The Property Buying Dilemma in Germany

In the world of real estate investment in Germany, the choice between small and big properties is a pivotal decision. 🤔 You can read more about this in this article.

Key Takeaways

  • Property choice in Germany: Small or big property? Tailor your investment to match your personal strategy.
  • David’s small property approach: Safe, low-risk, real passive income, and less leverage.
  • Larry’s big property approach: High-risk, rapid wealth, fast acquisition, high leverage, income depends on earnings.
  • Pros and Cons of David’s strategy: Safety, lower mortgage, after-tax passive income. Consider cash flow efficiency.
  • Pros and Cons of Larry’s strategy: Risky, potential rapid wealth, quick acquisitions, liquidity support required.
  • There is no universal answer. Consult with a financial advisor to choose based on your goals and financial status.


Investing in properties in Germany presents a compelling opportunity, but it’s not without its pivotal decisions. Among these, one dilemma stands out prominently: Do you venture into the real estate market with a smaller investment property, aiming for swift ownership, or do you set your sights on a larger property that enables you to leverage your investment to a greater extent? It’s a question that sparks extensive debate, and the answer is anything but universal. Your choice in this matter hinges on the intricacies of your personal investment strategy.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the heart of this real estate riddle, shedding light on the advantages and drawbacks of both investment approaches. By the time you reach the conclusion of this article, you’ll possess the knowledge required to make a well-informed decision, one that aligns with your unique investment objectives. Whether you prioritize safety and stability or seek the potential for accelerated wealth accumulation, the path you choose should be a reflection of your individual strategy and financial aspirations. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey into the world of real estate investment in Germany.

Small vs. Big Property Investment:

To help you better understand the property buying dilemma, let’s compare two hypothetical investors, David (The Downpayer) and Larry (The Leverager).

David - The Downpayer:

David has 50,000€ available for his real estate investment. He decides to use his 50,000€ as a down payment when purchasing a rental property. With this approach, he buys the smallest property possible, priced at 136,500€. The reason behind this choice is the need to allocate roughly 10% for closing costs, including notary fees, taxes, and real estate agent fees.

In total, David’s investment amounts to just over 150,000€. His initial 50,000€ serves as the down payment, while the remaining 100,000€ are covered by a mortgage. This 100,000€ mortgage represents the lowest amount banks typically find feasible. Mortgage rates generally remain high despite a down payment. This means that David’s mortgage rate is not significantly lower than if he had not made a down payment. In this example, we assume 3.5%.

Assuming a 3% return on rent, David receives 4,000€ annually or 341€ per month after expenses. However, his pre-tax cash flow remains slightly negative due to the mortgage payment subtracted from his rental income. This negative cash flow becomes the most tax-beneficial possible when David’s taxable income exceeds 63,000€ in 2023, as the income tax rate exceeds 42% afterwards.

Larry - The Leverager:

Like David, Larry also has 50,000€ to invest. However, Larry takes a different approach. He chooses not to make a down payment and instead leverages his investment with a bank mortgage. Larry invests in two properties, each priced at 250,000€, totaling half a million euros. He covers the 50,000€ closing costs for both properties, resulting in a 100% financed investment.

Due to the lower downpayment amount, Larry’s mortgage rate is typically slightly higher than David’s. Let’s assume a 4.2% interest rate. This translates to a monthly mortgage payment of almost 2,600€. Larry’s rental income, at a 3% return on rent, amounts to 1,250€ per month, leading to a pre-tax cash flow of approximately -1,300€ monthly.

However, Larry benefits significantly from tax deductions due to his mortgage interest, depreciation, and other tax-deductible expenses. With a 42% tax rate, Larry’s after-tax cash flow is around 25 euros negative per month.

Pros & Cons of Both Real Estate Investing Options:

When deciding between a small downpayment approach like David’s and a leveraging strategy like Larry’s, it’s crucial to consider the specific advantages and drawbacks of each method. Both approaches have their merits and limitations, making it essential to align your choice with your financial circumstances and investment objectives.

David's Downpayment Approach:

Pros of David’s Approach:

  • Safe and Low-Risk Strategy: David’s downpayment approach is a conservative and low-risk strategy. By making a substantial downpayment, he reduces his reliance on financing, minimizing his exposure to interest rate fluctuations and economic uncertainties. This approach is ideal for investors seeking stability and security in their investments.
  • Lower Leverage Means a Lower Monthly Mortgage Payment: Since David’s investment relies less on borrowed funds, his monthly mortgage payment is relatively lower than Larry’s. This can be advantageous for investors with limited monthly cash flow or those who prefer a more predictable financial commitment.
  • Real Passive Income on an After-Tax Basis: David’s strategy often leads to positive after-tax cash flow, meaning he’s generating real passive income. He can enjoy the financial benefits of his investment without having to cover a substantial monthly deficit. Moreover, tax deductions on expenses can further enhance this cash flow, providing a steady stream of income.

Cons of David’s Approach:

  • Slower Wealth Accumulation: While David’s approach is safe, it may result in slower wealth accumulation compared to high-leverage strategies. Since he’s using a significant portion of his funds as a downpayment, he might miss out on the potential gains that leveraging can offer.
  • Limited Investment Capacity: With his funds tied up in a single property, David’s investment capacity may be restricted. He might find it challenging to diversify and expand his real estate portfolio, which can limit his overall financial growth.

Larry's Leveraging Approach:

Pros of Larry’s Approach:

  • High-Risk Strategy That Depends on High Earnings: Larry’s leveraging approach is considered high-risk and depends on the investor’s ability to generate high earnings. This strategy is suitable for individuals with a robust income source and those who are confident in their ability to sustain it. High earnings can help offset the negative cash flow created by leveraging.
  • The Potential for Rapid Wealth Accumulation: Leveraging allows Larry to acquire multiple properties and build his real estate portfolio rapidly. With each mortgage payment, he’s effectively purchasing a part of his investment, leading to wealth accumulation that can outpace more conservative approaches.
  • Fast Property Acquisition Due to High Leverage: Larry’s high-leverage strategy provides him with the flexibility to acquire multiple properties. This can result in diversified investments, increased rental income, and potential capital appreciation. It’s a dynamic approach for those looking to grow their real estate assets quickly.

Cons of Larry’s Approach:

  • High Risk and Volatility: Leveraging comes with a significantly higher level of risk and volatility. Larry’s strategy depends on maintaining a stable income to cover negative cash flow and mortgage payments. Economic downturns, changes in interest rates, or job loss can pose substantial risks to this approach.
  • Limited Passive Income at the Outset: Larry’s leveraging approach often results in negative cash flow initially. This means that he may not enjoy the same level of passive income as David the downpayer. Instead, his focus is on long-term wealth accumulation rather than immediate income generation.
  • Exposure to Interest Rate Fluctuations: Larry’s approach leaves him exposed to interest rate fluctuations. An increase in mortgage interest rates can significantly impact his monthly expenses and overall financial stability. This is a crucial factor to consider in high-leverage strategies.
If you wanna invest in real estate in Germany, feel free to schedule a free meeting with us. We will help you finding the best solution for you.


In the realm of German real estate investment, the choice between a small, swiftly paid-off property and a larger, highly leveraged investment is not a matter of right or wrong but of personal strategy. This critical decision ultimately hinges on your financial circumstances, your risk tolerance, and your specific investment goals.

David’s method is a testament to safety and prudence. His low-risk strategy, powered by a substantial down payment, ensures a lower monthly mortgage commitment. Importantly, he reaps real passive income on an after-tax basis, providing financial stability.

Larry’s approach is high-stakes, relying on the potential for robust earnings. It’s a method characterized by a thirst for swift wealth accumulation. His leverage-heavy investment style allows for the rapid acquisition of properties, ultimately fostering financial growth.

As you weigh these approaches, remember there’s no definitive answer to the small vs. big/many property investment debate. The right choice depends on your financial situation and investment goals. Safety-minded investors may gravitate towards David’s downpayment approach, while those with a high-risk appetite and substantial earnings may favor Larry’s leveraging approach.

The German real estate market offers diverse opportunities, but it’s your strategic approach that will ultimately determine your success. Choose wisely and embark on your real estate investment journey with confidence, knowing that you’ve tailored your strategy to suit your unique aspirations and circumstances.

2 thoughts on “The Property Buying Dilemma in Germany”

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