Buying Berlin property, local knowledge

112 posts in this topic

Posted

Having looked into property in Berlin and done some initial research this place looks exceptional value compared to the rest of Europe.

 

I am considering purchasing an apartment myself and also setting up a website to assist UK/Irish/Americans to do the same.

 

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Or info or experiences to share?

 

Thanks

Jon

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Posted

Hi Jon,

 

I did a similar thing a few months back i.e. realised how cheap Berlin property was and bought a flat. I would be happy to chat about helping you with your project and maybe offering to do some translation in my spare time on a contract basis for you if you're keen (not sure if you speak German?!).

 

I've also got a couple of UK domain names registered (Property in Berlin and Buy in Berlin) but done bugger all with them thus far because i'm a complete novice as far as web design goes.

 

Cheers,

James

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Posted

Jon,

 

What you are asking is right up my alley. I have been in Berlin for two years and have been in this line of work since I have been here. The possibities for purchasing property, even land, in Berlin are endless. Also, depending on what you want to do with your property, or properties, you can receive great tax breaks from The Berlin Economic Department. It just takes a bit of capital, or a great line of credit.

 

Jess

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Posted

Thanks to both of you for replying. Looks like I am not alone in thinking there is an opportunity here!

 

I've got quite a few ideas about what I want to do, but am open to suggestions. The main thing I need is someone based in (or very near) to Berlin who can provide the local knowledge and contacts that I can't easily obtain from England. I know a lot can be learned on the Internet but to do this properly it will require someone based locally. I imagine the work will involve dealing closely with local estate agents and banks, and providing research on the best regions of Berlin for investment purposes.

 

Even if you aren't interested in my project, I'd be keen to hear of your experiences and opinions on where the market is going. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Thanks

Jon

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Posted

a quick word of warning though - Berlin is cheap for a reason - there are not many jobs there. If you are buying for capital gain you may be waiting for a while. If you are buying for yield, then probably makes sense

 

However, be aware of the extent to which German law favours the tenant in almost every situation (particularly with regard to a landlord trying to kick someone out)...

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Posted

Yep I agree there is always a reason for any market to be at the level it currently is - but there were many good reasons why you couldn't give away London property in 1993 and, well, look at it now, up over 400% in 13 years.

 

Of course the same dynamics won't necessarily apply with Berlin, and any investment has its risksl; you just have to balance that risk against potential rewards. Nothing's guaranteed, but like with London 13 years ago, the market looks to be pretty much rock bottom now and the chances of major price falls look slim.

 

But I certainly want to have all the information presented to investors - warts and all - even if that includes warnings about tenant rights and so on. I'm not planning to launch just another glossy property web site that only mentions the benefits; only by mentioning the pitfalls too will you offer a good service and gain the trust of customers. And this is why I need people in Berlin to help me provide this information.

 

I look forward to hearing more.

 

Cheers

Jon

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Posted

Hi. I am in the process of buying a Flat in Berlin right now. I'm not sure how much information I can offer at this point, since I've only just begun the process, but I'm more than happy to answer any questions and provide what info I do have.

 

I've looked at about 8 different apartments... decided on one yesterday but then saw a better one today so I changed my mind and decided on the one today instead. So I'm basically at the point where I've told the the agent I want the apartment and now just have to have a few small questions answered from the owner, and then the agent is going to draw up the contract. I can keep you posted if you like. :)

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Posted

Winklet - I'd be interested to know where you got your mortgage from (if any) and how easy it was to get one. Also, how did you find the apartments, by searching online or did you register with lots of local estate agents? How much do all the buying fees add up to including the estate agent, solicitor, taxes etc?

 

Thanks for the info.

 

Jon

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Posted

Jon,

I arranged to get the funds from my place of residence (the U.S.) ... I refinanced my existing mortgage there and pulled out cash from the equity I gained in the property I own there. So here in Germany, I am just paying in full for the apartment. I decided this way would be easier for me because the banks here require 40% down (for non-residents) and I would need to provide lots of documentation to prove my income. Since I am self-employed, this is actually not very easy to do.

 

I searched for apartments through many avenues. I'll list them here:

 

- Passing by the many new and under-construction buildings with apts for sale in Berlin, I made note of the phone numbers posted on the buildings and inquired with these real estate agents.

 

- Checked out a few newspapers, I think there is Tagespeigel and MorgenPost and there is one more, Maybe it is Berliner Zeitung?

 

- Checked out a lot of online listings. A few good ones are:

 

Immonet Berlin

 

Immobilienscout24

 

I had also found an agency through an ad posted on craigslist.org a long time ago.

 

I found the apartment I'm buying by searching at Tagesspiegel / Immosuche

 

I've read that the buying fees can add up to 10-12%. However, some prices already include the seller commission which is about 6%, so sometimes you only have to add about 5-6% in additional fees.

 

I'm going to be signing the contract and finalizing things next week and the week to follow so I will probably know more details regarding the additional fees by then. At this point, I just know there is a tax, a notar (attorney) fee, and commission to the seller.

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Posted

Winklet, thanks, that is really useful information. Did you have any particular problems being a US citizen buying property in Germany?

 

Also, what do you plan to do with the apartment once you no longer need it - do you intend to rent it out or sell it? If renting it, do you know any agencies that will look after the whole thing for you?

 

Cheers

Jon

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Posted

There were no problems at all with being a US citizen. The only difference would be if I were to be financed by a bank which as I explained before would be more difficult for a non-resident.

 

Also, since I don't know much German, I had to pay a little extra to have an interpreter present at the contract signing (which was yesterday!)

 

If I decide I do not want to use the apartment anymore, I will most likely rent it out as a vacation apartment. There are a couple of agencies I know of offhand that I would most likely have handle it - these are Fine and Mine and www.roomwithaloo.com. It should be pretty easy to rent it out, because it is in a really desirable area, very close to Hackescher Markt in Berlin-Mitte.

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Posted

hi

we have an apartment and "wohngeld" (which is the common expression) is 70 euros/month for 39 sqmeters. you can get flats or even houses real cheap in berlin compared to other european metropolitan cities - but you have to calculate the "maintainance", also "grundsteuer", which just got a rise this year, its 21 euros every 3 month now for the apartment. you might rent it out or one room but when you are not there its always a risk.

check: Immobilien Auktionen

they even have an english version

take care

andy

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Posted

I started to do some research on Berlin too and found a great resource. The site is called Berlin Real Estate Investment. The research they have on the site is useful and the owner is super knowledgeable. I talked to him for 10 minutes and I feel I know more about Berlin and what to do/not to do than doing month of research myself.

Alexander - the owner - is totally cool and definitely plugged into the Berlin scene. He knows what is up and coming and what is overvalued, and he is not afraid to share his knowledge.

 

I was also in touch with Grund Boden Fundus - they seem to be better for houses in the suburbs, not so much the Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg apartments.

Tom.

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Posted

Has anyone arranged finance in Berlin for local property?

What bank did you use? What interest rate was on offer?

What %age of finance were you offered?

I am just trying to work out what the current rates on offer are.

Thanks.

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Posted

Hey thanks for all the great info everyone has put up here - just one thing that I have been researching and haven't found an answer for - does anyone know what "provisonsfrei" mean - the legal terminology - is it like a cavet or something? (a condition to the sale of the property)

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Posted

provisonsfrei = without agency commission fees

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Posted

hi there, I am Alexander the broker mentioned above, after finding all these referrall links on my serverstats, I thought I might have a look what is going one here.

 

I am not native english, nor perfect english speaking/typing so I hope this is ok for you.

 

@Joe 90

try Berliner Volksbank I have the best results with them.

they have a special mortgage center at Budapester Str. (a cross the entrance to the Berliner ZOO)

Don't expect fluent english speaker, nor well prepared papers.

This is a (small) nische market for them but they are very ambitioned.

 

For those of you who are looking for blocks/more than one unit

(above EUR 500.000) you can go directly to the "Business Section" of the Bank.

 

I get no kickbacks, but if you want me to introduce you to Volksbank, I would love to do so.

 

Selfemployed buyers, taxable in Germany might find a nice product with Deutsche Bank.

 

You can reach me best by email: ak@berlininvestment.com

 

Alexander

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Posted

Hi there,

 

I´m a newbie in that community and not native english, nor perfect english speaking/typing so I hope this is ok for you.

 

You all discuss about buying properties in Berlin, but mostly you use UK companies to handle the deal.

 

You defiantly need a local knowledgeable consultant how knows the market and the sought after areas. i.e. some parts of Weeding are declared as mitte and the one the bad part of Neukölln are discribed as Rixdorf to give the UK customers a better gut feeling.

 

So please let me introduce myself:

 

We are an amalgamation of free local knowledgeable consultants and we know the market of our hometown for more than 15 years experiance experperiance. Many UK customers are in charge with us and the are happy about our long term customer care service. We know all the details for finance, additional costs, etc. We offer an unique feeless service with bi-lingual contract drafts and certified translators for the notarization. Don´t be concerend about our commission it´s only 1.5-2.0% of purchase price...

 

If you´re looking for reasonable yields, great value potential in sought after areas in prime locations - give us a chance!

 

www.berlin-projekt.com

 

By the way, you can talk to all of our clients and ask them personal about there experiance with an local knowledgeable agent...

 

All the best - Holger

0049 163 326 75 25

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Posted

Thanks for all the useful links on property tips. I'm just starting the process of looking to invest in Berlin as I figure that prices have fallen pretty much out of line with the rest of Europe. I've been to Berlin quite a few times in the past but that was a while back - can somebody give me any tips on what the best areas are to buy in for longer term investment ? What are the up and coming locations that are becoming trendy/are likely to give good rents?

 

Does any one know any good websites to read up on rental law? What about any agents that specialise in renting out properties as I hear that being a landlord in Germany can be tough.

I've seen a couple of websites that are offering properties that 'guarantee' 10 year rental returns of 5% and costs covered. It all seems a bit to good to be true so any advice on pitfalls would be very much appreciated.

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