Jaroslav Plotnikov

Let the landlord offer you the apartment – Experience of a foreigner in finding accommodation in Berlin – PART 2

Advertise a request and wait until they contact you? Isn’t it better to answer ads yourself? The wanted advertisements have proved to be the only effective strategy. At least with me. In this article I tell you how I came to this realization

One of the best places where I lived – Pflügerstrasse near the canal in Neukölln

This is part 2  (Part 1 is here)

Soon I gave up. Not the search for accommodation itself but I have stopped coming to these Besichtigungen. These apartment tours just put me in a bad mood. I realized that I couldn’t compete with other apartment seekers

The reasons were easy to understand:

First of all, my first and last name, Jaroslav Plotnikov, sounded so foreign that almost nobody could easily pronounce it, at least for the first time. Memorizing this name was even the bigger challenge 🙂

Secondly, my occupation did not sound like a well-paid profession intercultural educator and translator.

Thirdly, I’ve never had a open-ended employment contract. Until now I still work self-employed. That meant, at least for the landlord, that there wasn’t any security in my rent payment. “One month he earns well, next month maybe not so well…You never know if this Russian guy could pay his rent…” – so perhaps some landlords thought about me.

Despite some inner scepticism, I decided to experiment with wanted ads.

Since I was a bit interested in NLP and had spent ten years at two universities (in German studies and intercultural education), I was able to write a few texts about myself. I wanted to emphasize my advantages as much as possible and try to hide my disadvantages.

It worked – some landlords have invited me for a personal Besichtigung. Within a week I found a large bright room in a nice apartment in Brüsseler Strasse. The owner was a middle-aged social worker. This lady told me that she was ashamed to admit in front of her work colleagues that she subleted two rooms in her spacious 5-room apartment to language students from all over the world. Maybe there were other reasons – I didn’t care. The price was a bit too high, but it still fit into my budget. The apartment was cosy and my room was big and bright. Besides, I could search for a long-term apartment without hurrying. So I quickly moved in.

During my stay in India in winter 2010/11 I started the youtube channel Учеба в Германии. It was the videoblogfor for Russian-speaking students, who wished to organize by itself their University or language course in Germany. Studying in German Universities is free of charge and international students are always welcome. It was not difficult, I did it myself. I relocated to Germany from Russia without any agency. 

After about half a year the first inquiries came. Young people, mostly students, were willing to pay me a little bit so that I could find a cheap language school and accommodation for them. My consultations quickly developed into a small source of income.

First customers of my consulting service OZAGO. I was so happy to pick them up in the airport

If you want to come to Germany, you can still organize a lot of things yourself in this process – register at the university, take out insurance, open a bank account, even find work or an internship. It’s a little more difficult with the apartment. About half of my customers wanted to live on campus, the second half preferred apartments or WG (shared flats). For this second half, I almost always placed wanted ads.

One of the wanted ads for my customers

Although language students had no fixed employment contracts, they only came for a short period of time, for 1-2 months, so the housing possibilities were relatively unproblematic. There were rarely any bottlenecks. Unfortunately, this language student business has not developed. Mostly because these students came mostly in summer. Besides, they had really little money.

Since that summer in 2011 I moved seven times. Four times I found the accommodation with the help of friends and acquaintances. Three times I placed the wanted ad for myself. All these three times several offers came to me within the first 1-4 weeks. So I ‘ve become choosy – if landlords did not send pictures of the apartment, I usually wouldn’t like to lose time to the flat. However I could make an exception if the email was really interesting or the voice in the phone call sounded friendly. 




If you answer the apartment offers, you probably have 10+ interested people except you.Wanted adswork well because advertising yourself, a funnel is created. Most landlords ignore you but those who contact you found you (or your text and photos) nice and interesting

If you want to know how I write such wanted ads – feel free to ask any questions (below in comments without registration or by email here).

This article also might be helpful: Search Ad tutorial – Portal WG-Gesucht

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Good luck in your projects!



© 2018 Jaroslav Plotnikov ( All articles )


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