Germany: land of ze best bratwurst and beer in ze whole world: who wouldn’t want to live in a tiny house there? Or maybe you are already the lucky inhabitant of this green and lush country and are looking for a place to park or build your tiny house.
Finding land for a tiny house can be a challenge because of the many laws that are in place when it comes to renting or building. So let us waste no time and see how to find that perfect land for your tiny house, so you can truthfully say: Ich bin ein Tiny Hauser!
We at Tiny Living Life have been searching for a while, for ways to find land fit for Tiny Houses. First of all, you could broaden your search to learn more about finding land for tiny houses in general by reading our article.
Then you could narrow it down to read our article about finding land for tiny houses in Europe:
You can also skip these articles and go straight down to the challenges of finding land in Germany, see below.
Finding land within a city can be difficult since the available land will probably be assigned or sold to developers.
The best thing you can do is to just keep your eyes open and ask around. If you do find a spot, you can contact the municipality to see if there is the possibility of you occupying that plot, and what the conditions are.
Or, you can check the land register, and see who the owner is. You can then inquire about the property, and try to buy or rent it. Finding land further away from the city is easier, as is described below in this article.
There are recreational parks throughout Germany, often at the edges of cities, where people have small houses and vegetable gardens. You could build a tiny house there – the only problem is that you are not allowed to stay there permanently, you can not have residency there. So this might not be the best option. You could also park a mobile home there, but you will have the same problem as with building a tiny house for residents.
In German law, no distinction is made between a large or a tiny house, or a mobile and immobile home. This means that you can not just park your mobile home anywhere. You will have to find a building plot to build your tiny house on. Or find a plot where you can legally park your mobile tiny home and use it as your residence.
Some tiny lifers are allowed to park their mobile homes on the land of a farmer; you can ask around. But you will still need a postal address. You could lease land from a farmer; the problem is that the land will be agricultural, and not meant to live on. But you could maybe park your mobile home on it, as a temporary vehicle. This all depends on the lenience of the municipality: will they leave you alone or not? The more remote you are from the city, the bigger the chances are that you can live on farmers’ land without any problems.
The further away from the cities, the cheaper the land. Remember, Germany is not a cheap country, so prices per square meter can be pretty high, especially near cities. Near cities, the price per square meter can be as high as €1.700,-.
Rural areas are called ‘Landkreis’. If you are further away from the city, you will probably be able to purchase more land, have more privacy, and be more in nature, than closer to the city.
Then again, if you do not work remotely if you want to visit friends and family often, and want to make use of all that a city has to offer, then land closer to the city might be a better option for you. Also, healthcare is more available in the city, so if you are dependent on it, it is wise to stay closer to a city.
If you live in a community, then you will encounter fewer problems living far away from a city. You will probably have some services and food at your disposal, and social life.
Land without amenities such as gas, water, electricity, and sewage, is cheaper than land that has access to it all. Land without (one or more of) these amenities is called ‘partially developed’: ‘teilerschlossenes Grundstück’. Land with access to these amenities is called ‘developed’: ‘voll erschlossenes Grundstück’.
Take into account that when you buy a partially developed plot, you will need to finance the amenities that are lacking on your Grundstück.
If you plan to live off-grid, then you might want to buy a partially developed plot. In this case, you might want to have a compost toilet, solar panels with a battery, a generator, a well, water filters, and biogas – just to name a few alternatives for the four amenities of a fully developed plot. But you will need to mention these in your application for a building permit.
Decide if you want to hire a ‘makler’, a real estate agent, or not. A ‘Makler’ will cost you 3 to 5% of the asking price of the plot. If you do not wish to hire a real estate agent, then search for ‘Grundstück Ohne Makler’.
Several websites advertise plots for sale. However, not all of them are in German. So check your Google Translate, translate a few words, and you will be fine.
Immowelt: only in German. Go to ‘Mieten und kaufen’, then to ‘Grundstück kaufen’.
Check the development plan, the ‘Bebauungsplan’. Only then will you know what kind of house you are permitted to build. You can contact the municipality, the real estate agent, or the seller about this.
Then there is the ‘Baugenehmigung’: this is a certificate from the local building authority, the ‘Bauamt’. Having this permit means that it is legally permitted for you to build on this plot.
The construction deadline
Often there is also a construction deadline, a ‘Bauzwang’. The deadline dictates the time by which the construction of the house should begin and end. This is important if you plan to take a long time to build your tiny house.
Be honest with yourself: if you do not have a car, or if you do not have the money to buy a new car if it breaks down – is it a good idea to buy land, or live on land away from the city?
Think about means of transportation to your tiny house: are there buses, can you cycle, have a motor, or do you have a good car that can take you anywhere?
And, think about transport deeply if you are a couple and have only one car. What if one of you needs the car daily to go to work? Then your other half will be stuck at home all day. This need not be a problem but just think about it before you purchase the land or sign a rental agreement.
If you can, it is best to visit the desired property yourself. You can bundle a few visits into one day if you are short on time. You can set up appointments with the owner or real estate agent and start your visits. This may take time: the land may be far away from your current house.
If you are visiting several plots, then they may be spaced out and will take time to get from A to B. Also if the plots are far out in the country, chances are that you might need to search for a while to find the right address. And then, one never knows when to find that land that speaks to you.
It may take several visits before you find the land that you are looking for.
If you have found that perfect spot, try to visit it again before you buy or rent. During a first visit, one can not take in everything. After the visit questions probably will arise: you can ask them or answer them yourself by visiting again.
If you are alone, try to take someone with you during the visits, so you can discuss it together.
Please pay attention to the following 15 points on this checklist when visiting properties.
- What kind of soil is there? Is it suitable for growing crops, for building? Have farmers been spraying it? Is it ready to build on, or do you need to clean up debris, is it full of weeds, or do you need to cut trees? How much money and work will it take for you to build a tiny house and have a beautiful garden?
- Why do the owners want to sell?
- What kind of neighbors are there?
- In what state are the roads?
- Is the land flat, sloped, or steep? How can excess water be drained, so as not to flood your property? This is very important because it can rain quite a bit in Germany. If the land is flat and there is no drainage, it can become swampy. If the land is sloped or steep, then the water can go right into your vegetable garden or tiny house if you have not taken precautions such as swails.
- Are there pools of water on the land or next to you? Then this will attract a LOT of mosquitos in summer, and it points to problems with the drainage of water.
- Try to picture where you want to locate the tiny house on the land. If you need to build it up against a slope, you will need to build a retaining wall, which costs money.
- Is it noisy, and are there highways, bars, and schools close by? In that case, you might want to look further.
- Are there trees, fruit trees on it? If there are trees, the wind will have less impact on your crops and you. Who wants to live on land with a blazing wind in winter? Trees also provide shade and give ‘soul’ to the land.
- Is there enough sunlight? This is important in a country like Germany: it can get cold, and it is important to get as much sunlight as possible.
- How far are visits to town, to a village, to a grocery store, a doctor, school, etc? Make sure that you know where you are located regarding the products and services that you will need.
- How is the view? Are you looking at a beautiful valley or the chimneys of a factory? Look around, and see if the view is worth it.
- Is the property private? What about protection? Is there a fence to mark the property? Take into account that making a fence can be a lot of work if the property is large: it can cost quite a bit of money. Maybe you want a fence to fence in your animals, or to prevent other animals or thieves from entering your property.
- What shape is the plot, and how is it situated? If your plot has a long narrow rectangular shape, this might pose a challenge to positioning your tiny house. How is the plot situated in relation to the road? Does the whole length of the plot border on a road, or only a fraction of it? If this is the case, you will have less privacy and quiet. It might be better to search for a lot that recedes from the road. But hey maybe you are in the middle of the woods and have no road, to begin with.
- Last but not least: how does this property make you feel? Does it make your heart swell up, does it make you whistle on the way back? If that is the case, then the plot could be destined to be for you!
Wait, before you sign: first have the contract checked by an independent lawyer. It is important to know that the contract does not contain any unfavorable components. You can find them on Yourexpert. If you have the contract checked by this online firm, it will be cheaper than a regular lawyer.
Foreigners can buy property in Germany, this is no problem.
As a renter in Germany, you have many rights. Just know your rights, pay on time, and you will be fine.
You might want to look into insurance: what if a storm damages your tiny house, or if there is a break-in? In Germany, most people have several insurances concerning their property.
If you are interested in insurance, then compare several ones on offer. The price difference can vary a lot. Ask yourself: what do I have that is valuable; does it exceed the monthly payments to the insurance company yearly?
Remember, taxes can be high in Germany. So take this into account when you buy your property: can you afford the monthly costs, taxes included? A tiny house is considered a regular house, and rules and regulations, and taxes apply to it.
As a renter, you will be charged with municipal taxes, just as a homeowner. Take this into account when you are making a budget.
Now that we have looked into several aspects of finding land for tiny houses in Germany, we can conclude that it is certainly possible. However one needs to have a good amount of money and perseverance to be able to purchase a building plot or a good amount of patience to be able to find the right land to rent.
The further away from the city, the more options you will find in buying, leasing, or renting land. Just be aware of the rules and regulations, and you will be fine.
We at Tiny Living Life hope that you will succeed in your efforts to find land for your tiny house.
Stay tuned for the next article!