Germany apartments search. Decoding ads

Last Updated on October 10, 2023

Apartments search in Germany has some special feature: you must know special language of renting ads, you should have a good friends and for you it will be much simplier, if you have no family.

The best way to find a good apartment in Germany is to ask friends. Since most apartments with a good price-quality ratio do not reach the Internet.

But if there are no acquaintances, then you have to work hard.

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Germany apartments search – where to look for housing?

Apartments search in Germany begins with Internet, for example with universal website If you are in the big city, you can write in Google “…. (city) … Wohnung mieten”. It shows some websites for this city.

In local newspapers (part Mieten). Some people still use ads in the newspapers instead of Internet.

In the housing agency of the university for students.

And also in local agencies, in banks like Volksbank, Sparkasse – in the ads on the walls.

For families a makler can be useful, otherwise they risk to receive a refusal from the first word “with children”. For families it is also advisable to pay advertisements in the local newspaper, hang them in kindergartens.

The cost of apartments for rent is constantly growing. It is cheaper in small towns and suburbs, more expensive in large cities. In cities such as Berlin or Munich, the price can reach stunning heights. The difference is very significant, even in the same land. For example, in Ulm you will pay 1,500 euros for a 3-room apartment, and about 1,000 in cities around Heilbronn.

Without knowing of this secret language, you unterstand nothing. Look at this renting ads. How much can you understand without dictionary?

Germany apartments search

Let’s decrypte some of the abbreviations from the ads.

Germans really love abbreviations and think, that all the people know, what they mean. Read about some funny german abbreviations.

Type of housing

Whg. – flat (Wohnung).

EFH – house for one family (Einfamilienhaus).

DH – house for two families (Doppelhaus).
Half of the house for two families DHH (Doppelhaushälfte).

Reihenhaus (RH) – townhouse, a long house with several entrances, each of which is one multi-level apartment with one large or two or three small rooms per floor.

Einl.Whg. (Einliegerwohnung) – apartment in a house with owners.

WG (Wohngemeinschaft) – joint rental housing by several people (often for students).

Housing condition and location

The house can be old (Altbau, AB) and new (Neubau, NB).
Bj. – this is the year of construction (Baujahr), but this reduction is more common in advertisements for sale rather than rent.

möbliert (teilmöbliert) – furnished (partly furnished) apartment

renoviert (teilrenoviert) – refurbished (partially refurbished)
renovieren bedürftig ( – needs renovation

Lage (Lg) – location. Indicated separately only if the owner finds it attractive. Most often, the area of a city or the name of a city in a nearby district is indicated.
The words can be found:
Umgebung, Umkreis – in the vicinity,
herrl. Lage– beautiful location,
schöner Aussicht – beautiful view,
ruhige Lage – quiet area,
am Rand – on the outskirts

The apartment can be on the ground floor – EG, Erdgeschoss.
The first floor – 1 OG (Obergeschoss).
Roofed apartment – Dachwohnung (DG – Dachgeschoss).
There is even a floor below ground level (if the house is on a slope – in reality, the ground floor, which on the other side of the house will be kind of underground) – UG (Untergeschoss) and basement K (Keller).

Etg. – floor (Etage).


Characteristics of the apartment

Number of rooms (Zimmer): e.g. 2.5-Zi. Whg (an apartment with two full rooms and one living room, combined with a kitchen or with an inferior very small kitchen).

People count half of the rooms very differently. 2.5 in reality may turn out to be rather two-room, and almost full-three-room.

Metric area: living area – Wohnflache (Wfl., Wohnfl.), useful area – Nutzflache (Nutzfl.).

Additional areas:

garden – Garten (Gart.),
plot of land – Grundstück (Grdst.),
Garage – Garage (Gge.),
Do.-Gge. – garage for two cars,
underground garage – Tiefgarage (TG),
parking space on the street – Stellplatz (Stellpl., Stpl.),
balcony – Balkon (Blk.),
roof terrace – Dachterrasse (DT).


Facilities – Ausstattung (Ausst.).

Kitchen – Küche (K, Ku.).
EBK – Einbauküche, built-in kitchen.

Bathroom – Bad (B).

There may be a joint reduction. For example:
– a three-room apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom.

WC – toilet. Dusche – shower.

Diele, Flur – hallway.

Abstellraum – storeroom.

Zentralheizung (ZH) – central heating

Parkettboden (PB) – parquet floor

Rental cost components

Monthly fee – Monatsmiete (MM),
monthly – monatlich (Mtl.).

Kaltmiete (KM) – net rent (without heating etc.)

Warmmiete – KM + NK, which decoding as Kaltmiete + Nebenkosten (additional costs). In fact, the option where you will be offered to fix Warmmiete is not very common, since prices change all the time. Usually they fix Kaltmiete plus indicate a certain amount of NK. And you have to pay a little more each year for actual additional costs.

Once a year, the owner of the apartment submits an invoice, which indicates additional costs (heating, lighting of common areas, fees for garbage collection from the house, etc.). Then you will need to pay the difference or get the money back if the difference was in your favor. Taking into account the annual invoice, the owner may suggest recalculating the monthly fee.

Electricity, telephone are paid according to contracts with suppliers. Also compulsory is the radio / computer / TV fee.

Kaution (KT) – deposit. It is often written like this, for example:
2 MM Kt,
that is, the deposit is a two-month fee. The deposit is put in the bank and returned after leaving the apartment, minus the financial claims of the owner of the apartment, if any.

Ablöse – the previous owner leaves some of his things for which he wants to receive money. You have no obligation to take them, you have the right to bargain. Most likely, he will reduce his claims to reasonable ones.
It’s another matter if the things belong to the owner or he has made some kind of repair and wants to compensate his expenses. You can refuse, but if 20 people apply for an apartment, it will be handed over to the one who agrees to the payment.

Provision – commission to the agent. – provisionsfrei, no commission.
Now commissions are more often charged from the owner, rather than from the person who rents.

Other abbreviations

beziehbar (bzb.) ab – ready to move in from… (for example May 2021)
ab sofort (ab sof.) – at once

inklusive (inkl, incl) – inclusive.
inkl NK means Warmmiete

zuzüglich (zuz, zzgl) – plus to the something indicated before. For example, from the vocabulary of online stores zzgl. Lieferung – the price you will need to pay separately for delivery

ca, zirka – approximately

mit (m) – with
ohne (o)- without
und (u) – and

dieses Monats (d.M) – this month

getrennt (getr) – separate

evtl. – probabl

Next –
Renovation in rented housing. Who must pay?
Waste sorting in Germany. 1
Waste sorting in Germany. 2. What is going where

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