Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for the investor in Berlin

Is a foreign citizen eligible for mortgage and in what terms?

A foreign citizen may apply for mortgage provided he can submit proof of at least 1,400 EUR monthly salary. He will be required to present 3 salary statements or two tax statements, in case he is self employed.

The amount of funding is dependent on the assessment of the property. Usually, it is 50-54% of the value at fixed interest of 3.25% (10 years term) while repayment is 1% of the fund.

Why is it worth it to take a mortgage?

Whenever the interest is lower than the return on the income it pays to take a mortgage. In doing so, you actually create leverage and the return on your own capital grows.

Is mortgage interest tax deductible?

Mortgage interest is tax deductible and therefore will be offset against rental income.

Which one-time expenses should I expect when purchasing a property?

The total amount of all additional expenses will be approximately 12.5 – 16% as follows:

6% purchase tax

2.5%-3%-notarization (1.5% notary fee, 1% registration fee,  0.5% managing fee for notary trust account)

1% mortgage broker (if funding requested)

3%-6% real estate brokerage (depending on property)

Are tenants in Berlin protected by law?

A tenant holding a standard German rental agreement is protected by law as follows:
1. As long as the tenant meets all his financial obligations (rent, maintenance, authorities etc.) he can stay in the apartment for an unlimited period.
2. Rent may be increased up to 15% within 3 years, up to the maximum in accordance with the  ‘Mietspiegel’ limit.

What happens in case the tenant failed to pay the rent?

First a demand notification will be sent to him. In case he will still not meet his obligations and pay his dues within 3 months, a legal action of eviction will be initiated.

Responsibilities of the management company and communication with them?

The management company is in charge of two areas:
1. Technical management/services – cleaning, maintenance, renovation of the building, insurance of public space and continuous reporting to the home owners.
2.Rent management -locating new tenants, signing the contract, collection of rent and additional costs, overseeing payments to authorities, general care of tenants, controlling rent increase.
To ensure maximum profit it is recommended to choose a company that practices proactive rent management.

What is Sweet Home’s role as my representative?

‘Sweet Home’ offers its customers full guidance and support, starting from analyzing the customer’s requirements and needs to locate the most adequate property and the most attractive investment package for him.
1. Locating the adequate property in a good location and at a reasonable price.
2. Coordinating and guiding the financing procedure at the mortgage bank through closure.
3. Personal guidance through the notarization process/signing of the contract.
4. Assistance in finding the most attractive funding package for the investor.

How do I sell my property and to whom?

Needless to say that we shall gladly sell your property for you. However, it will be for you to decide, whether to handle it on your own or possibly use a local real estate broker.
The buyer’s market in Berlin consists of both, investors and locals, who realized that, due to increasing real estate prices and rents, they have to act quickly and purchase property.

 

The profit is low, why not invest somewhere else and enjoy price increase there?

When choosing Berlin as an attractive investment the focus is on capital gain when selling the property rather than profit from rental income. The gap in real estate prices between Berlin and other major German cities such as Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg is still very big and even bigger compared to European metropolises such as Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Is it recommended to insure the property?

This issue should be dealt with in the same nature as you would usually deal with other property. If you usually insure your property/equipment you could definitely acquire a similar insurance in Berlin.

Is it possible to see the property prior to purchase?

Basically yes.
In general, the management company has to be notified in writing and will arrange the visit with the tenant. Notification of the planned visit should be given at least 2 weeks ahead.
Nevertheless, following possibilities have to be taken into consideration:

1. The tenant will agree and be present at the agreed date.
2. The tenant will not show up and give a reason for not being able to be there.
3. By the time of the set date – the property has already been sold.
4. The owner has already practiced his visiting rights (up to 4 times a year) – no further visit is possible.

How do I know if the purchase price is reasonable?

On ‘www.immobilienscout24.de’ you can compare prices while using Google chrome for translation. You insert the address of the property and get average prices for the respective area. However, since the website does not reflect current prices, you will have to assess the price a bit higher.

Which information is available about the tenant?

The rental agreement shows the day of commencement, the tenant’s name and his date of birth only.

Do I actually have to go to Berlin?

No. You may complete the entire process from beginning to end in the country you reside in. However, we definitely recommend to visit this fascinating city and enjoy it!

How will the property be legally registered in my name?

In fact , the only authority appointed by the government to perform real-estate deals and request listing of a property in the land register is a public notary. The registration will be processed after signing on the acquisition contract. (notarization)

What happens to the money in the reserve fund when selling the property?

The money stays in the fund exactly as the money that was there when you purchased the property.

What happens if a tenant moves out?

First of all, that’s a reason to celebrate. A new rental agreement means a significant capital gain, at times twice as much in profit. You can look for a new tenant and collect the maximum applicable rent or, if you wish, consider selling the property. Due to shortage in empty apartments its selling price would be about 30% more than that of an occupied apartment.

What to do when a damage occurs in the apartment?

One option is to report to the management company and let them take care of it. Invoice will be forwarded to the owner.

In case insurance coverage exists for this type of damage, the insurance will take over.

Why use your services and not take a German real estate agent?

1. Full service in Hebrew/English/German/Russian, close to home, high accessibility.

2. Excellent customer service, full guidance throughout the whole purchase process including financing and notarization.

3. In most cases, we charge you 50% less for our broker services than local agents would.

How can I buy a property without seeing it?

Although you might naturally be curious, truth is that there is little meaning in visiting the property. Let’s assume you visited the apartment and liked it, let’s assume the tenant moves out after 10 years, will it still be in the same condition? Probably not.
At times, a touch up may be necessary or it might even be in a better condition than before. The locals usually take good care of their apartments and sometimes even renovate themselves. Therefore, it is not crucial to visit the apartment. Should you insist,  we will of course arrange for a visit, after notifying the management company and the tenant, taking the local terms/limitations into consideration.

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