Buying an apartment without seeing it - Berlin

28 posts in this topic

Hello Experts,

 

We are planning to buy a rented-out apartment in Berlin as an investment.

We found an apartment which has the following :

 

1. Competition - Many competitors

2. Price - Selling price is ~20% - 30% lower than the evaluated price(not from experts but by online tools + our opinion having researched the market for a couple of years)

3. Neighborhood - Good location, shopping places, parks, schools, near a river.

4. Build - neu bau(1990+) sold by a very renowned organization.

5. Renovations - We are ready to renovate it in the next 5 years time. (Floors, plumbing, electrical lines, painting)

6. Legal complication - The tenant cannot be reached by the Selling broker(makler)for a viewing and they might have to do it via lawyer.

 

 

my Questions : 

1. Is it possible to buy an apartment in Germany without seeing it ? Any personal experiences will be appreciated.

2. Will the bank approve a loan if we have not seen the apartment ? 

3. Any other complications that might arise?

 

Best Regards,

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Quote

1. Is it possible to buy an apartment in Germany without seeing it ?

 

Why would you want to do that?!?! Relying solely on the seller would be rather foolish. Even if you don't see it yourself, you should have an independent Bausachverständiger appraise it. 

 

1 hour ago, Rica aciR said:

3. Any other complications that might arise?

 

The tenant can complain about damages that you need to fix. There is massive water damage, mold, smoke damage, etc. I can think of so many reasons why buying property sight unseen would be really stupid. It reminds me of the old swamp land scams.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tenant can not be reached doesn't sound good.  Is he paying rent?  If he isn't paying rent or stops paying rent, it can be extremely difficult and costly to get him out.

 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LeonG said:

Tenant can not be reached doesn't sound good.  Is he paying rent?  If he isn't paying rent or stops paying rent, it can be extremely difficult and costly to get him out.

 

Thank you. The agent has not ruled out the viewing appointment yet. They are trying to reach them personally  and if thats not  possible,  then will go for legal route to arrange few visiting. Nevertheless i wil request to provide their rent payment history as well.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Rica aciR said:

Any personal experiences will be appreciated.

 

I'm always up for a good horror story

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Rica aciR said:

2. Will the bank approve a loan if we have not seen the apartment ? 

 

That question does not appear on the loan application.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...I'm no financial adviser, but I'm pretty sure banks generally don't lend money against collateral neither you nor they have ever seen.

 

The fact a makler is involved isn't great news in itself, but the fact a makler is there, and yet you estimate the price is way too low, would suggest that there is something keeping the value down.

 

Oh, and you might be of the view that you will renovate the flat in 5 years, but 1) the tenant may disagree you can wait that long and 2) the common parts of the property may be due for some work too.

 

Please keep us updated though.

 

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, dstanners said:

I'm pretty sure banks generally don't lend money against collateral neither you nor they have ever seen.

Though documents and photos may suffice for the bank.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

simple answer: this is not a good plan!

Where do you live? Why can't you go look at that "investment property" before buying it?

Tenant can't be reached??? That is the biggest red flag I've ever seen.

 

Tell that seller/Makler you won't buy something that you haven't seen.

 

There are plenty of easier investment properties available in Berlin.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not, I repeat NOT buy a property with a sitting tenant already known to be difficult!!
German rental laws also protect the bad tenants, and it might take decades to get him out, even if he doesn't pay rent or trashes the place.

Please Google for Mietnomaden. That is a true German horror story that plays out every day.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Metall said:

might take decades to get him out, even if he doesn't pay rent or trashes the place.

Are there actually documented cases of it taking decades and what you describe happening in those cases?!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you buying this as an investment property? Than a property with a sitting tenant is fine, it's very possible that person will live there for years if not decades. You should be able to get a copy of the Lease that should list job, income etc. That should help judge the tenant.  The lease will also tell you if you can evict the person or not. Even if you're allowed the rules are quite strict.
 

Berlin has very strict rules on rent increases, so assume the rent will rise very slowly. 
 

As a general rule of thumb deduct 75€ from the rent and that will tell you how much you'll clear. 
 

And of course how much reserve does the property have, are there any planned repairs etc
 

As mentioned if you're looking to evict the tenant check the lease, don'tknow the German word offhand. If you can evict check with a lawyer to see what the exact process is.  
 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, lunaCH said:

Are there actually documented cases of it taking decades and what you describe happening in those cases?!

 

I haven't heard of decades but it can easily take over a year.  I don't know what the record is.  The tenant has to owe at least 2 months afaik in order to give them their notice.  Right now, because of covid, you can not give your tenants notice for owing April, May or June rent and this may even be extended.  Once you can legally give them notice and they don't leave, you can take them to court.  Even if they don't defend themselves, it can take several months to get the approval of eviction.  If they do defend themselves which they can with all sorts of reasons like illness, disability, not having been able to find another suitable apartment etc. etc. it can take even longer.  Once you do get the eviction approved, you have to hire a court bailiff to take care of it.  The bailiff will usually give them another 3-4 weeks to pack up and leave.  You get the apartment back eventually, sometimes full of garbage or damaged.  I saw a segment on TV about mietnomaden a few years ago and they talked to one landlord who had at this happen with 3 tenants, one after the other.  

 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

I haven't heard of decades but it can easily take over a year.  I don't know what the record is.  The tenant has to owe at least 2 months afaik in order to give them their notice.  Right now, because of covid, you can not give your tenants notice for owing April, May or June rent and this may even be extended.  Once you can legally give them notice and they don't leave, you can take them to court.  Even if they don't defend themselves, it can take several months to get the approval of eviction.  If they do defend themselves which they can with all sorts of reasons like illness, disability, not having been able to find another suitable apartment etc. etc. it can take even longer.  Once you do get the eviction approved, you have to hire a court bailiff to take care of it.  The bailiff will usually give them another 3-4 weeks to pack up and leave.  You get the apartment back eventually, sometimes full of garbage or damaged.  I saw a segment on TV about mietnomaden a few years ago and they talked to one landlord who had at this happen with 3 tenants, one after the other.  

 

Sorry typing on ipad, but was referIng to tenants staying for many years.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Rushrush said:

 You should be able to get a copy of the Lease that should list job, income etc. That should help judge the tenant.

 

Depends on how old the lease is and if all of that info is current.

 

Buying a property unseen is, I'm sorry, insane. Depending on an agent to be forthcoming with the truth is equally insane.

 

 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

simple answer: this is not a good plan!

Where do you live? Why can't you go look at that "investment property" before buying it?

Tenant can't be reached??? That is the biggest red flag I've ever seen.

 

We live in Berlin, we just visited the building, checked the neighborhood... everything looks very good from the outside...

Based on the construction year 1990+ we assume that the apartment quality is also good. 

 

4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

Tell that seller/Makler you won't buy something that you haven't seen.

 


I believe that because of the corona situation, it could have been difficult for the makler... but we would get this clarified tomorrow.. 

 

The problem is, the Makler seems to not take us seriously as he has already many offers...  we have premium account in one of the immobilien sites which tells us how many offers he has... so we are trying to get in-front of that list...  We have even provided a finanzierung bestaetigung, but he is least interested, at times we feel that he just does not want to sell it to us because we are from a third world country.. but we are trying to be optimistic here and less desperate TBH ... 

 

 

4 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

There are plenty of easier investment properties available in Berlin.

 

Yes, out of all those, this seems to best suit us from every perspective... except that we haven't seen it yet..

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Rushrush said:

Are you buying this as an investment property? Than a property with a sitting tenant is fine, it's very possible that person will live there for years if not decades. You should be able to get a copy of the Lease that should list job, income etc. That should help judge the tenant.  The lease will also tell you if you can evict the person or not. Even if you're allowed the rules are quite strict.
 

Berlin has very strict rules on rent increases, so assume the rent will rise very slowly. 
 

As a general rule of thumb deduct 75€ from the rent and that will tell you how much you'll clear. 
 

And of course how much reserve does the property have, are there any planned repairs etc
 

As mentioned if you're looking to evict the tenant check the lease, don'tknow the German word offhand. If you can evict check with a lawyer to see what the exact process is.  
 

 

 

We have the lease agreement, but his details have been blackened for privacy reasons :/ we do not have any information on his job...

Property had Ok reserve, and Ok repairs planned in the protocol,,,

 

No plans of evicting the tenant...

We are blind without having seen the apartment... i researched that this is common in he US were it is a "Seller's market"... so was wondering how it is here in Germany.

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now