buying property in germany as a foreigner
Expat Life in Germany,  Expat Hacks

Tips for Buying Land in Germany as a Foreigner + FREE Checklist of Questions to Ask Before Buying

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Are you considering investing in real estate in Germany? Recently, we took the plunge and purchased property in Germany. Here are my tips that you should consider before buying land in Germany as a foreigner.

PS: Don’t forget to download my detailed checklist of all questions to ask before you buy a property in Germany.



Germany has the lowest home ownership rate in Europe.

As of 2019, only half of the German population possess their own home. For various reasons including the post-WW2 financial and political slumps, home-ownership in Germany still has not picked up. It isn’t a bad thing necessarily.

Renting is a much-favoured way of housing in Germany.

Tenant laws are highly protective of the tenants, so it is no surprise that Germans just don’t bother buying homes. However, this should not stop any long term expats from buying a property in Germany.

My partner fiancé husband and I recently bought land for building a future home. This is the first major investment (:O !) for us and a huge learning experience.

Here are some of my tips for buying land in Germany as a foreigner.


Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links of services that I used during my property hunting process. I may earn a commission from the qualifying purchases. This way I can keep maintaining this blog.


Decide What You Want


Do you want to build a home from scratch or do you want to buy an existing house? Both have pros and cons. Let’s take a look at both of these scenarios:

Buying Land to Build a House From Scratch


  • The biggest advantage of buying land is that you can build a customised home and get a design that fits your taste and preference- within the limits of the legal guidelines that is.
  • In some areas of Germany, it is actually cheaper to buy land and build a property brick by brick.


  • Too many things to take care of. Too much paperwork as you have to deal with different offices, contractors and maintain a HUGE amount of contracts.
  • Longer waiting time until your home is ready for you to move in


building a house in Germany


Buying an Existing House


  • Much more straightforward than buying land and building a house.
  • Shorter move in time.


  • You have to settle for what you got. It is very hard to make any changes to an existing house in Germany. So once you have purchased it, you won’t be able to alter the template of your house. At least not without a shitton of paperwork and permits.
  • It is often more expensive than building a house as the value of ready to move in, finished properties is higher.


Read: How to Buy A House in Germany + FREE Checklist to Avoid Any Pitfalls


We evaluated all of these options.

Eventually, we decided that we will go ahead with construction land in the Bavarian countryside. For us, it was really important that we get to build a home according to our own specifications and requirements.

We are going to invest hundreds of thousands of euros in either case. So might as well, invest it into a house that we designed for ourselves.

If you want to find a plot of land in Germany to build a house, then start here. Make sure to change the location to the city of your choice.



Recommended Reading: Real Estate Investments in Germany: Transactions and Development



Start Search Early and Take Your Time to Research


This is pretty much a no-brainer.

Find a perfect building plot can take a very long time. The more search criteria you have, the longer it may take you to find a building plot that meets your requirements.

In Germany, you can search online extensively through some popular real estate websites.

You want to be aware of the fact that many of these properties have a ‘makler or provision’ fee attached to them. This fee is usually calculated at 3.5% to 5% of the property price. When you buy a property directly from the owner, you can skip this extra fee entirely – but such properties are rare to find.

Try search terms such as ‘provisionsfrei grundstück kaufen + your desired location’, ‘grundstück Ohne Makler kaufen + your desired location’ or ‘grundstück von Privat kaufen + your desired location’ to find provision free properties in your area.

You can also easily find ‘maklerfrei‘ properties in Germany on is the largest directory of provision free properties in Germany.


how to buy a building plot in germany



Recommended Reading: The Complete Guide to German Property Investment


Widen Your Search Radius


Let’s say you are working in Nürnberg city centre and want to live close to the city, then you may have a hard time finding a plot or even a house meeting your requirements or budget.

In such a case, you can look around Nürnberg suburb or even land area. In German, the land area is called ‘Landkreis’. Look for available plots in these areas. Too often cost per square meter is much lower in these regions than closer to the city.

You may even find a bigger plot for a lesser budget.

Depending on your location in Germany, anywhere within 30-40 drive-minutes from the city centre is generally a good location to search for cheaper land.

But of course, it depends on your lifestyle.

Are you willing to travel for half an hour or more to work each day? Is this a good trade-off for buying a plot for a lower cost? Would you rather live closer to the city or in the suburbs? Evaluate your options thoroughly.


Mind The Local Development Plan


Do you want to build a city villa or log cabin? One or two stories? Flat roof or saddle roof?

You may have something very specific for your dream house, but you may not be able to realise it everywhere in Germany.

Before buying building plot in Germany you should be fully aware of the development plan (Bebauungsplan). The development plan regulates how a residential area may be built.

Potential home builders should make sure to read the regulations – and know some formulas and abbreviations before purchasing the land. The best way to know what you can build on your potential plot is by getting in touch with the seller or agent directly and request more information.


how to read bebaungsplan in Germany


Recommended Reading: Tricks and Bricks Germany – 75 Property Investment Tips



Are There Any Building Restrictions?


Ask for the building permit details from your seller or agent beforehand.

A building permit (Baugenehmigung)  is a certificate from the local building authority. With this permit, the building authority indicates that it has no reservations about the planned construction project in terms of legal regulations.

However, the building permit does not mean that the builder may start construction immediately.

For this reason, the building permit is also referred to as a “limited clearance certificate”. Only when the building permit is available, you may begin the construction work (including the excavation of the earth).

This may only happen sooner if a partial building permit already exists. After the building permit, further procedures may be necessary to finally approve a construction. These include, for example, emission control or water protection tests.

Another thing to consider is the construction deadline (Bauzwang).

This deadline generally dictates the time by which the construction of the house should begin or finish on the plot. Some properties may have a deadline of five years or some may have none.

Our property does not have any such construction deadlines, so we have the freedom to take some time to plan, and save up before starting with the construction of the house.


Is the Plot Developed?

Partially developed (teilerschlossenes Grundstück) not developed (Nicht erschlossenes Grundstück) is a piece of land that is not yet entirely suitable for construction. For a plot to be considered fully developed (vollerschlossenes Grundstück), four basic supply lines must be available.

These are: gas, water, electricity and sewage.

The partially developed property is characterised by the fact that not all four supply lines are available. This means that the buyer must undertake this development after purchasing and that generally leads to additional costs.

A partially developed plot is usually cheaper.

However, you have to be prepared to invest at a later stage. The costs for a complete development must be included in the construction planning and financing.

Which brings us to the next point…


buying a house in Germany as an expat



Recommended Reading: Single-Family Houses: Contemporary Homes in Germany



Can You Afford It?

Buying the building plot is simply the first stage.

Depending on your location your land could easily cost several hundred thousand. The average cost per square meter can range from €180 to €2500 depending on the city. In the land and smaller cities, you have much more variation in the price range.

Besides the cost of the building plot, you’d also need to think about financing your actual home. As mentioned in the above section, if your plot is only partly developed you will have to incur the costs of completely developing it.

The cost of land development can be high and is largely borne by the property owners.

Municipalities usually cover a small part of the fees, but the proportion of owners is much larger.

For example, the development costs are higher in an urban city area. On the other hand, plots of land “in the countryside” are relatively cheap to develop.



Make Sure To Visit The Property BEFORE Signing Anything

Make sure to inspect the land in person and get a feel of the surroundings.

A personal visit is the best way to do that. Set up a personal appointment with your seller or agent. Ask them to take you to the property in person. It is a very normal part of the process anyway, so they will offer this even before you request.

Don’t hesitate to clarify any doubts about the neighbourhood, why the land is on sale or technical questions about the development and building permissions.

Hopefully, by now your German should be good enough to navigate through such a conversation.  If not, then take your German-speaking spouse/ SO or a friend to help you with the meeting.

From our experience, we found that a personal visit (more than just once) can give you extensive insights that can help with decision making.

Sometimes your preferred land may have a slope which usually involves additional costs for preparing the foundation of the house. The surroundings may be too loud. Or too quiet. Is there enough sunlight or is it getting blocked by nearby houses?

These things you can only evaluate in person.

Walk around the neighbourhood a few times and gauge if you have a good feeling about it. Then, do it a few more times at different times of day and evening just to be sure.


buying land in Germany as an expat


Take a drive from there to your workplace or to the nearest shopping centre. This is how you will be travelling each day once you have moved in. Get a feel for everyday activities before you sign any contract.



FREE Checklist For a Land Buyer in Germany

Have more questions and doubts? Then download this FREE checklist consisting of 30 questions you should consider BEFORE buying land in Germany.




If you are still happy with the plot, then…

Consider How You’re Going to Finance Your Property

Now comes one of the most challenges parts of buying land in Germany as a foreigner.

Financing your property – Are you going to finance it through a bank or privately?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Financing with a credit institute is a no-brainer since most of us do not have six-figure chunks of money sitting in the bank. The other option is, of course, to finance everything privately. If you have substantial savings you can fund yourself without any credit. This way you can also save on the interest rates payments.

Financing properties is a huge complicated topic, which cannot be covered in one small section. Watch out for a comprehensive guide on getting a house building loan in the next few days.

In the meantime, you can get custom house financing offers from Immowelt through this simple form here

Deeplink auf das Finanzierungs-Formular


Last but not least


Get ALL Your Insurances Up-to-Date


As we left the Notar’s office after signing our contracts, our Mackler congratulated us and promptly told us that we must get a private liability insurance for our newly bought land. It was just the beginning of winter and he warned us that if someone slips on our sidewalk because of the frost we will have to pay for any related expenses.

And he had a point.

As you may be aware, Germans LOVE their insurances. There’s really an insurance for everything here. 😉


Also read: How to avoid going bankrupt and legally protect yourself as an expat in Germany


As a brand new property owner in Germany, you should absolutely invest in good liability insurance for the private home developers and landowners. In German, it is commonly known as Bauherren-Haftpflichtversicherung and Haus- und Grundbesitzerhaftpflicht.


Quoting the German Civil Code that regulates the obligation for every private home -builder to be liable for damages caused by the building activity (§ 823 BGB).

“Anyone who willfully or negligently violates the life, body, health, freedom, property or any other right of another unlawfully is obliged to compensate the other for the resulting damage.”


The German Civil Code also requires every house and landowner to ensure the road safety of their property and to be liable for any damage caused (§ 836 BGB).

“If the collapse of a building or other work connected with a property or the detachment of parts of the building or work kills a person, injures the body or health of a person, or damages a property, the owner of the property, if the collapse or detachment is the result of faulty construction or poor maintenance, is obliged to compensate the injured person for the resulting damage. The obligation to pay compensation does not apply if the owner has observed the care required in traffic for the purpose of averting the danger”.


These laws have far-reaching consequences in Germany – enough to lead to lifelong bankruptcy. The responsible party is liable to compensate for unlimited amounts and with their entire current and future assets. A claim for such damages can basically lead to complete financial ruin.

Therefore, the protection with a house builder’s liability insurance is extremely important. As with any kind of insurance in Germany, there are a number of providers who offer this kind of coverage.

CosmoDirekt offers comprehensive coverage for both home and landowners and for those who are planning to build their property sometime soon.

Here you can calculate the one-time fee for CosmosDirekt’s Bauherren-Haftpflichtversicherung 

Click here to check out CosmosDirekt’s Haus- und Grundbesitzerhaftpflichtversicherung starting from €1.79/month


So that is how I ended up buying a property in Germany (as a foreigner). I hope these tips will be helpful when the time comes for you to buy a home or land in Germany as an expat.

Start here to find and buy a plot of land in Germany to build a house.


Did you buy a property in Germany? What was your experience of buying land in Germany as a foreigner? Let us know in the comments below.



buying property in germany as an expat

Tips for Buying Property in Germany as a foreignerbuying property in germany as a foreginer

Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.


  • Augusto César Dias

    Have you built a house in your property?
    I’m interested in one property that is not free from builder. So I’d have to build the house with this company. Which is fine for me and we can afford it.
    I’m just a bit insecure what can come after that I’m not aware of. From what I understood I’d still have to give some final touches on the house like flooring in the rooms and painting. But I don’t know what else could come…

    • Yamini

      Hey Augusto,

      We still have not built the house yet 🙂 Still in homework phase. We have been advised to research as much as possible for the right builder company. Also to get any contracts proofread by a lawyer before signing. There’s too much on stake and lots of things could go wrong if we end up hiring a subpar builder. Is there somebody you know personally who could recommend you a company? We’re asking around in our social circle.

          • Shimaa

            Hello Yamini,
            we are currently looking for a land to buy in the circle around Nurenberg also and need your consultancy in choosing the company to build the house and also to make sure that the cost will be clear enough and well calculated.

          • Yamini

            Hi Shimma, I’m afraid I cannot make any personal recommendations for something like this. 🙂 If you are living in Nurenberg area I would suggest going to FertighausWelt Heßdorf where you can tour ‘musterhäuser’ constructed by some companies and meet their representatives who can give you professional consultation.

  • DivaA

    Thanks for the tips especially the insurance. Have you now decided on a building company? It is a bit difficult to decide on one. Any additional tips would be appreciated.

    • Yamini

      Hey Diva, We don’t have a bauzwang (obligation to built) on our land. So we have not really come around finalising on a bautäger. But we did some research so I agree with you that it is really hard to find a trustworthy company. I would recommend getting your house construction contract verified by a lawyer before you sign anything and make sure you understand everything in the text. Also visit the demo houses, site and offices of the companies and check their factories in person.

  • Paul

    Hi There and thanks for your great info on buying a house…very helpful indeed.

    If I may, I’d like to ask your view / experience / ideas on prefabricated houses (something I guess you have already considered). It seems to be an incredible idea for those who wish to build (if you can call it “building”) yet an impossible labyrinth of information exists that is difficult to navigate. However, I’ve seen many such houses around Bavaria (where I live).

    I guess the most attractive aspects about prefab houses is the short building time, the far lower cost and getting a new, modern house for that cost. Some houses seem to be stunning value for under 100,000 euros…for a new, modern, multi-room house. Even though the houses are mostly fixed designs, as they are sometimes modular, is possible to customise the designs to some extent.

    But it all sounds too good to be true and as I guess you have already looked into it, so I thought I would ask your opinion.

    Thanks a bunch,

    A fellow expat

    • Yamini

      Hey Paul, Glad to hear that you found this helpful 🙂

      Yeah, prefab homes have been around for quite a while in Germany. But from what we found, ‘Massivbau’ is still the preferred way of constructing a house in Germany. But the current prefab house tech is not far behind. We toured some Musterhausparks here in Franconia and I honestly could not tell the difference between a Massivbau and a Fertighaus.

      Regarding the price, maybe you already know, but many construction companies in Germany offer 3 or 4 levels of finish. The low price that you mentioned could be the ‘Rohbau’ level, where they just construct the outer facade and inner walls of the house. And rest (heating, tile, floor, electricity etc) is taken over by the homeowners. A ‘ready to move in prefab house’ (Schlüsselfertigbau) is as pretty much as expensive as a typical Massivbau house.

      Another thing we found was that any, and I mean any type of customisation in the design of a prefab house cost extra (sometimes a few 10s thousands) on the top of the base price.

      I would highly recommend to visit some Musterhausparks and collect as much information about the base prices and the (often hidden) add ons. And like I keep telling everyone here, get any contract verified by a lawyer before you sign anything 😀

  • Pravin Boppuri

    Hi Yamini,

    Great Blog, lots of info for expats living in Germany who would want to invest in properties. I have recently started my journey and found a land to build house. I have just recieved the Grundbuch of the plot, Would you know any lawyers or some online document checking service with experts where i can get these verified? Unfortunately my legal service does not support this.



    • Yamini

      Hey Pravin, Thank you very much!
      We used to find a lawyer located close to us. We were quite happy with his consultation. Advocado also has a database of lawyers across Germany. They claim to offer a free first consultation. Not sure if a contract check-up is included, but worth looking into. Good luck and please let me know which service you end up using.

    • Yamini

      Hey Joseph – I assume you mean a Baufenster, correct? This will fall under a ‘Bebauungsplanänderung’ i.e. a change in the B-plan. It can really differ from Bauamt to Bauamt. Bayern, for example, is notoriously very inflexible in these cases.

      50 cm – 1m is a very small change though, may be worth the effort to go through extra paperwork.

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