Unfortunately we 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 considering working in Germany or are new in 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 useful 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 fairly easy in many aspects.  For instance, Frankfurt is surprisingly small!  So, getting across the city is far quicker and more simple than it is in London for example.  Saying this, choosing somewhere close to your kids school and or work is still advisable.

First, country folk or a 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 more in tune with the hum of the city (which is the direction I leaned) then here are few things I wish I knew…

  1. You not guaranteed to get your first choice property (arrrrrggggg!!)
  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 roles off the tongue)
  4. Finding an apartment with 2 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, an overly simplified idea 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. If you moving with your family, definitely consider using a family settling in service like Main(e) Familienagentur
  4. Get an idea of the areas before you start looking.  Narrowing that down first makes your search much easier.  See our neighbourhood breakdown below
  5. Each area in Frankfurt very much has it’s own flavour so definitely hit the pavement and ‘taste the coffee
  6. Popular with expats are Westend, Nordend and Bornheim.  From here you can walk most places in the city.  An absolute bonus on the nights out where you’ve had a cheeky drink (or ten)
  7. 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
  8. Also, be aware popular expat areas such as Westend and Nordend are very much on the high end in terms of rental cost.
  9. To avoid turning 10 minute journeys in 3 hours (trust me I know!), a basic understanding of the transport system is always a good idea
  10. 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.  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 Move-In’s 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 Move-In’s KINDERGELD online registration form to be the easiest way to apply.

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

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

Each Frankfurt neighbourhood has it’s own flavour and feel, for an idea of which area most appeals to you, head to our ‘neighbourhoods’ tab where 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 & restaurants (as I mentioned our neighbourhoods section should give you some ideas until you find your feet!).

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, our rent is now substantially less than it would have been (happy husband), we have underground parking which saves a hundred hours every morning during winter (no ice scraping ????) and it takes no time at all getting out the city!

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

Happy Hunting