Selling your property
Starting a family, waving goodbye to grown-up children, changing jobs to a new location or just simply fulfilling your desire to buy your dream home. Whatever the reason you might be looking to upsize, downsize, or relocate, we've put together a guide on selling your property.
Valuing your property
Last year, the average sale price for a house jumped by 9%, and an apartment by 15%, which means before you sell your property you should get an evaluation.
Many estate agencies have online house price evaluation tools. You can fill in your location, house details like living space, bedrooms, garage and garden, and you will get a rough estimate of the value of your house. You can contact the agencies directly for a more specific quote. Try atHome or Immotop for a quick online evaluation.
You can also use Wort Immo to check the price per square metre for old and new houses and apartments by location. Prices vary substantially from €15,666 per square metre in Weimerskirch to €7,446 per square metre in Mersch (prices for a new apartment).
When you value your property consider its current state of repair (and remember that renovation rarely recuperates costs at sale), and decide which amenities you intend to include, such as a fully fitted kitchen with integral appliances.
You must have the following documents in order to sell your property in Luxembourg:
- An energy performance certificate with a class or rating has been required since January 2010. You can get one from an approved architect, consulting engineer or an expert approved by the Ministry of Economy.
- Plans of your property including habitable area and additional areas (garden, garage, terrace etc) in square metres.
- For an apartment you might need to provide notes from recent General Meetings to show what work is planned for the building or communal areas.
- Land registry number and status.
- Proof of ownership.
- Invoices relating to refurbishments (especially if they are still under guarantee).
- Not mandatory but it's useful to keep copies of utility bills and insurance documents, as the buyer may ask for general monthly outgoings.
- For properties less than 10 years old you may need to provide evidence of a 10-year guarantee, and for older properties, details of any co-ownership charges.
Estate agents are regulated in Luxembourg and must hold a business permit. It is important to check their permit and their professional liability insurance. You might also want to check if he or she belongs to the Chambre Immobilière du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg or another professional association.
Local or specialist agencies
It's worth finding an agent who specialises in your area or in your property type to ensure someone is actively seeking to sell your property and can source legitimate buyers, so you don't waste time with viewings and can sell your property within the average three months it takes in Luxembourg. You usually sign a contract with an agent for a six-month period, which is renewed automatically unless you give notice by registered post.
In other words, even if you sell the property yourself, you will be contractually bound to pay the agent the agreed commission.
However, a good estate agent who knows the area well can be invaluable in helping you set a price, introduce you to potential buyers and negotiate the final price.
Agency fees are about 3% plus VAT of the final sale price and it's their responsibility to promote the property online, in the press or directly with potential buyers.
Note that if you decide to retract your sale (for example if the property you want to buy is no longer for sale), you may be expected to pay a fee to the estate agent to cover any viewings and marketing. Always check the contract with the estate agent before you sign it.
Offer and purchase agreements
Once you've accepted an offer you will sign a compromis de vente or initial contract which will include your identity and that of the buyer, a description of the property and land registration number, the surface area of the property and land, the fixtures and fittings to be included in the sale, the purchase price including fees and who will pay these, plus details of the notaries. The compromis will also include the date the buyer has to obtain a mortgage and the date of completion.
Most compromis de vente also include let-out clauses and penalties if completion does not happen. The penalty is usually 10% of the agreed sale price plus the agent's commission to be paid by the party that withdraws. The most important let-out clause will be if the buyer fails to secure a mortgage. You can ask for written proof from the buyer's bank if this happens.
If you use an estate agent, he or she will usually suggest a notary who can deal with both the seller and the buyer. Notary fees are fixed by law, so if you use two notaries the cost will be the same, but the process may be slower. Most notaries speak English and you can find a list on the Chambre de Notaires website here.
The notary will check access rights so make sure you've been honest about these (for example if you have to cross private property to reach your property). You'll meet the buyer at the notary's office to sign for the final deed of sale and you'll need to bring your passport or ID, together with a marriage certificate if the property is held in both your and your spouse's name.
In a property market as buoyant as Luxembourg you may choose to sell your property privately and you can advertise it on Wort Immo, atHome.lu and in newspapers or online platforms like LuxExpats real estate.
You will still need to appoint a notary who can help you through the process including drafting a compromis de vente and checking the validity of the buyers mortgage. You'll need a full description of the property and all the items listed in the section earlier that covers the documents needed.
In principle sale agreements should be registered with the Registration, Duties, Estates and VAT Authority in Luxembourg within three months of signing and usually cost a registration fee. In practise this is often not done, but your buyer may request it in order to uphold any legal obligations stated in the deed.