real estate

Buying property in Europe

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Prices: Average home costs $295,256 (about 230,000 euros) for a newly built detached house in 2008 (Hypoport).

Transaction costs: 6.09 percent to 9.07 percent of purchase price (Global Property Guide).

Restrictions on foreign property ownership: No.

Buying process: All buyers and sellers must be present at signing of contract. Contract is read aloud in German; bring a translator if you don't speak the language.

Tip: Expect to make a substantial down payment, says Frank Kowalski, president's liaison from the National Association of Realtors to its German counterpart, Immobilienverband Deutschland. "You're not going to find the same mortgage products or ease of purchasing," he says.

According to Global Property Guide, financing for foreign buyers is usually limited to 60 percent of the purchase price, and Berlin real estate agent Dirk Wohltorf says 10 percent to 20 percent of German residential property is bought with cash.




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