Advice for first-time property buyers in Berlin

What to think about when buying an apartment

Deciding to purchase a home is one of the biggest decision someone will make, but if you’re first time buying an apartment, there might be a number of aspects to it that you haven’t thought about. The first step into property ownership often comes with a lot of questions and concerns, so we’ve compiled a few key points that you should keep in mind when buying an apartment for the first time.

Property Lawyer

Getting a lawyer to buy property might not be one of the first things that people think about, but it’s certainly important especially if you’re buying Berlin property as a foreigner. The system can be quite complex, and having knowledgeable legal advice will be irreplaceable. Property lawyers will help you understand your rights to a tenanted apartment, your rights to building codes and ability to renovate and they will guide you through the general steps of closing a purchase of Berlin property including handling notarizations, which can be a time-consuming process.


Owning a home is a great source of investment whether you’re using the space for yourself or renting out to create capital gain. Either way, you should know what can and should be improved in the property to both maintain and enhance its value, and what to upgrade periodically. While aesthetics have their place like matching appliances and decor, new home buyers should be more concerned with the elements that affect the quality of life and which will up the value in the long run.

  • Windows – Upgrading windows will help keep your home cost-effective by reducing heating costs in the winter.
  • Energy-saving appliances – Having modern appliances will also help reduce the energy and electricity costs, and installing energy-saving options will further decrease your monthly bills and increase the quality of your home.
  • Plumbing – For those purchasing a Berlin apartment in an altbau, attention to the date of previous renovations will be crucial. Some old apartments were build at the beginning of the 20th century, so making sure that new pluming has been installed, or making plans for it will make a big difference.
  • Bathroom – Along the lines of plumbing, updated bathroom appliances will cut down on the possible issues with mold and water damage.

Put in the time

Many first-time buyers have strict guidelines in their head for what they want from an apartment, but being too narrow can also cut off great potential. It’s well worth going to see multiple properties, and not getting hung up on little elements such as which floor it’s on. You might also find that an apartment in a different neighborhood better suits your lifestyle, and the particular area in that has more of what you’re looking for. Look at the actual amenities around the apartment rather than if it’s just in Prenzlauer Berg or Friedrichshain; you might find that you fall in love with another neighborhood. Visiting multiple properties will also help you to start thinking about city traffic and noise, or other aspects you might not have thought about.

There are many aspects to buying an apartment for the first time. Did we miss a main point that you want to know more about? Let us know!


By Alice Bauer