Germany is a Western European country with a terrain of vast forests, rivers and mountain ranges, and 2 millennia of history. Berlin, its capital, is home to thriving art and nightlife scenes, iconic Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII.
Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and cavernous beer halls, including 16th-century Hofbräuhaus. Frankfurt, with its skyscrapers, houses the European Central Bank.
The greater part of Germany lies in the cool/temperate climatic zone in which humid westerly winds predominate. In the northwest and the north, the climate is extremely oceanic and rain falls all the year round.
Winters there are relatively mild and summers comparatively cool. In the east, the climate shows clear continental features; winters can be very cold for long periods, and summers can become very warm. Dry periods are often recorded.
In the centre and the south, there is a transitional climate which may be predominantly oceanic or continental, according to the general weather situation.
There are no restrictions to foreigners buying property in Germany. You may buy property in Germany even if you are a non-resident and not an EU national.
Expect to spend a significant period house hunting, but once you've found a property it can take just over a month to complete the deal. The steps are typically as follows:
It's important to note that signing the contract isn't enough to transfer the property. The property must also be registered, which the notary will do. At this point, the government will check that there are no outstanding issues regarding the sale. The notary will already have made a check, so this rarely raises an issue, but if it does, the property transfer will not be complete until the knots are untangled. For this reason, many people choose to use the notary as an escrow. In this case, the sale price is transferred to the notary's account (notaranderkonto) before being released to the seller.
You are legally required to use a public notary (notar) to complete the sale of a property. The notary will act as a middleman or arbitrator, and should be impartial.
The notary will check the records to ensure that there is no reason why the sale cannot go ahead, however they will not inspect the property or demand information on its condition from the seller. They will ensure that all the paperwork is completed correctly. The deed of sale will be witnessed in their presence.
You have the opportunity to choose your own notary, and if you can find one who speaks your language, do so. Otherwise your embassy will often have a list of translators they can recommend.
Funding purchase: deposits and mortgages
You should expect to put down a significant deposit when you buy a home in Germany. A minimum deposit of 20 percent is standard, however expats have been asked by lenders for deposits of 40 percent as they are seen as higher risk. You may also be asked to provide evidence of regular savings over the last several years.
A mortgage (Hypothek) is offered by most banks. The major and national banks typically have a mortgage advisor on staff, who will be able to discuss your needs with you. Some even speak English, but this is not guaranteed. Get an idea of your situation using an online mortgage calculator before your appointment. Most German banks have an online section where you can work through the paperwork to apply for a mortgage in your own time. They will then follow this up with a phone call and an in person meeting before agreeing a mortgage in principle, which you can use to put in an offer on a property.
Mortgages typically have a 25 or 30 year period, with interest rates fixed for the first 5 years or so. Variable interest rates and other loan periods are available, but Germany does not have some of the riskier mortgage types that are available in the USA and UK. You will not find, for example, an interest only mortgage for the full value of a property.
As a benefit, part of your mortgage interest may be tax deductible depending on your situation. However, this benefit is unlikely to offset the capital gains tax mentioned above, so is typically only an advantage for those who stay put for a long period.
Contracts are in German and signed in the presence of a notary. You should ensure you fully understand the contract before signing, and bring an interpreter with you if necessary. You have the right to have a translator with you, but you will have to supply (and pay) them yourself. In some areas, you may be able to find a notary who is bilingual.
As you will be arranging financing for the property at the same time as you are arranging the sale, it's important to include an exit clause in the sale agreement that gives you a way out if you can't arrange a mortgage.
information from http://www.expatica.com/
The total cost to the buyer of purchasing a property is usually around 10 percent of the purchase price. This covers:
Apart from the estate agent's fees, costs are typically fixed by regional governments. They vary somewhat across Germany, hence the ranges shown above.
It's important to know German practices and terminology when you set out to find a house or apartment here. If you want two bedrooms with a living room and dining room, you will actually be looking for a vier Zimmer (four-room) home in Germany. Bathrooms, WCs (literally, water closets), kitchens and halls aren't included in the number of rooms. Furnished apartments are rare, and will cost a great deal more than an unfurnished place.
Unfurnished apartments here are just that: completely unfurnished. They don't have built-in cabinets, closets or even lighting fixtures. You'll often have to buy everything, perhaps even the proverbial kitchen sink! Stoves, refrigerators, kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, bookshelves, tables, beds, chairs, curtains, curtain rods, lights and everything else are your problem.
It's advisable to employ the services of a lawyer or legal advisor before signing a lease. Even if you speak excellent German, the lease may be too long and too couched in legalese for a layman to comprehend. It might even contain a pitfall like an annual rent increase.
On the other hand, you may be responsible for some things that aren't spelled out in the lease. The main parts of a landlord-tenant relationship are codified in a law. There may be nothing in the lease dealing with notice periods, renovations required or actions in the event of non-payment of rent, but these things are still covered because of the law.
An agreement to rent an apartment or house for a fixed term can't be terminated early except under extraordinary circumstances. A transfer is usually not an extraordinary circumstance.
Your payment to the landlord, which is usually made monthly, is in two parts: the rent, which cannot be changed for the duration of the lease; and the Umlagen - orNebenkosten - which can. The latter can include such things as a share of the landlord's property tax, heat, stairwell cleaning, trash collection and water. If the price of one of these is raised during the period covered by the lease, your Umlagen can be increased accordingly. You generally pay separately for your electricity and gas, though these can be included in the Umlagen. And you might also pay separately for some of the things we mentioned as being in the Umlagen, especially heat.
information from http://www.howtogermany.com/
A few other matters concerning living in German rented quarters:
The Agent charges two months’ basic rent (plus sales tax) for the place they find you. Their fee is completely separate from the deposit you'll have to pay the landlord, which will amount to another two to three months' rent, not including the first month's rent.
information from http://www.howtogermany.com/