Renting a property in Germany vs purchasing it
As an international who has just arrived in Germany, it could be easier for you to buy a property rather than renting it. That is because as a tenant you have to provide a lot of proof of your reliability based on past experiences renting a place, which are obviously not available if you are doing it for the first time.
Apart from your proof of income, you must show a confirmation from your former landlord saying your rent has been paid correctly in the past, and an extract from the German credit register (SCHUFA). Your credit score will most probably not be very good due to the lack of past data. Unfortunately, estate agents or property management services are not super understanding of your newcomer situation. In addition, there are several other people who meet all those criteria.
Luckily, as a real estate buyer the competition is much less intense. If you assure the seller plausibly that you are in a position to pay the required purchase price, nothing stands in the way of a quick purchase. A mortgage broker specializing in international customers can find the best available financing for you in the run-up to a planned property purchase and arrange it according to your criteria.
Are foreigners allowed to buy real estate in Germany?
In Germany, as in almost all EU countries, there are no restrictions for foreigners to buy property. It does not matter whether it is an apartment or a family home.
How to find a German property?
The three best-known real estate marketplaces on the Internet are immobilienscout24, immowelt and immonet.de. In those portals real estate agents publish their latest sales or rental properties. However, all other prospective buyers also search for houses or apartments here. It may be a good idea to start your search by walking or cycling through the districts you prefer to live in. You can find out about current offers in the neighborhood in the shop windows of the real estate agents or even banks located there. Usually, a brokerage fee of between 3.57% and 7.14% applies when a property is successfully brokered.
You can also buy new construction properties directly from the developer. In this case you will usually not pay any brokerage fee, but you have to wait 12 to 24 months until the construction work is finished and you can move into your apartment. New building projects can be found on neubaukompass, and all offers are also available in English.