Ordbog

Certificate of self-containment (Abgeschlossenheitsbescheinigung)

According to German law, the certificate of self-containment is a certificate that condominiums or even a part-ownership are, based on the Condominium Act, sufficiently self-contained structurally from other residences and rooms. The separation is realized by, for example, walls and ceilings. Furthermore, a lockable entrance must be ensured. The certificate of self-containment is issued by the building supervisory board. This board is also responsible for the building licence and the approval of construction.

Construction specification (Baubeschreibung)

The construction specification is a detailed description of the building to be constructed. This not only defines the materials required but also the type of execution. If this concerns private real estate financing, then the construction specification belongs to the basics that a builder or real estate buyer must present to his bank for credit approval. This is thus an important component of a building contract. Furthermore, it is explicitly required when a purchase of land or a purchase from builders is connected with the construction. 

Service charges (Betriebskosten)

Service charges are understood to be the costs which incur due to the ongoing operation and maintaining of a real estate. This includes heating costs, liability, repairs and real estate tax.

Courtage

Courtage, also known as broker’s commission, describes the fee to be paid to the agent after a contract is closed or for negotiating a contract.

Loan fee (Darlehensgebühr)

The loan fee is a fee which is due when a loan is provided. The amount of the loan fee is agreed upon by the lender and the borrower beforehand. It is commonly calculated from the amount of the loan and is listed as a percentage. The loan fee is commonly charged directly to the loan account. The paying of the loan fee is then done in monthly instalments which are made up of a repayment and an interest portion. The interest portion also includes the loan fee because here the effective interest rate is included which contains all of the costs of a loan.

Community association (Eigentümergemeinschaft - WEG)

All homeowners of a housing complex make up a community association. It cannot be dissolved because it is legally bound. All parties must make decisions together and are represented externally by a trustee (WEG trustee).

Equity capital (Eigenkapital)

Equity capital is the funds which a buyer has to bring up himself in order to purchase a property. This can also include cash or savings.

Energy pass (Energieausweis)

The energy pass is understood to be a quality seal for real estate. Similarly to a refrigerator, the energy pass clarifies the energy efficiency category of a property.

Borrowed capital (Fremdkapital)

Borrowed capital includes any financial funds which are provided by banks, building societies, insurances or private third parties as a loan for financing a real estate.

Financing plan (Finanzierungsplan)

With the help of a financing plan, the demand for credit is calculated. This way the buyer can see how much he will be financially burdened.

Collective property (Gemeinschaftseigentum)

Collective property includes all areas which are not counted as estate in severalty such as, for example, buildings and stairwells or laundry rooms and boiler rooms. The buyer automatically receives the right to use the collective property at purchase.

Land register (Grundbuch)

Within the land register, the ownership structure and rights as well as the charges for a property are recorded in written or electronic form. It is a public record of properties and contains, among other things, information pertaining to the owner of the corresponding property. Furthermore, it allows entitled third parties to view ownership structures.

Mortgage loan (Hypothekendarlehen)

A mortgage loan is a long-term loan which is collateralised with a mortgage/land charge. A mortgage/land charge means minimum risk for the lender and interest remains low in comparison to other loans. This collateralisation is done by recording the mortgage/land charge in the land register.

Maintenance reserve (Instandhaltungsrücklage)

The maintenance reserve describes a financial provision for the resolving of defects or damages occurring in the future as well as modernisations. In the case of condominiums, the manager collects funds which were agreed upon at the owner’s meeting (also according to the law). The saving of an adequate maintenance reserve is the task of a sound administration and is included in the periodic common charges to be paid.

Real estate (Immobilie)

Real estate (Latin: im-mobilis for an immovable item), also known as an “immovable asset” in legal and economic jargon, is a property or a facility (building, residence). If property is meant, then real estate is also called an immovable (in German: Liegenschaft).

Annual statement (Jahresabrechnung)

The annual statement is the comparison of earnings and expenses of the homeowner association’s property manager for a year. It must contain a full settlement and the individual invoices for the individual residences. This also includes the costs of water, electricity for community lighting or waste disposal.

Real estate investment (Kapitalanlageimmobilie)

Real estate investment is a real estate for investment purposes as opposed to own use.

Land registry office (Katasteramt)

The land registry office measures individual properties and records this in a public registry. The largest land registry office unit is called a “Gemarkung” in German. The measured area is called a land lot or plot (cadastral parcel). Before purchasing a property, the cadastral map can be viewed at the land registry office and it provides information pertaining to location, plot number and usage type.

Site plan (Lageplan)

A site plan is a representation of an object in relation to location and surroundings. In order to create a building application, a site plan for the property is required because it defines the boundaries and the demarcations of the property and/or planned building.

Consent of deletion (Löschungsbewilligung)

With the consent of deletion, the creditor declares that, after loan repayment, the mortgage is deleted from the land register. This declaration is a legal land register prerequisite for deleting the mortgage from the land register and must be contained in an official document. 

Co-ownership share (Miteigentumsanteil)

The co-ownership share is the owner’s share of common property (i.e. real estate, stairwell etc.). This is defined within the declaration of division.

Security deposit (Mietkaution)

The security deposit is a deposit which is normally in the amount of three months’ rent and is given to the landlord as a collateral so that the landlord can settle his rental arrears or repairs as well as damages. After the contractual relationship has ended, the deposit, including interest, must be returned to the former tenant.

Rent index (Mietspiegel)

A rent index is an overview pertaining to the customary comparative rent within privately financed residential construction. It gives people an overview of where rent is the highest.

Notary public (Notar)

A notary public authenticates, among other things, real estate contracts and must be confidential and unbiased. A notary public is a trained solicitor so as to ensure that the parties are both informed as to the legal ramifications of the sales contract. He is obligated to inform both parties equally about their actions. He not only handles the informative aspect, but is also responsible for ensuring that both parties fully understand the sales contract.

Notary public’s escrow account (Notaranderkonto)

The notary can create an escrow account to which the sales price is transferred. This avoids the amount being put in with other amounts, assists in transparency as well as facilitates a legal processing of the sale and also ensures the transferring of the property to the buyer. 

Usable area (Nutzfläche)

The usable area describes the area which is not counted in the living area, such as for example, attic, cellar and stairways.

Property return (Objektrendite)

The property return is a term that stems from the real estate industry. It expresses the relationship between the net income and the acquisition costs of a real estate. Thus, it gives a better overview pertaining to whether or not a real estate investment makes economical sense. The higher the property return is, the more attractive the real estate investment. It should be taken into consideration that an initially high property return can be used up by value-preserving investments.

Planning costs (Planungskosten)

Planning costs encompasses the royalties (fees) for the architect, structural engineer, and others involved in planning. They are viewed as components of the total building costs. 

Refurbishment

Refurbishment is a modern way to upgrade a real estate at various levels. This includes creative and sustainable modernisation, optimisation and repositioning. 

Renovation (Renovierung)

Renovation is understood to be measures to maintain a structure. A renovation resolves damages resulting from usage and repairs them. Furthermore, it can also include cosmetic repairs which are listed in the rental contract. 

Right of special use (Sondernutzungsrecht)

The right of special use clarifies the sole use of certain areas and rooms which are actually part of the collective ownership. This is issued, for example, for the garden or a terrace for ground floor apartments or parking spaces. The rights of special use are governed by the declaration of division.

Real value (Sachwert)

The real value is the value of the property which is made up of the land value, the building value of the building and the value of the outdoor facilities. It also serves to determine the hypothecary value of an owner-occupied real estate.

Special fees (Sonderumlage)

Special fees are payments not foreseen, for example, repairs which were not initially calculated and thus cannot be financed with common charges.

Repayment (Tilgung)

Repayment describes the routine payment of a loan by a borrower. This also includes interest payments. With higher repayment instalments, the duration of the loan is shortened. For long-term repayments, we say mortgage.

Declaration of division (Teilungserklärung)

The declaration of division is a written declaration from the property owner to the land registry that the property is divided into co-ownership shares which are linked to estate in severalty. With the declaration of division, the legality of ownership and joint ownership are founded. Which sections of the building are estate in severalty and which represent collective ownership, can be determined by the declaration of division. Furthermore, special usage rights (i.e. parking spaces) are listed. The declaration of division is a prerequisite for the creation of condominium books. Only after this, is it possible to charge co-ownership shares.

Certificate of good standing (Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung)

The certificate of good standing is a document which ensures the owner that the buyer has already paid the corresponding land transfer tax or has been exempted from it. It shows that there are no tax matters to take care of before being entered into the land register.

Pre-emptive right (Vorkaufsrecht)

Thanks to the pre-emptive right, an interested buyer has the right to purchase real estate even if the sales contract is to be closed with a third party. This right is set beforehand in the contract or within the land register. Along with this private pre-emptive right, communities sometimes also have a public pre-emptive right to acquire a property.

Market value (Verkehrswert)

The market value can determine the value of a real estate with the help of the sales comparison approach or other methods. It is the price for a property which can be achieved at the time it was determined and under normal business operations. When determining the market value, the actual features, other characteristics and location of the property are taken into consideration without including personal or extraordinary relationships.

Common charge (Wohngeld)

The member of a community association must pay preset advancements at regular intervals. All costs according to the economic plan are included in the calculation of the common charge (also known as condo fee). The individual owner can, under certain circumstances, charge the common charge to tenants in the case of a rental to a certain extent. This is then listed as the "apportionable ancillary rental costs". In another instance, the term housing allowance is used to describe financial support calculated, approved and paid out to low earners by the housing office to help pay rent. Entitled individuals must file an application with the housing office.

Economic plan (Wirtschaftsplan)

The economic plan is an arrangement of a multiple party real estate which is determined for every year. A property management is responsible for this and normal sets this plan in advance. Within this plan, the income and planned expenses are listed. After this plan has been laid out, all owners must pay the advancement. At the end of the year, the property manager must present a statement and, when applicable, reimburse and or request subsequent payment.

Assessment of value (Wertermittlung)

By assessing the value, the market value is set. This is often determined from the sales and hypothecary value and serves to help come up with a possible sales price for a real estate.

Interim financing (Zwischenfinanzierung)

Interim financing is understood to be a short and medium-term acquisition of financial funds which are redeemed at a later time by so-called end financing.