Maximilian Höltl

Attorney at law specialised in real estate law in Vienna and the surrounding area

Free Initial Consultation

My Ambition

Legal Advice on all aspects of Austrian real estate law

You are looking for legal advice in connection with purchasing or selling a flat, a house or an estate, construction defects, a building contract or other real estate issues?

My law firm is advising clients all over Austria, in particular Vienna and the surrounding area, in all areas of real estate law.

It is my personal ambition as lawyer to advice my clients comprehensively on the legal consequences of their declarations and acts. The clarification of all relevant aspects is therefore a matter of course.

Real Estate Law and Purchase Agreements in Austria, in particular in Vienna and the surrounding area


In the area of real estate law my law firm is advising among others on the purchase and sale of real estate in Austria, building law and construction defects, building contracts, applications to the land registry, condominium law and real estate developer projects.

Purchase and Sale of Real Estate

I am providing my clients with all services that are required for the purchase or sale of real estate, such as the drafting or negotiation of purchase offers and purchase contracts, the calculation and transfer of taxes and the applications to the land register. Ideally legal advice is already sought before signing of the purchase offer.

  • Drafting and reviewing of purchase offers and purchase agreements
  • Legal examination of real estate
  • Advising on legal risks in connection with the purchase of immovables
  • Calculation and transfer of land transfer taxes and real estate income taxes
  • Applications to the land register
  • Acting as trustee involving the Vienna bar association
  • Ouf-of-court and judicial enforcement of warranty claims arising from sale contracts
  • Advice as to possible rights of withdrawal

Building law and construction defects

My law firm is assisting clients with the raising and enforcement of claims in connection with all construction deficiencies. To save time and costs the out of court settlement with the real estate developer or the construction company should be the preferrable way. This is usually initiated by way of a (lawyer’s) letter to the contractor or seller demanding the correction of the services provided by him. If this is not successful, a claim for correction, price reduction or withdrawal from the contract might be enforced in court. Since claims based on warranty law have comparatively short limitation periods, the claim might also be based on compensation for damages. In case of construction defects during the construction, it is very important to document and preserve any evidence, since the construction usually has to be continued or completed in a timely manner. This may be achieved by the judicial procedure for the preservation of evidence.

Building Contract

In order to mitigate future disputes and difficulties of interpretation in connection with construction works, it is advisable to review the contract for the construction or renovation of the building from a legal point of view. It is particularly important to ensure that the scope of work of the contractor’s services is described as detailed as possible, that the completion date is fixed and that a comprehensive lump-sum price is agreed.

Applications to the land registry

Furthermore, my law firm is supporting clients with the required applications to the land register, such as the registration of the deletion of mortgages, if the declaration of cancellation is already available.


Free initial consultation and fair conditions

I will be happy to answer your first questions in the context of a free initial consultation. We will discuss the facts of the case and ideally I will be already able to provide you with an initial assessment of the legal situation and a recommendation on how to proceed.

I offer you a fair and transparent fee solution adapted to your individual needs. The following alternative billing options can be considered:

hourly rate
lump sum agreement
attorney rates according to the RATG
legal costs insurance

We will have the chance to discuss these options in more detail during the first meeting.


Experience of my clients

For further reviews see and Google.

You can reach me by e-mail, phone or with the following contact form. You may also send documents via the contact form or by e-mail to me. I will revert to you as soon as possible.

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    Maximilian Höltl

    Attorney at law

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q&A Real Estate Law

    Which topics governs the purchase agreement when buying a real estate?

    When purchasing a real estate such as an apartment, a house or a property, the purchase contract should provide for a certain minimum content in order to mitigate future disputes to the extent possible. In any case, the purchase agreement should describe the object of purchase in detail, ideally on the basis of a current excerpt from the land register. Besides the parties to the transaction, the purchase price and the handover date, the purchase agreement should provide for the purchase to be processed in escrow to ensure that the buyer’s ownership is registered in the land register and that the seller receives the purchase price. The negotiations between the parties are usually focused on the warranty provisions. Where the seller is interested in excluding the warranty as far as possible, the buyer should insist on certain representations additionally to the statutory warranty provisions. Usually, the seller represents that the building is free of encumbrances and complies with the building permit.

    Which additional costs are incurred when buying real estate?

    The purchase of real estate such as an apartment, a house or a property generally triggers real estate transfer taxes amounting to 3.5% of the purchase price. The registration of the right of ownership with the land register, which is a requirement for the acquisition of ownership of the buyer, generally triggers court fees of 1.1% of the purchase price.

    If the purchase price or parts of it are financed by a bank and the loan shall be secured by a mortgage, a court fee of 1.2% of the amount of the registered mortgage is to be paid.

    If a lawyer is drafting the purchase agreement and conducting the other required services in connection therewith, usually a fee of between 1.5 % and 2% of the purchase price plus VAT and cash expenses is agreed for these services. In certain cases, however, a (lower) lump sum might be agreed with the law firm.

    If a real estate agent was involved in the transaction, the agent’s commission must also be considered, which is usually 3% of the purchase price plus VAT.

    All the above taxes, fees and charges are either mandatory to be paid by the buyer or are usually paid by the buyer.

    Do I need a lawyer to review the contract of sale concerning the real estate?

    When buying a real estate, it is often the case that only one lawyer is involved in the drafting of the purchase agreement. In this case, such lawyer has to consider the interests of all parties. The daily business shows that it can be advisable to mandate one’s “own” lawyer for the review of the purchase agreement, as this puts the lawyer in the position to negotiate the purchase agreement exclusively from the point of view and to the advantage of his client.

    What are the costs of having the purchase agreement for a property reviewed by an attorney at law?

    If a lawyer has already been mandated by one of the parties to draft the purchase contract, clients often ask what the review of such contract by one’s “own” lawyer costs. In this case, the lawyer might agree on a lump sum price for the initial review of the purchase offer or the purchase contract since the scope of these services can be easily determined in advance. If the contract is then to be negotiated with the lawyer of the other party after the client has been informed about possible changes and risks of the contract, the lawyer might suggest invoicing his services on an hourly rate. During the free initial consultation, we will determine the expected effort, on which basis I will be able to make you a competitive offer.

    What are the costs for the drafting of a purchase agreement for the purchase of a real estate?

    If a lawyer is instructed to draft the purchase contract and to perform the related activities, a fee of between 1.5% and 2% of the purchase price plus VAT and cash expenses is usually agreed. In individual cases, however, it is also possible to agree on a (lower) lump sum. During the free initial consultation, we will determine the expected efforts, on which basis I will be able to make you a competitive offer.

    Who pays the costs of drafting the purchase contract for a real estate?

    The buyer of the property usually pays the costs for drafting the purchase contract. Likewise, the buyer usually pays the land transfer tax and the registration fee as well as the brokerage costs.

    Which costs does the seller have to bear when selling a property?

    If an apartment, a house or a property is sold, the seller has to pay real estate income tax (if any). The assessment basis of such tax is the profit achieved by the seller (but not the sales price) with the sale of the property. The seller must also pay the costs for the calculation and transfer of the real estate income tax (which is usually done by the lawyer drafting the contract). If an existing financing of the seller must be repaid from the sales price and mortgages registered in the land register have to be deleted (so called release from encumbrances), the seller usually bears the costs of the lawyer for these services.

    What for do I need a trustee and an escrow account when buying a property?

    When purchasing a property, the trustee ensures that the purchase price for the apartment or property is not paid out to the seller until certain conditions are met. For these purposes, the purchase price is paid by the buyer into a separate escrow account after signing the purchase agreement. The purchase price is paid out by the trustee (in accordance with the provisions of the trustee agreement) when either all documents for registering the ownership have been received or the buyer’s ownership has been registered in the land register. This ensures, on the one hand, that the seller receives the purchase price and, on the other hand, that the purchase price is not paid out until it has been ensured that the buyer’s ownership can also be registered in the land register.

    Who is drafting the purchase agreement when acquiring a property?

    Since the sale of apartments and real estate regularly involves large sums of money and complicated legal issues may arise, legal advice should be sought as early as possible. A lawyer may examine the object of purchase from a legal point of view, assist with the preparation and negotiation of the purchase offer and, subsequently, the purchase contract.

    Practical experience shows that from the buyer’s point of view, it is advisable to hire “one’s own” lawyer to draft the purchase contract. Often, the purchase agreement is drafted by the lawyer of the professional seller, such as a property developer. The lawyer mandated by the buyer ensures that the interests of the buyer are adequately protected, and that the buyer is sufficiently informed about each clause and the risks of the contract.

    In case of any questions of interpretation, such as whether certain conditions for paying out the purchase price are met, it might be helpful if the purchase agreement is drafted by the buyer’s lawyer (which might also assume the role of the trustee).

    What services does a lawyer provide in connection with the purchase of real estate?

    The services of an attorney at law in connection with the purchase of an apartment, a house or a property include, for example, checking the status of the land register, drawing up the purchase agreement, negotiating it with the parties or the lawyer appointed by them, organizing the signing, performing the calculation and transfer of taxes, repaying any loans of the seller with the purchase price, performing the registration of the deletion of any existing mortgages and registering the ownership of the buyers and any new mortgages.

    What do I have to take into account in connection with the purchase offer?

    If the seller accepts the buyer’s purchase offer by countersigning it, the offer is usually already a legally valid contract for the purchase of the property. For this reason, the apartment, the house or the property as well as the purchase offer should be checked from a legal perspective before it is signed. A subsequent withdrawal from the purchase offer is only possible under very limited conditions.

    For more details on the legal aspects of the purchase offer when buying real estate, see the following article in my blog.

    Can I withdraw from the purchase offer or the purchase contract when buying real estate?

    Buyers of an apartment, a house or a property often ask themselves after signing the purchase offer or the purchase contract whether they can still withdraw from the respective contract. Subject to a few exceptions, it is generally not possible to withdraw from a real estate transaction unless a right of withdrawal or a condition has been expressly agreed. Often, interested parties are even not aware that the purchase offer is a legally binding contract and that the purchase agreement merely governs further details and is only signed in a notarized form for the purpose of registration in the land register.

    Under certain conditions, consumers may withdraw from the purchase offer within one week if they have signed it on the day of the first inspection of the object of purchase. In addition, a consumer may have the right to withdraw from a transaction if a certain material condition promised by the seller does not materialize. Moreover, not only in consumer business there is a right of withdrawal if the seller does not provide his services on time and is thus in delay. The Real Estate Development Contract Act (BTVG) provides for a right of rescission if the selling developer fails to provide certain information to the buyer at the right time.

    However, all of these rights of withdrawal can only be exercised under very specific conditions, which is why a comprehensive examination of the facts is required in any case for a more detailed statement on this.

    Who transfers the taxes to the financial authorities when buying a property?

    As a lawyer who is drafting the purchase agreement, I take care of the calculation of the real estate transfer tax, the court registration fees and the real estate income tax. This service is usually included when I am mandated to draft the purchase agreement. The buyer deposits the taxes and fees with my law firm as trustee and I then pay them to the tax office on his behalf.

    Real Estate Income Tax – Main Residence Exemption in connection with the Sale of a Property

    When selling an apartment or other real estate, the seller must generally pay tax on the capital gains and pay the so-called real estate income tax. In addition to other exemptions from real estate income tax, the sale of the property is tax-exempt if the object of purchase is the main residence of the seller. There are two cases to be distinguished. On the one hand, no real estate income tax is to be paid (in simplified terms) if the seller has lived in the purchased property continuously for at least two years from the time of purchase until the time of sale. The main residence exemption also applies if the seller has lived in the purchase object for at least five years within the last ten years.

    It should be noted that these regulations are complicated in detail and that a legal assessment on whether such exemption applies or not requires an examination of the underlying facts.

    What does the construction contract govern?

    In simple terms, the construction contract usually governs the provision of construction services of all kinds against payment. It is advisable to determine the subject matter of the contract in the construction contract in detail to mitigate future disputes about the scope of services. Other points that should not be missing in any construction contract are a precise schedule of completion and ideally also the individual partial services, as well as, if you have enough bargaining power, contractual penalties for the delay of performance of services. To avoid unpleasant surprises later, it is advisable to agree on a lump sum price. If the parties should agree to such a lump sum, it should be explicitly stated in the contract.

    Does the buyer have warranty claims when buying an apartment, a property or a house?

    The general rule is that the seller of an apartment, a house or a plot of land is responsible and liable under the statutory warranty provisions for defects of the object of purchase existing at the time of handover. If a defect existed at the time of handover of the object or if the defect was already present at that time, the buyer primarily has the right to demand correction of the defect. If the seller does not fulfill his obligation to correct the defect, the buyer can demand in court either the correction, a price reduction or the withdrawal from the purchase contract for the property.

    It should be noted that the warranty can generally be excluded between private individuals, which largely reduces the seller’s liability. It is therefore even more advisable from the buyer’s point of view to ensure, ideally already in the purchase offer, but at least in the purchase contract, that the warranty is not limited. Verbal representations by the seller should also be documented in the purchase agreement. Conversely, the seller is advised to exclude the warranty as far as possible, waive the right to contest errors and exclude claims for damages.

    How do I enforce my warranty claims in connection with the purchase of a property?

    If it is certain that the purchased property (be it an apartment, a house or a plot of land) had a defect when it was handed over, the first step is to check whether the seller is liable for this defect. In order to assess this, the contractual agreement between the parties provides an initial indication, for example, whether a warranty waiver was agreed, or certain representations were made.

    If this assessment is positive, the seller is usually first notified of the defects and requested to correct (improve) the existing defects. If the seller does not comply with this request, or does so only inadequately, then the buyer has the option of (judicially) asserting a correction, a price reduction or a withdrawal from the purchase contract.

    When selling a property, is the purchase contract drafted by a notary or a lawyer?

    When buying or selling an apartment, a house or a plot of land, the purchase agreement is usually drafted by a lawyer or a notary. In any case, the notary must certify the signatures of the parties in order for the ownership to be registered in the land register. If the parties decide to have the contract drawn up by a lawyer, then the signing can take place in the lawyer’s office, which the notary also attends to perform the certification of the signatures.

    What is covered by real estate law?

    Real estate law is a cross-sectional subject which, besides the acquisition of real estate, includes land transfer law, land register law, tenancy law, condominium law, developer contract law, taxes and duties, regional planning and building law as well as brokerage law.