Real estate purchase agreement: Check notary agreement before notary appointment

Published On: 27.October.2021Categories: LegalTags: 6 min read
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Christina Schröder writes about legal topics for the Love & Law Blog at Recht 24/7.

A suitable property has been found and the price negotiations with the seller have been concluded. The only thing missing to complete your dream of owning your own home is the notarized contract. We explain what content belongs in a notarized purchase contract, why you should have a notarized contract checked by a lawyer and what this sensible counter-check costs before notarization.

What is a notarized contract and what is the notary’s role?

A notarized contract is when a purchase agreement for a property has been notarized by a notary. The contract contains all the important information about the buyer or seller of the property, the property itself and the payment arrangements. It becomes valid as soon as the contract has been signed by you and your contractual partner at a notary appointment. Withdrawal is only possible in special cases. For example, if the seller has knowingly concealed gross defects from you.

Regardless of whether the sale is private or commercial: According to Section 311b of the German Civil Code (BGB), a notarized contract – i.e. a notarization of the property purchase agreement – is mandatory in order to complete the purchase of a property in a legally secure manner. The reason: only by notarizing the contract is it legally possible to apply for changes to the ownership structure in the land register. In addition, a notary is intended to protect buyers and sellers from the premature conclusion of a contract. The notary acts as an intermediary between you and the seller. He answers questions and guarantees the legal legality of the contents of the contract. The notary is legally obliged to remain neutral. He may not favor or disadvantage either party.

The costs for a notary are usually borne by the buyer. Important: Legally speaking, both the buyer and the seller are liable for the notary’s costs. If the buyer is unable to pay, the seller must bear all notary costs.

Checklist: What should be included in a notarized purchase agreement?

The contents of a notarized contract vary from contract to contract. It usually contains

  • Personal details of the contracting parties: This part of the contract lists the general information about the owner and buyer
  • Information about the property: This includes the most important data about the property, such as the type of property, address and living space
  • Land register data: The most important data from the land register is listed in the notary contract. This includes the previous owners and the previous owners of the property
  • Information on land charges: If there are land charges, these will be listed in the notary contract. This includes all loans taken out by the previous owner for the property.
  • Purchase price and payment terms: How much does the property cost and when does the buyer have to pay the purchase price?
  • Financing details: How is the buyer financing the property purchase?
  • Energy certificate: Since 2014, a purchase contract must include information on the energy efficiency of a property
notarized purchase contract

In addition, a notarized contract may contain further content that has been agreed by both parties.

Why should a lawyer check the notarized contract before notarization?

Many buyers think that a notary ensures the legality of a contract. This is a mistake! As the buyer, you are responsible for ensuring that the purchase contract does not contain any clauses that are detrimental to you. As already mentioned, a notary is obliged to remain neutral. He does not have to draw your attention to economically disadvantageous provisions – such as an increased purchase price or a shortened warranty period. For this reason, you should have a notarized contract checked by an experienced lawyer before signing it. This will help you to contractually stipulate important provisions relating to the purchase of a property. The following questions are particularly important:

  • What happens if there are defects in the property? Do you have enforceable liability claims against the seller?
  • Are all elements of the purchase sufficiently regulated?
  • Is the property actually unencumbered or are you taking on any land charges or liens with the purchase?
  • Has a fixed handover date been agreed? What happens if the seller does not meet the agreed deadlines?
  • What rights and obligations are transferred to you with the purchase?
  • Does the living space stated in the contract match the actual living space?

Unlike a notary, a lawyer will inform you of any disadvantageous clauses and help you to assert your personal interests in the best possible way. For example, it is possible to include a withdrawal clause in the contract so that you can defend yourself better in the event of concealed defects. A lawyer will also advise you on your further rights and obligations. For example, if you become a member of a homeowners’ association when you buy a property, you are jointly responsible for the common property. This means that your obligations arise from the community rules and the resolutions passed. A lawyer will explain to you in detail what this means for you and how you can properly fulfill your obligations.

The other advantages of having your contract checked by a lawyer are explained in the article Having your purchase contract checked.

  • The following information and documents are required for a review
  • Draft of the notarized contract
  • Land register extract
  • Exposé and building permit, if applicable
  • Parcel map
  • Are certain assets or objects also being purchased?

When buying a condominium:

  • Notarized declaration of division and community regulations
  • Partition plan and certificate of completion
  • Collection of resolutions and minutes of the last owners’ meetings
  • Is there a need for renovation or maintenance? Are there any housing benefit arrears?
  • How much does it cost to have the notarized purchase agreement checked by a lawyer?

The costs for a review of a notarial deed vary – depending on the type of purchase agreement and the amount of the purchase price. For the most common objects of review (house purchase contract and property development contract), you should expect costs of between 550 and 1,200 euros.

As part of our contract check, we offer you a review of a real estate purchase contract within 24 hours for a fixed price of 219 euros. This price covers all services and does not include any hidden costs. Our lawyers evaluate individual sections of the contract, in particular

  • the warranty
  • the financing
  • the declaration of partition
  • the registration of a priority notice
  • Securing the payment
  • Securing the eviction

We then suggest clauses and formulations that should be included in the contract in your favor.

Have the notarized contract checked before notarization: The most important points in brief

  • A notarized contract is a contract certified by a notary.
  • In Germany, a real estate purchase contract must be certified by a notary.
  • The notary costs for notarization are usually borne by the buyer.
  • A notarized contract should definitely be checked by an experienced lawyer before it is signed.
  • A lawyer will help you to assert your interests and inform you of any disadvantageous clauses in the notarized contract.

Fixed Fee EUR 219.00 – Processing within 24h