My husband and I recently moved to Würzburg, a beautiful city in the Franconian region of Bavaria. While we had been talking about the idea of moving for a few years, we only began to plan the move in earnest in the late summer. What followed was an intense apartment search including (but not limited to) scanning newspapers for apartment listings, scrolling through apartment search websites, putting up our own apartment search listing in the newspaper and online, asking friends and family for leads, signing up to be on the wait list of various apartment co-ops, and lining up viewing appointments.
Since my husband had previously lived in Würzburg during his university days, he already had a good idea of the city’s neighbourhoods and layout. We narrowed down our search to a few particular neighbourhoods that were near the city centre but also not far from the Main, the river running through the city. Other location features we were looking for included being near stores (groceries, post office, bakeries, etc.), public transportation (especially the Straβenbahn (tram)), and my husband’s family (many members also live in Würzburg).
Of course there were other wishes high on our list – more space than our last apartment, a balcony, nearby free street parking, a cellar in the building for storage, a built-in kitchen (more on that later), a bathroom with a window, a bathtub, and hardwood floors. Not to mention that the apartment had to be affordable.
Oh, the naïve dreams of apartment searchers. Once we began scanning ads, we quickly found out that combining all of these features would be next to impossible (or possible for a very high price tag). The apartments we saw during our search ran the gamut of options: fantastic listings in neighbourhoods far outside of the city, expensive new apartments with all the bells and whistles, affordable flats in sad/moldy shape, well-located flats adjacent to noisy streets, dark and joyless flats in eerily quiet neighbourhoods, and even a spooky old attic apartment in the run down former servants’ quarters behind a grand brick house.