What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
We didn't bring much to Munich other than clothes and bikes. Nothing we needed here would have been worth the cost and hassle of shipping.
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Plan further ahead than the 90 days we did.
Your driver's license is only good for 180 days if you live here. Plan ahead. IF you live in a state with full reciprocity it will be cheap and easy to get a German license. California doesn't have reciprocity so you have to do everything. Minimum cost will be 600 euros. (You pay for the tests every time your take them, you must pay a school to have a car to test in, Driving exam will be in German. Written is 80 driving is 160 plus car and driver.)
Bring original documents, Especially if you are working of credentials. We also needed a postulated marriage certificate to claim married status for taxes.
Would try to find a place near any job. Munich is pretty flat and bike infrastructure is good.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
Renting a flat. I think this is very common in Munich. 40% of the population is from outside of Bavaria or Germany. Not too many US expats. But there are a couple of US expat groups.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Live near my wife's work, so the commute is walk-able, 1 mile, even in winter. We are on the subway line so city center is 15 minutes away. Used an online search to find it.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Lower here than the SF bay area. Cost is area dependent although Munich has the highest rents in Germany. Rents are now around 1,000 euro for a 2 room apartment (living room and bedroom) cold. You may have to install your own kitchen and lighting. Buying in our area is about 5,000 euro per quadra meter (10,75 sq. ft.)
We don't have a car, rent as needed, saves 60-100 per month on garage fees.