• Daniel Hofmann

The new rules on Estate agency fees and who is responsible for paying them

Aktualisiert: Juni 6


A few months back I wrote about the new proposals by government as to who is going to have to pay for estate agency fees when purchasing a property. 


Until now, the property buyer had to fork out all the fees and at a cost of between 6-7.14% of the purchase price this could easily add up to a huge amount of Euros on top of the purchasing price and the other associated costs. But now thanks to the new law “of distribution of estate agent fees when facilitating sale contracts for flats and family homes” (Gesetz über die Verteilung der Maklerkosten bei der Vermittlung von Kaufverträgen über Wohnungen und Einfamilienhäuser) this is no longer the case.


The new estate agent fee rules:


  1. The person who instructs the estate agent will have to pay for the fee (entirely).

  2. It is possible to pass the estate agent fee costs on between the buyer and seller if there is an agreement and only up to a maximum of 50% of the fees. Additionally, the person who instructed the estate agent has to prove that they have paid the estate agent fee before they can request that the other party pays their share.

  3. These new rules only apply if the purchaser acts on a private basis. Should the purchaser buys the property on a commercial basis, the old rules still apply and the estate agent fees will have to be paid for by buyer.

  4. Almost hard to imagine in good old Germany, but until now it was possible to instruct an estate agent verbally and it would be binding. With the new law this is no longer possible and an agreement has to be made in writing - a simple email would suffice.


Although the new law has been agreed upon by the lower house of german parliament (Bundestag) the upper house (Bundesrat) has yet to ratify it. All going well, the new law will come into force six month after that, meaning that from December 2020 these new rules will apply.


If you are thinking about buying a property in Germany and you are not entirely sure as to what to expect in terms of fees, regulations and the mortgage application process then check out our Step by Step guide to Buying a property in Germany.



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