What are the costs if buying property in Germany?

Total fees might be normally between 10% to 13%.
All costs and fees can be divided between buyer and seller.
Normally the buyer has to carry the following costs:

  1. Notary fees. These are about 1% to 1,2% of the buying price.
    The fees follow a legal scale of fees.
    They may differ slightly, if you use special services like payment by notary trusty account.
  2. Purchase Tax ("Grunderwerbsteuer"): 3.5% of the buying price. To be paid within four weeks after the notary deed has been signed.
  3. Estate Agent fee. Theses fees are different from federal state to federal state . In most federal states it is 5% plus the VAT. When the value of the state is high, you may negotiate the fee. Sometime this fee is spitted between buyer and seller.
    The conditions will be fixed within the buying contract.
  4. Registration fees (Grundbuch etc), about 0.8-1.2%.
  5. Financing fees .If there is a mortgage needed, there might be fees to be paid to the bank, plus additional notary and registration fees for that mortgage.
    Any mortgage needs to be enregistered in the Grundbuch. This has to be done by any notary public.
  6. Fees for independent consultants can be fixed. They might be related to the buying price. Ca. 0,3% - 1,5% (related to the problem)
    In case, you have to do long and intensive researches concerning building law, costs of refurbishments
    etc, these costs are extra.
    The costs might follow the HOAI (official list of fees for architects and engineers).
    Such investment might give to you the chance of an extra profit, but of course it has to be
    paid forward.

In total you should calculate 10% up to 12% additional to the buying price.

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Who can buy in Germany?

Anybody can buy in Germany who has a valid passport.

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Will your legal status change by buying a property?

Owning a property in Germany does not give you a right to immigrate to Germany.

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How long will it take until you own the house?

The moment when the buying price is paid in full to the seller, you normally might behave as the owner. The specific rights might be agreed upon within the deed.
It can take some weeks between signing the contract and being officially registered in the land title register.

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Owning property in Germany, what are the costs?

There are various costs to consider.
When owning apartments within an condominium you have to pay for the building reserve fund which is mandatory. The payment is usually about 0,75 to 2,00 euro per sqm living area per month;
For housekeeping, garbage disposal, keeping the garden, common electricity, keeping the heating system etc there might be further 0,50 to 2,00 euro per sqm/month. (2008) If renting the house/flat to somebody, these costs can be added to the official rent.
If there are vital parts of the house to be repaired, this repair can be done at once and you must share your part. (Generally it will be paid by the reserve fund)
Property tax: this is different from town to town. Normally between 150 and 300 euro for an apartment per year, a bit more for a single-house; it depends normally on the size of the property ground.
If the ground is not fully developed (or if the "status" of the street changes) there might be extra costs to pay to the community. (seldom, but likely in the outskirt)
Beware: Generally your house or flat should accord to legal standards.
If the insulation f.e. does not follow these standards, your tenant might reduce the rent.
He might even (under certain circumstances) have the right to bring the property in accordance to the legal standards on your expenses!

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Who takes care of the property, when you are not in Germany?

Any house or single flat can be given into the care of a property management. Costs for property management are about 25,- to 35,- euro per month per apartment.
This fee covers the normal maintenance, not complicates issues.
Rental management can be transferred to a different agency. The fee can be negotiated freely.

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Who will assist you in selling the property?

When you decide to sell the house or apartment again, you can offer the property freely on the market.
(f.e. you can make an announcement with "immonet" or "immoscout")
For special properties you might advertise in newspapers like "WELT" or "Frankfurter Allgemeine", Saturday editions. You can give it to a Makler (Real Estate broker).
This broker normally will be another company, than the property management, because the property management is not allowed to ask for a commission.
There are brokers, which are members of recommended association like RDM.
Get advice first by an independent adviser, which would be the adequate resale price.
Hesitate, if real estate agents promises to you too high prices. (Some recommended agencies do so!)
If you have a special or complicated realty to sell, look for specialized agents.
If selling via an agent: chose the agent carefully and give it to him (for a certain time) an exclusive order.

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How to raise the rents?

Contracting is theoretically free, but there are many laws protecting the tenant.
Rents (for flats) in general must follow the "Mietenspiegel", a list of average rents for certain standards of living within an area.
Details see 3: The chances of different categories. There: Single flats and apartments.
Office buildings etc follow just the market. Prices for them are not limited by law.

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Taxes have to be considered carefully. You need under all circumstances advice from a tax accountance. Generally the income out of the property will be part of the other income, you receive.
In detail there are many regulations to be considered. The tax to be paid, when selling the property again, might be controlled by the period, you have owned the property and the date, when exactly you have bought it.
I can make you known with specialized (chartered) tax accountancies.

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