Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, or you're an investor looking to expand your real estate portfolio, there are many considerations to take into account before buying an apartment. However, experts agree that right now is exactly the right time to invest in residential property. As a long-term investment, real estate’s stability makes it crisis-resistant, and with the current unbeatably low interest rates, now is the time to buy in Germany. Home ownership investment is attractive and unique, and our buyer's guide will walk you through everything you need to know before making what could be the most important purchase of your life.
The main personal reason for purchasing an apartment is a desire for stability, the opportunity to lay down some roots and make a more permanent home for yourself. You are free to renovate it at your own leisure, decorate it however you want, personalise it and truly make it a place of your own.
When you make a payment towards your mortgage, some of that goes towards paying off the principal loan, which helps to build your equity in the property. Over time, as the value of the property increases, so does your equity in it. It will be a large initial outlay, but you stand to make more money in the end.
Mortgage costs are the main expenses for owning a home, and you don’t want to spend all your wages on your mortgage. Luckily this is rarely an issue, as German mortgage rates are among the lowest in the world.
If you need some time to think about your offer, to get further advice, or to seek financing approval, the property you are interested in can be reserved, free of charge, for up to three weeks.
If necessary, the help of an independent solicitor can be sought. By signing a Power of Attorney authorisation (POA) relating to the property, the solicitor can act as your representative in all legal matters and as authorised recipient. After this, the purchasing process can begin.
With German mortgage rates amongst the lowest in the world, it makes perfect sense to arrange some kind of financing to assist you in buying an apartment. There are no restrictions on non-Germans, or non-EU citizens, from owning property or obtaining a mortgage in Germany. Although 100% mortgages are possible, a loan of 80% of the property’s value is far more likely. However, each case is individual, and depends on your own circumstances.
A draft contract will be drawn up and provided for your approval. This will include our expert risk assessment (Due Diligence). In accordance with German law, after the fifteenth day of receipt, the contract can be signed.
The purchase contract must be certified by a notary. The buyer (or buyer’s representative), and seller sign the contract in the presence of the notary to officiate the sale. In addition to responsibility for the notarisation of the contract of sale, the notary often also arranges for its entry in the land register. The costs for these services amount to approximately 1-1.5% of the purchase price, plus VAT. Additional costs of around 0.5% are incurred for the land register entry itself.
When purchasing a property in Germany, the buyer bears the transaction costs. These costs include the property transfer tax (6% of the purchase price in Berlin; 3.5% in Leipzig), the notary costs (around 1-1.5%), registry charges for property (approx. 0.5% of the purchase price) and the applicable estate agent’s commission (all EverEstate properties are commission-free).
To ensure a hassle-free investment period, administrative services can be provided by our partner agencies. A property management team or letting service will act as the link between tenant and owner, and ensure the smooth running of the property.
Once financing is approved and purchase completed, the final handover takes place. Congratulations on acquiring your own property!
Do I have to be able to speak German fluently?
No, you will not be required to carry out any negotiations in German when buying a property. Our international team of consultants are happy to conduct viewings in English or in other languages.If requested, they will also assist you through to the handover of keys.
Do I have to finance the purchase through a German bank?
It is theoretically possible to finance your purchase through a bank not based in Germany, but it is not easy for several reasons: - The bank cannot easily use the property as security/collateral. - The purchase/sale will be subject to German banking laws & regulations (foreign banks need a legal representative in Germany). - Property valuation will be difficult. A foreign bank might, however, finance you based on your personal credit rating and financial standing
How long does the purchasing process usually take?
Once you’ve selected the property, it typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete the purchase process, though this time can vary greatly depending on the financing.
What if I want to sell the property again? What is the process for re-selling?
Our resale team will gladly help you put the property back on the market, and guide you through the selling process.
What is the minimum share of cash that I have to have on hand in order to buy a property in Germany?
A loan of up to 80% is likely, meaning your share of the equity will be around 20%.
Does buying a home in Germany qualify me for a residency visa?
No, buying a property in Germany does not automatically entitle you to a residency permit.