A well-developed living environment, no grueling construction period, a low price and possibly even nostalgic charm – these are some of the reasons that speak for buying a used property. The downsides of older houses, on the other hand, often include cramped floor plans, insufficient energy efficiency and outdated bathrooms. There is almost always a need for modernization. In addition, there are significantly more repairs with increasing age. Anyone interested in an old building is therefore often unsure of the obligations and costs that await them after the purchase. Answers to the most important questions:
Who can help me assess the substance and value of an old building?
Have the property appraised by an architect or civil engineer with expertise in old buildings. As a rule, a brief appraisal is sufficient to make a fundamental decision for or against a property. If special damage is found, for example on roof beams, a specialist should be called in. If you have any doubts as to whether the purchase price is reasonable, you can also order an appraisal from a publicly appointed and sworn expert, cost: from around 500 euros.
Should an older building be energetically renovated?
Yes, because it’s almost always worth it. It is the job of an energy consultant to calculate whether a renovation will pay off. The energy certificate, which must be presented at the time of sale, and the heating bills of the previous owner provide information about the current consumption of the house. The energy consultant, usually an architect or civil engineer with additional qualifications, draws up proposals for the renovation and clarifies in his report which measure has the greatest effect – such as the insulation of the facade, the replacement of windows or a new heating system.
Is there a legal obligation for energetic renovation?
According to the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), standard oil and gas heating systems that are more than 30 years old must be replaced. Heating and hot water pipes in unheated rooms must be insulated. The ceilings of the unheated attic spaces have also had to be insulated since 2015. If necessary, retrofitting is called for. There are no further regulations for single-family houses. If you have the facade insulated or the windows replaced, the minimum requirements of the EnEV must be observed.
What funding is there for renovating old buildings?
KfW-Förderbank provides low-interest loans or grants for energy-efficient renovation, but also for barrier-free conversion and burglary protection in old buildings. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bafa) is promoting the switch to heating systems with renewable energies such as heat pumps, wood pellet boilers or solar collectors. Federal states also award funds for energy efficiency or accessibility in old buildings.
What should be considered when buying a listed house?
If a building is under monument protection, all renovations must be coordinated with the authorities. Energy-saving measures are often more expensive because, for example, new windows or doors have to match the old appearance. As part of the “Energy Efficient Renovation” program, KfW offers a special funding option for listed buildings. The tax office also relieves the owners of architectural monuments: owner-occupiers can claim modernization costs for tax purposes. Landlords mostly apply them to the rent.
What does the maintenance of a used apartment cost?
The owner is solely responsible for the maintenance of the private property – i.e. the apartment and the associated ancillary rooms. In addition, he must share in the expenses that keep the common property in good condition. In order to avoid high one-off payments and to be prepared for repairs that are necessary at short notice, the community of owners saves a maintenance reserve, to which each owner pays his contribution with the monthly house fee. The amount is determined by the owners’ meeting. According to a rule of thumb, 0.8 to 1 percent of the purchase price at the time of completion is considered an appropriate annual reserve. With an original purchase price of 250,000 euros and an annual reserve of one percent, you should expect a monthly contribution of 146 euros. If the reserves are not sufficient for major renovations, special allocations are due. You should therefore carefully examine the structure of the communal property and have the minutes of the owners’ meetings shown to you. Ask the manager about planned work.
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