Selling a house – selling procedure, property value and the best tips & tricks

Selling a house – Selling a house is a complex matter and involves many different steps. From the creation of an attractive advertisement to the valuation of the property and the subsequent legal steps, such as the purchase contract and the appointments with the notary. During all these steps, various points must be taken into account in order to emerge profitably from the real estate sale.

Selling real estate – how to make the sale uncomplicated and profitable

Selling a property successfully as a beginner is harder than you think. There are many things to consider and many mistakes that can be made. So you should be aware of the procedures from the start and be sure that you are doing everything right. If you are approaching a home sale without any help you should be prepared for a lot of time commitment and a lot of self-organization. The only way to make this process easier is to have the right expertise on the subject. Learn more about selling a house (external)!

Determining the value of real estate – this is how experts proceed

What are the exact criteria for determining the value of a property and how exactly do appraisers proceed when preparing the appraisal? In general, according to § 194 BauGB, the market value should reflect the price that would have been achieved in the normal business year at the time of the determination without regard to unusual or personal circumstances. In order to determine this value, experts are guided by various criteria:

The ground value

The standard land value is probably the most important criterion for determining the market value, as it is the basis for its calculation. The standard land value indicates the value for one square metre of undeveloped land in the respective standard land value zones.

The structural and technical condition of a property

The second important criterion is of course the condition of the property. This includes not only the materials used, such as building materials, wiring, pipes or electrical systems, but also the age of the property and the materials. In addition, extras such as outdoor facilities, carports, gardens and garages can have a positive effect on the valuation and reinforce a positive assessment.

The location of the properties

On the one hand, the location of the property includes the infrastructure of the nearby surroundings, such as transport connections, shopping facilities, but also connections to doctors or hospitals. On the other hand, trendy locations have an advantage, especially in large cities. The higher the popularity of the neighbourhood, the higher the value of the property there.

The energetic state

First of all, of course, the presentation of the energy certificate is necessary. This shows how high the energy consumption is. The higher, the worse. In addition, how high quality and new the insulation of the outer walls and the roof are. These significantly determine the energy consumption and the energy costs increase enormously with poor insulation.

The degree of development of the property

Also important for the value of the property is the degree of development. This means that it must be checked whether the property is connected to important networks such as the water system, the telephone network but also the electricity. Of course, it is an advantage if the property is connected to all important networks.

Contaminated sites on the property

Contaminated sites on the property are of course not advantageous for the property, as they have to be taken over by the new owner. Such contaminated sites are noted in the land register and negatively affect the appraisal, since more costs come to potential buyers.

The current market situation

The price of a property is always determined by supply and demand, which is why this criterion also plays an important role for the expert. Here, sales data from comparable properties in similar locations are used and compared with the data for the property under review.

The right presentation – this is how you put your property in the right light

The right advertisement is the be-all and end-all for the self-marketing of a property. But other aspects must also be taken into account. If you approach a house sale without help, you should be prepared for a high expenditure of time and a lot of self-organisation. This process can only be made easier by having the right specialist knowledge on the subject.

The advertisement – correct wording, the pictures and the first impression

There’s nothing worse than your ad getting lost in the shuffle. Short, sober descriptions bore potential buyers and are uninviting. Therefore, pay attention to a loose but still serious formulation already in the title. To achieve this, you should use language that is as rich in imagery as possible, which arouses emotions and thus attracts attention. Think about which headline you would stick to yourself. Special advantages of your real estate can be emphasized thereby by formulations, like ‘elegant old building with stucco’ or ‘sun-flooded south terrace’, because you work enthusiastically and invite the Immobiliensuchende directly. Try to attract the buyer already with the headline, so that he continues to click on your ad.

The text of the advertisement – exact description and mentioning of the advantages

Once the potential buyer is on your ad, two other factors can convince them of the property. The text of the ad and your pictures. In your text you should explain important key data of the property as well as object criteria. This includes the number of rooms, district, balcony, fitted kitchen, floor, but also full bath or basement rooms. Describe the location of the apartment, the advantages and also name the equipment as precisely as possible. This includes kitchen equipment, heating systems but also other objects that will remain in the property. In the course of this, mention the costs for the compensation payments for existing equipment and brokerage fees. Also important is information such as rent, service charges and the size of the apartment in square meters.

The images – the be-all and end-all of a good ad

Probably the most important factor, however, are the pictures. A buyer naturally wants to see as much of the property as possible to get an idea of whether the property could be something for them. To take great pictures of your property, there are a few things you need to consider. First and foremost, of course, the rooms should be tidy and clean. You should make sure you take the pictures in daylight, so that the rooms can really be seen and buyers can assess how much daylight falls into the rooms. Your cover photo should be the most expressive and represent the best thing about the home. The most beautiful room, the roof terrace, the open kitchen or maybe the bay window with a view. Pictures of all rooms and if available the garden/balcony/terrace, an exterior view and above all a floor plan should never be missing. The floor plan should never be missing, because the potential buyers get an impression of the size of the individual rooms to each other and can see the layout of the rooms better.

Buying, selling and investing – Immobilien Magazin

You can find out more about real estate in the Real Estate Magazine.

House forms at a glance: List

In the real estate market, there are a lot of different types of construction. Both in the field of apartment and houses, there are many forms and types according to which a property is designed. These are divided into different formats. We have clearly listed some of the most common house and apartment types for you here. You can find more information about the respective property type in the corresponding article by clicking on the corresponding link.

Overview of house types: from bungalow to prefabricated house

Here you will find a list with an overview of all common house types. The linked article provides you with more information about the respective house form, introduces you to characteristics and definitions and you also learn which house type is suitable for whom and why. In addition, we introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of the respective house form in the associated articles.

  • Bungalow
  • Semi-detached house
  • Single-family house
  • Half-timbered house
  • Holiday home / weekend house
  • Beach house
  • Prefabricated house
  • Country house
  • Massive house
  • Terraced house
  • Villa
  • Low-energy house
  • Zero-energy house
  • Passive House

The legal basis – notary, land register and the purchase contract

Selling a home is a big decision with many legal procedures, contracts and requirements involved. As a homeowner, you should be well informed in advance about what to expect and what you need to keep in mind so that you come out of the deal profitable. For the uninformed in the field, there are many legal basics to consider and especially small stumbling blocks that should be avoided at all costs.

Learn more about the legalities of selling a home from the experts at IHV!

The notary – legal person supervising the purchase contract

The tasks of a notary is to regulate the sale of real estate as an impartial legal authority in such a way that all parties are satisfied and all possible points of dispute are avoided or settled from beginning to end. The notary draws up a public deed (the contract of sale) in which all the necessary legal issues are settled transparently and clearly.
In addition, the notary certifies the real estate purchase contract. Section 311b of the German Civil Code (BGB) stipulates that all legal contracts relating to land, assets, estates and real estate must be notarised. Another task of notaries is to ensure the protection of the buyer and seller. For the legal protection of the buyer, the notary reserves the property for the buyer in the land register as a priority notice, so that the seller cannot sell the property to someone else at short notice. For the legal protection of the seller, the notary arranges for the final transfer of ownership in the land register as soon as the buyer has actually paid the purchase price.
Notaries additionally ensure immediately enforceable claims. This means that the claims set out in notarised contracts are immediately enforceable. Thus, in order to execute the claims, it is no longer necessary to file an extra complaint with a court, but a bailiff can be commissioned immediately. This takes place, for example, if the purchase price is not paid. In addition, a notary explains all unresolved legal issues in a real estate sale. He must explain all legal and juridical questions to all contracting parties so comprehensively, understandably and sufficiently that a documentary registration of the actual will of both parties is possible. You are obliged to do this by virtue of your public office.

The costs incurred by the notary are always the same, because the notary fees are regulated uniformly throughout Germany in the Court and Notary Fees Act (GnotKG). Should a notary seek to regulate costs in a different way, this is ineffective, as this is prohibited by law. This applies to both cost reductions and cost increases.

The purchase contract – the most important points must be regulated

The contract of sale is the legal basis on which a house sale is built. Depending on the case, a purchase contract always looks different, contains more or less regulations, depending on what the parties have agreed. A contract of sale is a complex and extensive contract, which holds many legal ambiguities and also traps for one or the other. The implementation can also take quite some time. Sometimes up to 8 weeks pass between the signing of the contract at the notary’s office and the transfer of ownership in the land register. This disparity between the transfer of the purchase price, the change of ownership and thus the change of use and encumbrances and the final change of ownership and handover raises further legal issues in the sale of a house, which must be regulated in detail in the purchase contract.
The key points that should be covered in any purchase agreement are as follows:

  • Which object of purchase is being sold?
  • Who is selling to whom?
  • What all is sold with it? (Fitted kitchen, property,…)
  • How is it sold?
  • How does the payment take place? (Cash, bank transfer, …)
  • When is the transfer date?
  • What is the breakdown of utilities and maintenance costs?
  • How are the development costs regulated?
  • Are there any possible warranty claims?
  • What is the condition of the object?
  • Does the object have defects?
  • Which permits are available and which are missing?
  • Cost allocation
  • Authorisation of the notary’s office

The 6 most common mistakes – how to avoid stumbling blocks

Most home sellers are rather inexperienced in the field and don’t know where to start. They often snap a few pictures and post them on a real estate portal. However, homeowners don’t know what to expect, what to look out for, and what all to expect. To prevent this uncertainty, the most important thing to do before selling a house is to inform yourself and seek help from experts in the field.

A broker is excluded from the outset

Of course, it is also possible to successfully complete a property sale without an estate agent. So before you decide for or against an agent, consider what makes the most sense for you in your situation. An estate agent can take a lot of the work and time out of selling a property. In addition, he advises you in financial as well as in marketing-technical questions. So ask yourself the questions:

  • Do I have the time to organize, accompany and complete the entire house sale on my own?
  • Is my level of knowledge and professional expertise really sufficient to successfully complete the sale without a broker?
  • Can I coordinate the sale on my own in the fast-paced, regional and targeted real estate market?

You should be aware that selling real estate requires a lot of time, organisation and expertise. An estate agent receives a commission on a successful sale, but this can be set out in an agency agreement. In addition, the agent will then take over work from you, such as the correct advertising of the property, the arrangement and conduct of viewing appointments, the preparation of purchase contracts and the presence at the notary appointment. You have thus permanently someone competent with sufficient expertise at your side, who can advise you in all matters.

You are unprepared for viewing appointments

Potential buyers, are faced with the decision to make a big investment, or not. They want to be on the safe side and be 100% sure about their decision. In order to complete the house sale successfully, you should give potential buyers as much security as possible. At a viewing appointment, you should therefore be prepared for many questions from buyers and have a good answer to all of them. Often these will be about the condition of the house – how old are the windows / doors? When was the last renovation and refurbishment? What kind of insulation is there? How much are the service charges? and and and – be prepared for all these questions and find out exactly about your house from the outset. Ignorance can unsettle potential buyers or be an excuse to drive down the price. Also, be open with appraisers and understand that your buyers just want to play it safe.

The real estate market value is unknown to you

Every homeowner remembers how much they paid for their house and how much renovation, refurbishment etc. cost. However, it often happens that the value of the property differs from the original purchase price, as property prices are determined by supply and demand. So before you put your property up for sale, you should know the value of it. You can have the property value estimated by an appraiser but also by a realtor and thus know better in what range you can move in the price. Small defects in the house can lower the value of the property and be a reason for potential buyers to depress the purchase price. Therefore, before selling, consider whether you can have minor defects repaired beforehand and thus demand a higher selling price. However, appraisers or estate agents can also help you with this decision and assess whether such an investment is worthwhile.

They are not willing to negotiate

Of course, as a seller, you want to sell your property as profitably as possible. Opposite you, however, is a buyer who is happiest to record a profit at the end. So don’t ruin your chances of buying a house by being unwilling to negotiate, but also accommodate your buyer. There is only one thing that helps in negotiations and that is good preparation. You should consider from the outset, in which framework you can move and what is the absolute minimum for you. You should also come up with good arguments to justify your selling price. This includes, for example, a good infrastructure, the location of the house or even special advantages of your property. An estate agent experienced in negotiations can also help you prepare for a successful negotiation or even support you on the spot. Stubbornness can spoil a lot of things for you and drag out the negotiations unnecessarily. Approach each other and find a price that both parties are happy with.

Your exposé gives a false impression

The exposé is one of the most important things in the successful sale of your property. The exposé is the first thing a potential customer sees and should therefore make the perfect first impression. A bad exposé can even put a spanner in the works of the most beautiful house. What you should definitely pay attention to are good pictures. It helps to have these taken by a photographer, but homemade pictures can also look great. Make sure the pictures are taken in daylight and that the room is easy to see. In addition, it should be tidy and clean so that the potential buyer feels immediately comfortable and can imagine living there. Take pictures of all the rooms and preferably also of the floor plan so that the buyers can get a clear picture of the property. Pictures of the garden or special features of the house also look good. Be honest in the text of your exposé. Do not give the customer false hopes or exaggerate, because this will only lead to disappointment at the viewing appointment.

You do not properly review the purchase contract

The purchase contract and the appointment with the notary are the last steps on the way to a successful house sale. At the notary appointment, the purchase contract is read out again by the notary and both parties sign it. After this appointment, the contract is legally binding and the sale is completed. Before this appointment, you should check the contract of sale thoroughly and be clear about all the points noted. If you are unsure, consult an estate agent in advance who will go through the contract and advise you. You can always ask questions at the notary appointment itself, but the notary will not advise you. He is only responsible for ensuring that the contract is legally correct. To be sure that there are no hidden uncertainties, it is better to have the contract checked in advance.