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Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

August 05, 2022
Despite its history and heritage, Austria remains an underrated country. This isn't to say that it's an unknown destination, but compared to the likes of France, Italy, and the UK, it ought to be just as popular. If you visit Austria, you can easily tell that it's a wonderful and prosperous country. And it makes sense that investing in real estate here is worth your while. Whether you use it as your main residence or as a vacation home, you'll benefit a lot from owning a property in Austria. So it's imperative that the process goes smoothly. Let this guide show you the ropes!

Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

Can a Non-Resident Buy A Property in Austria?

In a nutshell, foreigners can purchase real estate in Austria legally. But on the basis of their residency status, this will depend on where you buy the property. There are some regions in Austria that are a lot stricter when it comes to those who are buying real estate. For them, it's not enough that you have a Schengen Visa that allows you to go here. And a good example is the Vorarlberg region. You'll only be allowed to purchase a property as a non-resident if you're an EU citizen. If not, you're better off buying real estate in the Vienna area instead, where the laws are a lot looser.

What Should You Look For in a Property?

When considering a property in Austria, there are a few things you need to look for. One of them is its location. You probably chose that property because of its location to begin with, but what about the nearby facilities? Are there shops nearby? Perhaps even a convenience store, at least? There's also the issue of security too! Even if there isn't a security system in place yet, is the property secure enough on its own? Are there locks on the doors and windows? You need to know these things before you decide on buying the place.

Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Costs of Buying Property?

Buying a property in Austria comes with a few extra costs. It's not as simple as paying the seller for the real estate and it's all done. There are other fees and charges you need to take note of. And while many of them will be taken from the final property price, there are those that you have to pay on top of all that. All in all, the buyer has to pay the property transfer tax/stamp duty, the VAT, registration at the Land Registry, notary fees, administration fees, the commission of your real estate agent, and mortgage costs.

How Do You Make an Offer to Buy Property in Austria?

An important step in the process is making an offer to the seller. As the buyer, it's your right to negotiate the final price and make sure that you can, in fact, afford the property in Austria. However, the seller also reserves the right to agree to your offer or counter it with a new figure. Just remember not to offer up a number that's far from the price the seller initially set. Why? Because that initial price is likely a result of a valuation of the property. It's exactly or near what the real estate is truly worth. So don't offer a figure that's way lower or way higher than the initial price.

Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

How Do You Get Mortgage in Austria?

Let's say you're moving to Vienna, for instance. You want to own a property here that you can call your home. However, when you see the property prices here, you suddenly want to back out. Why? Because real estate in the Austrian capital is extremely expensive! The same goes for other regions as well. In this situation, your best bet is to get a mortgage to help pay for the property. All you have to do is apply to a financial institution, submit their requirements, and wait to get approved. Some of them will require a valuation of the property, which they'll either conduct themselves or let you hire a third-party company to do it.

How Do You Set Up the Sale & Purchase Austria?

Before you sign the Kaufvertrag, which is the deed of sale, you'll first need to draw up and sign the Kaufanbot, or the offer to purchase. This document serves as a preliminary contract that basically lets you, the buyer, reserve the property that you want to buy. You will have to pay a deposit upon signing this document. On the seller's end, they'll have to take the real estate off the market. They'll sell it to you and only you, which means the kaufanbot is a legally binding document. And if you ever decide to bow out of the agreement after signing, you won't get your deposit back! You might even face legal trouble too!

Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Different Types of Ownership Structures in Austria?

Here in Austria, there are three types of ownership structures you, as the buyer, need to know about. Firstly, there's full ownership which, just as its name says, gives you the right to do whatever you want with the property as its legal owner. You hold all the power in this ownership structure! Secondly, there's Miteigentum, or co-ownership. This structure allows two or more people to retain ownership over the property in Austria and share the legal rights to it amongst themselves. And finally, there's Wohnungseigentum, which is when you own an apartment/condominium in a complex. In this structure, you and the Association of Owners of the building share ownership over the real estate.

What Are The Legal Issues in Buying Properties in Austria?

When you decide to buy a property in Austria, know that you will face a few legal issues along the way. As already mentioned, your residency status may come into play depending on where you want to purchase real estate in Austria. There's also the slew of costs you'll be required to pay throughout the process. As well as your legal obligations once you sign the contracts. Moreover, upon purchasing the property, it also means that you're fully aware of its current state. This means that if there's any problem that might pop up and can affect the community, you'll be liable for it!

Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

How Long is The Process of Buying Property in Austria?

Typically, it takes about one to three months for you to purchase real estate in Austria. That is if you were already 100% prepared at the start of the process. Did you consult with legal and real estate experts? Did you gather all the legal documents you needed? Did you apply for a mortgage already? If you did all of that even before approaching the seller, then it's a good chance that it will only take around one to three months for the entire process. If not, it can easily take as long as six months!

How Do You Search Properties For Sale in Austria?

The first step in buying real estate in Austria is actually finding a property to purchase. These days, your best bet is to go on a property listing website. Whether you're already in Austria or not, these online property portals will have everything you need. Some of them even provide extra services such as helping you get a mortgage, doing valuations, and more. And among the most popular of these platforms, ImmobilienScout24 and Immowelt are worth checking out. They see millions of visitors each month and they always keep up to date with the latest properties going on sale.

What are The Best Tips for Buying Property in Austria?

Finally, here are some last-minute tips to help you buy a property in Austria properly! Firstly, you'd do well to learn some German. Not that it's required or anything, but if the seller is local, you can easily communicate and negotiate with them if you're familiar with their language. Secondly, open a local bank account! This will make it easier for you to handle all the costs you need to pay. Moreover, you have a better chance of getting a mortgage if you have a local bank account in Austria!

Buying Property in Austria: Our Real Estate Guide

Buying a new property in Austria is a lot more complicated than you probably realize. If you don't want anything to go wrong, it's best if you know what to do beforehand. Let this real estate guide help you go through the process!

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