As rewarding as it was to own a property in Germany
, there may come a time that you have to let it go. You no longer have the means to manage it, for instance. Or you're looking for a new place and you need to sell your old one to help buy it. In any case, the process of selling real estate in Germany is pretty complex. If you're not careful, you can easily get into all sorts of trouble. And in the end, you're left with a whole set of problems. You don't want that, do you? Then learn the basics of selling your property in Germany through this real estate guide.
What Are The Costs of Selling Your Property in Germany?
Selling your property in Germany comes with a number of costs. And the sale will only be deemed legal when you pay all of them. They include the capital gains tax
, notary fees, valuation services, and if you hired a real estate agent
, you'll need to pay them their commission too. For the most part, they'll all be paid with property value. But there are some, like valuation services, that you'll have to pay on top of the property's price. All in all, it's important to stay aware of these costs and when to pay them.
Should You Sell Your Property Privately in Germany?
Germany is perhaps one of the best places to sell your property on your own
. Why? Because German laws tend to be lax when it comes to foreigners. Unlike in other countries, where they're more strict regarding non-residents, Germany has a more open view of tourists, expats, and more. This isn't to say that you will get away with just about anything, it's more about the attitude towards foreigners. With that said, if it's your first time selling real estate in Germany and you're not even fluent in the language, it's better that you do it through real estate
How Do You Make a Property Valuation in Germany?
To determine how much your property in Germany is worth, you need to conduct a valuation. It's a sort of survey that will check the current condition of the place, as well as other important factors, to find out its true value. This is how you can come up with an initial asking price too when you put your real estate in Germany for sale. Commonly, this part of the process is done by the buyer, usually because of their application for a mortgage
. However, you can also get this done via your real estate agent or a third-party company.
How Do You Survey Your Property for Selling?
But even before you conduct a valuation, you ought to survey your property in Germany first. For one thing, you will discover everything that may need fixing before anyone else. And if you repair them even before the valuation, there's a good chance that they may come up with a higher value for your place. Just take note of everything that a buyer would look for in your property
and make sure that they're working well. From the windows and doors to the plumbing and overall security of the place, there's a lot you need to tend to!
How Do You Market Your Property in Germany?
When everything's ready, it's time to put your property in Germany for sale! The best way to go about it is to have listed in a property portal. Since practically everything is on the internet nowadays, a surefire way to get your real estate out there is through a popular property listing website
. Even buyers from different countries will have a better chance of discovering your place through these platforms. Websites like ImmobilienScout24
are great because they specifically cater to the international market. They come in both German and English and are easy enough to navigate.
What is The Process of Notarizing Your Property in Germany?
It's vital that you hire a trustworthy notary when you sell real estate in Germany. The process comes with a good many documents, each more important than the next. And they'll only be legal in eyes of the law once they're notarized. Most of the time, the process goes that the notary will draw up the document, let you and the buyer sign it, and then notarize it. This way, you're also given the freedom to put in specific terms and conditions, particularly ones that will allow you to bow out of the agreement if ever something happens.
What Documents Do You Need To Sell Your Property?
As with any other important process, selling your property in Germany will require a few documents. They include the title deed, the cadastral map, the floor plan of the property, the Energy Performance Certificate (Energieausweis
), other certificates that prove that the property is working just fine, documents relating to co-ownership, and documents regarding your mortgage in the property. Make sure to gather all of these as soon as you can, possibly even before you put the place up for sale. Why? Because this is the part that takes up a lot of time. The more prepared you are once you find a buyer, the quicker the sale will go.
How Do You Set Up the Sale & Purchase Contract?
The sale & purchase contract is arguably the most important document of them all. It's what will legally bind you to the sale. The notary will draw it up and let both of you sign it. The buyer will then pay you a 10% to 30% deposit. Once notarized, you'll be required to see the sale through to the end. If you ever decide to bow out of the agreement, you'll have to face some consequences. The most common of which is that you'll be required to pay the buyer back double the amount of the deposit they initially paid you.
What are The Legal Issues in Selling Your Property in Germany?
Having owned real estate in Germany yourself, you ought to know by now that buying or selling a property here comes with a few legal issues
. In terms of selling a place, you need to be particularly careful with the liability of misrepresentation. When you communicate with the buyer about the property, you need to be 100% honest. In a case where major problems appear in the property after the sale and you can prove that you weren't aware of them before you sold the place, then the liability falls to the new owner (buyer). However, if the buyer can prove that you misrepresented the property during the sale, then you'll get into big trouble.
How Long is The Process of Selling Your Property?
The length of time it will take for you to sell your property in Germany depends on various factors. As mentioned earlier, gathering up all the important documents takes a lot of time. And if you do it before you find a buyer, then it's a good chance the process will go smoothly. It will only take around one to three months for the sale to finish. However, if you didn't start the process 100% prepared, then it's possible that it will take you around six months—an entire half a year—to sell your property in Germany.
What are The Best Tips for Selling Property in Germany?
Let's end this real estate guide with a few helpful tips
. Firstly, try to learn some German. Not that it's a requirement or anything, if the buyer is a foreigner, you won't have to speak the language at all. Nevertheless, as long as it takes place in Germany, it will always help if you know a little German. Secondly, don't forget to set a move-out date. Nothing is more humiliating than getting thrown out of a property you once owned. And when the buyer gets the keys, you'll no longer have any right to stay there.
Truth be told, selling your property in Germany is no walk in the park. But if you have no choice but to do it, it's better that you do it properly. Fortunately, this real estate guide can help you every step of the way!