Living in Germany
You’re considering moving to Germany, and you want to know what to expect: whether you are going to reside there to run a business, spend some time looking for a job or move as a dependent, there are many reasons for you to make this affluent, dynamic and culturally rich European country your home.
Why live in Germany?
Why, or indeed, why not? The Huffington Post voted Germany as one of the top places to live in the world in terms of quality of life for 2012, which may come as a surprise in relation the more longstanding favourites such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
With its temperate seasonal climate, stunning countryside and buzzing, cosmopolitan cities, there is something for everyone in Germany. You may opt to live in Berlin – vibrant, decadent and with layers of history to uncover and culture embedded in its midst, there is never a shortage of things to do, see and learn.
You could live in charming Munich, a city pulsing with prosperity, sophistication and modernity but set alongside its folklore and age-old traditions. Or you could escape the hustle and bustle and reside in the idyll of romantic rural Germany, with its stretches of peaceful greenery and mountain-scape.
There are no legal restrictions on non-Germans buying a house in Germany, although it is recommended that you have full rights to residency before buying property. Conversely, owning a residence in Germany does not confer the right to stay in the country.
- Mortgages – Most buyers cannot afford to pay cash for the purchase of their home and are therefore likely to finance a portion of the mortgage. With this in mind, many buyers are recommended to have a minimum of at least 20% of the total cost for a down payment.
- Selling a Property – Property may be sold privately or through estate agents. German estate agents do not share listings, meaning more freedom for both buyer and seller.
- Costs – As a buyer, before working with any agent, be sure to find out who is responsible for paying their fee, how much that fee will be and when payment is due. Fees are negotiable and not regulated by law.
- Surveys and Regulations – By law, houses older than 25 years must have new roofing, new windows and a new heating system. A professional survey will help you to avoid unforeseen costs.
- Making an Offer – Once you have chosen your dream home, your agent (Makler), who will convey your bid either through the seller’s agent or to the seller directly.
- Checking the Property – Buyers are advised to check the property for any major defects because the notary is not responsible for this.
- Land Register – The seller usually agrees to a priority notice in the land register. This priority notice protects the buyer from other, unexpected sales activities, such as trying to sell the property to other buyers for a better price, by the seller.
Cities like Berlin are home to a myriad of fascinating museums and art galleries to trawl through, but down time in Germany is also defined by its excellent beer and dining choices.
Dip into the seriously good bread, Bäckerei, and sweet pastries, washed down with a finely brewed beer or a steaming hot spicy Glühwein – mulled wine, in winter, not to mention trying a variety of Germany’s famed ‘Würst’ or sausages.
Keeping fit is also an important part of life to go hand in hand with all that rich food. Over 27 million people are members of sports clubs in Germany, and with winter sports opportunities in The Alps and the Black Forest, these resorts also double up as excellent hiking and climbing spots in the summer.
Education in Germany is public, meaning most schools, colleges and universities are paid for by tax payers and therefore will not charge tuition; however there are also private options. Compulsory schooling lasts from age six and continues through age eighteen, and the Department of Education in each of the sixteen federal states oversees the state’s primary, secondary and career training schools, and much of higher education.
Cost of Living
When considering countries such as the UK and Australia, the cost of living in Germany is comparatively low. For a granular breakdown of prices, see below: