What can I do for my house

Your gut feeling is important when buying a house. But in addition to the atmosphere, the building fabric, energy efficiency and transport connections are also important. We explain to you what you should pay attention to during a house inspection - including checklists that you can print out and take with you.

How do I prepare for a home tour?

On site, you will get a feel for whether a house is right for you. But the more information you have in advance about the building, the property and the surroundings, the better you can classify your impressions and come to a decision for or against the purchase.

Therefore, it is wise to stroll through the residential area and explore transport links and shopping opportunities before viewing the house. This gives rise to important questions that you can add to your list (see checklist below).

What documents and information should I request before viewing the property?

The following information should already be included in the synopsis:

  • the year of construction of the property
  • the living space in square meters (just take a folding rule with you to measure)
  • the floor plan.

If not, get this information from your agent or seller prior to your home viewing. Werner Seitz from the consumer advice service for apartment and house buyers (VFW) also recommends that you take care of the following documents in advance.

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Loan amount: € 200,000, property value: € 350,000, fixed interest rate: 10 years, repayment: 2%, zip code: 34295
Providerff. Annual interest monthly rate
The conditions on which the calculation is based reflect the current top interest rate with a fixed borrowing rate of 10 years and were determined on the basis of the following assumptions:
During the fixed interest rate:

Effective annual interest rate p.a.: 0.72%

Fixed borrowing rate p.a.: 0.69%

Initial repayment p.a.: 2.00%

Lending period: 57.00%

Property value: € 350,000.00

Net loan amount: € 200,000.00

Interest costs: € 12,937.79

Monthly installment: € 453.33

Remaining debt: € 158,538.19

If the interest rate remains the same:

Total term: 42 years and 9 months

Number of installments: 513

Total amount: € 232,391.89

The property is bought, owner-occupied and, with a first-rate land charge, serves as security for the financing. The borrowers are permanent employees with impeccable income and financial circumstances. In addition, there are costs in connection with the provision of the securities (e.g. notary costs for the establishment of land charges, costs for the land registry) as well as for building insurance.
The conditions on which the calculation is based reflect the current top interest rate with a fixed borrowing rate of 10 years and were determined on the basis of the following assumptions:
During the fixed interest rate:

Effective annual interest rate p.a.: 0.71%

Fixed borrowing rate p.a.: 70%

Initial repayment p.a.: 2.00%

Lending period: 57.00%

Property value: € 350,000.00

Net loan amount: € 200,000.00

Interest costs: € 12,758.52

Monthly installment: € 451.67

Remaining debt: € 158,558.12

If the interest rate remains the same:

Total term: 42 years and 10 months

Number of installments: 514

Total amount: € 231,984.63

The property is bought, owner-occupied and, with a first-rate land charge, serves as security for the financing. The borrowers are permanent employees with impeccable income and financial circumstances. In addition, there are costs in connection with the provision of the securities (e.g. notary costs for the establishment of land charges, costs for the land registry) as well as for building insurance.
The conditions on which the calculation is based reflect the current top interest rate with a fixed borrowing rate of 10 years and were determined on the basis of the following assumptions:
During the fixed interest rate:

Effective annual interest rate p.a.: 0.72%

Fixed borrowing rate p.a.: 0.71%

Initial repayment p.a.: 2.00%

Lending period: 57.00%

Property value: € 350,000.00

Net loan amount: € 200,000.00

Interest costs: € 12,937.79

Monthly installment: € 453.33

Remaining debt: € 158,538.19

If the interest rate remains the same:

Total term: 42 years and 9 months

Number of installments: 513

Total amount: € 232,391.89

The property is bought, owner-occupied and, with a first-rate land charge, serves as security for the financing. The borrowers are permanent employees with impeccable income and financial circumstances. In addition, there are costs in connection with the provision of the securities (e.g. notary costs for the establishment of land charges, costs for the land registry) as well as for building insurance.
The conditions on which the calculation is based reflect the current top interest rate with a fixed borrowing rate of 10 years and were determined on the basis of the following assumptions:
During the fixed interest rate:

Effective annual interest rate p.a.: 0.86%

Fixed borrowing rate p.a.: 0.85%

Initial repayment p.a.: 2.00%

Lending period: 57.00%

Property value: € 350,000.00

Net loan amount: € 200,000.00

Interest costs: € 15,445.25

Monthly installment: € 476.67

Remaining debt: € 158,244.85

If the interest rate remains the same:

Total term: 41 years and 8 months

Number of installments: 500

Total amount: € 237,980.36

The property is bought, owner-occupied and, with a first-rate land charge, serves as security for the financing. The borrowers are permanent employees with impeccable income and financial circumstances. In addition, there are costs in connection with the provision of the securities (e.g. notary costs for the establishment of land charges, costs for the land registry) as well as for building insurance.
The conditions on which the calculation is based reflect the current top interest rate with a fixed borrowing rate of 10 years and were determined on the basis of the following assumptions:
During the fixed interest rate:

Effective annual interest rate p.a.: 0.96%

Fixed borrowing rate p.a.: 0.93%

Initial repayment p.a.: 2.00%

Lending period: 57.00%

Property value: € 350,000.00

Net loan amount: € 200,000.00

Interest costs: € 17,234.75

Monthly installment: € 493.33

Remaining debt: € 158,035.15

If the interest rate remains the same:

Total term: 40 years and 11 months

Number of installments: 491

Total amount: € 241,856.63

The property is bought, owner-occupied and, with a first-rate land charge, serves as security for the financing. The borrowers are permanent employees with impeccable income and financial circumstances. In addition, there are costs in connection with the provision of the securities (e.g. notary costs for the establishment of land charges, costs for the land registry) as well as for building insurance.

You should take a look at these documents before visiting the house

  • Land register extract (not older than 3 months): Seitz: “We recommend requesting an extract from the land register from the provider, but without“ Department III ”. This lists the seller's debts - accordingly, this is a very sensitive area that does not play a role in the inspection. When it comes to a notarial contract, the burdens must of course be known. "
  • Parcel map: This means the property belonging to the house. You can see the parcel number on the parcel map and it can also be found in the land register extract. “It is important to compare the received parcel map with reality. It is also important to be able to identify properties that can be purchased separately from this map, for example for a garage or shared paths, ”says Seitz. You can obtain the official cadastral map from the municipality's land registry office.
  • Approved plans (if a new building is planned): “The approved plans as well as the text of the building permit are important and interesting. But buyers will usually get these plans from the provider at most. If they do not have them, you may be able to obtain them from the municipality - depending on the age of the house. But for this you need the permission of the owner! "
  • Calculation of living space with architects stamp: It is often recommended in home inspection checklists. Werner Seitz (VFW) warns, however: “The living space calculation is of course interesting, but hardly available in reality. Regardless of whether with or without an architect's stamp. Because most of the sellers were buyers, not builders, when they were built. The size of the house may be recorded in the sales contract, but nothing more. "
  • Energy certificate: The energy certificate has been compulsory since 2009. It is a document that evaluates a building in terms of energy. In the event of a sale or a new lease without a complete energy certificate, the building inspectorate can impose a fine of up to € 15,000.
  • Contaminated sites and building debts directory as well as resident certificate: Some properties can be contaminated, for example if they used to be industrial sites or if there was an electroplating company or a brick pit. You can find out more about the building site from the building authority or the municipality. You can see from the resident certificate whether development contributions, road development contributions or sewer connection contributions are still to be paid for the property. But only the owner of the property receives it. Werner Seitz sees these documents as a must only in “justified cases”.
  • Also Blueprints you can see at the building authority and find out which new buildings or street renovations are planned and which could cause costs for you as a buyer. There may also be rights of third parties or restrictions by the authorities, which you should also know before buying a house. If the neighboring properties are only partially or even undeveloped, you should also find out about possible development plans here.

Seitz also recommends speaking to the chimney sweeper. You can find his contact on the measurement result for the heating, which you can also request from the seller. "This is how you find out which technical changes you have to make as the new owner."

Tip: Your bank will require most of these documents anyway before they agree to a financing. In this respect too, it is an advantage if you have them in good time. We give you more information about this in the article “Financing Talk”.

What should I look out for when viewing the house?

The challenge when viewing a property is always to pay attention to different things at the same time. On the emotional level it is important to let the object work on you. Do you feel comfortable? Do you find the atmosphere pleasant? When it comes to the room layout, you have to decide what suits you according to personal criteria.

At the same time, however, pay attention to the equipment, i.e. sockets and water connections, what you will need and how much you are willing to spend on new installations. And keep the dimensions of your furniture in mind.

Check the property for possible damage

On the factual level, a close look is required. Every used house can show signs of damage: warped window frames, drawn in smells or construction defects. You should therefore take a very close look at these things:

  • Basement, cellar: Often the most humid room in the house, which is why you should ensure adequate ventilation. Often times, moisture or mold problems are difficult to spot. This is especially true if the cellar has just been freshly painted - ask critically! You can call in a building surveyor who has special moisture meters. The same applies to the kitchen as well as the bathroom and toilet, as there is a lot of haze when they are used.
  • Top, roof: Pay attention to how old the roofing is, whether it is tight and whether the attic is well insulated. Stuffy air is an indication of poor insulation.
  • Heating and drinking water system: Have maintenance and inspection reports shown.
  • Windows and doors: Sufficient insulation is important because of heating costs and noise levels.
  • Facade: Look for cracks and damp spots in the plaster.

Tip from the expert: “If you discover weak points during a house inspection, it is wiser not to criticize openly right away. It is better to have the weak points assessed by an expert and then try to control the purchase price, ”says Werner Seitz (VFW).

House inspection checklist

Which documents you should know and which points you should pay attention to during the house inspection, we have on this checklist for house inspection summarized for download.

What important questions should I ask when viewing the house?

In order to find out whether a house has certain weaknesses and whether you could possibly live with them, you should ask the provider structured questions. For example:

  • Why is the house being sold?
  • How often has the owner changed so far? (recognizable from the land register extract)
  • How is the transport connection?
  • Are there schools and kindergartens nearby?
  • How high is the traffic noise?
  • How are the shopping and leisure opportunities?
  • Questions about the building

    • How many square meters of living space does the house have?
    • How many square meters of usable space does the house have?
    • When was the last renovation?
    • How is the building heated? (centralized via the heating system or decentralized)
    • How is hot water generated? (centralized via the heating system or decentralized)
    • How high are the operating costs?
    • How fast is the internet access?
    • Is there any soundproofing?
    • What kind of separate backups are there?
    • Can you use the house for commercial purposes?
    • Can you sublet the house?
    • Is animal husbandry allowed?
    • Is it possible to expand the roof or cellar?
    • Is the house a listed building?
    • Are there legal restrictions due to the development plan or a design statute? (also ask for the property)
    • Is there a property management company, and if so, what does it cost?
  • Questions about the property

    • Is the property listed in the development plan as a residential area, mixed area or commercial area?
    • What is the water table height?
    • What is the soil like?
    • What parking options are there?
    • Is there a burden or restriction by third parties such as long lease?
    • Is the property unencumbered? (Extract from the land register)
    • Are there still costs for road construction?
  • Questions about the neighborhood

    • What is the density of buildings in the neighborhood?
    • Can further development be expected in the vicinity?
    • Is the property in a quiet location?
    • What kind of average population live here?
    • Are there playgrounds nearby?
    • Are there any local recreation areas?
  • Questions about the area

    • What about industry and services in the area?
    • How is the transport connection?
    • Are new transport connections planned?
    • Can chemical plants, for example, cause environmental pollution in the area? (e.g. by chemical companies or industrial settlements)
    • How close are schools and day-care centers?
    • How close is the nearest hospital?

Important: Inquire about furnished houses which furniture is included in the purchase price. Be careful with rented houses: The termination of the rental contract is solely a matter between the owner and tenant!

Tip from the expert: "If it is about renovation or modernization in the house, talk about the timing of the measure. If you actually buy the house, get the bills. There may still be warranty claims against the executing company; these must then be assigned to the buyer, ”advises Werner Seitz (VFW).

Checklist - important questions when viewing your home

The checklist for the important questions during a house inspection can be downloaded here.

Frequent questions about the house inspection

When it comes to organizing a property viewing, the following questions often arise:

  • What time of the day should I arrange a property viewing?

    You should definitely visit the house in daylight and, depending on the time of year, make an early appointment with the agent or seller. The basement and attics are then also better lit. If you know the lighting conditions, you can mentally distribute the rooms for the first time.

  • What should I take with me on a house tour?

    In addition to the checklist for ticking off all the important points, you should have a folding rule and compass with you to check the dimensions of living rooms, balconies or terraces. So you know, for example, whether there is enough space for your furniture. Take a camera with you and take pictures of the premises and possible defects. Photos help you to sort your impressions with a little time lag.

    Take your pen and paper with you and make a note of everything you notice during the viewing appointment, including supposed little things. Later, when it comes to the decision, you can be important.

  • Who can come to see me before buying a house?

    In principle, you can take as many people as you want with you to a tour of a house. In addition to the people with whom you want to live there, they can also be friends or acquaintances who will help you form an opinion and give you tips on viewing the house. The advantage of having many companions: many eyes see a lot. You may not have noticed the warped patio door because you were distracted by the view of the garden. The disadvantage: afterwards you will hear many different opinions, which can unsettle you. After all, it should be your house.

  • Should I arrange a second home visit?

    If possible: absolutely! You should also visit the area several times, for one simple reason: Noise and odor nuisance can occur differently on different days of the week and times of the day. You should therefore visit the house at least twice, once on the weekend and once on a working day.

  • When should I ask an expert?

    If you are convinced of the property after a first visit, you should take an independent expert with you to the second house inspection. You can find experts at consumer advice centers, the Association of Private Builders or testing institutes such as TÜV.

    They cost money, but money that is usually well invested and protects you as a buyer from unpleasant surprises. “Depending on the region, the cost of an expert is a small percentage of the purchase price,” says Werner Seitz (VFW).

    Experts help you to keep track of all the required documents - and also with their interpretation. The Residential Property Act (WEG) for terraced and semi-detached houses, for example, explains the shared use of garages, parking spaces or access roads. A specialist can determine from the land register extract whether and how many supplements exist to the WEG. With the information of an expert you can basically strengthen your negotiating position with the provider.

  • How do I behave during a house inspection with a realtor?

    Basically, you should plan enough time for a house inspection with or without an agent and not allow yourself to be rushed. Proceed in a structured manner, for example, take a systematic look at the rooms from the basement to the roof. Don't get distracted, just check occasionally to see if you have ticked off all of the items on your list. Take notes on all rooms! So you can ask specific questions during a second house inspection.

  • How can I assert myself against several interested parties when viewing a house?

    When it comes to sought-after properties, it is important to be quick. It is best to prepare the financing so far that you can bring a firm commitment from the bank or an intermediary with you to the viewing appointment. To get an overview of possible financing partners and their current conditions, you can use our building money comparison.

    The chemistry between you and the seller should not be underestimated. If the previous owner is with you and you are convinced of the property, please do not hesitate to compliment it. For example, praise how lovingly the garden is designed.

Be sure to ask the provider about the Condominium Act (WEG). After all, it is important for you to know what areas you may have to share with neighbors. Some prospective buyers shy away from dividing the WEG - but this is not necessary if you know how to interpret it correctly.

Our construction finance comparison provides you with the current interest rates from over 400 construction money providers free of charge and without obligation.

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