Skip to content

How long does it take to buy a house in Germany – Journey to Homeownership

how long does it take to buy a house in Germany

Journey to Homeownership: How long does it take to buy a house in Germany

Introduction: Embarking on a New Chapter

For many expats moving to Germany, buying a home is not just a financial investment but a significant step towards laying down roots in a new country. The process, while exciting, may for the most be unfamiliar, full of buerocracy ( we have guidelines for everything) and perhaps even more lengthy than in your home country. This guide aims to demystify the timeline of buying a home in Germany, providing expats with a clear understanding of what to expect and how to navigate each step – Basically answering the question: “How long does it take to buy a home in Germany”. For a broad overview of expat life in Germany, explore our expat guides.

The Home Buying Process in Germany: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Research and Preparation (1-3 Months)

The journey begins with research. Understanding the local property market, identifying preferred locations, and setting a realistic budget are crucial first steps. This phase includes getting to grips with the types of properties available, average prices in your desired area, and the overall cost of living. For a comprehensive guide on buying a house in Germany, see 8 Steps to Buying a House in Germany. You’ll also be checking on what yu really want – perhaps even getting into a … negotiation with your significant other.

Step 2: Finding Your Dream Home (1-6 Months)

With knowing what you want, the search for your dream home begins. The duration of this phase can vary significantly depending on your specific needs, the availability of properties, and the competitiveness of the market, your speed and availability to view houses. Utilizing online portals, real estate agents, and attending viewings are part of this exploratory stage. Patience is key, as finding a home that ticks all the boxes can take time. For tips on finding a flat, especially in Berlin, see 15 Tips for Finding a Flat in Berlin. You will refine your requirements after having visitied the first few properties. Don’t worry – that’s part of the process.

Step 3: Making an Offer and Negotiating (1-4 Weeks)

Once you’ve found a property that meets your criteria, the next step is to make an offer. In Germany, offers are usually made verbally through your real estate agent. If the seller is interested, negotiations on price and terms will follow. This process can be swift or drawn out, depending on how much negotiating (= does not mean bargaining) is involved. To understand what not to do before securing a home loan, review Don’t Do These Things Before You Get a Home Loan in Germany.

Step 4: Securing Financing (1-4 weeks – in parallel with step 3)

In parallel to step 3, you will be securing financing. For expats, this often means obtaining a mortgage from a German bank. The approval process involves a thorough assessment of your financial situation, including income, debts, and credit history. It’s advisable to start this process early, as obtaining a mortgage can be time-consuming. You can our eligibility calculator to estimate your borrowing capacity or directly contact us for free consultation.

Step 5: The Notary Appointment and Contract Signing (1-2 weeks)

After agreeing on a price as well as on the terms and conditions, the purchase moves to the contractual phase. In Germany, the sale of property must be notarized. The notary drafts the sale contract, which is then reviewed by both parties. Changes can be made upfront or even during the notary appointment – if need be. The signing appointment is a formal affair, where the contract’s details are read aloud, and both parties and the notary signs. Following this, the notary registers the sale with the local land registry. For more on what happens next, see What Happens After I Sign the Purchase Agreement at the Notary?

Step 6: Payment and Key Handover (4-6 Weeks)

The final step is the payment of the purchase price and the handover of keys. Payment is typically made by bank transfer: from your bank, directly to the sellers account. You could also use an escrow account, ensuring security for both buyer and seller. Once the payment is confirmed, the property officially changes hands, marking the end of your home-buying journey. For insights into transaction costs and taxes, check out Transaction Costs and Taxes When Buying and Selling Real Estate in Germany.

Helpful Links for a Smooth Transition

To further assist in your journey, consider exploring the following resources:

Conclusion: Home Sweet Home

Buying a home in Germany is a journey that requires patience, preparation, and a bit of perseverance. While the process may seem daunting at first, understanding the steps involved and what to expect can make the experience less stressful and more rewarding. Remember, this is not just about acquiring property; it’s about creating a new home for yourself and your family in a country rich with culture and opportunities.

Welcome to your new beginning in Germany 🙂

FAQs: Quick Insights

  • Q: how long does it take to buy a house in Germany
    • A: On average, buying a home in Germany can take anywhere from 3 to 8 months, depending on various factors like financing, property availability, and the negotiation and registration process.
  • Q: Do I need a real estate agent?
    • A: While not mandatory, a real estate agent can provide valuable insights into the local market, assist with negotiations, and guide you through the process, especially if you’re not fluent in German.
  • Q: Are there any additional costs involved?
    • A: Yes, buyers should budget for additional costs such as notary fees, property transfer tax, and possibly a real estate agent’s commission. These can add up to 10-15% of the purchase price.