which german bank do you have an account with? I'd be looking to open an account in the US with the same bank or a bank with a partnership agreement. will make transferring money back and forth much easier.
The only ones I'm aware of would be CITI and Deutsche Bank, the latter having an agreement with BofA so that their ATMs can be used with a Deutsche Bank debit card without a fee. Both do not offer free checking accounts in Germany, which is why I went with "virtual" banks.
Today, I rented a postal box ("Postal Annex", $10 per month). Then I opened an account with WaMu (I really should have listened to Mandy and skip Schwab, they require a $1000 activation deposit which must be paid by check or money order, which is difficult if you don't have a US account already), using the postal box as mailing address. I'll see if everything works out as planned.
Then I looked at a couple of one bedroom apartments, ranging from $1575 to $2188 per month.
I could manage paying that much, but I'm reluctant to do so for plywood walls and the unevitable fluffy carpet. I'm really hoping I find something suitable, it's harder than I thought it would be...