Buying a house in Germany

108 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi Toytown, I'm a transplaced Cannucky-Cookie / Ami / whatever, about to go down on a house.

I've gone through the process a couple times in the US and am pretty familiar with it there ..

What's the scoop here ?

I understand the banks here dont require appraisal or survey.

If we need a survey .. who does that sort of thing .. do we need an architect or is there something like a contractor like in the US ..?

Also ... if we want to put in a reservation, are there gotchas / caveats that anyone cares to share. Is it customary to do that "on the basis of a clean survey result" ?

It's real "buyer beware" here I find ...

Anyone caring too outline their buy-process wound be greatly appreciated ...

Thanks

Wanna-be Schwab

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Posted

Someone will probably give you the information you need, but I just want to remind you that the housing market is much less liquid here than it normally is in the US, there's no mortgage interest tax deduction for owner-occupied housing, the "closing costs" are higher here, plus you can't avoid capital gains tax until you have owned the property for ten years. Just wanted to be sure you knew this before taking the plunge.

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Posted

Thanks C

Yes I understand that. Been living here for lmost 3 years and am all too familiar with the market.

It's more the right object at the right time at the right price (finally .. after 2 years on the market)

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Posted

Did you find a piece of land or a house?

I'm assuming land because you don't need an architect or a survey with a house (well, at least we did not).

We bought our house directly from the seller - no dumb-ass (an expensive) makler. It was easy-peasy.

Also, a house inspection, although not very popular here, is highly recommended. In our case, an inspection would have been over 1000€. In hindsight, we wished we had done it because there were a couple of things that happened after we bought the house that may have been found by an inspection and could have saved us a ton of sleepless nights.

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Posted

Depending if you buy the place via a real estate agent or not, you will have to assume up to 10% costs on top of the price for the property for real estate agent commission, taxes and notarization fees.

Payment is usually due when the "Auflassungsvormerkung", i.e. the legal information at the registry that you will become owner of the property soon pending some more legal steps, is confirmed in the land registry. Since this can sometimes several weeks or even month after signing the contract you should make sure that you have enough timespace confirmed in any mortgage contract (assuming you will have/need a mortgage) before the banks starts to charge you costs or interest for keeping the money ready for payment.

With regards to mortgage you should get first a quote from your housebank and then have it checked by independent mortgage brokers. often they can turn up better offers from other banks (and yes, I am such a mortgage broker). If you (and your spouse) are in an employment with a regular salary, banks will sometimes offer you up to 110% of the property value in mortgage. If you are self-employed/free-lancing, things get a bit more complicated, often 70-80% LTV is the best you will receive.

Cheerio

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Posted

Hi KK, it'S actually a house ... not sure if it#S an architect or what. I'm used to a "contractor" as we call these dudes in the US, not an architect, but trained to look at foundations and so on to ensure the thing wont collapse. Maybe the inspector is the same thing .. what's the German word for that .. ?=

Thanks

Hi Star .. We are starting to go through the hoops with the financing right now. Doing most of the research online to see who calls us back and wants our mortgage the most. I dont really have a house bank that does this (online banking), but I used to have a konto with a local bank where the house is and will sit with them as well. I think employment-wise we're pretty regular folk.

Thanks

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Posted

Definitely do what Starshallow says - find an independent mortgage broker (like him) and have him look around for you. When we bought our house almost 3 years ago, our guy shopped around and we ended up with DiBa.

I'm not sure what the house inspector would be called in German. But, I'll be Starshallow knows the answer to that question too (he knows everything).

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Posted

If you go to your local Town Hall they have a list of approved (insured) surveyors. The survey they carry out is very substantial and takes around 3 hours to complete (if they are happy with everything). It covers pretty much everything from roof to cellar to the state of the window catches etc.)

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Posted

It's definitely a good idea to get a survey done before you put an offer in - especially if you're looking at an older property. The people that do this are called Bausachverständiger or Baugutachter in German (there's a regional listing on www.immobilienscout24.de under Hausbau -> Regionale Angebote). The guy we got to look at our place went round with all kinds of gadgets checking for subsidence, dampness in the walls, insulation, and loads of other things. He also valued the house taking into account other property prices in the area, schools, local amenities, public transport, etc. This might enable you to negotiate with the sellers if the Gutachter values the house lower than the asking price (and if he values it higher you can keep it hush-hush ;-). You can probably expect to pay between €500 and €1000.

I would also say, consider what the report says but don't necessarily let it put you off. It's their job to look for faults with the property and so you can pretty much bet that they'll come up with something. We missed out on one house because the report seemed really negative. In hindsight (and with more experience) a lot of the things listed were fairly minor and could have been sorted out for a few thousand euro, which we could have taken off our offer.

Good luck with it anyway!

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Posted

Stevo.

When we completed our deal, we were at the notary with the seller and the estate agent. The notary advised us all that if we discovered anything that the seller had not told us about BUT that the seller knew of, that affected the house structure and did not tell us about, then the seller is liable for the full costs of any repair for a whole 10 year period after the date of sale.

In other words, if the house plans had 3 support beam pillars for the main roof brace above your patio BUT the seller had removed the middle one to improve his outdoor table position and that main brace started to crack in less than 10 years after you purchased the property, the seller is liable for full cost of the repair.

Good idea I think BUT I would still pay for a surveyor from the local town-hall list. They are all approved and members of a professional body and are insured for any cock-ups (I still asked to see his membership certificate and his insurance docs though). Our one cost 2100 euro but the report was excellent and so impressed the makler that he now uses the bloke to survey his own property purchases :D

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Posted

When we completed our deal, we were at the notary with the seller and the estate agent. The notary advised us all that if we discovered anything that the seller had not told us about BUT that the seller knew of, that affected the house structure and did not tell us about, then the seller is liable for the full costs of any repair for a whole 10 year period after the date of sale.

Sure, but that's assuming the sellers know about any structural damage and that you can prove that's the case if anything goes pear-shaped. I think we're both giving the same advice though aren't we? That Schwab should get a survey done? Maybe you're safer going with someone from the town hall list (although when I called the town hall they couldn't recommend anyone), but if you're seriously interested in several houses before you actually buy one, you could end up paying an awful lot of money on surveys!!!

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Posted

Look in the small ads in the local paper, in the property section, for a Gutachter. These people are architects or building engineers. Phone a few and find out how much they charge. There are two ways to approach the survey, if the bank want one done then it will be a full report with photos. If it's just for your peace of mind and reassurance you are paying a fair price, the report doesn't need to be so detailed and the fee should reflect this.

Do take time to be there when a Gutachter views the house for you. Ask questions about everything, and if possible make sure the original building plan is available.

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Posted

The notary advised us all that if we discovered anything that the seller had not told us about BUT that the seller knew of, that affected the house structure and did not tell us about, then the seller is liable for the full costs of any repair for a whole 10 year period after the date of sale.

The problem is proving that they knew of the problem beforehand. We also had this clause in our contract with the sellers. Our house is built in an area with a very high water table so, basically, the basement is surrounded by water. The house had (and still has) no water problems but, if we discovered that there had been issues and they knew about it, then we could pursue them.

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Posted

Hi all .. thanks for the wealth of information.

Baugutachter is the name I think I was looking for.

we actually did get a friend who does this sort of thing to recommend someone, but the term "architect" was used. Of course I thought .. "what the hell do we need an architect for .. ?" But it seems (as per Rebecca) that these are athe actual gutachters ...

We will definitely pay for one.

We will try and put a reservation in "on the grounds the gutaachter does not find anything tooo weird .." .. is that standard procedure here .. ?

Would not like to reserve and find out that there is a sink hole under the house ...

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Posted

Hello, I am currently looking for an independant mortgage and loan broker in Germany. The best thing would be for this person to be a user of InterHyp/ProHyp or Dr Klein. Do you know anybody that fit this profile? Cheers

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Posted

And a lot more information here about everything you ask, some of it entered by my own hands. If you have any specific questions please ask away. A small repetition - for mortgage I was advised by InterHyp and got the loan from DKB and was very happy with both.

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Posted

an independent mortgage broker should be able to give you quotes via Prohyp/Interhyp plus additonal banks not listed at the Interhyp/Dr.Klein plattforms. For instance for foreign investors Interhyp/Dr.Klein and the likes won't much help since there they can only offer a very limited number of banks who will only provide 60% LTV standard (I know, tried for two years to get better deals through them for foreign investors). Therefore a good broker (like me :rolleyes: ) will be able to offer more banks then just the 50-x available via those plattforms. For residents in Germany, however, usually these search plattforms with the help of an independent broker work quite well. You can contact me or - if you want someone close by the place where you live for personal talks ( I cover the larger Munich area and upper Bavaria for personal meetings), let me know and I can probably recommend someone experienced in your area.

 

Cheerio

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Posted

Just my experience to add if it helps:

 

If you're getting a mortgage, make sure you get one that is as flexible as possible. The banks here operate almost as an old-boy club, everyone offering more or less the same lousy conditions. They really low-ball you on the early pay-back of principal. If your job situation changes and you're suddenly making extra money, you can't pay off your mortgage early. I regret not working harder to find a better mortgage deal, because we could have paid ours off five years ago.

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