We recommend that you start looking for accommodation as soon as possible and, if applicable, only to send for your family when you have found a suitable apartment. The chances of being successful when searching for somewhere to live are much better if you are not under time pressure. Furthermore, if you come alone, you can easily live for a short time in a hotel or guest-house or perhaps with friends or acquaintances.
Berlin is a very large city with twelve districts. When looking for a place to stay, check the district city map for orientation.
Freie Universität Berlin is located in Dahlem, in the southwestern district of Zehlendorf-Steglitz, quite a prestigious residential area with rooms and flats being normally more expensive than in some inner-city districts.
Rental fees in Berlin have recently been going up but are still quite reasonable. For a small one-room flat rental fees usually start around 300 euros per month; shared apartments tend to be less expensive. On signing the lease your landlord will probably expect a deposit of three months, reimbursed with interest at the end of tenancy as long as nothing has been damaged. Sometimes a commission or a compensation for furniture is requested; therefore, make sure that you bring enough money with you.