Abbreviations when searching for accommodation
You will find most of the offers full of abbreviations. Here are some of the most common:
ZKB = Zimmer, Küche, Bad -> room, kitchen and bathroom seperate; e.g. 2 ZKB is a flat with two rooms, one kitchen and one bathroom - makes 4 rooms; a 2 ZKBB won't have two bathrooms but a toilet in a separate room, not in the bathroom.
Kaut. = Kaution -> deposit. If it says 2MM Kaut. then you'll have to pay 2 months rent (=Monatsmieten, MM) as deposit! Insist they put the deposit in a special bank account so that you can earn interest on it (even if it's only 1,5%).
Ablöse = takeover fee. Could be for the kitchen inventory, maybe furniture that someone has bought but doesn't want to take with them. It's mainly stated what they want the 'Ablöse' for.
WG = Wohngemeinschaft -> more than one person lives in the flat. You'll probably share bathroom and kitchen with the other flatmates. Can be fun, can be chaos. You'll probably have to go round so the other flatmates can see who you are before they let you move in.
Kü = Küche -> kitchen
SZ = Schlafzimmer -> bedroom
WZ = Wohnzimmer -> living room
Bad = bathroom. (see ZKB/ZKBB for details)
WC = water closet, toilet
NK = Nebenkosten -> additional costs for electricity, water, rubbish, janitor, etc. Make sure these costs are known to you! --> see warm and kalt
Gar. = Garage
KG = Kellergeschoss -> cellar; flats in cellars have less daylight and often smaller windows. Make sure it has a window that lets light in, a bathroom and kitchen access.
UG = Untergeschoss -> probably a cellar (see KG)
EG = Erdgeschoss -> ground floor
OG = Obergeschoss -> upstairs
Aufzg. = Aufzug ->lift
Bal. or Balk. = Balkon -> balcony
Kü-kompl. = Küche komplett -> there is a fully furnished kitchen, also see --> EBK
EBK = Einbauküche -> fitted kitchen, probably includes machines such as fridge and oven and maybe even a dishhwasher
unmöbl. = unmöbliert -> no furniture
möbl. = möbliert -> furnished
kalt = Kaltmiete -> the rent without costs for electricity, water, rubbish, etc.
warm = Warmmiete -> the rent including all costs, all "Nebenkosten (NK)"
vorr. = vorraussichtlich -> probably
nahe Uni = close to the university campus
Altbau = building built probably before 1930; these places have high ceilings and depending on the heating system can be cold in winter. And depending on the state of the house can be a great place to live. Also see -> 'ren. Altbau' below.
ren. Altbau = ren. means renovated and will probably offer a better living standard as the renovation might mean they have put central heating in, new water pipes. Sometimes it just means they have filled in the cracks in the wall and have painted or wallpapered over everything.
Nachtspeicherheizung = a heating system, an old and hopefully uncommon way of heating. The radiator in the room consists of dense bricks that are heated in the night (Nacht). This is from the time when electricity was cheaper at night.
Zentralheizung = central heating. Either there is a heating system for each appartment or for the complete floor or for the whole house. If the heating system is shared there will be some way of detecting who used how much heating. Ask about it when you're shown the appartment/room. Those heating costs may be in the rent (see ->warm)
Chiffre or Chriffre-Antwort = you don't get a phone number to call. You get a number to answer to and this number has a postbox. The person behind the ad picks up the notes in that box regularly and then calls those people back. This way the person doesn't get overloaded with phone calls and can chose who to call back. This gives you the possibility to tell them in writing why you would like to see the room/appartment/etc.
ab sofort = the room is already available --> you can move in straight away if they chose you as next tenant.
Provision: Provision=commission. The estage agency takes money for provoding rooms. Unlike the deposit you won't get this money back. The commission can range from 1-4 months rent or be a fixed price - mainly several hundred Euros(!)