A single tear for the Makler: Provision in the crosshairs

306 posts in this topic

I rented an apartment for a year from a relatively good property manager in the USA, but opinions varied wildly on how good this manager really was from a tenants point of view (from mine, surprisingly, few complaints!).

 

So, I understand the case for a Makler in some instances, even though I never paid for one when I got my German apartment. But there are two problems with the set-up here. One is the rather perverse incentives created by separating the person engaging the service from the person paying for the service---especially when they are in a necessarily oppositional relationship (landlord/tenant). It has the feeling, sort of, of the weird tradition of paying your executioner that apparently once existed. (And yes, I know that renting a home is---usually---not like being beheaded, heh.) The other is the barrier created by the expectation of a rather steep fee to find housing, that seems a little out of place to me when ownership (and a mortgage) itself is not directly at stake. Two months rent, a security deposit (often of 1-2 months rent), and your first months rent...to even get a decent roof over your head?

 

(Also the title was changed to include the suggestion of putting the Makler in the crosshairs. Just to be sure, it's no longer my title.)

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I read the article and came across this passage

 

Bereits heute werde die Maklergebühr nur in den angespannten Wohnungsmärkten wie Köln, Bonn oder Düsseldorf vom Mieter bezahlt, ergänzte Erik Uwe Amaya von Haus & Grund Rheinland. In allen anderen Teilen des Landes sei es bereits üblich, dass der Vermieter die Maklercourtage übernimmt. Grund hierfür sei, dass die Wohnungsmärkte in Deutschland sehr unterschiedlich seien.

 

Apparently there are only estate agency fees levied in the flat markets such as Cologne, Bonn or Duesseldorf due to the fraught availability. In all other parts of the country the estate agency fee is paid by the landlord/lady.

 

Anybody here in Munich have their estate agency fee paid for them (apart from those who got relocated)?

 

I don't somehow think so, but I am all for it.

 

You seem to have overlooked a significant word (or two) in your assesment of that extract, enview.

 

 

Bereits heute werde die Maklergebühr nur in den angespannten Wohnungsmärkten wie Köln, Bonn oder Düsseldorf vom Mieter bezahlt, ergänzte Erik Uwe Amaya von Haus & Grund Rheinland. In allen anderen Teilen des Landes sei es bereits üblich, dass der Vermieter die Maklercourtage übernimmt. Grund hierfür sei, dass die Wohnungsmärkte in Deutschland sehr unterschiedlich seien.

I think I might have interpreted Erik Uwe Amaya's statement thus:

 

 

Apparently, in the Rheinland region, there are only estate agency fees levied in the flat markets such as Cologne, Bonn or Duesseldorf due to the fraught availability. In all other parts of the country state the estate agency fee is paid by the landlord/lady.

Incidentally, apart from the very first time I needed to find an apartment (when I had virtually zero knowledge of German and even less available time), I have moved 8 times within Germany without using the 'services' of a Makler. Those included moves to the (suburbs or) cities of Giessen (2x), Stuttgart, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden (2x) and Mainz (2x) some of which I had been assured were impossible to find flats in without the 'help' of a Makler. Oddly enough it also never took me more than a week or two between deciding I needed to find a place and moving in.

 

Makler = an unnecessary evil.

 

2B

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While I hate the idea of using a Makler as much as the next person and we wanted to be fair and not use one, we may reconsider in the future.

You want to be fair AND use a Makler? That's easy. Simply pay the Makler his/her Provision since he/she is working for YOU and don't pass that cost on to the renter. The Makler that provided you with a prompt-paying renter for 7.5 years is surely worth paying for, oder?

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I think a fair situation would be capping the amount at one month's rent + 19%, to be split between landlrod and tenant - surely a situation which would be acceptable to all parties, as the Makler would get enough for his smallish service and the amount of money to be paid by each party would not hurt too much. Until a change is forced, though, neither Makler nor landlords have any interest.

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<snip> Effectively, we lost a month's rent doing it ourselves and this was after the flat being empty for 2 months during a complete renovation.

 

People are quick to judge and say what they would do if they were a landlord. It just isn't that simple. After all, it is a business.

 

my problem is that I pay the makler fee as the renter.

you've made a good point as to how it helps make the life of the landlord easier, but that does not justify the renter paying this fee to make someone elses life easier.

 

Why should I pay 2.4 months rent as a fee to an agent so that you have less stress, more free time and 1month extra rent in the pocket.

The fee is too high, but till now the wrong person was paying it making it a double injustice!

 

Best of all, if the landlord pays it he gets to claim it as a business expense so is tax deductable, VAT clawed back and might only "cost" him half the amount of a normal mortal.

Actually, if they gain a months rent due to a good job by the makler then the landlord is almost breakeven on the transaction whereas the poor (literally, broke) renter has to pay that 2.4months out of net wages after income tax etc.

 

Im so glad this is on the way out.

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Maybe partly, but I fear most landlords will add the Makler fee to the rent, increasing the upward rent spiral...

 

If the landlord can get more for the apartment, then he's going to raise the price anyway. The question then is, whether he bothers to get a Makler that will eat into his monthly fee, or if he does it himself and saves some money.

 

 

Yep - in a separate agreement that the grand coalition have agreed on in principle is that rent cannot be more than 10% above the Mietspiegel. I would assume that both will happen.

 

This is a terrible idea. All it will do is encourage people with flats in high demand areas to let the building degrade, because why would they pump money into something that isn't going to earn them more money anyway.

 

If rents in Munich become unaffordable (and they are still a long way off unaffordable despite what people seem to think - look at prices in other major European cities, they're much higher than here), then they should put in place some subsidies for low earners. But trying to control the market artificially like this will only end in problems.

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I was taking into consideration the proposed plans that will change how/who Maklers charge when I said we may consider using one next time. We lost a month's rent anyway so we wouldn't mind paying a Makler a month's rent or sharing that with the renter. We, like everyone else, will just have to wait and see if the system changes or not in Munich.

 

I am open to any suggestions on how to know if a potential renter is serious about renting when they say they are and provide all paperwork. There must be a more efficient way to get a renter in than what we experienced. Many were so happy to learn that we were the owners and that they wouldn't have to pay a Makler even though the flat was advertised as "Provisionsfrei".

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If rents in Munich become unaffordable (and they are still a long way off unaffordable despite what people seem to think - look at prices in other major European cities, they're much higher than here)

 

Whether rents are affordable or not in Munich has absolutely nothing to do with how they compare to rents in other cities. You have to compare local rents and local salaries - and by that standard Europe's major cities are clearly not affordable.

 

Rents in Paris are now €30/m² per month and the average salary is around €1600. Landlords in France - quite rightly - will not accept you if your salary is less than 3 times the rent so even a 20m² flat is way too expensive for the average earner.

 

Plenty of people in Munich spend 50% of their income on rent and lots more have to commute because they cannot afford to live in Munich. A nurse in Munich might have a take-home salary of €1500/month, how much of that do you think you could afford to spend on your rent?

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The main reason why Provision is paid by the tenant is because demand for properties exceeds availability; people will pay because often they have little choice. I was kicked out of my previous flat (for reasons of Eigenbedarf, he hastened to add) and had to find somewhere convenient (for me) at short notice, so I didn't have the opportunity to just go for flats without provision (or with a very moderate one). Yes, the big Genossenschaften (SAGA, GWG) offer no-provision deals, but as a single, relatively-high-earner, forget it. So it's onto the open market, and there, well, yeah, I had to pay 1500 yoyos in provision.

 

I'll be glad if it's gone, even if I feel a little bit that governments should stay away from interfering in the free market. But I guess it's cheaper for them to legislate this way than to fund large-scale (social) house building projects.

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Plenty of people in Munich spend 50% of their income on rent and lots more have to commute because they cannot afford to live in Munich.

 

Like they would have to in any other major European city.

 

Nonetheless, I'm not saying there isn't a problem to be addressed, but I am saying that rent capping is not going to fix the problem.

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Refrain for "Miet Shop" by Maklermore:

 

 

I'm gonna pop some pads,

only got 20,000 Euro in mah pocket.

ah ah I'm huntin',

looking for a Mieter,

this is f***ing easy.

 

 

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I think some are not reading it with attention.

 

It is about a NEW rule. So obviously you `didn´t hear of the Landlord paying the Provision`. :blink:

It hasn´t happened yet.

 

If you think the rent is expensive in Germany then you should take a look at the prices in London :)

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Or Rome or Paris or Geneva or Stockholm or Amsterdam or Oslo or Zurich or Luxembourg etc etc. Honestly, people think the prices are high because they've risen quite a bit recently, but they have a lot left in them yet before they catch up.

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I don't think the comparison to other EU cities is a good reason to say rent controls are a bad thing. One thing I love about Germany is that people can live in the city centre - it really makes a better atmosphere compared to London.

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I was taking into consideration the proposed plans that will change how/who Maklers charge when I said we may consider using one next time. We lost a month's rent anyway so we wouldn't mind paying a Makler a month's rent or sharing that with the renter. We, like everyone else, will just have to wait and see if the system changes or not in Munich.I am open to any suggestions on how to know if a potential renter is serious about renting when they say they are and provide all paperwork. There must be a more efficient way to get a renter in than what we experienced. Many were so happy to learn that we were the owners and that they wouldn't have to pay a Makler even though the flat was advertised as "Provisionsfrei".

 

I think you would have still lost a month's rent, with or without a markler. If people change their minds, they change it. Nothing anyone can do about that. Using a Markler makes it easier for the landlord. You the landlord benefits from using one. So you should pay for it.

 

 

I think some are not reading it with attention.It is about a NEW rule. So obviously you `didn´t hear of the Landlord paying the Provision`. It hasn´t happened yet.If you think the rent is expensive in Germany then you should take a look at the prices in London

 

I don't give a crap about how things are in other countries and cities. I live in Germany, work in Germany, so my comparison has to be made in germany.

 

 

Or Rome or Paris or Geneva or Stockholm or Amsterdam or Oslo or Zurich or Luxembourg etc etc. Honestly, people think the prices are high because they've risen quite a bit

 

Good thing I live in Germany.

recently, but they have a lot left in them yet before they catch up.

 

 

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@kludgie:

Oh yes, it would be so great if we finally had *real property managers* here. I'm all for the UK/US model.

 

 

 

Property managers exist, of course. Take any Hausverwaltung. But in 99.9.% it's about not about collecting rents etc.

Why so?

 

The costs would reduce the profit. And since the average profit /interest isn't terribly high in Germany this would lead either to a poor investment or increased rents.

 

I was going to ask, what would happen to the Hausverwaltung in the case that the Makler was persuaded/forced to become a proprty manager, as on the UK/US model? I guess the answer is that these two things would have to be rolled into one, or the Maklers would employ the Hausverwaltung people?

 

In the UK (don't know about the US) the estate agent finds the tenant; so, advertises the house, arranges viewings and conducts the tenant roudn the property, runs credit checks etc. The tenant pays a modest fee on signing the lease and sometimes also on renewing it (this time we paid £250 or so at the start, £60 to renew, and are now on a rolling contract, no further fees). The landlord pays a similar - a bit higher - fee for this service. The landlord may also choose to have the agent manage the property, which means repairs, maintenance - may include gardening in shared flats, cleaning communal spaces, etc - and necessary contact with the tenant, as well as collecting the rent.

 

For our flat in Berlin, the Makler did literally nothing - beyond advertising the property online and asking the tenant to be at home when we wanted to view it. They didn't even organise the contract, though my landlady thought they were going to (!). Then, between us and our landlord, there was a lady (K) who was our point of contact - gave us the keys, checked the inventory when we left, and dealt with repairs to the apartment (eg, the oven was non-functional when we moved in, and the lock on the front door stopped working - she got these things fixed...). And, Then, there was the Hausverwaltung, who mowed the grass and removed my bike from the bike rack when I left it unlocked for 2 days, and told us off for leaving a box in the basement (we had K's approval). So it was all a bit confusing and, as we never managed to get them to return the box or the bike, a bit annoying too. I don't know if the landlord was paying K and also the Hausverwaltung, but since they often seemed at cross purposes, if so, the landlord probably wasn't getting a good deal! And of course, the Makler wasn't a good deal for us! All seemed to be a bit over-complex compared to the UK set-up, but the thing is, how could it be simplified without various people being out of a job?

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I couldn't care less if the Maklers suddenly were "out of a job".

They usually are freelancers, are not qualified in any way, and I seriously doubt their income is fully declared to the tax office (have seen cash payments too often).

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All this should put an end to that Mieten, Kaufen, Wohnen program. I know it's all staged though I could spit when the ghastly Maklers rub their hands together with glee when they think of their commission.

 

We were treated very badly by one of the local Maklers when we were looking to rent. He was so arrogant and barely gave us the time of day. After viewing a property and telling him we would like to go ahead, we heard nothing for ages. When we called him, he told us that he had advised the landlord against us as he though we couldn't afford to pay the rent and renovate the property to a habitable level. Having a kid also went against us. It all worked out for the best in the end as we ended up buying.

 

Did I miss something in the news? Has the Makler commission changed for buying too? It was gut wrenching to have to pay a Makler to buy our house as we organized everything with the owner directly. But, having said that, he was quite helpful during the legal process as it was our first time buying in Germany. The other plus point was that he persuaded the owners to sell for far less than they had estimated. From our 2 year search, we tended to find that private sales were often overpriced in the first place.

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That Mieten Kaufen Wohnen programme is completely unrealistic.

 

Firstly, on that show, they're showing the house/flat on a one-to-one basis. Normally there are at least 15 other people there, all trying to get the attention of the Makler.

 

Secondly, the Maklers on that show can actually answer questions about the places they're showing, and

 

Thirdly, if I told a Makler that I don't like the place he's shown me and that he should show me another one - and give him a list of requests, he would laugh in my face.

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Quite right Hazza. Not forgetting that a real Makler would never take you out for coffee after a viewing :D

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