We have been to the notary and signed the contract to sell our house. For a time, we were worried it would not happen, as the purchaser’s bank took ages to confirm in writing that they could have a mortgage. The system here is quite different from the system in the UK. When you sell land or property in Germany (and in Spain) both the purchasers and the sellers (and usually the estate agent too – I’ll explain why later) go to a notary. He reads the entire contract out loud (11 pages of A4 in quite complicated legal jargon in our case) and if either party has any questions, they interrupt him when he gets to passage in question. When the entire contract has been read and understood, both parties sign it, and that is it. The contract includes the date that payment for the house is due, which is when it is handed over to the purchaser (the date can be flexible by mutual agreement).
In the UK, the buyers and sellers each have a copy of the contract which they sign independently of each other at their respective solicitors. When the half-signed contracts are exchanged 10% of the price for the property has to be paid, with the rest due on the “completion date”, which is when the remaining 90% of the price is paid and the house is handed over to the other party. If the sale is not completed for any reason the purchaser usually loses the 10% deposit.
Read more Verkauft (Sold)