Hiring a surveyor when purchasing a property

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Hello

 

We have had an offer accepted on a German house. The seller is not using a Makler and has asked for a 1% reservation fee which essentially means we are committed to buying from them and they are committed to selling to us (regardless of higher offers). The sellers told us it was a first come first serve situation.

 

The house was built in 1962 and has the original roof. The gas boiler is from 2001. There is a slight slope when moving from one or the rooms to another. I couldn't see any signs of damp or mould but I assume these can be easily hidden. I don't know if subsidence is generally a problem with older houses in this area. It is Ostfriesland so practically a swamp.

 

I have done some research considering hiring a surveyor in Germany to check the property for major and minor issues. This is quite common in the UK and perhaps costs between 300-1500 depending on the detail of the survey.

 

Does anyone have experience purchasing a property in Germany and hiring a gutachter to perform a survey?

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Never heard of this 1% "reservation" fee.

Of course this (I mean, this 1% fee) is all done the proper formal legal way, so via the Notar, right...? But in this case, I'm surprised the fee is so low, in our case it was like 20%.

 

People (especially oldies) can be a little strange. For a house we wanted to view, via a Makler, before the vendor/owner let us view the house he insisted on seeing our current account. I found this ultra weird. In the end, I told him blabla stuff about my career (which, for what he knew, could all well been made up) and he was fine without having the see our girokonto.

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I very much recommend getting a Gutachter!! My family has bought and sold property in Germany, and the Gutachter found many hidden flaws.

 

As to the "reservation fee" - can you quote the exact German wording so I can check on it? Is this done in writing, preferably with a Notar?

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5 hours ago, Metall said:

6 % (agent's commission)

The Maklers fee varies hugely from land to land.

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We are dealing with the seller directly, so no makler salivating in the sidelines. The seller went to see a Notar to discuss the reservation fee and pre-contact, but the Notar said it wouldn't really hold up. The seller just wanted some extra protection because their previous attempt to sell feel through at the last minute due to financing. However they have now dropped the reservation fee idea. We spoke with a mortgage broker today and got a finance bestätigung and sent that to the seller so they can have some peace of mind that we will be approved for a mortgage. My main concern now is the mortgage company disagreeing with the properties market value. We will see. Maybe they don't care when the property is so cheap.

 

Most people i speak to in Germany really don't see the need for a gutachter. Personally I would not attempt to use the survey results as leverage to get the seller to reduce because it's a seller's market. They'll just refuse and go to the next person in the queue (who probably won't hire a gutachter). I just want to know what issues there are with the property so I can plan accordingly. I'm taking a friend who is a master roofer to look at the property and she can help determine if and when the roof should be replaced.

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8 hours ago, jamiegw said:

The seller just wanted some extra protection because their previous attempt to sell feel through at the last minute due to financing

If the sale fell through because, against to the early expectations of the buyer, the buyer could not get financing, no reservation fee would have helped.

Good luck with your house. Don't let it be more stressful than it should.

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12 minutes ago, Gambatte said:

If the sale fell through because, against to the early expectations of the buyer, the buyer could not get financing, no reservation fee would have helped.

Good luck with your house. Don't let it be more stressful than it should.

Yeah I agree. It seems some reservation fees are used to protect buyer against the seller selling to another party who perhaps offers more money, and protects the seller against the buyer dropping out of the sale. But I shall read it is legally difficult to enforce.

 

We are using HypoFriend as our mortgage broker and had a video call yesterday in English. We have an offer that gives us a very manageable monthly payment. Interest rates are in my opinion still low (3%).

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On 5/27/2022, 10:56:22, jamiegw said:

Most people i speak to in Germany really don't see the need for a gutachter. Personally I would not attempt to use the survey results as leverage to get the seller to reduce because it's a seller's market. They'll just refuse and go to the next person in the queue (who probably won't hire a gutachter). I just want to know what issues there are with the property so I can plan accordingly. I'm taking a friend who is a master roofer to look at the property and she can help determine if and when the roof should be replaced.

 

Yes, indeed you should get a Gutachter to inspect the house so you are not surprised.  Better to find out now about any possibly expensive issues which may cause you to possibly even reconsider the purchase regardless of how enthusiastic you are right now.

 

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"There is a slight slope when moving from one or the rooms to another."

 

Just curious - do you mean the floor is not perfectly level? Like if you place a metal ball it will roll without a push?

 

 

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On 27/05/2022, 22:56:22, jamiegw said:

Most people i speak to in Germany really don't see the need for a gutachter.

 

Yup. We found the same. I wish we had hired one anyway.

 

On 27/05/2022, 22:56:22, jamiegw said:

if and when the roof should be replaced.

Ours is over 100 with the original roof. No problems at all. Don't fall for any suggestion that you 'should' get it replaced - unless of course it's not doing its job! 

 

1 hour ago, wien4ever said:

Just curious - do you mean the floor is not perfectly level? Like if you place a metal ball it will roll without a push?

 

Exactly so in ours. At the top of the kitchen you could let go of a marble and it would roll down towards the door. The loft room was apparently worse until the previous dude put a level floor in. We have floorboards.

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On 6/2/2022, 11:17:59, kiplette said:

Ours is over 100 with the original roof. No problems at all. Don't fall for any suggestion that you 'should' get it replaced - unless of course it's not doing its job! 

 

I would agree most roofs in Germany are pretty good even if old. Be aware though that there is the energy regulation that roof insulation of the latest spec should be installed within two years after purchasing the house. I decided to go ahead and renew my 60+ year old roof (I noticed some cracked tiles I could see in some places, but otherwise seemed to be working fine - no water damage) with new insulation (over the rafters) and new tiles since KfW funding (20%) would cover both. You could do like my neighbor and insulate from the inside between the rafters - that is much cheaper but somewhat less effective for energy savings (more thermal bridges), but fine for passing inspection.

 

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1 hour ago, wien4ever said:

 

I would agree most roofs in Germany are pretty good even if old. Be aware though that there is the energy regulation that roof insulation of the latest spec should be installed within two years after purchasing the house. I decided to go ahead and renew my 60+ year old roof (I noticed some cracked tiles I could see in some places, but otherwise seemed to be working fine - no water damage) with new insulation (over the rafters) and new tiles since KfW funding (20%) would cover both. You could do like my neighbor and insulate from the inside between the rafters - that is much cheaper but somewhat less effective for energy savings (more thermal bridges), but fine for passing inspection.

 

 

Can you provide a link for the regulation? I'm happy to see KfW provide loans and subsides for such efficiency improvements. I have the cash but would prefer not to use it for such things. The interest on the loans looks very low.

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Here is one place where it is mentioned:

https://www-energie--experten-org.translate.goog/bauen-und-sanieren/daemmung/dachdaemmung/pflicht?_x_tr_sl=de&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

 

"The deadline for fulfilling the obligation is two years from the first transfer of ownership after February 1, 2002."

 

I did my new roof+insulation with a KfW loan of only 0.75% interest for 10 years. These days KfW loans are >2.0% 

 

here is an update on the KfW situation:

https://www-vergleich-de.translate.goog/kfw-negativzinsen.html?_x_tr_sl=de&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

 

Make sure you get a company or energy consultant who takes your hand through the KfW process, because it can be tricky sometimes with the deadlines and constantly changing conditions. I lost a consultant fee subsidy because the KfW suddenly decided to close that offering (without any notice on their webpage!) in the middle of my renovation. At least it was just a few hundred. Make sure to get someone that is on top of these things!

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Well we pulled out of the sale. A friend of ours who runs a roofing company came with us to check the roof, and noted some cracks in one of the outside walls and said it could have been caused by subsidence. She recommended against us purchasing the property. With subsidence, it might be a small easily fixable problem, or it could turn in to an expensive nightmare.

 

So we'll keep looking, hope interest rate rises are slow, and use this as a learning experience.

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