Experts Involved in the Property Purchase Process

Find out about the people and organisations that you are likely to be dealing with when buying or selling a property in Germany...

The public notary

A real estate contract is only legally binding when conducted through a notary (Notar). Bound by law to act impartially for the buyer and seller, the notary checks out whether there are any restrictions on the sale and use of the property. If both parties agree to the terms of the contract, the notary submits the change of ownership form to the government and the transaction is noted in the land register. The choice of notary is left open to the buyer.

To find a public notary see:

The German Real Estate Association

The German Real Estate Association (Immobilien Verband Deutschland, IVD) is a collection of three associations:

  • The German Real Estate Association
  • The Federal Association of Real Estate Advisors
  • The Realtors, Administrators and Appraisers Association

Through this umbrella association, realtors, surveyors and public notaries can be found.

The finance office (Finanzamt)

The public notary registers the transfer of property with the finance office. The finance office checks the permit for the transfer of property order agreement (Grundstücksverkehrsordnung, GVO). Once this transfer is registered in the land registry, the property has officially changed hands.

Taxes are declared at the finance office in the municipality where the property is located. Tax consultants are available to guide the buyer or seller through the process. Consultants and tax lawyers can be found through the German Real Estate Association.

  • To find a local municipal finance office in Germany: Click here (in German).

Foreigners Buying and Selling Property in Germany

Anyone with a valid passport and adequate funds may buy property in Germany. However, owning property does not give the purchaser the right to reside in Germany.

Foreigners not residing in Germany or paying German income taxes will find it difficult to get financing for property acquisition. If financing can be found, it will probably not exceed 60 percent of the sale price.

Further Information

Information approved by Kanzlei am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Christian Regnery, Rechtsanwalt Torstr. 49/Ecke Schönhauser Allee, D-10119 Berlin Tel: 030 4404 2733, Fax: 030 4404 2777, www.regnery.de