What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
Location, budget and type of apartment desired are key factors to have in mind when looking for a place to live.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Inside the city ring are the core neighborhoods of Frankfurt, including the Innenstadt (downtown) and
Altstadt (old part of town), Westend (the West End), Nordend (the North End) and Ostend (the East End).
- The Innenstadt and the Altstadt are home to most of the banks and major shopping attractions the city has to offer. Housing in these areas is on the expensive side. Many buildings are post-war, as much of the center of Frankfurt was destroyed during World War II. The Innenstadt is also home to some of Frankfurt’s cultural attractions, including both of Frankfurt’s opera houses, numerous galleries and live music venues.
- The Westend and the Nordend are comprised of lovely Altbau (19th-century) apartments with beautiful design and space, accompanied by a pleasant neighborhood atmosphere with easy walking access to the attractions of central Frankfurt. Many of the apartments have been renovated to provide the best of both worlds: new style with a classical flair.
- The Ostend properties are generally less expensive than those in the direct center, although they are in close proximity. Since the construction of the new ECB building in Eastend, this quarter of Frankfurt is experiencing a significant increase in rental prices and attractiveness. Just outside of the city ring are smaller towns that have grown into part of Frankfurt as the city grew. They include Sachsenhausen, Bornheim and Bockenheim, among others.
- Sachsenhausen is on the south side of the River Main within easy walking distance of downtown Frankfurt. Centered on the SchweitzerPlatz, these neighborhoods retain a small-town feeling. Sachsenhausen contains many sought-after apartments. Sachsenhausen is also home to Frankfurt’s Museumsufer, or the Museum Embankment. Numerous museums border the south bank of the Main River.
- Alt Sachsenhausen looks like an old German village, complete with cobblestone streets and beautiful old buildings. This part of town is also home to a lively club and bar scene.
Bornheim and Bockenheim are both home to many young professionals and are thus ideal for a single person looking for an apartment close to Frankfurt’s city center. Both neighborhoods are safe;
- Bornheim is home to Frankfurt’s Berger Straße, which opens up in the summer with pubs and restaurants as well as beer gardens and cafés. The market on Wednesday and Saturday at Bornheim Mitte has some of the best fruits and vegetables available in Frankfurt.
- Bockenheim is home to the university district. Leipziger Straße is at the district’s core and offers a variety of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores. Das TAT is the old Bockenheim train depot that has been transformed into a theater and disco.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
The majority of expatriates choose to rent their homes. Generally, one can say that it makes no sense to buy a home if you are not sure that you will stay in Germany for more than 10 years. This is because the side costs (notary costs, taxes, realtor fee) for buying a house are about 10% of the purchase price.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
You have to pay three months' rent as deposit. This can be arranged to be paid in cash or via a Bankburgschaft or special account where the money is kept and is available to both parties at the end of the rental agreement.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities (NK = Nebenkosten) are generally not included in the original list price of rent when looking for an apartment. The tenant is expected to pay utility fees as a fixed sum on a monthly basis with any rental fees. Generally, utilities covered in this lump sum payment are listed in the rental contract and may include heating, water, general electricity, stair hall cleaning, general repairs, various taxes, building insurance and gardening fees. At the end of the year, the landlord issues an invoice that lists any costs from utility usage. If this amount is more than what has already been paid, the landlord will charge you for additional usage. If this amount is less than what has already been paid, you will receive a refund.
Important words to know when looking at housing in Germany are Kaltmiete (rental price without utilities) and Warmmiete (rental price that includes utilities).
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
As in most major cities, there are better neighborhoods than others. Frankfurt has a wealth of great neighborhoods with a lot to offer in a decent price range.
Some neighborhoods to be wary of are the Gallusviertel, Griesheim, Nied and Gutleutviertel (close to the main station) in the southwest part of the city.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
Electricity is the standard European 220 volts running at 50 Hz. Plugs are round. This is different from the American and Japanese systems (110V and 120 Hz). Transformers are, therefore, required. In the US, stores such as Radio Shack can order this item for you.
For appliances or electronic devices, you will need to use a bulky transformer, a step above a travel adapter, which is more widely available. Travel adapters will work only for short-term or intermittent use. Washing machines in Germany differ from those manufactured in other countries. Machines from abroad will generally work here, although it is recommended that you check with your dealer or the manufacturer before deciding to bring one from abroad. Keep in mind that European washing machines are typically front-loading machines and only take in cold water from the tap. The water is heated up in the machine. They are focused on energy- and water-saving measures and work slightly differently than some machines from abroad, so make sure you know which cycle performs what function before using your machine.
- Televisions and videos run worldwide on two different systems: PAL, the standard in Europe, and NTSC, which is the system used in the United States and Japan.
- DVD players are organized by region codes: Europe is Region 2 and North America is Region 1. Make sure you buy the right DVDs for the right DVD player or, alternatively, a multi-system player.
- CD players are the same worldwide and do not face compatibility problems.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Please contact Crown Frankfurt for a detailed guide that includes (among other things) a brief description of various neighborhoods.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.