Expert: Buy property or not? Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Munich

Many people play with the idea of buying a property in one of the popular cities. These cities include Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Munich. But to find the suitable real estate is not at all so easy and as a layman it is often difficult to evaluate whether it is worthwhile to invest in an apartment or a house as an investment. We did an interview with an expert for you.

Interview with real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.

Capital investment – Is it worth it?

FIV: We met last month to discuss house sales in general and the future of living. Today we wanted to know more about the hotspots in Germany. We all know the news of rising real estate prices in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and especially Munich. Rents, but also land and purchase prices are exploding here. Many people are thinking about investing in real estate – sooner or later. But is real estate a worthwhile capital investment at all?

That depends. It depends on how long I want to hold this investment. In the long run at least a real estate is a very good investment. I’ll tell you a personal story: When I wanted to buy a 2-room apartment in Frankfurt more than 20 years ago, gab´s had a lot of discussions with my parents and friends. They thought I was crazy in view of the returns that could otherwise be earned on the market (time deposits, gold, stocks, etc.). With a rental yield of 5% at the time, one looked rather old at that time alongside the usual forms of capital investment.

FIV: And then why did you still get into real estate?

Because the value of this apartment has risen dramatically in the following years. And that was already apparent at that time! Actually, many people, including myself, initially believed that the price increase on the housing market was coming to an end so slowly but surely. But the opposite was true. Apart from the one or other dent or two, the value development of real estate has constantly risen. So I could sell this apartment today for a multiple of the original price. I paid the loan from then via the rent and at the same time my small equity capital invested at that time grew without my involvement. And this is far higher than with the vast majority of share packages or other conventional investments.

FIV: And that works everywhere?

That would be too good to be true! Here the location of the apartment or house is very important. If I had bought a big house somewhere in the countryside, far away from all the hustle and bustle, then things would probably have turned out quite differently. This does not mean that a house in the country is basically a bad investment. In the so-called “fat belt” of conurbations, for example, property prices have also developed rapidly. If the location of the purchased property is regarded as very desirable for living, then not much can go wrong in the long run and the one or other “dent” in the value development is to be absorbed. By the way: it is well known that share packages or funds also have one or the other bend in their performance. The decisive factor is the so-called investment horizon, i.e. the time I give my capital investment to develop its value. Fast money cannot be made in the real estate business. In the long term, however, it is a very solid and secure investment.

Is there an end in sight?

FIV: But isn’t the boom slowly coming to an end?

Of course, I can’t predict that for sure. As I said: even 20 years ago, many real estate experts believed that the price trend for purchase and rent had come to an end. That was not true, as we have seen to this day. How the prices for the purchase of real estate – and by the way also for the rent level – change depends above all on how much living space will be demanded in the future and what new living space can be created. In any case, I cannot see any saturation of the real estate market in the long run.
The question remains: how is the interest rate level developing? If it becomes more expensive to borrow money to buy real estate, then the real estate market cools down again. And then we are again at the “dents” mentioned above. The investor has to endure them.

FIV: Should I buy a property now, or should I wait until prices fall?

If I knew if and when prices would fall, I would probably advise you to wait and see. Especially if the price reduction for the property would not be eaten up by significantly higher interest rates in the financing. But since none of us has the proverbial glass ball, I advise: calculate exactly what I can afford and then look for and buy the matching object in a sought-after location.

Real estate market in the big cities

FIV: This brings us to the areas in Germany where real estate values have been rising for a long time. Let’s look at the four top regions: Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Düsseldorf. Let’s start with Berlin. How do you rate the real estate market in the capital?

It is unbelievable how Berlin has developed in recent years. Apartment houses were then sold for a button and a clicker because nobody wanted them and now domestic and foreign investors are ripping themselves off for real estate in our capital. Berlin is hip and also “the place to be”. For many young adults it is the coolest city in the world, even people from other European and non-European countries are drawn to Berlin.
Which district is currently “in” changes in Berlin almost as fast as in any other major German city. In the meantime, the boom has also affected the suburbs. Reinickendorf, for example, increased real estate prices by about a quarter last year. This is insane! Even previously unattractive districts such as Marzahn-Hellersorf or Spandau have seen significant increases in purchase and rental prices. This in turn means that municipalities in the immediate vicinity of Berlin have a much higher population growth rate than Berlin itself. Potsdam, Teltow, Bernau or Falkensee are on the rise. It remains to be seen whether prices there will develop so dramatically.

Increasing property prices – buy or wait?

FIV: How do you rate the rising prices in Berlin and the surrounding area? Should we buy a property or wait and see?

I believe it will be a long time before the market in Berlin and the surrounding area calms down. So now is certainly a good time to buy, because in the long run the prices there continue to rise and now the interest rate level is still low.

FIV: Let’s go south, to Munich. Munich is regarded as the hotspot for rising prices – regardless of whether it is a condominium or a detached house in the suburbs. The Handelsblatt reports a price development of +47 percent. What makes the Bavarian metropolis special and how is the market developing here?

As long as the growth of the corresponding economic sectors in Bavaria does not slow down, experts will be sought there and they in turn will be looking for housing. Especially when the specialists of the respective industries, and this is still the IT environment and other service companies in Munich, do not find jobs elsewhere. Experts estimate that by 2035 there will be about 350,000 new arrivals in the greater Munich area. Municipalities such as Dachau, Fürstenfeldbruck or even Landsberg am Lech are already attractive as places to live for people who commute daily to Munich.
The pressure on property prices and rents there is also being increased by the still high recreational value of the region. For many people, the proximity to the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea is much more attractive than – say – the North Sea or Holland. Ultimately this means that in the Munich area, salaries are usually higher than elsewhere in Germany. However, the prices for buying or renting apartments usually eat up this “surplus”. Especially for families this is a real problem…

Purchase real estate in Munich

FIV: Against this background, what do you think about buying real estate in Munich?

Anyone who gets one and can pay for it should buy safely from the perspectives. In relative terms, however, the performance and rental yield in other selected areas of Germany is by no means worse than in Munich. I’m thinking of Berlin, the Rhine-Main area or the Cologne-Düsseldorf axis.

FIV: You didn’t mention Hamburg now. Is there a reason for that? Away from publicity, do objects like the Hamburg Philharmonic generally enhance the city or just a part of it?

Sure. Hamburg has also experienced a steep development. A few years ago, the image of the city was still rather grubby, but a lot has happened there – especially with the Hafen-City and many other urban development projects. Hamburg as a whole is far removed from price developments such as Munich.
Of course, construction projects such as an Elbe Philharmonic Hall enhance a city as a whole. Not alone, though. Overall, cultural institutions, but also other large “lighthouse projects”, promote the image of a city. However, I would like to see the money more often in many smaller developments. In all major projects, for example, the individual quarters must not be forgotten. Of course, it’s nice to see this building from the Elbe. However, the renewal and maintenance of the parks, the upgrading of playgrounds, the subsidization of kindergartens in the individual districts will lead more to the whole city developing a positive pull They will become more attractive for the people who now live there and for newcomers. This means growth in the number of inhabitants, tax revenue, etc. That is why, to return to the question once again, I am rather sceptical about investing in a major project of this scale.

Hamburg from above – The Hanseatic City

Purchasing real estate in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg

FIV: Hamburg is not that far away from the sea. The North Sea and Baltic Sea are popular holiday regions. So if I buy a property in the north, would I rather buy it in the countryside than in a holiday home or in the city itself?

The same applies to Hamburg as to Berlin and Munich. Often even the prices per square metre and the expected rents are directly comparable. Using an apartment in the city as a holiday home can be problematic. Many cities have put a stop to the rental of holiday homes (Airbnb etc.). The risk of rent loss would be too high for me. The holiday home in the countryside only makes sense where there are really good occupancy rates – and best of all throughout the year. In the “Alte Land” or in “Vierlanden” – to name just a few areas in the direct vicinity of Hamburg, this is certainly not the case. Moreover, one should be a little better versed in the tourism rental business if one does not want to suffer a shipwreck with his investment in a holiday property by the sea. I therefore advise most people against doing something like this.

FIV: We still have the Cologne / Düsseldorf region. There are currently about two million people living there. Buy or better rent? What are your tips for Cologne and Düsseldorf?

Who can, should buy! Especially Düsseldorf and the surrounding area are not much behind the price development compared to Berlin and Hamburg. However, the following applies to both cities: take a close look at the district in which the property is located. In Cologne and Düsseldorf, it has not yet been noticeable that former “shadow districts” are becoming the absolute in-city districts overnight. In Düsseldorf, Oberkassel is still on the list as one of the “top addresses”, while Eller and Flingern are rather undervalued. In Cologne, the most sought-after districts have been called “Rodenkirchen” and “Bickendorf” for many years. “Chorweiler” or “Nippes” are rather something for connoisseurs of the scenes…

FIV: What is the difference between the attractiveness of the two cities?

I’m sure you don’t expect me to answer that seriously. There is still no binding answer to this fundamental question of Rhenish existence. Maybe this much: in both cities there is delicious beer and nice pubs.

Thank you so much for the interview.

Interview with real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.

Condominium as a capital investment: Investing sensibly

Many people come up with the idea of investing in a condo in the course of their lives. Especially as a layman questions arise again and again. We have interviewed an expert in this field for you. Here you can find out everything you need to know about condominiums as a capital investment.

Interview with real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.

Condominium apartment as investment

FIV: You have been a successful real estate agent in the Rhine-Main region and beyond for more than 15 years. What are the five most important qualities that you think a real estate agent should have when it comes to selling a property?

Basically the same applies here as for the real estate agent who is to become active with the purchase of a real estate. I’ll start by saying it in a few words:

  1. A good broker has proven experience.
  2. A good real estate agent knows the local real estate market.
  3. Good knowledge in the building industry distinguishes the good broker.
  4. he has provided all relevant documents without being asked or has compiled them correctly.
  5. A good broker accompanies the sales process at least until the conclusion of the notarial contract and accompanies the contract date.

FIV: But how can anyone who sells an apartment or a house for the first time know that?

You may find it a little strange, but here too – as in life in general – the first impression is very important. Nobody lets themselves be blinded anymore by big cars, suits and ties. A good real estate agent first takes a close look at the property and talks to the seller about his wishes and goals. Listen and watch: this is the start of a successful business relationship with the broker.

Rating for real estate portals

FIV: What do you think of the ratings on the various Internet portals?

This is really a very good first opportunity to find out about the quality of a broker. However, one should not only superficially rely on the rating stars, but also read the individual reviews. At least the more up-to-date ones, because they give you a good overview of the broker’s work quality and his effect on the customer. The number of evaluations received also plays an important role. Here the motto “a lot helps a lot” applies, in order to get a really representative impression of the quality of the broker.

Whether the real estate agent knows the real estate market in which the property is to be sold is also easily verifiable. He should know which prices are currently paid for houses of different quality levels; he should be able to assign the so-called “microlocations” by means of quarter or street names – preferably even without being asked.

I also recommend that the seller, before choosing a real estate agent, asks around in the city or region what the reputation of the real estate agency is. Especially if you are working with a broker for the first time, you will get a lot of useful first information and impressions.

FIV: What should I look out for in an initial consultation in order to distinguish serious brokers from dubious ones? Are there three concrete tips that you should take into account during the conversation or even during the first conversation on the phone?

During the first telephone call, there is usually nothing more happening than exchanging information on the modalities of cooperation and then, if necessary, arranging a viewing appointment on site.
During the first consultation it is important that the real estate agent explains to you what information he needs about your property and how he is going to market it. Also the selling price is discussed in the first appointment. Conversely, the seller should name his own wishes and goals in the sales process.

Otherwise, let the real estate agent look into every corner at his first viewing appointment! When he visits the traditional “weak points” of real estate on his own initiative, you know: the man is from the (construction) trade. Because even if you as a seller want to hide or conceal possible problem areas of the property: the experienced buyer will discover them and, in the worst case, refrain from the purchase.

The good broker looks into the cellar, under the roof, evaluates the condition of masonry, windows, heating, etc. and gives you recommendations as to whether and to what extent damage must be repaired before the sale. This is often a tricky subject. Very few sellers are interested in investing in the property to be sold. However, we recommend that you at least invest in basic maintenance in order to prevent possible damage to the property. So the roof should be really tight so that no serious moisture damage occurs.

The planning of a broker

FIV: Is there something like a checklist that I can expect from real estate agents?

No, we don’t work with a list to check off. An experienced real estate agent knows from his professional qualifications what is necessary and important for the successful sale of real estate. He will ask the salesperson about the basis of the sale in a consultation. These include floor plans, details of living space, year of construction, dates of renovation work and much more.

Finally, a good real estate agent will show you all the steps that are necessary and important from the valuation to the coordination and execution of viewing appointments to the notary appointment. He will also show you which services he provides as part of this process.

FIV: That is already a considerable effort up to here. Does the seller have to pay for this advice? What exactly does the real estate agent have to do afterwards and how much time does it take until the sale is completed?

In fact, the real estate agent is not paid until the property is sold. He shall offer all services rendered up to this point in time as advance performance. We’ll see how much work is done later.
At this point, let me say something about the keyword “sole mandate”. If you want to sell your property successfully in the foreseeable future, you should give the estate agent this exclusive contract, ideally for a period of half a year. This “exclusiveness” is important if only because the broker also sets about the sales process with the necessary intensity. When I know that many “cooks” stir in the proverbial porridge, then much less commitment of the individual becomes necessary and possible. The commissioning of several brokers is also problematic in other areas. Several brokers often lead to different selling prices. If they all appear on the market at the same time, this throws a dubious light on the seller and his property.

However, the sales process is certainly not accelerated by hiring several brokers. The sale of a house often takes up to half a year or longer. Very rarely it takes only a few weeks.

And that doesn’t always have anything to do with the quality of the property! Just the preparation of the exposé by the real estate agent, the placement of the property with the appropriate customer group, in the corresponding portals takes some time. Above all, however, the broker’s mediation work comes into play here. His job is to mediate between seller and buyer. For example, with regard to the sales price, the planned handover date, etc.

On the part of the seller, the period depends, for example, on whether all important documents are already available or have to be obtained first. The location of the house is also very important. In sought-after residential areas it is often much quicker to sell a house. Even if it’s not in the best condition.

Development of selling prices

FIV: A few words at the selling price. Do brokers screw up selling prices artificially along with sellers? The broker for the commission, the seller for the proceeds?

I don’t think so. In addition to the general market situation of supply and demand, the price of a property is primarily determined by tangible factors. This includes the location, the state of construction, the age of the house and, in individual cases, the circumstances of the seller, i.e. whether he may have to sell the house out of a predicament.

Otherwise, it is a sign of a quality broker that he is not simply earning the highest price and entering the market. There are indeed brokers who try to secure the sole contract for the property with high entry prices. According to the motto: go down with the price I can still later. The selling price as a tactical tool of the broker… That’s clearly to the seller’s disadvantage! We, on the other hand, determine an optimal price for your property that takes the above-mentioned aspects into account. By the way, this also creates trust on the buyer’s side! Most buyers are well informed about the property prices and expose the tactical high price offers.

FIV: What influence does the issue of “financing the purchase of real estate” have on the duration of the sales process?

That puts us back on the buyer’s side. In fact, the financing of the purchase price on the part of the interested party is often a brake on the sales process. There are always buyers who do not enter the bank discussion until they have visited the property. In the worst case, they then realize very late that their own financial leeway is not sufficient to acquire the offered property. From the salesperson’s point of view it is therefore important to work with several interested parties. Attracting these interested parties and inspiring them at the viewing appointment is then also one of the important and labour-intensive further tasks of the broker.

Tasks of a broker

FIV: This is a good introduction to the next question: What do you do besides receiving interested parties at the viewing appointment?

An estate agent does not only receive the prospective customers at the inspection date simply! Even the appointment arrangements cost – as already mentioned – a lot of time… A viewing appointment is a difficult matter. This isn’t just a house tour! It’s about feeling what the prospective buyers are like. What do they value about the house? Where might it be necessary to mediate between seller and buyer? What do the interested parties say to me between the lines regarding their needs in living and living? We also try to determine whether the buyer’s financial strength is sufficient for the project at the inspection date. After all, we are the seller’s representative first and foremost and want to protect him from unpleasant surprises. Nothing is worse than when the sale bursts shortly before the agreed notary’s appointment, because there is no money at the buyer’s…

We have already mentioned the creation of a meaningful exposé above. Usually we do not only make appealing texts, but also the photos for the exposé. This also takes time and requires a lot of experience. The exposé is usually also the basis for financing the buyer. Therefore, it should be as meaningful as possible.

The sales process does not end until all sides are happy. Until then, as brokers we also accompany the preparation of the purchase contracts, the notary appointments and contact buyers and sellers. Depending on the size of the property, personalities of sellers and buyers, or even detailed questions regarding the purchase price payment, the moving out date, etc., this is a tedious and lengthy brokerage work of the broker. And he doesn’t get paid until the sales contract is signed. A lot of upfront work, then.

Costs around real estate

FIV: What kind of property do you spend the most time on when it comes to mediation?

If all requirements are met, it does not matter whether I sell a single-family house or an apartment building. However, multi-family houses do not always tend to sell rapidly. But that is not because such objects are not in demand. On the contrary: the apartment building is usually a capital investment project for the buyer. This is why the buyer puts his investment through its paces, and vice versa, the broker should have all the necessary information ready.
In the case of a single-family house, too high a price expectation on the part of the seller is often the hurdle to rapid sales success. Here a broker must proceed very cautiously in order to create a realistic view of the seller.

FIV: If I want to buy a property, be it a condominium, a single-family house or an apartment building, what do I have to do or what can I do to have an advantage over other interested parties? So how can we score with the owner or broker?

Quite simple: Be honest to yourself and to the seller or his representative the broker! Don’t fool around with false truths about your financial possibilities. Because that happens more often than you think. Many buyers believe that they only have to put on enough weight in terms of their financial means to win. However, the experienced broker knows how to uncover this mask with specific questions.

As a potential buyer, find out what your bank will give you before the viewing date. If you then enter into a conversation with a concrete and current financing commitment from a bank, this underlines both your serious intention and your seriousness.

Finally, it is also very important to clearly express one’s own wishes and dislikes with regard to the property. This helps both sides to save time and ensures tailor-made offers from the broker.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Interview with real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.

Investment real estate: tax advantages? Nursing home? – Questions and answers

Many real estate issues are complex. In particular, topics such as capital investment are often incomprehensible to laypeople. It is therefore all the more pleasant when someone who is familiar with this topic explains it in simple words. FIV has conducted an interview with an expert for you. In this interview you will learn everything about capital investment.

Interview with real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.

Capital investment real estate – You should note this

FIV: Investing money is complex. Especially when it comes to real estate. Condominium, single-family house, land or an entire apartment building. How would you describe your approach to investments in a few sentences for our readers? What do I need to know if I want to invest money in real estate?

Right from the start I work according to the motto “only those who know their goal can achieve it”! Sounds banal, and actually it is. I must have a clear idea of what I want to achieve when it comes to investment – as I do in life. Once I’ve defined the goal, it’s about the strategy to achieve it.

FIV: Okay! I’d like to be a millionaire. It’s a clear target, isn’t it? With which system can I achieve this in the best and safest way?

Since my business is real estate, I can ultimately only speak for this area. But this much is certain: when it comes to long-term prospects for capital accumulation, these can be very well and reliably planned with real estate. Company investments – whether as funds or investments in a single company – are subject to strong fluctuations in their performance. Although these can also be offset over a longer investment period, there is still a higher residual risk than with real estate. In addition, there is another very important aspect with real estate: Under certain circumstances, I can achieve a significantly higher return with my existing equity capital than with any other investment. This is due to the so-called lever effect. This always occurs when I do not use the purchased property myself – i.e. rent it out. The rent is my income with this form of investment. If I compare this return exclusively to my invested equity capital, then yields in the solid double-digit range are generated.

Should you take risks?

FIV: But these are tricks, aren’t they? I have to borrow money from the bank to buy a property. That also costs money in the form of interest and redemption.

I don’t MUST borrow money, but I should do it. And this has nothing to do with the interest rates, which are still favourable at present.
Assuming I had enough equity to finance the property I wanted without a loan. Then I save the interest and repayment, but have a much worse return, because I use a lot of money to earn the rent. If, on the other hand, I borrow the money from the bank, then I only have to deduct the interest from the rental income – if I am serious about it. The repayment of the credit is my over the repayment years stretched additional own capital funds, which I put into the “piggy bank” real estate. Strictly speaking, it does not depend on the return on equity. On the contrary, if I have made the right choice when choosing a flat or apartment building, the flat will continue to gain in value in the coming years. If the speculation period of ten years and best also the financing period has expired, I can sell the apartment again and collect the increase in value as an additional return on my redemption capital.

What do I have to consider?

FIV: Sounds very simple. But what’s the catch?

Only in two places you have to be careful! I had already mentioned one place with the right location of the property. If you want to invest your money in a rented apartment, you have to pay attention to the location. Even if it should not be the top location at the time of purchase, there must be a noticeable improvement in sight within the planned investment period – i.e. as long as one wants to keep the apartment. Otherwise, the increase in value won’t work.

On the other hand, this leverage effect only works if the financing interest for my borrowed capital is not higher than the total return on capital of the property. With the current interest situation, however, this is not an issue for the purchase of a decent apartment today.

I recommend here to simply visit one or the other bank. There you usually get clear statements as to which financing framework the bank is prepared to cover. Conversely, I then know how much own money I need as an investment or in which league I can afford an investment object.

FIV: What’s better then? To buy an apartment or a house for yourself, or rather to rent it out?

When it comes purely to capital investment and returns, a property for rent is the better choice. If I want to occupy the capital investment for “today” and the property itself for the future, then I should make sure when choosing the property that the furnishings and location of the property meet my own living requirements.

FIV: How do you then confidently walk the capital market, especially if the future always remains uncertain? Are there any concrete recommendations from you as an expert for our readers?

Of course I will only be able and willing to talk about the real estate market. Anyone who has invested in the real estate business for a long time already knows how to present themselves in this market segment. But everyone else can learn that well! For beginners in the investment business, I recommend starting small. A small two-room apartment in a city or region whose population has grown steadily in recent years is a good place to start investing safely in real estate. The certainty as to whether there will also be a move in for the following years or decades and thus a need for living space can be obtained from the respective municipal administrations, for example. Often the homepage of the city or region already has some information about the urban development.

Catch up with expert advice

With regard to the property itself, the overall state of construction and equipment is of course important. In case of doubt one can consult an architect, a friendly craftsman or other people with appropriate real estate expertise. What renovations have been made? What’s on the agenda? What is the overall ownership structure of the house like? How high is the fluctuation among the tenants of the other apartments? Is there any information about the apartment I’m about to buy? Of course, this is only possible with existing properties. In the case of new buildings, one takes a look at the houses that the developer has already built elsewhere and, if necessary, talks to the residents who have already bought from this developer.

The “right” purchase price still remains…. The Bank is in demand here, as I explained earlier with regard to the leverage effect. Be sure to have several banks calculate for you how rental income, running costs (reserves, etc.) will relate to the loan conditions and the equity capital for you. In plain language: You will also receive different offers from different banks. This may be worth it for you.

FIV: And now the question of how self-confident should I appear in the conversation:

Self-confidence doesn’t mean I’m performing with the proverbial big arms. On the contrary: the real estate seller and the banker will quickly notice how experienced you are in matters of capital investment. It’s better to be a beginner! After all, bankers are now also strongly liable if they give the wrong advice.

Is the investment worth it?

FIV: We currently hear a lot about real estate returns of 4.5 percent, sometimes 6 percent. In the context of the current development of interest rates on savings balances, this sounds like a sensible investment. Would you agree with me? How much do real estate currently pay off as a capital investment?

These yield data are really serious and covered by my experiences. As far as the pure return on equity is concerned, it often even looks much better, as we have heard above. I can only repeat here that real estate is a good and safe investment in terms of yield as a capital investment – the so-called “concrete gold”. Prerequisite: the location of the property is such that it generates continuous rental income at the normal market level. If longer periods of loss of rent are to be feared, for example because the residential area or the house has a high tenant fluctuation, then the investment does not pay off.

Various types of real estate – Investment opportunities

FIV: Which type of property would therefore pay off for me? Better the small single apartment, the large condominium for families or better a detached house?

If you are a beginner in the real estate business, then start with the small single apartment. The single-family house is rather a problematic thing as a capital investment for letting. If you are then times correctly in it and also have the necessary capital, it is with real estates like with shares: the mixture macht´s! Single-apartments in corresponding regions (e.g. student cities) combined with large housing units makes sense. In concrete terms, houses with apartments between 50 sqm and 110 sqm are ideal, as apartments over 110 sqm are usually more difficult to let.

FIV: Many questions, when is it worth investing? 10,000 euros, 20,000 euros. Are the investment opportunities just discussed suitable only after a certain financial framework or are there perhaps also new alternatives and possibilities, for example in the form of regular instalments?

Here, too, we would like to point out once again that good real estate can be financed even with small investment amounts. The prerequisite is that the bank also recognises that the property is a secure investment. Condition of construction, location, amount of rent, etc. – all this must be right so that you get the credit for the purchase price demanded. Ultimately, the annual net cold rent is the proverbial crux of the matter. Of course, everything also depends on my having a regular income.

FIV: For all those who are thinking about selling or buying. Which region and location do you consider to have the greatest potential in Germany?

Oh, dear… There are so many regions. I myself live in the Rhine-Main area. This is in any case a good region to buy. And I’m not just talking about the big cities of Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Mainz. The small towns in this region are also doing well in real estate. Hamburg, the Bonn-Cologne-Düsseldorf line, the Munich area, Berlin and Stuttgart are further examples.

Investments in nursing homes or homes for the elderly

FIV: Finally, the question: What do you think of investments in old people’s homes or nursing homes?

Very little! – is my short answer. This is related to the very high risk that this form of housing has as an investment. We’re talking about so-called social real estate here. In view of the aging population and the resulting increase in demand for senior citizens’ and nursing homes, it is suggested that this is a safe investment. However, these properties as management properties – like hotels, for example – have a serious disadvantage: if the operating company works poorly, such a property quickly becomes a bottomless pit. In the meantime, there are numerous examples of nursing homes that were either not used to capacity or lacked the necessary investments to guarantee a high standard of care. Then again the residents are absent, which in turn leads to a lack of investment by the operators. A vicious circle! Not only is there no rental income, you usually also have to inject a lot of capital in order to get the house in shape or to keep it that way.

Private customers are already being taken advantage of when it comes to the purchase prices of nursing home properties! Usually nursing homes are acquired by so-called institutional buyers. Like a hospital company or something. However, they are only prepared to invest a maximum of 14 times the expected net annual rents. This is why the developers of these facilities have in the past switched to approaching private customers – with the corresponding return promises. Often 20 times the net annual rent is charged as the purchase price, because it is supposed to be a great and safe investment. I’m not saying “hands off”, but it takes a lot of experience and advice to get into this business.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Interview with real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.

7 Tips for visiting apartments: Checklist for landlord, flat share, flat and house

Whether house or apartment for rent: The first viewing appointment puts many under pressure. The first shared flat, the first apartment and maybe even your own house at some point. On real estate portals we quickly and easily find thousands of apartments in Berlin Mitte, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne or Düsseldorf. With apps or on the notebook – but then it comes, the viewing appointment! 40, 50 applicants in 15 minutes for a single apartment are not uncommon. How can you convince the landlord of you?! We met with the brokers and experts from and got 7 ultimate tips for your viewing appointment. This way you increase the chances of your dream home! If you want to read through everything in detail, then you will find the article: 7 Tips for visiting apartments here.

Tips for your apartment viewing

How do I convince at the inspection appointment for my new apartment? Many who move to a larger city for the first time are directly confronted with the reality of an apartment visit. There are not many flats, and therefore there are up to 100 applicants on site, even at inspection appointments! Many magazines and newspapers, of course also TV have reported about it, in Germany there is a housing shortage! That’s why we met with experts today to find out how you can shine on your next apartment tour! How do you mean? Ultimately, the point is that the landlord gets a positive and personal impression of you. With a few little lifehacks, you can quickly gain an advantage. Here are the 7 ultimate tips for your apartment viewing!

New now! The FIV App for your apartment inspection: Learn online and prepare yourself perfectly with over 100 questions. Read more here: Tenants & Landlords Questions

Write an e-mail instead of just “visit request”

What is the biggest mistake most people make at the beginning of their housing search? You write randomly to many landlords and do not write personal texts but simply use the standard form. This is what most real estate portals offer, where you just enter your name and e-mail address and most of the time you have a ready-made text that looks something like this:

  • I ask for a viewing appointment

Of course, landlords of apartments and houses receive such standardized requests daily, not only daily but probably several times an hour. Because if at the end up to 100 applicants on a housing inspection are, there must have arrived already in the apron extremely many applications. But who does the real estate agent or the landlord remember? Tip number one, use a few personal words instead of just the standard text in the real estate portal!

As a rule, you will find the contact person or the name of your contact person in the real estate advertisement. Of course you should use this in your first cover letter. Ideally, you should also state the object number in your cover letter so that you are not registered for another apartment under any circumstances. The most important tip, however, is to formulate your honest interest in the apartment. Because the landlord, you must always remember, usually has only two or three objects. These are quasi his retirement provision, a capital investment for the late years. Of course every landlord wants quiet and solvent tenants, so that you don’t have to worry about annoying matters. Therefore, you should write a few sentences about yourself in your first cover letter, for example about your job and of course a few words about why you are interested in the apartment! Please ask for a viewing appointment afterwards and then finish with a few friendly words.

In a nutshell:

  • Use the direct salutation, if the name of the landlord or offerer is in the advertisement, this works directly much more personal
  • Always name the apartment or object number
  • formulate your honest interest in the apartment or flat share and use not only the automatically generated text of the real estate portals
  • Definitely write a few sentences about yourself (see tip 2 for details)
  • Please ask for a viewing date, if you have little time or are just in exam stress, directly name possible time windows for a viewing date
  • Don’t forget the farewell greeting, like “kind regards”

2. Tell something about yourself, who are you?

Okay, your cover letter is just a little more personal. But what exactly should you talk about in your first cover letter? You shouldn’t reveal too much of yourself! In the end, it’s enough to write two or three friendly sentences. Mention your profession best! After all, landlords and real estate agents want solvent tenants who pay their rent on time. The most important is therefore a regular income.

As you should call your professional situation, you should definitely omit a few things in your first cover letter. For example, if you smoke, you shouldn’t mention that. If you have a small pet, for example a guinea pig or a budgie, then you should not mention this directly in the first cover letter! Do you prefer to stay in your professional situation or maybe you can also shine with an honorary dance?

You must be serious

A last but rarely noticed aspect is the seriousness in the cover letter. That is, from which e-mail address do you send your request? If a landlord sees a dubious email address, your chances are already lower in relation to a respectable email address. That’s why you should make sure that your e-mail address looks good too! An untrustworthy email address they for example so from:


Instead, choose a reputable email address, without frills. For example, a legitimate email address looks like this:


If your desired name is no longer available, just add .flat, like here:


Sad but true, with certain surnames one has worse chances with landlords, which was proven by some studies. In particular surnames from the Arabic area have clearly less chances to get an appointment for an apartment inspection. The experts from have two tips here. One is if you have a partner whose name sounds more local, perhaps use his or her name in the cover letter. This increases the chances, because the name sounds more familiar. Tip number two is, should you have a second first name, use it and shortlist it off by a period. Studies have also shown that such an abbreviated first name has a similar effect to an academic title.

Always follow courtesy rules

Extremely many people are volunteers and help society. Although one does this of course out of conviction, one can perhaps indicate with it once with the housing search. Of course, landlords also think it is very good to stand up for society and the general public. Because, of course, an apartment building that belongs to the landlord is also a kind of community. So if you can push your limits through professional commitment and social commitment, then you can only score points!

Tip! Clothing makes people

Fashion makes so much difference! Anyone who dresses stylishly and has a certain feeling for modern times scores quickly. The first impression, which is hardly a second, counts. Do you look serious and sorted or do you look rather casual and therefore also careless? Clothing in particular is very important. For example, many male landlords pay particular attention to the applicants’ shoes. Therefore you should think about your outfit when you go to your viewing appointment.

Tip! Bag full of documents > businessman

Who is busy a lot, he has usually also many documents which he must work on. If you have a bag with you anyway, for example to bring your documents, which we will talk about later, then you might want to put some additional folders in your bag. The fuller your bag, the more papers you have, the busier you look. Since solvency is a big factor, which means that you can afford the rent, this is a good indicator for many landlords. You take responsibility, you organize and you have a lot to do.

Ask the right questions

What are you talking about at your first viewing? The right choice of questions is of course also very important when you are talking to your potential new landlord. Of course, we could go into a great deal of detail here, but the basic idea is that you try to save the landlord as much inconvenience as possible. Rather than asking questions about what’s wrong here or when the next renovation is due, you should ask questions about what the neighborhood is like. What nice restaurants are there nearby? How are the buses set up nearby? All these questions do not mean much effort for the landlord at first, therefore it is not worth it for you in the first small talk to deal with things that cost the landlord time or money, but rather tend to social issues.

Don’t always tell everything before you

So far we have talked a lot about what you should say about yourself, but you shouldn’t tell everything about yourself! Because you don’t always have to be honest at a viewing appointment, for example if you like smoking, you don’t necessarily have to mention that you smoke a lot. If you like listening to loud music, you shouldn’t necessarily mention that you like listening to loud heavy metal music. So always think about what information you give and what you don’t.

Prepare a folder with a small cover letter

You did it all! You have formulated a good cover letter with which you got your viewing appointment. You talked to the landlord or real estate agent and showed yourself at your best. You were talking about your job, your hobbies and maybe even your volunteering. Now you have another possibility to distinguish yourself from all the other applicants, prepare your own folder! Just as you wrote a personal cover letter in your first e-mail, you should also hand in a personal folder at the end of your visit. Most will again only take the standardized pressure of the landlord and quickly enter your information. If you have already made a professional folder of yourself in advance of the inspection appointment, in which the landlord finds all relevant information and forms, you stand out from the crowd once again!

  • ID card
  • self-disclosure
  • Contract of employment / Proof of income
  • Schufa information
  • certificate from previous lessor
  • rental surety (if available)

Voilà! It can be that easy to stay in the landlord’s head and gain a small advantage over the others.

In the end it’s all about mental strength and maybe just about the attitude “This is the apartment I’m getting”. Therefore a few tips for mental strength at your first or your next apartment visit!

Extra: Evidence of character!

Here once again the most important thing for your own mental attitude during the apartment inspection and the preparation for the inspection. Tips at a glance:

  1. leave a good first impression
  2. Tread naturally and confidently on
  3. Bring your complete documentation with
  4. Ask the right questions and give the right answers
  5. Show that you are determined to get the property
  6. Insert yourself into the landlord