Additional costs in Germany – It can be maddening trying to understand the German real estate laws and regulations. Below we explain the most important additional costs, and hidden fees which you may not know about. This short how-to guide should let you know a lot about what to consider when buying a house in Germany. Low interest, mad loan offers and irresistible purchase prices entice and the seducive dream of home ownership can become reality. However, most people do not deal enough with the subject and forget about the additional costs that buyers and sellers expect in a purchase contract. Which additional costs arise with the purchase of a condominium? What percentage with the house purchase?
With the conclusion of a purchase contract, the financing is already under the umbrella. The bills from the broker, notary, land registry and tax office come as soon as the loan is fixed. Because of this, the credit is often underestimated. Back to German Real Estate Overview.
Additionally, in the following there may be slight grammatical errors, as this article was written by a German tax expert. This does not detract from the quality of information.
What Percentage are Incidental Purchase Costs?
20% ancillary building costs should be included in the loan at least, in addition to the purchase price, and are quite realistic.
~ 20% of the purchase price
The 4 Biggest Additional Costs when Buying Real Estate
The overview shows the 4 largest additional costs you expect when buying a house. But what other costs are involved in building a house? Find out more here: House construction & the costs that come up.
Fees: Notarization of the Purchase Contract by Notary
The fees for the notary appointment are probably one of the largest items in the additional costs of the house purchase. The notary fees are fixed and may not deviate from these in any direction, but even these are quite high.
~ 1,5% of the purchase price
As a rule of thumb, about 1.5% of the purchase price has been set – and this only for the signature of the purchase contract. So if you purchase a property with a purchase price of 100,000 Euros, the notary’s fee is 1500 Euros, which, in Germany, is usually paid for by the buyer.
The exact fees for notaries in Germany are laid down in the notarial fee schedule, but can also be calculated online.
- Read more here: Notary and Purchase Agreement
Taxes: Real Estate Transfer Tax
As soon as the contract has been signed at the notary and the purchase agreement has been notarized, the buyer will receive mail from the tax office. Next, the purchase tax is demanded from the buyer.
This is incurred somewhat differently. Normally it amounts in Germany round about 3% – 6% of the purchase price of the real estate. Since the land transfer tax is a state tax, meaning each state determines their individual rates land transfer tax rate.
In some federal states, however, such as Hamburg, Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt, it is 4.5% of the property purchase price. For a purchase price of 100,000 euros, for example, you therefore pay another 3500 / 4500 euros for the land transfer tax.
Reading tip: Get to know tax planning options, from cooperatives to family foundations: Save taxes with real estate
Purchase price 100.000 Euro
This debt should be paid immediately, because only when the amount has been received by the tax office will the latter issue the so-called clearance certificate. This certificate is mandatory for the transfer of the new owner to the land register. This is arranged by the land registry office and costs again fees, which are comparatively low.
3.5 – 6.5% of the purchase price
Whoever buys a property or a plot of land through a real estate agent must of course include the commission to the agent in the overall calculation. You will usually receive the invoice from the real estate agent directly after the notarization.
How high the commission is varies and depends on various factors, such as the region. In most cases it varies between four and six percent of the purchase price of the property.
With a property purchase price of 100,000 euros, you pay between 4,000 and 6,000 euros only for the real estate agent. However, it is important to know that it is definitely worthwhile to negotiate with the real estate agent’s commission, as it is known that this is associated with a large amount of leeway.
A recommendable, total commission of 3.48 percent including VAT is a recommendable and realistic value.
~ 3.48 % of the purchase price
Supplements: Credit Interest and Installment Surcharges
The banks would like to take part in a house sale, of course, and not only through the loan interest rates. In addition to the negotiated loan interest rates, you are charged costs that are additional and usually not expected by the buyer.
These costs are not clearly visible at first glance and therefore banks are deceiving their customers. Such hidden costs can occur in the form of monthly provision interest on the unpaid portion of the total loan.
There, for example, 0.25% is charged, which the customer does not expect and which adds up to the mass. For a loan amount of 100,000 euros, this is about 250 euros per month, which you do not expect.
Additional, Hidden Costs
But there are other hidden costs that you don’t expect. These include account management, which some banks charge as a fee, but also installment surcharges if you get part of the loan paid out, depending on the progress of the construction.
With your loan, pay special attention to exactly what is written in the small print, ask about all unclear points and only sign if you are certain about all obligations.
To be on the safe side, have your bank calculate the so-called total effective interest rate or the actual effective interest rate. There, all service charges are listed in detail and clearly arranged.
Assessor & Renovation – Potential Additional Costs
Another factor that does not apply to all properties is the cost of appraisers and renovators.
Particularly with older real estate it is meaningful to hire an appraiser before the purchase, who examines the real estate down to the lattices. This includes, for example, checks on moisture and pollutants (especially for properties dating from the 1970s). Such appraisals are carried out by independent experts such as architects or civil engineers but also real estate experts.
The costs here are very different, as it depends on the type of expertise and the time required. Depending on how good the report is, possible renovation work in the future may be necessary, which should be incldued in the purchasing price as a reduction. For this reason, these assessments are critical.
Whether it is a new heating, new windows or the restoration of the roof, the costs for this case also vary greatly. Here you should note that there are usually costs for general renovation before moving in. New floors, different wall colors, a new kitchen or even tearing down a wall.
All these things again cost money, which should not be underestimated. Often there are more costs than planned, because something goes wrong, but was more expensive than calculated or small things are missing. Also note that many renovation works cannot be done by yourself. So you need craftsmen and experts to help you and they will of course calculate their working time. Before you decide on a house, think about which work would still have to be done, what you would like to renew and how much the costs for such renovation work will be.
Conclusion: Calculate additional purchase costs
In Germany, for a property with a purchase price of 100,000 euros and a loan of the same amount, expect additional costs of 9,000 to 12,000 euros.
If you do not include them in your loan amount, they must be deducted from your own capital. Such unexpected service charges should not be underestimated and can vary enormously from property to property. The higher the price of the property, the higher the service charges you expect.
- Back to our full guide on Real estate Taxes in Germany.