Role of a notary when purchasing a property

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We are moving forward with our house purchase and have received the contract from the seller. He has arranged a Notar and wants to move forward as soon as possible.

 

My German is not great and my legal German is non existant so I am intending to go to a local Rechtsanwalt to go through the contact with me. The Anwalt has asked if we want him to act as Notar also.

 

Now I have read elsewhere that we are able to have our own Notar, but why? Are they not supposed to be completely independant? Is their independence sometimes doubted?

 

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

 

Bob

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Call it the Legal version of a 2nd Opinion.. If there are 2 sets of eyes checking things then the chance of finding any problems are improved.

However having 2 Notar's is not necessary. Where it does come in handy is if your Notar can translate whats being said to English.

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The notary has to assure that you understand the contract. If necessary, he has to arrange an interpreter to repeat whatever he reads outloud (i.e. the whole contract) in English for you. You do not need two notaries; it seems that your lawyer is trying to outst the other notary.

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You only have one Notar recording the transaction. The fees are fixed. As the buyer, you have the right to choose a Notar you trust. That does not mean any other Notar would be cheating on you. Any Notar has to make sure you have understood the terms of the contract. If in doubt he has to explain it all to you.

We have been through this three times by now and have always accepted the Notar proposed by the seller/makler.

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thank you for clearing that up for me. Rechtsanwalt a neccesary expense?

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German notaries are lawyers as well. You would have to pay the guy for drawing up the contract and for notarizing it, same as if you hired two people. The advantage is that the contract is handled by one person or at least the same office.

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thank you for clearing that up for me. Rechtsanwalt a neccesary expense?

It depends. The important thing is that you understand the contract otherwise you can get screwed. It is not the responsibility of the Notar telling you something that might be unfair, he is there only to make sure that both parties understand the contract and that the contract is legal.

 

We did not hire any lawyer when we bought our house, we speak reasonable German for normal conversations but the contract was way out of our league (even for native speakers it might be not so easy to understand). Luckily we have a couple of friends who know about this and they took a look and explained us everything.

 

We paid for a surveyor though. It was expensive but we did not want to have any surprises in the future.

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The buyer paid for the Notar & hence IMHO chooses the Notar...

 

When we purchased (20 years ago) the sellers - or rather their Makler (christened by us as 'Oribble Helga') tried to push their Notar candidate.

However, we have a friend who is Rechtsanwalt & Notar so we chose him (same guy confirms my passport application..).

 

Great fun at the Notar session where the sellers had their Ids carefully examined by the Notar & for our identification he wrote "Vom Person bekannt".

Sellers asked how come we knew the Notar & I said "from Sport" hoping they did not tie that in with all the photos of gliders hanging on the office wall...

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General perspective of the population is that pilots are rich* & hence that might have provided them opportunity to be less helpful on sundry issues.

 

*I'm involved in PR activities around gliding etc & its a real uphill task to try to persuade potential club members that gliding is a sport/hobby that is (a) doable and (B) financially well within realms of normal sports activities.

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The buyer should choose the Notar and the seller should be in agreement about the choice. As buyer you should have the opportunity to go through the details of the contract with the Notar before meeting up for the formal signing of contracts. As far as I know a Notar is a must for house purchases in Germany. The whole thing is read aloud by the Notar, and then signed by the seller and buyer and witnessed by the Noter, allow at least an hour for this appointment.

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A notary is a legal requirement for real estate purchases in Germany. (Otherwise the contract is not legally binding.) However, they are neutral in the sense that you only need one and do not represent either party. You are welcome to pick one, but if you don't know one, the seller or your real estate agent can recommend one. The notary won't act as a lawyer, but they will check out things like whether the property is fully owned by the seller, whether there are any liens, etc. and make sure that the contract is legally binding.

 

Before I bought my property, I had a real estate lawyer look over the contract briefly. It was only 15 pages long, so it only took him about half an hour. Friends I know who felt their German wasn't good enough brought an interpreter along to their notary appointment. Didn't cost much, but will be required by the notary, because he has to be sure you have UNDERSTOOD the contract before you sign.

 

Just a quick heads up, because this took me by surprise - after you sign, it will still take 6-8 weeks before you pay and get to move in. German bureaucracy - the notary has to file your contract with the appropriate authorities and get you written into the Grundbuch.

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Just a quick heads up, because this took me by surprise - after you sign, it will still take 6-8 weeks before you pay and get to move in. German bureaucracy - the notary has to file your contract with the appropriate authorities and get you written into the Grundbuch.

Err... no, that can be arranged just about any way you like with the seller. Right after signing the papers at the notary, we were given the keys. Actually, we had been given a key two weeks prior to the appointment, since the house wasn't being currently lived in. Was kinda funny, actually. Just before our notary appointment I gave the key back to the real estate agent, and then right after the signing we all (buyer, seller & agent) went to the house for the "official handing over". My husband and I provided sandwiches and wine, and we even met our closest neighbours who came by with a bottle of wine as a housewarming gift.

 

And we delayed payment by a month so there'd be no double payment (rent/mortgage) to make that month when we fully moved in. The seller agreed and that's what really counts.

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Same here..Directly after signing the contract, the Contractors that built the bldg., the Hausverwaltung, and I went to the House

and did the official inspection and handover and I got the keys..I moved in 4 days later...

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My Notar was appointed by the seller. However, I got a second opinion on the contract via the family lawyer of German friends. "Yes, it's totally kosher, go ahead". I was told that the Notar has to be independent in the matter, making sure that the law is adhered to.

 

The same German friend was present to translate when the contract was read out.

 

It's a all bit of an eye-opener compared with the somewhat adversarial UK system. I moved into the place before I'd paid a cent! I was told to pay only when I'd received Notarial confirmation to do so - there had to be a particular entry in the Grundbuch - and I was not to pay until this was done. As the Grundbuch people were dozy bureaucrats, it took some months before I paid. However, legally I was a "Besitzer" (Occupier) rather than an Eigentümer (Owner). It was months after that when I finally became an Eigentümer - dozy paper-shuffling gits at the Grundbuchamt again.

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...dozy paper-shuffling gits at the Grundbuchamt again.

As a former paper-shuffling git from a Grundbuchamt...bite me. People always complain that there are two many people in the public sector, so jobs are cut and IT is hailed as the solution that will make everything better and faster. Now that almost everything is done with IT, there are fewer people, the IT stuff hardly works and everything takes way longer. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Oh and by the way, when I worked in the Grundbuchamt (now at the companies house) if everything was in order it took max a week to get the new owners into the Grundbuch. What most buyers won't notice and won't be told by their Notary is that often a few minor things are missing, The stuff from the Finanzamt is not there or there are a few papers from banks that somehow didn't find their way to the Grundbuchamt or the Notary didn't feel like keeping up with the latest changes in law and missed a few important changes etc. Guess who will be blamed for the delay though.

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Handing the goods over to the buyer is part of the transfer of ownership (Eigentum), as the Romans found out. Since you cannot do that with "Immobilien", the Grundbuch records the new owner. By signing in front of the Notar the parties only agree that that should happen. After signing, however, the buyer is Besitzer, basically he can do what he wants with the property. If the seller wants to stay in the house after the signing, that would have to be agreed on separately.

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Signing the purchase contract doesn't necessarily mean that the whole deal will actually take place. One party can still change its mind (at a cost). To have more security on the buyer's and seller's side, the transaction is often done step by step ('Zug um Zug'):

– Signing of the contract

– The Grundbuchamt gives a priority notice of conveyance (Auflassungs-/Eigentumsvormerkung) to the buyer (this can take a few weeks)

– Buyer has to pay (part of) the purchase price until a deadline set in the contract

– Property is handed over

– Buyer pays rest of the money

– Often it takes months for the buyer to be registered as the new owner in the Grundbuch

 

If a mortgage is registered, that's one more phase in the transaction.

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