Buying a house in Germany

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I just wondering if anyone else has been through the experience of buying a house in Germany. It has been an exercise in frustration. Since we don't know the process at all we choice to go through an English Agent here rather than a bank. Also because we can mortgage up to 110% rather than the 80% that a bank will do. We are mortgaging 95% plus fees.

 

The problem is that we haven't been able to get any follow through. Last Friday was our Notar appointment and as far as we were concerned everything was in order. They had "preapproved"us or so we thought. We called the day of and found out that hadn't even started working on it as the guy concerned was on holidays. We had called several times that week and they never mentioned it.So we had to cancel at the last min.

 

We also found out much to our distress that they hadn't even done a credit check yet. I would have thought that would have been the first thing they did. So now after all this work we could still be turned down.

 

I've also been bugging the agent to get a move on but she's been on holidays and then sick. Friday she said she'd try to get a hold of him, Monday she was off sick today she promised that she'd follow up on it. We've also threaten that if they don't get a move on we will pull out. We don't want to do that but its the only way I know to light a fire under their butts.

 

Do banks only Mortgage up to 80%. We looked at one place 220.000 would have required 50.000€ to buy, that is a steep hurdle for anyone

 

Rob very frustrated

 

In Canada 75% is expected but you can mortgage up to 95% but you have to pay for insurance.

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The other problem you have is that the Estate agents (Makler) here take 5.8% of the house price as fee. This in my view is robbery, as they do practically sweet FA for this money. Try and find a property that is 'provisionsfrei' or if you see some new housing being built, go and talk directly to the builder.

 

If you cannot avoind a Makler then try and haggle his fee down.

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Poor Rob, I am sorry to hear about your Notar problems. If they are that slack I'd get rid of them. What do you mean you have gone through an English agent do you mean a Makler? Although we bought our house 18 years ago I can't remember exactly what we did. We were probably just very lucky everything went smoothly! Although we did have to pay the Makler 5% (everybody reckoned we should "verhandle" ) but he wasn't impressed when we tried that one on! We did however pay him in several payments. I do recall though that we got our loan through the bank and we ended up getting what most English speakers would call a 2nd mortgage. It was called a Sonder Konto I think and we just paid that one off the quickest.

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Don’t bother going through an English agent... You can do everything done the normal way here. You just have to be aware that it does take time (lots of it). Try Diba and for cheaper options try Diba via a finance adviser. You should be able to get between 4.6% to 4.9% fixed for 10 years (just the interest repayments)!

 

Figure out if the place where you want to buy will have a population decline or not in the next 20 to 50 years! (There will be a large number of Germans with a kind of negative equity in the future (especially those living in the country).

 

Bad move to buy the place via an agent sorry to say, but it is wasted money! (This peace of info is only useful if the deal falls through and you are forced to find a new place GO "privat-zu-privat" the agents here give noting of value (FU*KING lazy gits), you can even negotiate the fee down if the house has been on the market a long time or if the estate agent is small!

 

If you have the fees 5.8% without estate agent 11.2% with estate agent you can get a 100% mortgage, above 100% it is difficult but not impossible! If you can somehow magic up 20% extra then your interest repayment will sink by about 0.3%

 

Phone and contact lots of financial agents chose the cheapest and don’t let them con you into Fund managed contracts or other such nonsense! Make the agents compete tell them that the other agent offered 0.02% to 0.04 % less than he/ she quotes. These are difficult time for the housing market and they are willing to accommodate to get your custom!

 

Credit check get done by you supplying all your income slips, ingoing and outgoings and your saving history (if you have none in this country copy your UK details and show them to the banks!

 

Good Luck. Sorry if this email sound a bit rough, but I have my plate full at the moment at work!! Contact me for further questions! If I have time today I will post an estimate of what you should be paying for a 100% mortgage for 10 years fixed.

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...you have my total sympathy ! ..if you don't know the system here it is a real

minefield, we were lucky in so much that when we bought our house it was

through the local Sparkasse who were offering a complete package, no Makler

Gebühren (which are as you pointed out day-light robbery compared to uk) and

a project manager so oversee the building work and with whom they worked with

before therefore "known quantity" You hear some horrifying stories about building

houses here ! The Sparkasse proved to be very flexible indeed and even matched

the lowest mortgage offer we got from a Bavarian Hypoteken Bank. Despite being

in South Africa during most the building phase almost everything went smoothly

and I was really glad we had a reliable bloke to keep an eye on the builders

(and you really have to here, they'll try and get away with murder if you don't check

everything they do, my wife used to go on site every day to photograph

everything ...just in case !) That was almost 15 years ago and I must say although

it was steep learning curve it was definately worth it. The other surprise we had

were the fees from the Stadt for Grundbucheinträge and a miriad of other hidden charges :o

 

...stick at it it's worth it ;)

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And, as I found to my considerable cost, the lender does not do a survey on the house. It's sold as seen, and tough shit from the lender if there's anything wrong with it. We are currently in a long and 'kin expensive court battle with the former owners of our house. We want to sell, but because of the state of one side of the house, its nearly impossible.

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Sorry to hear this... We almost bought, but went for rent because of the hassle, sleep better now. It is a really crud system at times here. You can get complete deals here - sparkasse, Deutsche bank etc, but some of the costs which appear (or will appear) do make it a not as exciting experience as it was when we bought in England.

 

English law can be stupid too, when we sold in England a law came in two years earlier unknown to us that cars were not allowed to use the drive to get to the car parks behind the houses, so we lost 20K, and a whole year of stress.

 

Good luck, all the best with it.

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My experience of house buying in Germany was basically, good.

 

I got competitive mortgage offers from Munich Stadtsparkasse

and another small-town Stadtsparkasse, the latter was keen to

get the deal and waived all fees, so I insisited that the Munich

Spk. meet the same and they did.

 

There was some figures on recent mortgage rates on ToyTownMunich

that someone posted.

 

The Makler I treated like they should be treated and payed him

cash in hand once the deal was signed - he waited in the Notars

corridor... of course I only paid him less than half the full fee.

 

The Notar got his wadd, but these costs are laid down by law.

The Notar organised all the checks were in order, and read the contract

in German, very useful ( I had checked it through in advance).

 

I have herard much worse experiences from England, gzumping...

 

Good luck anyway

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Hi Everyone

 

The problem was that we are getting a mortgage through an agent.She can only leave messages and wait till they call back. So that has been the delay, I just wish she would have told us that at first. We were able to buy a semi renovated flat (building outside done, inside rough)in an older building direct from the builder so we saved the 5,8%.

 

The problem is that we have to close by Friday or we lose the place and I don't know if they will have the last signature in place or not by then. We've decided that we'll visit the bank over Christmas to discuss mortgages with them.

 

Interesting thing is, even at 100% mortgage it is still much cheaper than renting. We are talking a smaller older place. But closer to Frankfurt than we live. I checked out rents and it would cost us way more 600 vs 325 plus nebenkosten.

 

I do agree the 5.8 is a total rip off, I don't know why anyone would list there place with an agent. It sells much faster private.

 

Rob

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QUOTE

It sells much faster private.

 

Unfortunately not true :( For some reason people are unwilling to buy if the offer seems good!

 

It sound as if the Makler is playing silly buggers (I had this a lot) they only ring you when they know you are not in because it saves telephone costs, as you are always forced to ring them! (Some of the bastards never came back, or offered places they did not have, there were even price differences of over 50,000 Euros for the same house from 2 different agents!

 

Demand that you have on the Notar contract, that all fees (Notar & Makler & house) and that the contract itself is only valid if you manage to find a bank to back you! YOU CAN GET THIS!!! They may try to talk you out of it, (and they may be hard later on regarding which bank conditions you get (if the only one you find is ridiculers in it's offer, you may just have to take it)), but you are safe in the knowledge that if it falls through, you will have no costs!

 

Take it from me it is a buyers market; this means that you can haggle the price a bit. It also means that you should not get pushed into buying just because they say they will offer it out again!

 

Check this link for mortgage rates!

 

http://www.baugeld-vergleich.de/

 

How long have you searched for your place?

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Demand that you have on the Notar contract, that all fees (Notar & Makler & house) and that the contract itself is only valid if you manage to find a bank to back you! YOU CAN GET THIS!!! They may try to talk you out of it, (and they may be hard later on regarding which bank conditions you get (if the only one you find is ridiculers in it's offer, you may just have to take it)), but you are safe in the knowledge that if it falls through, you will have no costs!

I had no idea that you could do that, In Canada that is called a Conditional Offer and is done a the Estate Agent's office. If we couldn't for some reason get financing than we cancel the offer.

 

The problem isn't with the Makler but with the Angtur that is handling the mortgage. After numerous phone calls I finally asked here how long does it normally take, She said 8-10 days after all the paper work is filled out. In other words plan on about 4 weeks beginning to end.

 

Had I known this first off I wouldn't have had to cancel the previous appointment on such short notice or call her so many times. So I called and told the guy to plan on next Friday and that will give them plenty of time to finish all the paper work.

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I agree with gentleman here, my experience is that most Germans do not consider it "serious" to buy privately. Apart from that, if things go wrong, under certain circumstances you can sue the Makler if he's been negligent.

 

One of the problems with the German market is that it's too small, as a result the Makler need to take a fairly high percentage on the small number of sales they make, in order to make a living. However, in times of a buyer's market, as just now, then the whole fee should be born by the seller. No way would I as buyer pay the whole fee, at the most, for a desirable property, split it 50-50.

 

This all a matter of negotiation as is the absolute fee, despite what some Makler will try to say about the fees being regulated - they aren't! The notary public's fees ARE regulated, but even there, in a weak market you can get away with about half, if you haggle.

 

 

there were even price differences of over 50,000 Euros for the same house from 2 different agents!

This is a direct consequence of the weak market, some sellers get desperate and try over a variety of Maklers without telling them what they are doing. It's a good reason to keep your eyes open!

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One other difference from the Canadian market to the German is the lack of MLS. That is Mulitple Listing Service. When I go to an estate agent in Canada I can see all the properties listed for the whole region. Than if I buy a house that listed by another agent than they split the fee which is paid by the seller not the buyer.

 

I imangine that before Scout 24 looking for a place must have been a real choore. Then unlike Americans Germans don't move every few years.

 

rob

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Interestingly enough there was a report on TV, might have been Deutsche Welle, that 2004 recorded the lowest amount of people moving house.

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The Wonderful world of federalism :- In hessen, RLP, and other states it is 5.8 that the buyer pays, up north Hamburg (starting to feel hungry here) it is 3. something of the sellers side. There are other places, which do, 50/50.

 

Technically 5.8 is a horrendous sum when you think it takes 20 minutes to place a property online on immobilan24.de apart from that they do so little it is hardly worth it. But the worst part is as a buyer you pay the makler (estate agent) yet his loyalty is to the seller. Is it me or is this just a hypocritical?

 

The whole idea that properties should be done on a percentage basis is unfair it take the Notar no more time to write and readout aloud, the contract for the regional castle or for the 20 square meter flat!

 

If I ever turn evil (no comments here) I will consider becoming an estate agent (lawyer, politician, banker (shit I have done that one)).

 

I think one of the major problem in the German market is the lack of liquidity, if you see that it takes about 11% to buy the place, and upon selling you get clobbered with high taxes unless you have own a place for about 10 years. It means there is little incentive for people to change, as it requires you to look at your needs on a ten-year basis. Added to this with the population decrease who know how much a property will be worth in a few years time (relative to income). Added to this is the German mentality that if something belongs to me it must be expensive (they prefer to though things out than to sell them cheaply) (after all has anyone seen a car boot sale here that was worth a look). No wonder nobody wants to buy!

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Then unlike Americans Germans don't move every few years.
That's partly why the estate agents are so expensive.

 

 

The Wonderful world of federalism :- In hessen, RLP, and other states it is 5.8 that the buyer pays, up north Hamburg (starting to feel hungry here) it is 3. something of the sellers side. There are other places, which do, 50/50.

This is basically a question of the market - if it's a sellers market, which Hessen might well be, the buyer pays, if it's a buyers's market like much of North Germany or the East, the seller pays and then there are the places in between where they split it.

 

However, in the end this is all a matter for negotiation, if you find a seller who's desperate to sell, be stubborn and he'll pay!

 

One other problem which leads to low housing market liquidity is that most Germans are much less prepared too leave the town (village, neighbourhood, etc.) than in the UK. Rather unemployed at home than working 100 miles away!

 

 

The whole idea that properties should be done on a percentage basis is unfair it take the Notar no more time to write and readout aloud, the contract for the regional castle or for the 20 square meter flat!

The other side of lawyers fees being %-age based is that you can afford to go to court for cases which may have a moderate financial value, but cost the lawyer a lot of work - in the UK you wouldn't be able to afford it (or it wouldn't be wort it) paying by the hour. Each system has it's advantages and disadvantages.

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Buying a house eh!!-I rent/live in Viersen and now own in Herford.

I´ll tell you what my experience has been as still is.

Wife and I last year bought the Half of the house that wasnt already ours from her parents (they are now retired and rent a flat round the corner).

BHW finance bloke sorted all the forms out (gave us the name of a reliable Notar) and all looked well in the deal...then

One of the beglaubigers in the deeds wouldnt accept payment and held the process up by 4 months (he even took us to court to get the house auctioned-the costs of which I had to pay to get him to stop). During this time the BHW are charging us bereitschafts kosten that are more than Twice the normal monthly payments.

The costs were so high that I ended up so far in debt that the Bank refused to pay the BHW--(I had to sell my Fireblade :angry: just to show willing with the BHW--before they sold it) To make matters even worse, the contract that the girl in the upstairs flat has --says---she doesnt pay nebenkosten (which means I am paying all her hot water/Heating).

I have never been that far in debt in my life and its frightening to think that you could get kicked out your house. The father in law used 6 months rent (from the 3 incumbants to pay off the court fees from his old firm ---ahhhhhhhrrr.

 

I havent even begun and my fingers are raw...

Dont ask about the leaky roof/car I cant use/Golf fees I cant pay :( I think its 5 or 6 summons.

Pse dont get worried...I am still sane :P

Andy

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Does anyone have any experience of negotiating the Makler fees? We found a house on the internet and foolishly made the appointment to view with a Makler. By the time we decided to move ahead the owner of the house dumped the original Makler and found a new one. We went to see the house one more time with this new lady and we are now expected to pay 3.48% (+) for sweet bugger all. She didn't even bother to call us to find out if we are interested! God would I swap for a good old honest British Estate Agent !!

 

If anyone has experience of haggling with these people I would love to hear how you fared as we are going to offer her 1% and see what happens!

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Sure... negotiate like hell. In almost all locations, the German housing market is in the toilet.

How long has the place you want to buy been on the market? If the seller swapped Makler it must have been for a reason - i.e. that Makler couldn't sell it... it could have been sitting for a long time. No way would I pay 3.48%. Ask the Makler what service they provided you and what service they provided the seller. 3.48% for maybe an hour's work showing you around is a very tidy earner! Try getting the seller to take over this cost totally. Anyway, good luck... and don't pay more than 1%!!!

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Same goes for the house itself.

 

If it's been on the market a long time talk to the Makler about how much the seller really expects to get for it. This is about the only time when a Makler is any use - when they persuade the seller what is a realistic price to accept.

 

If you can get a significant reduction on the purchase price then maybe the Makler has earned their percentage - otherwise I agree - offer 1%

 

And do be careful that the Makler who showed you round the first time doesn't expect 3,48% as well.

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