Buying a property can be a long and difficult process, especially if you’re attempting to buy abroad and don’t have a grasp of the local language or property specific terminology.

To help guide you through the process of purchasing a property in Germany, we’ve put together a little jargon buster outlining all the main terms you need to know!

  • Der Immobilienmakler (Estate agent) – You may want to enlist the services of an estate agent if you’re unsure where to start with Germany’s property market, but remember to stand your ground if they try to push you into a purchase!
  • Das Einfamilienhaus (Detached house) – Pretty self explanatory, but something you’ll want to consider if you wish to reduce the risk of having noisy neighbours.
  • Das Badezimmer (Bathroom) – If the morning queue for the bathroom is getting a bit extreme you may wish to look for a place with multiple bathrooms.
  • Der Kamin (Fireplace) – There’s no better way to relax in the winter months than watching TV or reading a book next to an open fire.
  • Das Schwimmbad (Swimming pool) – Not as common a feature as in other European countries such as France and Spain, but a number of higher priced Germany properties may come with their own swimming pool.
  • Decke mit frei liegenden Holzbalken (Ceiling with exposed beams) – Many traditional German properties may have exposed beams, which can really add to the character of a property, just mind your head!
  • Die Fensterläden (Shutters) – Another traditional feature of German homes. You’ll find many older properties have these, often in place of curtains.
  • Der Parkplatz (Parking space) – Especially important if you plan to live in a built up area and want to be able to park your car a sensible distance from your home.
  • Der Zähler Wasser/Strom (Meter Water/Electricity) – It helps to know where this is located before moving into a property so you can take initial readings.
  • Die Küche (Kitchen) – As the focal point of many homes, ensuring that you’re happy with the layout and design of a kitchen should be one of your top priorities when looking at a property.
  • Der Weinberg (Vineyard) – Ok not a standard feature of most German homes, but a person can dream can’t they?
  • Die Badewanne/Die Dusche (Bath/shower) – If you prefer a quick shower to help you wake up in the morning or a long bath to help you relax after work, make sure the house you’re interested in has the right facilities.
  • Der Aufzugschacht/Der Treppenhausschacht (Lift/stairwell) – When purchasing an apartment it will help to know if the building has a lift, especially if your place is on the upper floors.
  • Altbau (Old building, Generally late 19th century but pre-1945) – With much of Germany needing to be rebuilt following the Second World War, older buildings can be rarer in some areas.
  • Fußbodenheizung (Underfloor heating) – Some areas of Germany can become exceedingly cold in the winter months and underfloor heating can really help to keep your home stays nice and toasty!
  • Von Privat (Private sale) – A private sale could give you a great opportunity to haggle with a seller and help you avoid an estate agent taking a chunk of commission!
  • Renovieren (For renovation) – Picking up a property in need of a bit of renovation can help you land a bargain, just be sure not to bite off more than you can chew.
  • Betriebskosten (Service charges) – If a property listing includes a Betriebskosten it can help give you an idea of how much a property will cost to live in, with a brief rundown of heating, electricity and tax costs.
  • Zimmer (Room) – The number of rooms a dwelling has should be detailed on the property listing.
  • Wertermittlung (Assessment of value) – This is the market value of a property as calculated by an estate agent.


While there are other German property terms you’re likely to come up against during your search for an overseas home, this brief guide to the basics should help you on your way!