The first and most striking difference to my experience of London is that there are not many websites advertising available flats or rooms to rent. In fact there are just 3:
1. www.wg-gesucht.de – perhaps the best of the bunch, mainly flats to rent, and for sublet. Apparently Berliners often rent out their pads if they go abroad, so you can rent for 2 weeks or several years; I saw someone renting their place out for 2 years last month. This is all perfectly legit and you can often meet the landlord before signing a contract. Only downside is of course the person letting out their flat wants to meet you first, so you have to be in Berlin to view the property.
2. www.studenten-wg.de – will add info later
3. http://berlin.en.craigslist.de – prices here tend to be inflated, because the site is geared towards the English speaking crowd.
And of course if one is new to Berlin, renting a place on AirBnB is a good idea when you first arrive. But all the flats on there are more expensive. Although Berlin is still cheaper than London.
At the moment we are looking for a 2 bedroom flat in central Berlin (excluding Mitte but within 3-miles of the center). Our budget is £400 per month. In London we wouldn’t be able to even afford a double room in a flat-share for that price let alone our own place. Hence, one of the reasons I chose to move with BF to Berlin. The rent is described either hot or cold. Hot means that the utilities bills are also included in the overall rent, and cold means rent only. In general you can expect to pay about 200-250 Euro in utility bills.
I am planning on working from home on my PhD for the next 9 months so finding a job is not an issue for me at the moment.
We are going to Berlin in April for a week, so part 2 will be about viewing flats, and finding our little love nest in B.