Ex-Federal Minister of Justice Katarina Barley planned the extension of the 2015 existing ordering principle for real estate sales. Meanwhile, there is a draft bill, which her successor Christine Lambrecht should now put into action. The introduction of the buyer principle to facilitate the purchase of real estate, since the purchase costs in Germany depending on the state between 11 and 15% of the purchase price. As a rule, the banks do not finance the incidental acquisition costs, so the buyer must have equity, which is often not available.
In twelve states, the brokerage commission is shared between seller and buyer, which corresponds to approximately 75% of all real estate in Germany. Sellers and buyers usually pay 3,57% each, whereby the included VAT of 0,57% of course the federal government skims. Only in Hamburg and Berlin, as well as Brandenburg and parts of Hesse, does the buyer pay between 5,95 and 7,14%, which in fact represents a high, one-sided burden on the buyer and, in our opinion, is not fair. Except for Hesse, where the CDU ruled together with the "Greens", the SPD, the "Left" and the "Greens" have in part been involved in the government for many years in all state governments and senates. Why no effort has been made to share the brokerage commission between the seller and the buyer remains unfathomable.
Who orders, who pays!
This argument suggests that the seller has a unilateral interest in selling his property. Purely legally correct, however, it misses the reality of life, because the countless potential buyers also have an interest in acquiring a property. If the buyer principle for rentals is applied to the purchase of a property as planned, a buyer has no chance of hiring a real estate agent, as he can only offer a property in question once. The Ministry of Justice believes it has to make buying real estate attractive for broad sections of the population by lowering the ancillary costs. The ordering principle for rentals is applied one to one to the acquisition of real estate. If the state undoubtedly has a social responsibility to create shared accommodation, this cannot be seen when purchasing property. It's hypocritical: on the one hand, promoting property acquisition and, on the other hand - the example of Berlin expressly shows this - expropriating owners if they are so bold as to rent their property.
It is interesting that the bill targets exclusively the brokerage costs, although they make up (in NRW) only about 30% of the total burden for the buyer. The real estate transfer tax (6,5%), notary fees (about 1,5%), land register entry (about 0,5%) should not be touched. The largest cost driver, the land transfer tax, has been raised in the last ten years in the individual federal states 27 times. The bill does not say a word about that, if the respective state governments were to reduce or delete them, they would be missing substantial tax revenues. The scapegoat for the high purchase costs is according to the SPD exclusively the brokers.
The buyer must be protected
This argument from the area of consumer protection is used several times in the draft law. The opposite is the case, consumer protection is thus undermined. Since the brokerage company is to be paid solely by the buyer, i.e. the seller, advising the buyer would then have to be dispensed with. If you consider that the purchase of a property is one of the most important financial decisions of their lives, especially for younger buyers, consumer protection should play a prominent role here. In the past, wrong or incorrect advice from the broker was often sanctioned by the courts, and increasingly stricter requirements were rightly placed on the advice service. However, the real estate agent's liability for his advice would no longer apply in the future, as he is only obliged to the client.
Cost increase instead of reduction
In addition to the topic of consumer protection, the cost reduction aspect is particularly emphasized in the present draft. This is pure window dressing as sellers will price in the commission on the sale. Since the broker no longer advises the buyer, if he is interested in buying, he will be forced to consult an expert, which is also associated with costs. Incidentally, these are based on the corresponding market value. The argument that an increased purchase price would be financed by the banks - in contrast to the incidental acquisition costs - does not work either. Banks do not use the market or material value, but rather the mortgage lending value when granting loans. If the purchase price is above this value, a bank will not finance it, unless the buyer provides additional security such as a higher equity share. But it is precisely the lack of equity that is the reason for introducing the bill, according to the green / red reading.
The job description of the broker, apart from the technical qualification, is mainly to mediate between the interests of the seller and the buyer. To represent only the seller side, ultimately harms the buyer, which is why the division of the commission would have to be introduced nationwide. By contrast, the amount and the percentage should not be uniformly regulated because the demand and supply sides are too heterogeneous in structurally weak areas and agglomerations.
It is not possible to tackle the failure of housing policy at the federal, state and local levels to seek the sole scapegoat. Here an unjustified interference in the freedom of occupation and contract takes place and a price regulation, as it exists for example with the fee regulations, likewise can not be used, since the broker receives his fee only in the case of success.
The truth is that for decades politics has seen no reason to regulate the activity of the real estate agent and to regulate the approval, although this has been repeatedly demanded by the professional association IVD. Not least because many black sheep have damaged the reputation of the entire industry. The calculus of the SPD, their demands would therefore experience little headwind in the population, could rise. That's simply called populism!