Selling property in Berlin: what you should know
The real estate market in Berlin is in full bloom: over the past decade, property prices have doubled and the population keeps growing. So what should you know before selling a property in Berlin? How can you improve your chances of a good transaction? How can a real estate broker (a Makler, in German) help you sell an apartment in Germany? Will you even need one? Here are the five key points to best sell an apartment in Berlin:
- Evaluate your property correctly
- Show your apartment at its best through home staging
- Understand the role played by real estate agents if you are selling on your own
- Negotiate your relationship with buyers and assess their offers
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.
Evaluating your property correctly
Determining the right sale price of a property is not rocket science. There are some obvious criteria: size, location, amenities, general state of the apartment and building… Looking for similar properties online is also a good idea, but it might not indicate what the final sale price was. So doing your research is important to estimate the value of your apartment, but keep in mind that you might not have access to all the information. It is a good idea to get several real estate agents to evaluate your property. At ADEN Immo, each agent has usually sold at least 100 properties in the past, and they will have an understanding of potential buyers’ interests.
Selling a property… when there is already a tenant renting the apartment
In Germany, tenants have the right to stay in your flat even if you decide to sell it. If they have an open contract (the most standard contract in Germany, called unbefristet), there are few obligations for them to actually leave if they have not breached the rental contract.
Most people on the Berlin real estate market are likely to want an empty flat in order to move in themselves, or have their close relatives live in. Therefore, apartments that are already occupied are seen as less attractive and usually sold at a lower price on the market. Indeed, only a small investor who has no intention of reclaiming the apartment would be interested. ADEN Immo has observed that occupied flats usually sell for about 30% less than similar empty apartments. Want to know more about this topic? Read our article Should you sell or rent out your apartment?
Showing your apartment at its best
A new layer of paint, an extensive scrub, some wax on those nice hardwood floors, a different pair of curtains can go a long way! Even before showing your property to a real estate agent, be sure to freshen up your property to make a good impression on the agent.
Choosing a real estate agent
If you have had several agents estimating your property value, the highest price might not mean the best sale transaction. An overpriced property will receive fewer visits, and with no serious offers arriving in time, you could get tempted to devalue rapidly and end up selling your apartment for less than you could have. The best time frame for a property transaction is one to two months. In big cities, the market is always dynamic, but know that the spring season is usually when there are the most buyers looking for properties in Germany!
Home staging: making your apartment more attractive
Keep in mind that buying real estate is not like buying financial stock: you only need one serious buyer. The decisions of buyer are not necessarily rational: there is a strong emotional element in choosing one’s next home! This means people can be willing to pay above-market rates for a specific feature in the apartment. However, they might be disinterested by a flat that isn’t well presented to them. Therefore, to best sell your apartment, make sure that it looks clean, fresh and taken care of. You might want to remove some furniture, renovate the bathroom floor at low costs, and decorate the living room in a way that will appeal to the buyers. The real estate agent can help you with these small but crucial adjustments.
Organising visits to sell an apartment
The best time to show your property is during daylight: buyers will get a good impression of the brightness. If this is difficult for you because of your job, you can rely on a real estate broker to organise visits when you can’t. Furthermore, the agent will also act as an intermediary with the visitors, in charge of understanding their background and their financial plan. Maklers, as they are known in German, act as neutral professionals to help make a good transaction.
Getting offers from buyers
How to find a serious buyer? Many people who check websites like Immoscout or Immonet don’t actually have a real investment plan! According to a recent survey, for instance, more than 60% of French people on real estate platforms have no intention of buying a property. This means that some people might visit your properties without real intentions of buying! To avoid wasting time, it is important to screen buyers and verify their financial plan –how are they planning to finance the transaction? A real estate broker can help you in this selection process before selling a property in Berlin. Serious buyers will formulate an offer to buy your apartment, in an official written document.
Get more detailed information about the steps of the transaction process, about the costs connected to a property sale in Germany and much more in our COMPLETE GUIDE TO SELLING A PROPERTY IN GERMANY (PDF).