Buying real estate in Germany is a good investment. The country is a top tourist destination, not to mention an economic powerhouse. You'll definitely benefit a lot from owning a place here. But the process of actually purchasing a property in Germany
isn't as easy as you might think. And if you're not careful, you can easily fall for real estate scams or even get into legal or financial trouble! To avoid all that, follow these helpful tips. Rest assured that nothing will go wrong if you learn some German, prepare a huge budget, and see the property yourself!
Learn Some German
Though it's not a requirement, it will really help you brush up on your German. Even if you don't have plans to relocate to Frankfurt
, Berlin, or any other German city, if you're a foreigner who wants to purchase real estate in Germany, knowing the language is more useful than you think. At the very least, it helps you avoid getting tricked into scams and traps while you do the process. And while your real estate agent and/or notary are there to help, it's still not the same as understanding what's going on yourself.
Start with Your Mortgage
Buyers often deal with their mortgages in the last part of the process. They'll accomplish all the other steps first before applying for a mortgage. And it's not necessarily a mistake considering that many mortgage lenders will require you to already have a property in mind before they approve your application. It's only natural that you only do it when you already have a place to buy. But with that said, if the financial institution can lend you a mortgage even before that, it'd be great! Why? Because when you already have a mortgage, owners will more than likely agree to sell their real estate to you.
Prepare A Huge Budget
You probably don't need anyone to tell you just how expensive real estate in Germany is. The living costs in Frankfurt
, Berlin, Munich, and other cities are already quite high. What more when it's an actual property? Of course, you'll need a big budget. And that's on top of your mortgage too. Buying a property in Germany comes with a few important costs. According to Expatica
, they include the property transfer tax, registration fees, your notary's fees, and your real estate agent's commission. Moreover, with regards to the property transfer tax, the rate is different depending on the location of the real estate.
Hire a Trustworthy Notary
It also goes without saying that you need to hire a trustworthy notary. Their role is much more important than you might think. When gathering up and signing all the important documents, they need to be present. It's their job to legitimize everything in the eyes of the law. And in case you're not in Germany to do it yourself, your best bet is to authorize your notary to serve as your representative. As long as you submitted a letter of authorization, they'll have the power to sign any document on your behalf.
Think Before Signing A Contract
Speaking of signing the important documents, you need to think long and hard before you do it. When you sign the sale and purchase agreement, it means you're committed to seeing this process through to the end. You'll also have to pay the seller a deposit of around 10% to 30% of the entire final price upon signing. And if you ever decide to bow out of the agreement afterward, you won't ever see that deposit back. So in the end, not only do you have no property to own, but you also lost a lot of money.
See The Property Yourself
It's imperative that you see the property yourself. As long as you have your Schengen Visa
or you qualify for the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program
, it's time to pack your bags and head on over here. Remember that you'll be spending a lot of money on this new real estate in Germany. You owe it to yourself to check if it's truly worth investing in. Moreover, you may end up liable for any problems the place might have once you've bought it. It's even possible that those problems might've already been there even before you purchase the property. But because you didn't inspect the place yourself, you're left with a lot to deal with.
Always Communicate with The Seller
Speaking of the liabilities, becoming liable for the problems in the property in Germany just after you've purchased it is more common than you realize. Now, you're probably thinking that the seller, the previous owner, ought to take responsibility for it, right? Well, if they can prove that they themselves were unaware of these problems during the sale, then the responsibility falls on you. That's why it's important to communicate with the owner. And if possible, record your conversations. Only then can you document what they know of the place before you purchase and take it from them.
Don't Forget to Deal with The Land Registry
And finally, don't forget to deal with the Land Registry. When you purchase real estate in Germany, there are two things you need to do: ensure that the seller is, in fact, the legal owner of the property and transfer the ownership to you once the sale is done. Fortunately, this is where your notary can help you. They can deal with the Land Registry themselves and get these done on your behalf. But as long as you're not on top of it, you won't be sure if they actually did it.
Purchasing real estate in Germany is never easy. It's a lot of work and the process can get pretty complicated at times. But as long as you follow these helpful tips, everything will be fine. Things will still go smoothly!