Admittedly, we are not living in the movie ‘Up’ and therefore can’t attach a couple thousand helium balloons to the roof of our house and fly it across the sea.  So, if you are considering working in Germany or are new to Frankfurt, the chances are you will need to find a new place to live!

Now, whilst it’s true everyone has different criteria and standards, it is sometimes helpful to hear someone else’s perspective and experiences.  With this in mind, I’ll share a few of my tips for moving and things I learned when relocating to Frankfurt!

Living in Frankfurt

Living in Frankfurt is relatively easy for the most part.  For instance, Frankfurt is surprisingly small!  So, getting across the city is far quicker and more straightforward than in London, for example.  However, choosing somewhere close to your kid’s school and/or work is still advisable.

First, country folk or city slickers?

Country folk?  Then living in the Taunus is definitely for you!  A few areas to consider would be Bad Soden, Kronberg and Oberursel.

If, however, the call of the hills falls on deaf ears and you are more in tune with the hum of the city (which is the direction I leaned), then here are a few things I wish I knew…

  1. You are not guaranteed to get your first-choice property (argh!!)
  2. Unfurnished literally means no light fittings or kitchen!  Yes, people move with their kitchens!
  3. You are expected to address people Frau and Herr (just rolls off the tongue)
  4. Finding an apartment with two bathrooms in Westend is like gold dust or costs a billion Euros.
  5. Things are not quite as structured and organised as you may expect.  Sometimes stereotypes are just that, overly simplified ideas, not a true reflection
  6. You may need wine most evenings until you settle

Second, a few Quick Moving Tips for living in Frankfurt

  1. Take into consideration both kids’ school and work locations when choosing which Frankfurt neighbourhood to settle in
  2. Find a good relocation agent! Ours was fantastic for the fundamentals when we couldn’t speak the language because all the documentation was in German
  3. Get an idea of the areas before you start looking.  Narrowing that down first makes your search much easier.  See our neighbourhood breakdown below
  4. Each area in Frankfurt very much has its own flavour, so definitely hit the pavement and ‘taste the coffee
  5. Popular with expats are Westend, Nordend and Bornheim.  From here you can walk to most places in the city.  An absolute bonus on the nights out where you’ve had a cheeky drink (or ten)
  6. If you set on Westend, Nordend etc and have a car, check the parking situation with your landlord or agent.  Parking is a nightmare without an allocated space
  7. Also, be aware popular expat areas such as Westend and Nordend are very much on the high end in terms of rental cost.
  8. To avoid turning 10-minute journeys into 3 hours (trust me, I know!), a basic understanding of the transport system is always a good idea
  9. Learn German and find a great language school to do it.  Because whilst Frankfurt may be touted as very international, let’s just say it’s a good idea to learn German.

Overcoming German Administration Red Tape Tips:

  1. CITY REGISTRATION.  Undoubtedly, one of the first things that needs to be done when first arriving in Frankfurt is to register with the city that you live in.  Furthermore, this registration must be done within 14 days of your arrival in Germany.  And, one of the easiest ways we’ve found to do this is by using Get In Expat online registration form.  For a small fee, you will fill out the form online after which you will print it off along with a checklist of all documents you require to take with you to the appointment.
  2. KINDERGELD.  Kindergeld is a child allowance which is available to all residents in Germany.  Also, it is independent of your income.  Once again, we have found the Get In Expat KINDERGELD online registration form to be the easiest way to apply.
Frankfurt moving tips

Frankfurt Neighbourhoods breakdown (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  1. Westend
  2. Nordend
  3. Bornheim
  4. Europaviertel
  5. Sachsenhausen
  6. Bahnhofsviertel

In short, each Frankfurt neighbourhood has its own flavour and feel. And, for an idea of which area most appeals to you, head to our ‘neighbourhoods’ tab.  There, you’ll find photos and more detailed information, including where to eat, drink and things to do!

Once you have an idea of which area most appeals to you and your family, head out onto the streets and pound the pavement to get a first-hand account and try the local cafes and restaurants.  Ultimately, this will make the transition to living in Frankfurt a lot easier and more successful.

At times I felt we would never find a place and after we lost our first choice apartment I literally panicked (try not to do this it’s unhelpful) and settled for an apartment that I ordinarily wouldn’t have chosen.  Saying that, everything happens for a reason!  Firstly, our rent is now substantially less than it would have been (happy husband).  Secondly, we have underground parking, which saves a hundred hours every morning during winter (no ice scraping ????).  And lastly, it takes no time at all to get into or out of the city.

So, whilst my heart was set on Westend, we finally settled in Europaviertel.

Happy Hunting