At first of all, don´t panic. For first time buyer or any foreigner, the buying process can difficult and hard to understand. Even for our German clients, the process from the first offer to mortgage affordability to finally becoming the lawful owner of a property can be overwhelming.
The first important step is to check your current status. Are you moving to Germany for any short time business purpose, or do you have a longer going plan? The ‘safer’ your status the more likely you get a mortgage. So having a permanent residency is better than having a temporary residency or Blue Card. Don’t let this discourage you. If you can bring a higher amount of equity capital into the negotiation you may still get a mortgage with ‘just’ a Blue Card.
We will give you an overview about all possibilities and how we can help you in any situation. Good news first, unlike in other countries in the European Union, such as Denmark and Switzerland, there are no restrictions to foreigners to purchase real estate in Germany. That means for you, no matter if you are dreaming of settling in a Bavarian farmhouse or a renovated loft condo in Berlin, we can make those dreams come true.
We know everything about buying a house in Germany – including legal requirements, fees, mortgages rates and where to search for your new German home.
In case you are a European Union citizen, and you have an open-ended employment contract with an employer in Germany, we can get you a mortgage much easier. But also in this case, there are some difficulties.
For other currency-residents, non-residents, cross-border commuters – regardless of which of these groups an applicant can be assigned to, has become more difficult to place the mortgage. Since the residential real estate credit directive came into force in 2016, lending for this is group associated with many obligations and risks for the banks.
– some banks calculate your income only in Eurocurrency. No Norwegian krone or Hungarian forint, will be calculated
– where such foreign income forms only part of total income and the domestic income alone meets the requirements of the bank, the foreign income may not be taken into calculation for the mortgage.
– you as a borrower, needs to put his main residence in Germany.
– Residence means habitual residence (i.e. place of the actual centre of life – workplace, tax liability and/or domicile as an indication) within in Germany.
– the paycheck must be in German language, if not, some banks want a professional translation
– employer must be settled in Germany
– your net income is determined in the same way as the regular German income .This means, that deductions for wage or income tax, health insurance and retirement provision must be taken into account.
This is the most complicated case for us to get you a mortgage in Germany. Your residence is not part of the European Union as well as your income is not in Euro currency.
But also for our special clients, we developed some solutions.
– your net income is determined in the same way as the regular German income. This means, that deductions for wage or income tax, health insurance and retirement provision must be taken into account.
– insofar as such foreign income is only part of a total income and the domestic income alone fulfils the requirements of the bank, the foreign income may be waived.
– for our Swiss cross-border commuters, please note that there is a 10% to 20% discount on the income for possible currency fluctuations. If you are paying taxes in Switzerland, an interest surcharge of 0.15% must be taken. Some banks want to so your salary on a German bank account.
– if your main resident is not a country of the European Union (UK, Israel, USA, Russia) plus the currency of your salary is NOT in Euro (examples: Denmark, Great Britain, Sweden, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Romania), it is going to be very difficult to get you a mortgage in Germany. But also, in cases like this, you can contact us.
– you can get a mortgage from some banks, if your main residence is in Germany and your salary as well as your working place is in the United States of America, and you get paid in USD as well as Euro currency.
Blue card holder are an important factor of our work. Blue cards are limited on four years of validity and in every other case, this period would not be long enough for a bank to give you a mortgage. We developed some solutions for blue card holder and build up a network with banks how can handle these circumstances.
We can help you out when:
– when you are working in a popular or demand field of work. (Computer science, medicine, engineering)
– you are thinking about building your ,,Center of life´´ in Germany.
– it would be helpful if you don’t need an interpreter for the documents to understand, but this is not a must.
– you are planning to stay by your own in the property and nor rent it out in the first way.
– 10% – 20% down payment is need in every case
– you have a working contract with a remaining term of at least two to three years
– if you have a second borrower with a permanent resident permit, it will be easier to get a mortgage
Every case is different, and we are willing to find the right bank for you in Germany, no matter how difficult it may look in the beginning.
Paperwork is everything in Germany. You have to sign a lot of documents, but in the end, you are not the first and also not the last person who is buying real estate in Germany.
0. For our NON-German clients:
We suggest getting in contact with us before you start the whole process. We can make sure if and under which condition you get a mortgage. It is much more convenient for you to check this point before you go on property hunting.
1. Contact the seller:
Make sure to have our legal professionals on your side as we will be able to analyse the price they present and whether it is according to what the going rate should be.
2. Reserve the property:
As the German market can be competitive, it is advisable to reserve the property once it has been agreed upon. This will give you time to finalise your mortgage arrangements. Securing a property will generally involve paying a fee, but this is an essential step in popular cities such as Munich.
3. Finalise the mortgage:
Present the details to us and we will talk to different banks and establish which offer is most suitable for you. Once a decision on which mortgage to pursue has been made, the application for that mortgage can begin. You can now sign the mortgage contract at the end of this process if you wish to commit to it.
4. The purchase contract:
At this point, the purchase contract between you and the seller can be drafted. A lawyer will analyse every aspect of the agreement to ensure that you get a fair deal. Once the purchase contract has been agreed upon, it can be signed at the public notary’s office. Once it has been signed, the notary will register the priority notice in the land register, and you will be on your way to becoming the official owner.
5. Paying the costs: Paying the seller the down payment and arranging the transfer of the loan amount with your mortgage provider allows the property to come into your possession. From here, you will then pay the property transfer tax, and the property will be on its way to your hands.
1. Notarisation of the contract of sale:
The contract of ownership will be sent to the parties. The purchaser and the vendor will get a licensed reproduction of the contract some days after the date of notarisation. The notary will contact the Land Registry office for access of a concern observe of switch of possession withinside the land check in in favour of the buyer. Once the access of the concern observe has been made withinside the land register (that is a public check in), everybody can see that the buyer has a ‘vested interest’ in obtaining possession.
2. Creation of land charge – approx. 2 weeks after notarisation:
If the buyer is financing the property price (in part) by means of a mortgage, he can make an appointment with the notary for any time to create the notarised land charge. Necessary for extension of the loan. For this purpose, the buyer must first provide the notary with his financing document form relevant for creation of the land charge.
3. Property transfer tax notice – approx. 4–9 weeks after notarisation:
In a regular case, the buyer will receive the property transfer tax notice from the relevant tax office within 4–9 weeks of the notarised contract of sale having legal effect. It is in the buyer’s own interest to pay this tax without delay as the tax clearance certificate that is necessary for ownership to be transferred will only be issued once the tax has been paid.
4. Notification that the purchase price is due for payment is sent – approx. 4–10 weeks after notarisation:
The notary will only send the buyer (the seller will receive a copy) notification that the purchase price is due for payment after the notary can guarantee the buyer that he will indeed acquire ownership as agreed in the contract after paying the purchase price. Once the buyer has received written notification from the notary, that the purchase price is due, he can pay the purchase price without incurring any risks. The time by which he must pay at the latest is set in the contract of sale. The buyer will be provided with all details (including the relevant bank account details) in the written notification that the purchase price is due for payment.
5. Transfer of burdens and uses – approx. 6 –12 weeks after notarisation:
Once the purchase price has been paid in full, the buyer will be the ‘de facto owner’, since as of this time possession, uses, burdens and the obligation to keep the
property safe for use will pass to him. Application for the entry of transfer of ownership in the landregister. After confirmation that the seller has received the
purchase price in full, we will submit the application to the Land Registry for transfer of ownership to the buyer.
6. Transfer of ownership – approx. 5 –12 months after notarisation:
The buyer will be entered in the land register (a public register) as the new owner of the property. The buyer and the seller will be provided with written
notification by the office of the notary public that the entry has been made. The building insurance will be transferred to the buyer when the entry of transfer of
ownership is made. Either the seller or the buyer must notify the building insurer of the transfer of ownership in writing without delay after the entry of transfer of
ownership has been made. The buyer has the right to terminate the building insurance within one month of the entry of transfer of ownership having been made and
can chose between with immediate effect or with effect as of the end of the current insurance period.
7. Notification of the land tax department:
The buyer is obliged to notify the tax office (land tax department) of the change of ownership within three months of the entry of transfer of ownership having been made.
Fees and taxes are primarily based on the price of the house or apartment. These cost can add up to extra 10%, as you can see with the following examples.
1. Registration and notary fees
Every purchase process needs to go through the services of a notary. The average notary and registration fee is around 1-2% of the property purchase price.
Example Registration & Notary Fee
Cost Based on Example Purchase Price of €400.000 = 2% = €8.000
2. Real estate agent fee (Broker commission)
If you buy your property with the help of a real estate agent, you may have to contribute to the real estate agent’s commission. A new law took effect in December 2020, stating that the buyer can contribute a maximum of 50% of the negotiated fee. In the past, buyers often paid 100% of the fee, which is no longer possible. The real estate agent fee is not set or regulated in Germany; however, there is a common agreement in the industry that the maximum amount should be 7,14%, which equates to a maximum of 3,57% for you as a buyer.
3. Property acquisition tax (Ground Tax)
Depending on the state the property is located in, you need to pay 3,5 – 6,5% of the purchase price around six to eight weeks after completing the purchase. Here is an overview of the different percentages per state and a cost example:
North Rhine-Westphalia 6,5%
Lower Saxony 5%
To get a better understanding of how much ‘extra cost’ you should plan, you can use our mortgage calculator. It breaks down the composition of the total cost and monthly payment, shows the differences between various fixed interest rates, and simulates how future interest rate changes may affect your repayment plan.
Perfect, for first time buyer it can be very hard to understand the whole process of purchasing a property in Germany. But don’t worry, you are not alone in this situation. We can stand on your side from the first ,,Guten Tag´´ up to ,,Herzlichen Glückwunch zur neuen Immobilie´´. Just give as a call or work with our digital mortgage calculator for the first information. We are looking forward to meeting you.
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