Relocating to Stuttgart

Relocating to Stuttgart & Tübingen:
What you need to know

Autor

Iris Stephan
Owner of Stephan Immobilien

Owner of Stephan Immobilien

1. Expect smaller apartments and houses

In Germany, space is a premium; therefore, most apartments and houses are much smaller than in the US. Consequently, you should not bring a lot of furniture and belongings if possible, as there is hardly any storage space in German houses.

If you need a more spacious house, this is associated with sharp rent increases.

In larger cities, there is often the possibility to rent a storage room relatively cheap. This could be a possible solution to store furniture and other things temporarily.

Flat, famous building in the heart of downtown Stuttgart on Eugensplatz, a popular meeting place for people. The architecture reminds me of the Flatiron building in New York. Don’t worry, not all buildings in Germany are that small :-)

2. There are few properties for rent

The real estate market in Germany is very competitive. As real estate agents, we sometimes receive over 100 applications for a lovely apartment in a good location. The demand for houses is also high. Unfortunately, there have been too few properties for rent in our region for years.

Therefore, you should plan enough time for the real estate search. It is often easier to find a new place to live in the suburbs of Stuttgart and Tübingen than in the city itself.

The suburbs of Stuttgart are surrounded by nature and farm fields. Some people in the smaller villages are still farmers.

3. The rents are relatively high but vary considerably

In the city center and popular urban areas, rents are often significantly higher than in the surrounding areas. If you are looking for a new home outside the city, you can save money and still get to the town quickly.

The south of Stuttgart is a trendy residential area. In the picture, you can see the Markus church.

4. Composition of the German rent

Rent for a home is made up of several parts. In Germany, a distinction is made between „warm rent“ and „cold rent“. While the cold rent is the basic rent for the house, the warm rent includes all costs you must pay the landlord every month like heating, water, taxes, and administrative fees.

Electricity costs are often not included in the rent. In Germany, tenants usually have to register with an electricity provider themselves. The easiest way is to talk to the previous tenant and take over his contract.

5. Rent is paid monthly from a bank account

Therefore, you should promptly open a German bank account at a bank of your choice. This is relatively uncomplicated, as most bank employees speak English very well.

Well-known building of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart.

6. It is common to pay two times the monthly rent before bills as a deposit

The deposit is usually paid directly to the landlord as security after signing the lease. The renter gets the deposit back when he or she leaves the property at the agreed-upon time.

However, the landlord can withhold part of the deposit to pay for any repair costs which may be necessary.

Deposit translates into German as Kaution.

7. Where to look for a new home?

You can find most real estate listings on major real estate portals such as Immobilienscout24 or Immowelt. Nestoria offers a good overview of the listings on all portals.

Sometimes you can also find real estate offers in the local newspapers like Stuttgarter Zeitung.

8. Air conditioning and ventilation

Especially in rural areas and suburbs, there are no air conditioners in the apartments and houses. Only very modern homes in the center of Stuttgart have central cooling.

At the same time, German houses are very well insulated to keep as much heat as possible and save heating costs in winter.

This is due to the history of Germany. In the past, there were always harsh winters and not-so-hot summers.

But now, the winters are mild, and the summers are getting hotter due to climate change. This leads to the problem that a lot of moisture collects in insulated houses in the summer, and mold can form.

Therefore, it is essential to open the windows and ventilate several times a day, especially in summer.

Many leases even oblige tenants to open the windows regularly to avoid mold.

9. Registration at the Citizen’s Office

Law requires you to register in person at the city’s citizens‘ registration office within two weeks after you rent an apartment or house. In Stuttgart, you can do this at the Bürgerbüro (Citizens‘ Service Center), which has an office in each city district.

You need to bring your identity card or passport with you to the Citizens‘ Service Center. Furthermore, you also need a written confirmation from your landlord. You will usually get this form at the rental appointment.

You can find more information and help with registration here.

Moving to Germany requires a lot of paperwork. But don’t panic. You can get help at the Welcome Center. If you do not want to take care of the paperwork, you can hire a good relocation service.

10. Registration for utilities

Depending on the lease contract, you may have to register for utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, telephone, and internet.

You will usually get this form at the rental agreement date.

11. License fees for radio and television

You must register with the German Licence Fee Center (GEZ) to use TV and radio. You can get the forms from the Citizens‘ Service Centers or online at rundfunkbeitrag.de.

12. Internet

In Germany, it is common for the tenant to sign a contract with an Internet provider and pay for the connection himself. It is worth comparing prices here.

It may also be possible to take over the previous tenant’s connection.

In furnished apartments, however, the Internet connection is usually already included.

13. What do you do with waste?

In Germany, it is the benchmark to separate household waste by type. Sufficient waste bins are provided if you live in a rented apartment or house.

The cost of rubbish collection is included in the ancillary costs on top of the rent.

Never argue with a German about waste separation. Garbage sorting is a ritual here that must be strictly followed. Otherwise, your neighbor will almost certainly point it out to you.

14. The German Sweeping Week „Kehrwoche“

Especially in smaller apartment buildings, there is no cleaning service in Germany; instead, the residents clean the stairwell and other common areas.

Usually, a schedule indicates which resident is responsible for cleaning in a given week.

In winter, residents often take turns clearing snow in front of the house.

15. The people in Stuttgart and Tübingen

Finally, I want to write about the locals in this region.

People from many different countries live together in Stuttgart and Tübingen. The people there are cosmopolitan and friendly.

In the surrounding smaller towns and villages, things look a bit different. Often, solid village communities have formed, and many residents have lived there for generations.

The younger people in the villages speak English fluently and are very friendly and welcoming.

The older generations mostly prefer to keep to themselves, and it takes a long time to find a connection here. Many people in the age group of 50 and over also speak very little English.

The world-famous Stuttgart Castle is a popular meeting place for locals. Around the castle, there are many nice cafes and bars.

Old German tradition

What you should know is that it was common practice in the past not to talk much to people you don’t know. This old German behavior is not meant to be unfriendly, but one does not want to hold up the other person with small talk. Many older people still follow this German tradition.

Germans also don’t like to talk about private things with people they hardly know. So it would help if you did not ask too many questions during the first small talk. Keep it light and easy.

But if you approach your neighbors in a friendly way and are willing to get involved in the community, you can make friends for life among the Germans.

Life in the German community

People in Germany are very community-oriented, which is a good trait, but sometimes Germans are not very friendly if you break a rule in their eyes.

You may be nagged if you use a bike lane as a pedestrian or if you don’t separate your garbage correctly.

But on the other hand, Germans are also very helpful. The neighbors are there for you if you go on vacation and need someone to water. Or you are approached if you have lost something on the street. People often stand up on the bus to offer an old lady her seat.

You will see, after some time, you will feel at home here and will have made new friends.

The city center of Tübingen. One of the most beautiful towns near Stuttgart.

I wish you the best of luck with your move to Germany.