The Buying Process
The buying process in Germany is quite similar to that in the UK. The main difference is the requirement to have the contract signed in the presence of a notary. Once you have found a property that you like you make a formal offer. With the sale price agreed you will be required to place a reservation (small deposit) with Zaisan Consultancy GmbH, this is normally 3,000 euros. At this time you will need to have a solicitor who is employed by you to look after your interests. It is also quite common to give your solicitor ‘Power of Attorney’ so that they can continue to represent your interests and indeed subsequently complete your purchase at the notary without your presence.
The purchase contract will include all property details such as the agreed price, completion date, payment conditions and stipulations regarding either party withdrawing from the purchase.
In order to complete on the sale, both parties need to be present to sign the final contract before the notary. With ‘Power of Attorney’ your solicitor will complete the formalities on your behalf. Naturally all discussions are in the German so if you decide to be present you may need a translator. You will need to have a valid passport to process your purchase. Once the contract has been signed the deal is complete, and the notary will list the change of ownership with the land registry.
With regard to buying costs you will need to allow in the order of 8-10% of the purchase price for property transfer tax; solicitor; notary charges etc. If you require a Mortgage there will probably be an additional 1% arrangement fee. Mortgages are readily available through most German banks and typically are offered at 50-60% of the purchase price. As in the UK you will be required to demonstrate that you can make the Mortgage payments! You may, of course, find it more convenient to arrange finance in your home country.