For the last couple of years in the UK, I have been daydreaming about moving to Munich, Germany. I would picture myself riding a bike along the Isar river, having a beer in the English Garden, working in a multicultural environment (specifically in something related to tourism), having a cute little flat where my partner and our cats would greet me when coming from work, enjoying weekends by a nearby lake or mountain. You know, the good life.
My partner got a job offer and we didn’t think twice, we jumped on the hype train, resigned from our jobs in Cardiff, and packed all our stuff. Merely two weeks after the news, everything was sorted and we were out of the UK.
I am not new to starting over and moving to different cities and countries so I thought that given all my experience and adaptability, this would be an easy enough transition. It is not.
Job seeking proved easy enough for me even without being fluent in German (yet) since I speak 3 other languages. At the moment is not a full-time job but I will get there (hopefully) soon. The big challenge, however, is finding a place to live.
It’s been a little more than a week since I arrived and at the moment I feel very nomad, but not at all homey.
Finding a flat in Munich
One of the many aspects that give Munich this calm and relaxed vibe, very rare in big cities, is the fact that there are not many high buildings and the streets are wide, green, and open. This, of course, is also a disadvantage when it comes to finding a flat. There is a huge demand due to the beauty and apparent quality of life of the city but not much offer because of its wide streets, green spaces, and lack of high buildings. Therefore, not only is it hard to get flat viewings but once you get them, the requirements are crazy.
In order to get as many flat viewings as possible, you need to make finding a flat your full-time job. Keep refreshing the sites as often as you can and send applications like if there was no tomorrow. Once a flat appears on one of the main sites, and without even looking at the pictures or reading the full description, you must apply. You need to be as quick as possible since they get a tremendous amount of applications in record time and usually close it after 20 minutes of being online.
If you get lucky and are able to go to a viewing, have your folder prepared, wear your nicest socks (most visits will require taking your shoes off before entering the flat), and be everything but yourself.
Since they have so many potential tenants to choose from, you become a folder filled with work contracts, payslips, recommendation letters, and credit scores. There is absolutely no chance to make an impression because of your story or your charisma (and that sucks). My story and charisma are the things that have always helped me get through life in a more or less comfortable way. Now I am reduced to numbers and papers being checked by ruthless real estate agents that don’t have time to get to know you whatsoever.
Not only that but since they have so many people to choose from, if they even pay attention to you as a person and not just to your folder, all they look for is how boring and potentially ‘trouble free’ you are. I feel forced to dress in the most conservative way, I need to make sure I don’t smile too much or talk too loud (something very hard for a Spanish person, dare I say), and I need to project that I basically don’t take any joy in life and my favourite hobbies are being quiet and working hard.
It is extremely discouraging and it will drain you very quickly. But you need to keep strong, consider all the options, have patience, and at some point, you will be such a pro in this finding a flat mission that you might get what you want or maybe you will just give up and move somewhere else, whatever comes first.
If I ever find a home in Munich I will dedicate a whole article on the complicated matter, but for the time being, I don’t feel like giving many tips or a pep talk since I am far from my objective.
I didn’t mean to write such a negative post but this is how I feel at the moment, and I hate when people online depict everything as marvellous and carefree. Life sucks sometimes and that’s OK.