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How to find the right apartment in Hannover???

Happy New Year! I'm moving to Hannover from Finland, although I'm from the USA. I'm unfamiliar with the whole procedure of looking for, finding and renting apartments in Germany. First off, it appears that it is impossible to sign a lease agreement or 'reserve' an apartment online before arriving to Hannover. Second, housing agencies cannot help with lease agreements (getting a lease agreement prior to arrival, getting a lease translated to English, etc). Third, finding a furnished apartment is quite difficult (why is that)? I would like some advice on:
1) Furnished vs. unfurnished apartments, specifically, how difficult and costly is it to get rid of or sell furniture from Ikea when moving out (if I do not own a car)?
2) Which housing agency is best? Is it really worth it to pay that Provision to find a good apartment?
3) Any other advice on finding an apartment in Kleefeld (near MHH)?
Thank you!!! Katryna

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