Buying a house in Germany: a guide for expats | Expatica

Rules and regulations, policies and principles are applied in different nations when it comes to acquiring a property or more precisely, a house and Germany is not left out in this. As a country, there are laid down rules and regulations, policies and principles that ought to be followed when purchasing a house and in all of these, different types of taxes applied in the law.

One of the first things to do after buying a house is to get home insurance. A good home insurance policy will give you the rest of mind that should your house be damaged, you won’t have to bother much about the financial implication of fixing it. However, you should first read about insurances reviews in Germany on to know the best type of insurance policy to get for your home and company to get it from.

Buying a house in Germany can be either easy or tedious depending on who is involved and what exactly the buyer wants. Complying with the laws will make it easy while non-compliant or partial-complaint may make it difficult for the interested buyer. For this article, let’s look at different taxes that are applied according to the law when buying a property in Germany.

In addition, some of the tax breaks available to investors have now been removed. Additionally, a capital gain tax called “abgeltungsteuer” is 25% (plus a solidarity charge) which applies to any property owned for less than 10 years, meaning that for many ex-pats buying a house in Germany is only attractive for longer stays. Transaction costs can also range from 7–12% for buyers (around 2–4% for sellers) on top of the purchase price.

When buying a property in Germany, you can expect to pay most of the costs. Typically, the seller will pay the estate agent, but if the buyer has used a buyer’s agent or the agent splits their fee, the buyer may still have to pay something.

The total tax to the buyer of purchasing a property is usually around 10% of the purchase price. This covers:

Property transfer tax (grunderwerbssteue) of 3.5–6.5%;

 Notary’s fees of 1.2–1.5%;

 Registration fees 0.8–1.2%;

 Estate agent’s fees, if shared, of 1.5–3%, plus VAT at 19%

When you buy a home in Germany, you’ll need to pay transfer tax (Grunderwebsteur). This is levied from 3.5% of the purchase price but is higher in some areas. Currently, the prices are the following for each region:

3.5% – Bavaria, Saxony

 4.5% – Hamburg

 5% – Baden-Wurttemberg, Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Pfalz, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia

 5.5% – Saarland

 6% – Berlin

 6.5% – Schleswig-Holstein.

The payment of taxes is very important as it is a major source of revenue for the government. In Germany, tax is the third-highest source of revenue for the country. The implication is that the payment of taxes contributes significantly to the activities of the government in the country that include the development of infrastructure and creating an enabling environment for businesses.

It is very difficult for employees to avoid payment of tax in Germany as employers are expected to deduct it before paying their salary and paying it to the government. However, for individuals and organizations that attempt to evade tax, they could be made to pay a fine or jailed for as long as 5 years. The jail term could go as high as ten years. This is especially when the tax evasion of the individual or organization exceeds 100,000 euros in a year.

By Ruby