Real estate broker

A real estate agent is often a self-employed intermediary who conveys real estate for sale or for rent. Depending on circumstances and country, the broker

  • Commissioned and paid for by the landlord or seller
  • Commissioned by the landlord or seller, but paid by the tenant or buyer
  • Commissioned and paid for by the tenant or buyer


Besides, it is of course, free for everyone to hire someone to find an apartment for rent. Services of this kind are, for example, often taken by expats in claim since it is not so easy for non- local knowledge to find an apartment. However, broker of this kind are rare and their remuneration is complete negotiations for the contracting.

  • 2.1 commission for arranging leases
  • 4.1 commissioned by the owner and paid broker
  • But 4.2 From the landlord commissioned paid by the tenant broker

Situation in Germany

In Germany, real estate agents are commissioned or paid depending on the area and market conditions which a landlord or seller or the tenant or buyer. In urban areas is usually customary to pay the agency fee by the tenant.

The German real estate agent is required in addition to the registration of his trade in any case, an administrative license according to § 34c of the Industrial Code for the performance of his duties. This includes permission

  • The mediation of Financial Statements ( Intermediaries ) or
  • The proof of the opportunity to conclude (detection agent)

Of contracts

  • Land, immovable property,
  • Land rights,
  • Rented residential areas and commercial spaces.

He shall receive for his successful efforts (success principle) a commission ( brokerage ). For the operator of a property a brokerage contract with the seller and / or the demand side is closed. This / these act as principal of the real estate agent. Gist is the so-called commission promise (brokerage ) of the client or, if the activity of the agent causing the desired success. The brokerage contract in writing may be concluded orally or implied by ( coherent ) behavior.

As an alternative, there are rarely also the so-called " fixed price broker" in which the fee does not depend on successful sales.

In recent decades, the first major brokerage firms have emerged in Germany that are nationally active. Some of them rely on franchising. In addition, many banks, especially local cooperative banks and savings banks offer the services of a real estate agent.

The real estate association is Germany IVD Federation of real estate consultants, brokers, managers and experts eV the largest association of housing and real estate industry in Germany are organized in the real estate agent.

The term real estate agent is not protected or requires it to exercise a proof of professional competence or professional training. Under the aspect of freedom of trade anyone can register a commercial broker and operate. However, professional organizations such as the IVD require a factual and technical instruction for brokers and property managers. According to business registration. Industrial Code § 14 ( duty of disclosure ) is also a special ( broker ) license according to § 34c of the Industrial Code necessary, which in previous convictions for capital offenses or a "non- parent 's financial situation," the applicant may be refused, for example.

In practice, three types of representation are distinguished by the real estate agent in Germany:

  • General Order ( the client may turn more brokers, as well as be automatically )
  • Single contract ( the customer may switch on any other broker, but the client of the self- sale / purchase is still allowed) and the
  • Skilled lone job.

The qualified sole agency means maximum safety for the broker because the client may not be automatically and all interested parties must refer to the object to the broker. As this is very restricting the seller, the case law requires that the addition Overdraft and referral system, shall be valid unless the individual negotiation. Only orders must be limited to the protection of the customer.

Civil Basics

The right of the " civil broker ", which includes the real estate agent is expected is regulated in § § 652-654 of the Civil Code (BGB ) and dates in its formulation from the year 1896. However, the law of obligations Modernization Act did not lead to amendment of these regulations, so that in the BGB to be of " broker " and " Mäklerlohn " is mentioned. Was conceived as the brokerage right -sided so-called " happiness business ". Under the law, a commissioner with the sale of real estate brokerage real estate agent must do nothing. The client, in turn, may cancel the order at any time, change the Terms and Conditions and to do otherwise and let what he wants ( " principle of freedom of choice of the client "). For commercial brokerage should not use it, so that brokers and clients usually meet the statutory law deviating agreements.

The brokerage law is now mainly judge-made law. The problem is however, that the statutory law, despite its obvious weaknesses model character for justice, so that a far-reaching to deviate from the law in the context of general terms and conditions ( for example, when a qualifying sole agency ) leads to nothingness.

The commission fee is due upon signing the contract switched so that each advance of a broker is at its own risk. This is also in line with the typical arrangement of exclusive content orders.

Broker training


In Germany, only one official permit ( § 34c Industrial Code ) is required.

German real estate agents remain free if they wish to qualify on a voluntary basis, for example, to avoid liability cases.

A regularized training for Real Estate Agents does not exist. The training course which is mitabdeckt main content of the profession of real estate agent is the three-year training for Immobilienkaufmann-/frau. This vocational training suggests as minimum qualifications for real estate agents, for example, the IVD.

Various institutions offer broker -specific training, for example, to / for "Certified Real Estate Agents " on.

Other countries

In most Western countries, including the United States, real estate agents must qualify professionally before they can practice the profession. A trade legal registration, as shown above, is not enough, but the requirements are very different. In Austria, for example, there is a separate "Real - chamber ", which supervises brokers and managers or specialized checks. In France, brokers must have a university education and training provided by a notary before they are allowed to operate professionally..


The amount of commission can be negotiated in principle freely within certain legal limits, depends on the market situation, the price of the property and the usual market conditions and is usually

  • In private property sales in Germany regularly between 5.95 to 7.14 % of the purchase price (including VAT )
  • At private sale Property for rent up to two net monthly rents ( plus VAT) (limited by the housing agency law ) and
  • In commercial real estate transactions in accordance with individual agreements between brokers and clients.

Depending on the regional practice for the private real estate brokerage business, the commission will

  • Divided between the buyer and seller (often equal parts )
  • Exclusively borne by the seller or
  • Borne solely by the purchaser.

The commission from the seller is referred to in the industry as an internal commission of the buyer as an external commission. A full internal commission has the advantages that

  • The property can be offered without additional commission for the buyer (ie de facto included in the purchase price ) and
  • The buyer so far in the context of real estate financing has less difficult fremdfinanzierbare acquisition expenses.

Complete inner commission has the disadvantage that

  • The incidental acquisition costs, such as, inter alia, fail the transfer tax and the certification costs higher, since this is typically calculated based on the value of the certification or the value of the consideration, and these values ​​increase as a result of the commission included.

In rare cases, additional revenue is entered into between the seller and broker. Here, the additional proceeds between brokers and sellers for a certain pre- agreed pattern is divided in addition to a commission in addition above a specific purchase price.

Lately is the business model of an agency fee ( "broker - Flatrate "; " commission free broker" ) in the room. In this business model, a fixed amount for the marketing of the property to be conveyed is paid instead of the usual commission. For this price, the customer will receive benefits intended to result in the sale of the property, such as the market value assessment of the property, ad serving and guiding the sales negotiations to completion. Upon successful completion of any additional costs will be due, but the seller some benefits it has mostly himself to take (eg, performing inspections ). The amount for these clearly defined service must be paid at the beginning of the order. The 100 % certainty that an object is mediated, the customer has not. It is therefore not a pure power brokers more, but a service real estate brokerage, which in important respects different from the broker performance. The broker association IVD criticized the new model, as are provided for the amount of his opinion only minimal benefits.

On 7 February 2011, the German Bundestag rejected a revision of the broker's commission, since a change was an unjustified interference with the freedom of contract and regional differences are not considered.

On 7 June 2013, the Federal Council has introduced a bill to the broker's commission in the Bundestag. Thus would apply to brokerage fees, the " buyer " principle. The real estate agent must be paid by the person who commissioned it. In this way, especially tenants in urban areas are to be relieved financially, as the brokerage fee is then to carry in most cases by the landlord.

Special features of residential property

He who shall not require commission for the sale of residential space by the tenant, who is at the time of the contract owner, manager or tenant of the leased property or economically connected to it. The Mediation of apartments the amount of commission to two times the monthly net rent plus VAT is limited.

Commission in the deed of sale

Broker to secure their rights to commission you up on Notaries in the purchase agreement. Sometimes even with the passage that the buyer submits to non-payment of commission to immediate enforcement of its assets. Although the notary is impartial of course, he shall submit a first draft. Buyer of real estate should note that the mention of the broker and the commission only pulls in the deed of sale to increase the notarization fee by itself, if the seller had committed to paying the commission against the broker, this obligation but is then assumed by the buyer. If only the buyer must pay a brokerage fee, thus does not increase and the real estate transfer tax value of the building when the buyer had instructed the broker. For this purpose the simple sentence is sufficient brokers in the clause of the purchase agreement ". Buyer has instructed the broker" there is no such set, then the broker's commission is necessary, real estate taxes increasing.

Situation in Austria

In Austria real estate agents are usually dual broker. They are usually commissioned and paid for by the seller. In practice, a buyer is not any agreement on the details of the seller, so he must also pay. Thus, the broker is obligated to bilateral representation.

Also, the commission usually is due after successful completion of a sale, rental or lease agreement. Exceptions are the sole broker.

The commission for the sale of real estate shall not exceed:

  • Value up to EUR 36,336 4%
  • From EUR 36,336 to EUR 48,448 = EUR 1,453 per
  • Value from EUR 48 448 each 3 %

Commission for arranging leases

When arranging of leases following maximum commissions are fixed by law since 1 September 2010:

Placement of main and sub- leases for apartments and houses ( real estate agent is not the same manager of the building)

Placement of main and sub- leases for apartments and houses (real estate broker is the same manager of the building)

Arranging leases for business premises

Real estate brokerage commissions are charged sales tax.

Situation in Switzerland

In Switzerland, Real estate agents exclusively by the landlords, and sellers are paid. A passing on costs to the tenant 's Code of Obligations ( Switzerland ) not possible.

Other countries

Commissioned by the landlord and paid broker

In addition to the Switzerland brokers are commissioned and paid for by the landlords also in Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway.

From the landlord but mandated paid by the tenant broker

In addition to Germany and Austria the brokers in the following countries are also paid by the tenants ( in brackets commission as a percentage of the annual rent ):

  • Finland: 8.33 per cent
  • Denmark: 6.25 percent
  • France: 4.50 percent
  • Luxembourg: 8.33 percent
  • Italy: 3.50 percent
  • Sweden: 1.75 percent

For comparison:

  • Austria: 22.7 percent
  • Germany: 13.10 percent