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Brokerage fees in the future more affordable for buyers

If you want to sell a house or an apartment, you have the choice to advertise it yourself on real estate platforms, or you can engage an estate agent. An estate agent takes over all important activities for the house sale. He prepares documents, takes expressive and appealing photos and creates the exposé.

With this professional service you can increase the chances of selling your own property enormously. Of course, an estate agent has himself paid well for this. So far, however, it is the case in some federal states that the buyers have to pay the broker's commission even if they have not hired the broker.

Now a new law is intended to ensure more fairness. It is supposed to share the broker costs equally between the seller and the buyer according to the case that the seller has engaged the broker. You will find all important information about this innovation in this article.

What is the broker commission?


The broker commission, often called brokerage fee, is the payment for the broker when he is able to successfully sell a house or rent out an apartment. It is important to note that payment is linked to successful completion. In other words, when the sale or rental has provably come about via the estate agent.

The amount of the brokerage fee always depends on the selling price of the property. For example, if you want to sell a property in Berlin, the commission due would be much higher than for a sale in rural Brandenburg.

Current situation


There is no nationwide regulation regarding the brokerage commission. However, some customs have been established. At present, for example, in some federal states the brokerage fee must be paid fully by the buyer. These include Berlin, Brandenburg, Hesse, Bremen and Hamburg. 

But this can also happen in Lower Saxony or other areas with a tense property market. In other federal states, the party offering the house for sale shares the fees equally with the buyer party. 

The same applies to the amount of the brokerage fee. It is not fixed and can be negotiated individually with the broker. From 3% for high-priced properties to 10% for low-priced properties, all amounts are possible.

However, certain guidelines have developed with regard to the design of fees. Thus, the majority, depending on the federal state, ranges between 5.95 % and 7.14 %. For instance 7.14 % is due on sale of real estate in Berlin which the buyer must bear alone. In contrast, for sales in Munich, it is 6%, which buyers and sellers share.

The Orderer Principle 


An estate agent can be hired not only for a property sale, but also for finding a tenant. 
Thus, lessors often make use of an estate agent in order to have their properties rented more quickly.

In this case, the orderer principle has applied since mid-2015. This means that the person who pays the broker is the one who hires him. In most of the cases it is the lessor, allowing the tenant to sign the contract at no extra cost.

The Future Changes 


A similar principle should also come into force in the real estate sales sector from 2021 at the latest. The person who commissions the broker should pay at least half of the brokerage fee.

The law is intended to ease the burden on buyers and facilitate the formation of residential property. This is because additional purchase costs, especially in cities, can drive up the total costs significantly. 
An example of the real estate market in Berlin based on the old and new regulations:

Selling condominium Berlin (previous regulation)


Flat in Berlin-Neukölln for 500.000 €. 

The real estate transfer tax of 6 % equals 30,000 €.
The notary fees of 1.5 % equals 7,500 €.
The brokerage fees of 7.14 % correspond to 35,700 €.

This results in a total amount of 73.200 € for the additional purchase costs.

Selling condominium Berlin (new regulation)


Flat in Berlin-Neukölln for 500.000 €. 

The real estate transfer tax of 6 % equals 30,000 €.
The notary fees of 1.5 % equals 7,500 €.
The shared brokerage fees of 3.57 % correspond to 17,850 €.

This results in a total amount of 55.350 € for the additional purchase costs. That is 17.850 € less, which can be used as a deposit for example. 

The new law also stipulates that the buyer does not have to transfer his share of the brokerage fees until the share of the seller has been received. This is intended to prevent the buyer from being in a dilemma. Until now, the costs can easily be transferred to the buyer by the seller simply not paying them. This type of circumvention is the purpose of this regulation. 

However, the builder-owner protection alliance warns that the additional costs are simply added to the purchase price by the person who wants to sell the condominium. 

Conclusion


The proposed law regarding brokerage commission makes perfect sense. Anyone who has a house for sale and hires an estate agent should not be relieved of the costs. In most federal states, cost sharing is therefore common practice. 

Especially for buyers in Brandenburg, Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen and Hesse, the law could mean a decisive reduction in secondary purchase costs. However, the sellers are free to increase the purchase price of the property. So if someone wants to sell their house in Berlin in the near future, they may simply add the additional fees to the purchase price. 
To what extent this law does in fact help the buyer, will show the future.
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