Real Estate

Real Estate Christmas Gift for Home Buyers

From the 23.12. a new law on the sharing of brokerage costs comes into force.imago images / Shotshop

It has not become an ordering principle as it is with the tenants, the resistance of the Union parties to the new law was too great for that. After all, real estate buyers can now save at least half of the brokerage costs. The other half will be paid by the sellers from today, Wednesday, December 23rd. In any case, they are the ones who also hire the broker out of pure self-interest: because the professional house broker not only takes on the time-consuming inspection aria for the seller and bundles all documents and contracts, but first and foremost he estimates the value of the property and thus the offer price. So that the owner doesn’t sell far below value. Up to now, however, the purchaser alone has paid for this service to the home seller – and that is a major financial burden, especially in tense city markets.

Because it is nowhere stipulated that the buyer has to bear the costs for the broker alone – so it could have been negotiated before. And be able to ask the seller for at least a partial takeover. In the federal states of Berlin, Hamburg, Hesse, Bremen and Brandenburg, buyers have so far borne the costs alone. There is also the problem in the current hot real estate market: Hardly any homeowner would have entered into a negotiation about the brokerage costs – and therefore hardly any buyer dared to propose cost sharing if he did not want to completely reduce his chances of winning the contract. After all, which homeowner sells his property voluntarily to the buyer who demands half the brokerage costs from him when there are umpteen other interested parties waiting in line? Especially since in large cities it is not uncommon for buyers to voluntarily add a few thousand euros to the purchase price just to get an apartment or a house. So it has been the rule so far that buyers pay the broker appointed by the owner all by themselves.

And that often meant five-digit sums for them: Depending on the federal state, the maximum brokerage commission for buyers was between 3.57 percent of the purchase price (in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, for example) and 7.14 percent (in Schleswig-Holstein , Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). For an average property of 350,000 euros, this amounted to between around 12,500 euros and 25,000 euros. For a 700,000-euro house, of course, twice as much. From now on it will only be 6,000 to 12,500 euros for average buyers, the other half will be paid by the seller. And of course it is already an enormous saving if buyers do not have to put this money on the table. Especially at the time of real estate acquisition, it means great savings because you still have to pay additional expenses for the notary and tax office or for necessary renovations. Therefore, this law of December 23rd is actually a small Christmas present for those willing to buy.

But you shouldn’t fool yourself, because savings of 6,000 to 12,500 euros are a lot of money, but as a rule very few home buyers will fail. The main problem for many buyers is that not only are the brokerage costs lavish in this country – and much higher than in other countries, by the way. In the Netherlands and Great Britain, for example, brokers only charge two percent of the property price for their services. But also the other ancillary acquisition costs are now incredibly high in Germany, especially the costs for real estate transfer tax and notary, which are added to the brokerage costs. And the sum of these ancillary purchase costs is usually not covered by the banks through loans, but is to be raised by the buyer in addition to the equity. All in all, the sum of the ancillary purchase costs has swelled to around nine to 15 percent of the property price for many buyers.

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