It's only a decision that will affect your happiness for however long you live there.
Apartment hunting should be fun but it's not. Not at all. It's frustrating and tedious and horrible and stressful. Every time we have to move I make a go at something bigger and better than what we had previously. I always liked our apartment in Malente and after looking at some of our options in and around Berlin I am reminded that we have it pretty good here. Some of the great things about Malente that I also wanted in our new home-
* Grocery and drug stores within walking distance.
* Train station nearby with free parking.
* Lots of green space for Redgie.
* Big bedrooms and a nice cut.
* Being on the ground or first floor.
* A roomy kitchen and bathroom (I knew I'd have to give up the circular bathtub but I'm going to take as many baths as I can before we move).
* Reasonable rent.
* A nice clean safe neighborhood.
* Street parking.
* Enough room for office space, a guest bed, a children's bedroom, and all our furniture. That's a tricky requirement for a two bedroom apartment.
Our apartment is only a little over 900 square feet but the cut doesn't waste any space so it feels big. Having big bedrooms is also a plus but on the other hand the high ceilings are harder to heat in Winter. There are a few things I wanted to do differently in a new place. Like a smaller second bedroom and more space in the living room. That way Sophie can have her own room and we can move the study area into the living room. Some other things on my checklist-
* No white tile in the kitchen or bathroom. I have white tile in my kitchen and it's hard to clean.
* No faux wooden counter tops because u.g.l.y..
* No cellar of terror.
* No parking wars.
* A shorter commute to the city.
* A more relaxed pet policy.
* A good playground and Kita (kindergarten) within walking distance.
* A closet if I can get one.
* More restaurants and take out options.
After finding apartments that fit our criteria in areas near H's work we then had to get appointments. Getting an appointment isn't easy. H couldn't take any more time off in between his busy work schedule so we only had a day and a half to find an apartment that was suitable. That's not stressful at all. Seriously though, it was super stressful. One person didn't give us an appointment because we have a young child. We got appointments for only half the apartments we found. One of the appointments we went to was pointless because the apartment had been taken but real estate agent didn't bother to let us know.
Another thing to keep in mind is that balcony space counts as the square footage in the apartment. Several places seemed to be small because they had a large terrace even though the square footage was high. Some of the apartments we turned down because the cut was strange or our furniture wouldn't fit. One had a cellar of terror and a litter of cigarette butts in front that reminded me of leaves in the Fall. That street also smelled like garbage and had no parking. Not good for a family with two cars.
We were lucky, real estate agents love solidly employed young families. We were able to chose between two good options, one in the city and one in the suburbs. I surprised myself by liking the suburbs better. Can you believe it? I could have taken a city apartment on a beautiful leafy street in Zehlendorf but I didn't. How could I say no to a less expensive 1,200 square foot apartment that is only ten years old? So we won't be true Berliners but we can grill on our balcony and I can take the train downtown in the same amount of time. And best of all H found a Masters of Sociology program in English. I already wrote them a letter asking how I can apply. It's always been an important goal for me to get my Masters. I never thought I'd be able to do it in Germany but now it looks like it could happen. I can't put into words how happy that makes me.