat share in Berlin.

Where to look for flat shares

There are numerous ways to find flat shares and some can still be found through the old-fashioned method of looking at pinboards in communal locations such as universities. However the vast majority of flat shares are now advertised online. The most popular website is wg-gesucht.de, which has the lion’s share of new flat share opportunities, but also of website visitors looking for flat shares. For expats a more popular choice is wg-suche.de which is available in the English language. Further options include easy-wg.de, wg-welt.de, wohngemeinschaft.de and of course, berlin.de.craigslist.de.

Facebook is proving another popular way to find a room in recent years, so you might want to start ‘liking’ the following groups to get information on new rooms more quickly; wg.wohnung.Berlin, Roomsurfer, Berlin.startup.flats & flatshares and Flatmate.Berlin.

How to secure that flat share

Flat share competition is fierce in cities such as Berlin where countless young people are looking for cheaper and more sociable living arrangements. This means that flats that come up get snapped up quick and just like a job, you’ll need to make yourself stand out from other competitors. Certain aspects of your personality will make you more appealing than others. The most important is being friendly and open, followed fast by proving that you are neat, tidy and mindful of others. Prove all this and you stand a great chance of getting the flat.

In order to prove all this you need to actually do a little preparation for your flat share interview. Think of ways you can give examples of what a good flatmate you are, and if possible arrive armed with landlord references which prove your credentials. Make arrangements to meet your potential new flatmates as soon as possible and turn up on time. Unlike a job interview, they have no obligation to interview everyone, they may well offer the room to the first person they meet. Be enthusiastic throughout your interview and follow it up an hour or so later to tell them how interested you still are.

Other factors to consider when looking for shared living

Remember, when you're trying to find a room in Berlin, it’s not just the other tenants interviewing you, but to an extent, you're also interviewing them. Think carefully about the type of people you want to live with. Do you want to be in a sociable flat share with lots of noise and parties or would you rather somewhere quiet where flatmates keep themselves to themselves? Don’t be afraid to ask them questions too.

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Location of the shared flat

Berlin is full of numerous excellent neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct feel (and rental prices!). Location is important not only because of budget and the type of area you would like to live in, but also in terms of transport. If you already know where you’ll be working, then a simple glance at the U-Bahn map will tell you which areas to look at and which to avoid.

If you haven’t yet found a job then simply choose neighbourhoods with fast and easy access to the centre of the city. Trying to find somewhere with good transport links and low prices but nice enough to want to live in is no mean feat. Look out for properties in less exciting areas such as Moabit to the northwest, a surprisingly cheap area with excellent access to the city. Those looking for a hipster vibe should head to Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain or the slightly cheaper Neukölln, however these are very trendy areas so rooms get filled quickly.

A WG (flat share) in Berlin is the perfect answer for many newcomers to the city. It can be an excellent way to save money, to make new friends and to help you choose where to settle in the longer term. Trying to find a WG in Berlin can be a frustrating process which requires patience and tenacity, but it’s worth doing it right to get the best room.

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