Renting in Germany - what you need to know - The Local
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Being one of the first to send in a request for a viewing could well make a difference, as their mailboxes are likely to fill up with requests in no time. Get your paperwork ready beforehand First impressions really count. One way of standing out from the crowd is bringing all your paperwork with you to the viewing - this shows you're responsible and adept at dealing with Germany's cumbersome bureaucracy.
So make sure you already have proof of your last three months' salary and a photocopy of your passport.
On top of that you will need a Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung - a letter from your old landlord confirming you are up to date on your rent. And if you get that unwieldy word out in one go when you hand in your papers, the Hausverwaltung will be doubly impressed.
Alternatively, if you lived at home or somewhere where you weren't required to pay rent previously, a Mietschuldenfreiheit could be submitted instead. In this letter, the owner of the house or flat you used to live in confirms that you used to live there rent-free. You may also need a Schufa, a form ordered online which assesses your credit rating at your bank.
Renting your own apartment takes work, but may just be worth it. Check up on the history of the property manager In Germany you generally do not deal with the landlord directly but with the Hausverwaltung, which looks after a portfolio of properties for the landlords.
Some of these are better than others. It is always worth doing a bit of internet research to check if there have been legal cases against the Hausverwaltung you are dealing with. For example GMRE, a company which manages thousands of properties in Berlin, has been accused of using various tricks to cheat tenants out of money, as documented by broadcaster RTL. But he points out that good ones will always have a deeper understanding of the area around the property.
They will know what shops are in the area, and where the nearest schools and kindergartens are. Try calling instead of sending emails or filling out forms online When dealing with nationwide housing associations such as Vonovia or realty companies such as Gagfah, try calling in order to get in touch with someone directly.
As realtors at these companies likely have to sift through numerous emails and online forms daily, if you happen to reach them directly on the telephone, your chances of nabbing a flat could be greater.
This is because, whereas your request for a viewing via email or online may be overlooked, speaking with someone personally over the phone might enable you to set up a viewing much sooner. Always ask these questions at a viewing Ropertz advises that anyone who goes to a viewing always ask a few key questions. Firstly you should find out if the apartment is owned by a private individual or a property company, he says, explaining that you are more likely to have your contract cancelled by a private owner, who might decide to make personal use of the apartment.
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The next question should be whether there are plans to modernize the building, which would lead to the landlord asking for a higher rent. Thirdly you should ask for information on how much heating and water costs have been in the past to get a sense for what you are likely to pay on top of your Kaltmiete the rent without the additional costs.
Ropertz notes that Hausverwaltungen will always try and show you the good side of a house at a viewing. And enfant terrible Lord Byron spent more than six years in Italy, during which time he wrote some of his most famous work, including Don Juan. How to purchase real estate in Italy There are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing a home in Italy.
In any case, if you buy your property through Homes and Villas Abroad, we will handle the purchase process for you from start to finish.
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But it never hurts to know what it entails. Once you have decided on a property in Italy, you table a formal offer — called a proposta irrevocabile di acquisto irrevocable proposal to buy — and put down a deposit so that the seller takes it off the market.
The size of the deposit can be negotiated but is usually around five per cent of the sale price. Due diligence then needs to be carried out on the property. The issues this will investigate include ensuring that: All parts of the property comply with building regulations; There are no outstanding debts or mortgages that would pass to you, the new buyer; No-one else has right of way across the property; No-one else has pre-emptive rights to purchase the property before you do; Other than the declared vendor, no-one else has ownership rights to the property; If a plot is advertised as building land, planning permission exists to build on it; If the property is part of a block, all condominium fees are disclosed.
As previously mentioned, Homes and Villas Abroad will carry out these checks for you. For added reassurance, you may also wish to take out our legal service, details of which are available on request. We recommend as well that you hire a surveyor to perform detailed checks on the physical state of the property.
Note that the surveyor will bill you separately. You will also need obtain a fiscal code codice fiscale from the tax authorities as plus open an Italian bank account.
Again, these are services that, if you are buying your property in Italy through Homes and Villas Abroad, we will carry out for you at no extra charge. The next stage is for both buyer and seller to sign a preliminary sales contract contratto preliminare di compravendita, or compromesso. In this document, both sides agree a timescale for completion of the purchase, typically around six weeks.
The buyer also puts down a second deposit, bringing his total paid so far to around ten to 30 per cent of the sale price. Note that should you as the buyer withdraw from the deal after the compromesso is signed, you stand to lose your entire deposit.
Should the seller renege, they must repay your entire deposit or, in certain types of compromesso, twice your entire deposit.
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Needless to say, this is not a commitment to be taken lightly. The final step sees the completion of the purchase with the signing of the rogito final deeds.
The notary is a neutral public official whose role it is to perform formal confirmation of the identities of buyer and seller as well as a final check on all documentation. If the buyer is not fluent in Italian, the notary will insist that they appoint an Italian-speaking representative to act as power of attorney at the signing of the final deeds.
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A Homes and Villas Abroad representative will usually fulfil this role at no extra cost. The notary will hand you a copy of the deeds and will forward other copies to the Land Registry and tax authorities. Within 48 hours of the final deeds being signed, the seller has to inform the local police station of the change of ownership done via a denuncia di cessione fabbricato document.
Costs of buying Italy real estate There will usually be some scope for negotiation on listed prices. As a rule of thumb as opposed to a hard and fast rule this will typically be in the region of 8 to 12 per cent, but may be significantly less at the luxury end of the market or if a property has already been reduced in price.
Typically, you should expect additional costs and fees to add around 7 to ten per cent to the final price. Principal among these additional items are: Registry tax of 2 per cent of cadastral value if you are a foreigner who has registered for Italian residency and are buying an Italian home for the first time.