German real estate terms

Perhaps one of the most confusing things about buying property in Berlin is perhaps knowing all of the vocabulary. In general there are many terms that new and even seasoned property buyers might not now, but the German real estate scene is bound to have some new things to learn.

Black Label Properties is fully operational in German and English, but both during the process of buying property and after becoming a homeowner, there are certain things that are best to be knowledgeable and aware of. Here we’ve comprised a list of real estate words and terms that will be important for you to understand and be familiar with when buying property in Berlin.



Abgeschlossenheitsbescheinigung – Certificate of self containment. If you’re buying property as part of a condominium or apartment building, this certificate states that the apartment is it’s own independent space.
Altbau – The altbaus are the famous old German buildings that often have large tall-ceilinged rooms, double-planed wood-framed windows, and unique mouldings and stairwells.


Baugenehmigung – Building permit.
Betriebskosten – Service fees: costs incurred by maintenance and upkeep of a property.


Darlehenzinsen – Loan interest. Bank loans are a normal part of buying real estate, and knowing the interest of your loan will be important for future planning.
Dienstbarkeit – Property services.


Einbauküche – Finished kitchen. Many Berlin apartments come with unfinished kitchen, so when they are complete there will be a clear indication.
Eigentümer – Property Owner
Etage – Apartment level. German levels start at ground floor and go up from there.


Fläche – Surface area. This gives the dimensions of part of your apartment.


Grunderwerbsteuer – apartment tax.


Hausverwalter/Hausverwaltung – Property manager and property management. This is the person and company who are in charge of executing general tasks with the apartment from collecting rent to calling the plumber.
Heizkosten – Heating costs.


Immobilien – real estate. Many real estate terms start with ‘immobilien’, so this word is helpful in figuring out many other terms as well.


Kapitalanlageimmobilie – real estate investment. This term refers to property which is purchased with teh express purpose to rent out and generate income for the owner.
Katasteramt – Land registry office. This office has information about the property and other information about the location.
Kaufpreis – Purchase price. The purchase price is the cost of the apartment itself without other fees and incurred costs.


Lageplan – site plan.


Mieten – To rent. If you’re buying Berlin property as investment, you’ll be renting out.
Mietspeigel – Rent Index. As both the property owner and renter, this gives an understanding of general renting prices in the area.
Mietvertrag – Rental contract.


Nebenkosten – Additional costs. While the purchase price (Kaufpreis) gives the cost of the apartment, the Nebenkosten includes the other financial aspects.
Notar – Notary Public. The notary is necessary for finalizing the purchase of property.
Nutzfläche – Usable areas. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.  Cellars and parking spots are not included in the Nutzfläche.


Objektrendite – Property Return. This gives an idea of the worth of the investment when purchasing property, and the possible income generated.
Objektzustand – Property condition.


Planungskosten – Planning costs.


Renovieren – Renovate.  Many Berlin properties come at great places, but require renovation. These can be great options for those looking to make a property their own.


Sachwert – Full value. This includes the building and land value of the property.
Sanieren – Refurbish.
Sondernutzungsrecht – Rights of special use. Some apartment come with courtyards, parking space, swimming pools or other part of the property that may or may not be open to the property owner. The ‘Sondernutungsrecht’ lets the owner know what they have access to.


Teilungserklärung – Declaration of division. This certificate explains the division of a larger piece of property when broken into multiple apartments; it also state the special rights to usage.


Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung – Certificate of good standing. This is a certificate for the buyer to prove that they have met certain regulations regarding the tax fees and tax matters.


Vermieter/ Vermieten – Landlord/ Rent out. When purchasing property as an investment, you’ll be renting out the apartment and will take the position of ‘Vermieter’ or landlord.


Wertermittlung – Value assessment. If you’re looking to sell your property, the ‘Wertermittlung’ will give an idea of the worth of the property and an indication of a reasonable asking price.
Wohnfläche – Living space of the apartment.


Umzugsunternehmen – Moving company.