Special features when buying old buildings

The climate debate has also long since reached the real estate sector. However, energy efficiency and resource conservation are not only an issue for new buildings and are often part of the legal requirements. The same applies to old buildings: Buyers can no longer avoid energy-efficient housekeeping and modernization. But what do homebuyers actually need to pay attention to?

Up to €50,000 fine for non-compliance

The legislator has obliged all owners to bring their property – especially old buildings – up to a reasonable modern energy standard. Every owner has two years after signing the purchase contract to modernize his property in accordance with the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV). If he does not follow this regulation, which has been in force since 2002, he can be fined up to €50,000.

Can the boiler stay or does it need to be replaced?

Whether only the heating system or the basement, facade and pipes need to be modernized always depends on the individual case, because every house is as unique as its owners. The Energy Saving Ordinance contains a myriad of regulations and just as many exceptions. As a layman, you can hardly get through it. This is where expert advice is needed.

The boiler, for example, must be replaced if the rated output is more than 400 kilowatts and the heating system is operated with liquid or gaseous substances – or if the boiler is more than 30 years old. Owners must also retrofit if there is an unheated attic space above heated living spaces and the building does not meet minimum thermal insulation requirements. For rooms without heating, the following applies: all accessible, heat-carrying heating and water pipes and fittings must be insulated. So anyone buying an older home should ask very specifically when the sellers purchased the property and whether or not they had to upgrade the heating system.

The older the property, the higher the follow-up costs after purchase

Anyone buying an old building should call in an expert in good time in order to be able to better estimate possible follow-up costs. Depending on the condition and year of construction of the property, buyers may have to budget up to 50 percent of the purchase price for modernization work. They can repeat a part of it from the state, because the federal government has recently decided a special promotion for the energetic reorganization. Property owners can claim 20 percent of the renovation costs as a tax deduction over three years. Up to €40,000 can be deducted from taxes in this way. This funding runs until the end of 2029.

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