How to buy an apartment in Germany

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What are the advantages of buying an apartment?

In Germany, anyone (regardless of nationality or place of residence) can buy a condominium.

  • The number of interested parties is often much smaller for a condominium than for a rental apartment.
  • You can make changes in the apartment (e.g. change floor coverings, install new tiles in the bathroom, kitchen, etc.) without having to agree this with the landlord. When selling, such measures increase the sales price.
  • Your monthly costs are lower.
  1. If necessary, clarify financing by the bank,
  2. Inspect the apartment,
  3. Sift through all relevant information, negotiate price, reach agreement,
  4. Check draft sales contract,
  5. Notary appointment (conclusion of purchase contract),
  6. Registration of the priority notice in the land register,
  7. Payment (notary informs that the requirements are met),
  8. Apartment handover,
  9. Move in.

How to find a condominium?

If you are looking for a condominium, apartment portals are the best way. Going directly to an estate agent and asking him to search for one is unusual in Germany and does not work well. In most cases, real estate agents are hired by sellers. They only have a very limited stock of properties. If there is something suitable, they will offer it to you, but they will not look for something especially for you.

  • floor plan,
  • year of construction,
  • total number of floors and floor in which the apartment is located,
  • number of rooms (bathroom and kitchen do not count here),
  • Living space (square meters),
  • Purchasing price,
  • Car parking space,
  • Type of heating,
  • balcony / terrace,
  • monthly common charge / maintenance fee,
  • contact details of the advertiser (usually an estate agent).
  • They usually do not have real photos. The photos are marked with the hint „Musterfoto“ (sample photo).
  • The advertiser sometimes has „Zwangsversteigerung“ (foreclosure) in his name.
  • The street is usually included, with a house number replaced by “x” or “xxx”.

What else is important during and after the inspection?

Inspection appointments for condominiums are usually conducted as individual visits. This gives you the opportunity to look at everything in peace and there is enough time for questions. When buying, the motto is: “Bought as seen”. So if you notice defects later on, liability is excluded in most cases.

  • Brokerage fee (approx. 3.5–7% of the purchase price)
  • Notary fees (approx. 1% of the purchase price)
  • Land registry (approx. 0.5% of the purchase price)
  • Land transfer tax (approx. 3.5–6.5% of the purchase price)
  • site plan,
  • calculation of living space and floor space,
  • current extract from the land register,
  • valid energy pass,
  • declaration of condominium,
  • insurance documents,
  • minutes of owners’ meetings and common charge / maintenance fee settlements (for the last 3 years).
  • delivery of all keys.
  • Handing over of invoices in case of recent repairs or purchase of electrical appliances that remain in the apartment.
  • Work that still have to be done by the seller (set date). I have often experienced that not all furniture was disposed of and the seller had to come by with a trailer.
  • Logging of defects and procedure for their elimination. These can be defects that were already recorded in the purchase contract and, if applicable, those that only occurred afterwards.

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