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In Germany it is possible to find a number of properties being advertised in local newspapers as well as by estate agents, however, it is advisable to deal with an agent, as they will be able to help with your search.

Once a property has been found that you would like to buy you should factor an estimated 10% of the price to be purchase fees. This will include the agent’s fees, notary fees, general administrative costs and the costs of hiring an interpreter if necessary. The main part of the fees relates to the property transfer tax, which currently stands at 3.5% of the full purchase price of the property. The notary fee is approximately 1% and this will cover the preparation of the contract, the execution of the contract and the new entry into the land registry.

The notary (Notaranderkonto) will act as an intermediate between the buyer and the seller and will check that the property is listed correctly in the land registry and that the sale can go ahead with no technical problems. The contract will then be produced noting the salient details of the property sale and upon the execution of the document by both buyer and seller, the property will switch ownership and the notary will add the new ownership details in the land register.

It is essential that you check the details of the contract (this may mean having the contract translated into your native language) prior to signing the contract, as it is not the job of the notary to check the accuracy of the property description in the contract.

Once the contract has been signed, it is common for the purchase fees to be placed in escrow by the notary and transferred to the seller when the land register has been updated with the new details.

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