Can anyone buy property in Berlin?
There are no special requirements or paperwork required for foreigners wishing to buy property in Germany, even for non-residents. Since the housing market was largely unaffected by the financial crisis of 2008, it is a stable and reliable opportunity to invest in real estate in Germany! Whether you are looking to buy your own home or find an investment opportunity (Kapitalanlage), this article will take you through the key steps of buying a property in Germany as a foreigner. Want to learn even more? Join one of the Meetups from ADEN Immo broker Hélène Salvanes held every month!
Disclaimer: ADEN Immo provides this content for your information only and has made every reasonable effort to be factually accurate based on our experience as real estate brokers. ADEN Immo disclaims any and all liability for damages incurred directly or indirectly as a result of errors, omissions or discrepancies.
Defining your project
The first question is: what is your project? What is your budget? And most important: where? Because the real estate market in Germany is growing strong, it is good to have several ideas for a location. If you are looking into the real estate market in the German capital, check out our “complete guide to buying properties in Berlin as a foreigner”!
Are you buying for yourself? Are there already tenants living in the property? German law is very protective of tenants, so if you are looking for a new home, the best is to find an unoccupied property. However, investing in real estate is also a good option since most people in the country are renting their homes (especially in Berlin, where close to 85% of dwellers are tenants and not home-owners!)
Consider renovations! Some apartments may not look like they will fit your project at first. Maybe there are not enough rooms, or the bathroom is not functional… But with some imagination it might become your dream home! A 2-room 90sqm apartment can easily be turned into three rooms if the layout allows it. So take some time to look at the plans and make sure to double check the actual surface of the property with the plan.
Finding properties in Germany
Give yourself time! Most Germans who buy a property typically stay for a long time. In attractive areas, the turnover can be quite low, which means you will need at least a few months to find a home you like.
So how to find a property for sale in Germany? Properties can be sold either through a private person or through a real estate agent (the Immobilienmakler, or simply Makler). It is usually the task of the buyer to find a property they like and then contact the sales agent or the owner directly. If there is an agent, it is important to find out who will pay the costs of that intermediary! Fees are usually 6% of the property price plus taxes (for a total of 7.14%). You can check the background and reliability of a Makler through the IVD, the national association of German realtors.
Properties may have a notice board in the window advertising that they are for sale, but this is not always the case (and hard to spot!), so the most comprehensive way to search is either through agencies or through online portals. As in most European countries, you can find ads for real estate online. The main ones that can help you buying real estate in Germany as a foreigner are:
Don’t forget to create email alerts and check the platforms every day! If you don’t have time, consider hiring a real estate agent who will conduct the search for you and tap into their exclusive databases to find good options for your project.
Before asking for visits, make sure to examine the plans of the apartment carefully: it could save you the time of a visit and some disappointments! If you don’t live in Germany, it could still be a good idea to make the trip before signing a sale contract: meet the agents, meet the owners, find a notary, get a feeling for the place…
Curious about the transaction process? Wondering about the fees and charges that the buyer will have to pay when buying a property in Germany? find out more in our complete guide to buying a property as a foreigner in Germany!