Buying a house in Germany
If you’ve fallen in love with Germany and have decided to stay long term, then buying a house in Germany is an excellent way of putting down roots. Buying property in Germany is also a great investment. It has never been a better time to buy. Long term mortgage rates are at an all-time low, between 0.6 and 2.5% and house prices are far more moderate than other economic centres in Europe. Germans tend not to move around much, if they buy, they stay for life. This means the market isn’t prone to the fluctuations other countries have experienced. Only 52% of people own their own house in Germany, but with rental prices on the rise, more people are looking for houses for sale in Germany. Time to start searching for your very own little slice of Deutschland.
The first thing you need to do is find out how much you can borrow. There are no legal restrictions to foreigners buying real estate in Germany, even non-EU citizens can buy property to live in or as an investment. You should shop around for mortgages, not just go for your bank, as rates and deals can vary widely. Mortgage lenders tend to be quite conservative. They will assess the value of the property, but they will also assess you as a borrower. Your income and all your outgoings will be considered. Even small debts such as phone contracts or car loans will be counted towards your total debt. You will usually be expected to pay 20% of the property price out of your savings, but 100%+ mortgages are available in some circumstances. Monthly payments shouldn’t exceed 35% of your income.
When it comes to houses for sale in Germany, the old phrase ‘location, location, location’ rings true. Real estate in Germany is a long-term investment and good infrastructure; transport and schooling can pay dividends in the future. Most expats will engage an estate agent (immobilienmakler) to help with the search. Don’t be exclusive to one agent, it pays to talk with several different agents to get the widest access to houses for sale in Germany. Check who pays the estate agent fees, sometimes it’s the buyer and sometimes it’s split between the buyer and the seller. You can also search online. The most popular sites such as Immobilienscout24.de, immonet.de and immovelt.de can also offer valuable information about an area and other costs involved. Once you have found the perfect home, get a structural survey. Sellers are not obliged to tell you of structural faults.
As well as the 20% deposit, there are many other costs involved in buying houses for sale in Germany. Expect to add on up to 15% of the purchase price. The estate agents’ fees are around 3-7%, the notary will cost around 2% and property transfer tax is between 3.5 and 6.5%. Try to find a notary that speaks your language or English otherwise you’ll have to pay for translation costs too. Houses for sale in Germany are a long-term investment. If you decide to sell your house before you’ve owned it for 10 years, you are susceptible to capital gains tax of 25%. So, make sure you’re absolutely certain about your decision before you buy.
Buying a house in Germany – Mundialz
Before looking at houses for sale in Germany there are a lot of things to consider. Buying a house in Germany is a great investment for your future, long term. Mundialz is here to help you with all the complexities of moving to Germany so you can concentrate on your career.