A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your First Home in Düsseldorf

January 11, 2018

If you would like to buy a real estate property in Düsseldorf you should start with making up your mind about what kind of home in Düsseldorf you actually can afford to buy. Housing prices aren’t cheap, so finding the right budget will be your first big task. 

Of course, the remaining steps that follow aren’t always easy either, so we invited Max Karänke, Founder and Expert at Karänke Immobilien, to write this step-by-step guide to helping you find and buy your first home in Düsseldorf.

Housing in Dusseldorf

Once you’ve established a budget, you’re ready to move on. First, you’ll need to consider the various options: House or apartment? New or used building? Purchase or construction of a new house with a plot?


Step 1: What kind of property can you really afford?

The most important thing to consider before you buy or build a property in Düsseldorf, is: what you can really afford? You should consider, that in addition to the pure acquisition costs you will have expenses like:

  • the property transfer tax
  • notary fees
  • registration fees
  • and a possible broker’s commission.

These additional costs can easily sum up to 10 percent of the pure purchase costs of the real estate. And if you want to buy and rebuild a used building or apartment, almost always unexpected events occur, that lead to additional costs.


Step 2: Do you prefer a house or an apartment?

When you have made up your mind on how much money you really want to spend, the next important question is, do you want to buy a house or a condominium? 

Houses with a garden are perfect for families with children. They offer a protected space, where small children can play right next to the house in the open air. But before and after founding a family, or if you follow other life models, often the condo is the preferred option (and can often be a more affordable option).


Step 3: New construction or existing buildings?

Do you want the honest truth? It is nearly impossible for you to carry out a defect-free construction of a new building. A used house which is sold by a private owner can often be the better solution. To find a real estate firm in Düsseldorf that’s really worth the price, you should carefully check the internet for real estate firms around the city. If you want to Google Search a list of the best real estate firms, try searching for a term like “Immobilienmakler in Düsseldorf”.

Of course, Karänke Immobilien can also help you with this too ???? (this is our real estate firm)

Real estate buyers and bargain hunters in Düsseldorf, who buy a real estate in a hurry, are always buying at a very high risk. You should never only look out for the cheapest property in Düsseldorf but look for someone who is selling a house in Düsseldorf that is really worth its price. For renting or buying a house in Düsseldorf you should always thoroughly examine the prices from different owners or real-estate agents.



Step 4: Save purchase of a used real estate

In Düsseldorf, like in the whole of Germany, the dominant part of the real estate offers consist of used buildings and apartments. These used objects are usually bought “as is“. Therefore, a meticulous inspection is important for recognizing whether there are any problems that might reduce the value or even lead to a total loss of value of the real estate.

If you want to acquire a used property in Düsseldorf and have already gone through a careful inspection, you will also have to make sure to get a well-balanced sale contract that provides the basis for a safe and secure purchase. In Germany, the execution of this contract is carried out by a notary (here’s a great list of Düsseldorf notaries in English). Such a notarized purchase of a real estate is practically irreversible.


Step 5: Purchase of a new property with plot

When you buy a new property including a plot – normally by a property developer -, in most cases the construction will have not even begun. In the case that you buy a property that has not yet been built, the description of the planned building and services becomes part of the purchase contract, which must be notarized.

Unfortunately, building specifications in Germany used to be of very poor quality, and to this day, there are still only very few minimum requirements for building specifications. Since there is nobody who checks a building specification for a property that has not yet been built, you’ll have to do that yourself. But, if you don’t come from a professional background of building inspections, this can be quite difficult. In this case, the building specification should be checked externally before you sign the contract.


Step 6: Construction of a house on an own property

If you acquire an undeveloped plot of land, you have the possibility to build a new house on your own property. In this case, in Germany, you become a builder-owner and have many special responsibilities. Now you can choose to build your new home together with a real architect or to buy it from a provider of turnkey houses.

You should know that providers of turnkey houses have a lot of free range to develop their contracted designs. This can often lead to extremely dangerous payment plans, with early, very high payment rates, that are not justified at all by the actual construction progress and which entail enormous risks for you. On the other side, turnkey offers can also allow you to buy a “ready-made house”. Sometimes you can visit your future house before the actual construction has started, as a show or model house or as a reference object.

If you build your new house in Düsseldorf together with an architect, you should have a specialist at the construction site on a regular basis. But, if you build turn-key with a prefabricated house or a solid house supplier, you will only have the building company on the construction site, and no independent expert to overlook the building process.


Looking for more information on buying your first home in Düsseldorf? Feel free to contact Max Karänke and the team at Karänke Immobilien for more information!

Any questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your questions at hello@lifeinduesseldorf.com. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio and photo. 

Looking for some more tips? Join our group of community explorers and register for our monthly newsletter (packed with the hottest events, seasonal activities, upcoming job opportunities and more)!

  1. Reply

    Laurent Tran

    January 11, 2018

    Hi Max,

    How can expats get a mortgage loan? Last time I tried to qualify, no bank would give me a loan longer than my expat contract and they couldn’t take into account any of my assets in the US or even the fact that I am fully employed in the US, just with an expat contract in Germany. The end result was that I couldn’t get loan longer than 2 years, which obviously is not ideal to buy a house…

    Cheers – Laurent

    • Reply

      Max Karänke

      January 28, 2018

      Hi Laurent,

      thank you for your comment. That’s indeed not an easy situation. I am not a mortgage loan expert, but if you write me a mail to max.karaenke@karaenke.com, I give you some contacts who might have or find a solution for the problem.

      Best, Max


Life in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf, Germany

This is our online publication for sharing the best about life in Düsseldorf in a generous and honest way. We spend our mornings writing content and our afternoons interviewing locals, participating in forums and calling businesses so you don’t have to.

Here We Are
Join us on Facebook
New to Düsseldorf?

Start Exploring

Proudly Supported By:

ISR Info Day

Fatty's Irish Pub




For monthly highlights, job opportunities, discounts, tips and events!

Enter your name and email to consent to joining the Life in Düsseldorf newsletter list, to process your email address to send you monthly updates. You can unsubscribe anytime via the unsubscribe link in all of our emails.
Looking for Another Language?
Join us on Instagram
Follow us on Twitter
Looking for a job?

Our Tip For Your $
The Best Weekend Getaways

Download the Full Guide

We’re Here to Help