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What you should check while buying a flat in a co-op or condo

Please read this upfront: I am an estate agent and asset manager in Berlin, I sell blocks and apartment buildings to private investors and institutional funds, with an equity base of at least 350k Euro, I cannot help you find a flat, but if you send me an inquiry regarding the purchase of a flat or an apartment (please only trough this from) I will transfer you to honest and good estate agents, whom I know in person and I will supervise the process on the line, nothing more, nothing less. Please understand that I cannot meet you, nor talk to you on the phone, best way, really, really is this form, I will reply fast and ask you additional questions to narrow your search.

How-to-do a proper legal due diligence for a flat purchase in Germany

Rule No. 1: Don’t believe what you don’t have in writing

You need hard facts, and that means copies of the contracts/documents.
If they won’t send you copies go to the owners/property managers office and look at the originals.

Rule No. 2: Talk to the renter

or any other party that you meet in the house, ask them if the ylike to live there, just start talking to them after a minute they will tell you about the bad and ugly, but take into account that most renters complain always. Just listen carefully and see if something really bad comes up, something that yu cannot change, or will affect the rent/fluctuation of renters heavily. It might be enough to walk trough the building with open eyes :-)

Rule No. 3: Talk to the Property Manager

Try to talk to the property manager of the co-op/building in person, and check his flexibility and willingless to talk to you (at all) and in English. Remember if the broker tells you the guy talks English, doesn’t mean he is willing to..

Rule No. 4: Let the legal stuff be checked by somebody who knows how to check legal stuff

The documents should be checked by a lawyer NOT your broker, nor the property manager, the person checking this for you should talk German!

Keep it simple for you and your lawyer

Send all the documents listed below to the lawyer at once and ask him/her to have a preview and give you an appropriate lump-sum fee up front. You should give or at least ask for a timeframe for the procedure.

List of documents needed for legal Due Diligence – English/German version –

These papers should be provided by the broker (or owner or property manager), you find the right German terminus technicus in brakets):
1. the offer (issued normally by the broker/estate agent) (Expose)
2. the 5 or at least the 3 last reports of the meeting of the owners (5 letzten WEG Protokolle)
3. the co-op contract agreement (WEG Satzung / Gemeinschaftsordnung)
4. last annual statement of the whole building (Jahresabrechnung)
5. purachse contract draft (Kaufvertragsentwurf)
6. financial plan for the upcoming year (Wirtschaftsplan)
7. co-op agreement with the property manager (WEG Verwaltervertrag / Verwaltervertrag fuer das Gemeinschaftseigentum)
8. property management contract for the unit to be purchased (not the one in place but the one the property manager offers you) (Hausverwaltervertrag fuer das Sondereigentum)
9. copy of the land register (Grundbuchauszug)
if the property is rented:
10. rental contract with all amendments

Due Diligence – German version – for your disposal

You can copy this German version to send it by email:
1. Expose
2. die 5 letzten WEG Protokolle, zumindest die letzten drei
3. WEG-Satzung bzw. Gemeinschaftsordnung
4. letzte Jahresabrechnung
5. Kaufvertragsentwurf
6. Wirtschaftsplan für das kommende Jahr
7. WEG Verwaltervertrag / Verwaltervertrag fuer das Gemeinschaftseigentum
8. Hausverwaltervertrag fuer das Sondereigentum
9. aktueller Grundbuchauszug
10. Mietvertrag mit allen Nachträgen (wenn vermietet)

My recommendation for a lawyer/law firm

If you need a German speaking Lawyer to check all this for you , here are my recommendations.

1.) WMRC Rechtsanwälte

Chaussestr. 5
10119 Berlin
Tel.: +49-30-2888483-0
Fax: +49-30-2888483-10
E-Mail: info@wmrc.de

2.) Ludwig Braun Domrich Rechtsanwälte

Poststr. 12 D-10178 Berlin
Tel +49-30-2021 555-0
Fax +49-30-2021 555-11
E-Mail: info@lblex.de
The companies are not to big so you talk directly to the right person.

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