Buying apartment directly from owner

5 posts in this topic


I'm in the process of buying an apartment here in Berlin. I have found an object that I really like, but the thing is it's
sold directly by the previous owner without any makler involved, and therefore I wonder about what pitfalls there might be?


For example, could the apartment have been used as some kind of loan security that might stay with the it even after being
sold? Are there any other things to watch out for?


Any tips on how to go about this in the best possible way are much appreciated!


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A Makler would add no value to your transaction, he would just cost you money for nothing.

To get an idea of their utter uselessness, please read:

It's the Notar who will take care that you only pay the purchase price after any mortgage that may be on the apartment has been erased from the Grundbuch (land registry), so there's no danger of buying encumbered real estate.


You should however ask the owner to give you copies of the minutes of the last owner meetings, in those you can see what reserves that house has for renovations, and whether some costly renovations are planned for the future.

Also ask the previous owner for copies of the last Hausgeldabrechnungen (one per year). This will show you the utility costs and other costs associated with the apartment like the caretaker (Hausmeister).


You might want to take along a German speaker and ring the doorbells of the neighbours above/around that apartment, so that you can introduce yourself as the one who wants to buy apartment no. ??? and gossip a bit with them to find out whether there are any loud neighbours in that house, or any other problems.

Also visit the house on different days of the week and at different hours of the day/night to get a realistic picture.


If you do not know German, the Notar will ask you to bring an interpreter (the Notar may well insist on a sworn translator) to the sales contract meeting, in which the Notar will read entire contract out aloud.


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A private seller, that's a rare breed here! Lucky you!

Thought - Just make sure the flat is not tenanted if you want it for your personal use straight away.


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Thank you both for the very valuable input!


Beyond pictures and floor plan I have the following documents already, are there any others that I should request before consulting someone to review them?

- Grundbuch

- Teilungserklaerung

- Energieausweis

- Verwaltervertrag

- Wirtschaftsplan

- Protokolle


Secondly, what kind of english speaking professional is good for reviewing these kind of documents and where can I find them? Since I have very little frame of reference even if I knew German I want to have them looked at to assess the situation. I was in contact with a lawyer/notar but said person would charge me 180 euro/hour and for just assessing the documents I was hoping there might be a cheaper alternative!?


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@Dagur I can't think of any other documents they should have supplied. You don't necessarily need to have those documents professionally reviewed. Do you have any friends or acquaintances that could have a look at them? Most of the stuff is layman stuff and any German who's a home owner would be clued up about what to look for in them. Some things that come to mind:


1. Energieausweis: Is it A, B, C... You can see yourself how much it's going to cost to heat the house (it'll be in the document)

2. Verwaltervertrag: Check what they do and how much it costs

3. Wirtschaftsplan: Check the regular costs, and the "Rücklage" (how much money (or how much debt) is in the kitty). Are there any investment plans (new roof, painting the common areas). How much is that going to cost. That should all be there.

4. Protokolle: Check what things get discussed at the owners meetings. Any big problems? Get a feel for whether they all hate each other or just have minor disagreements.

5. Grundbuch and Teiliungserklärung are mostly for the Notary to worry about but you should still check in the Teilungserklärung what's included in the property (is there a share of a garden for example included).


Note that you after your own review (or a friend's) of the document you can sit down with the notary and discuss any concerns you have and have her answer any questions. That's her job and such consultations ARE INCLUDED IN THE FEE YOU ARE PAYING HER. It WON'T cost you extra.


You might want to get a "Gutachter" to have a look at the property, give you an estimate of what it's worth and highlight any faults.


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