Taking out a real estate loan involves a lot of money. Because for many customers, buying real estate is by far the most expensive transaction of their lives. However, when it comes to construction financing of all things, the quality of the advice often leaves a lot to be desired, as a hidden practical test by "Finanztest" shows.
The financial experts at Stiftung Warentest sent testers to 130 consultations with banks and credit brokers. The advice was rarely good - and sometimes so flawed that the customers would have given away a lot of money or would have got into financial problems. "You can often not rely on the advice of a mortgage lender," says the conclusion of the test.
Of 19 banks and credit intermediaries, each of which was tested in several interviews, only four providers were "good" in terms of advice and costs. These were Sparda Bank Baden-Württemberg, Hypovereinsbank and the credit brokers Interhyp and Dr. Small. With them, both the quality of the advice and the conditions of the loan offer were right.
None of the other banks and savings banks received an overall rating of "satisfactory". In some cases, the recommended real estate loan was much more expensive than usual on the market, and in some cases the consultants made embarrassing mistakes.
The task set by "Finanztest" was not particularly difficult: a couple wanted to know how the purchase of a specific condominium could be financed. In addition to the exposé, the testers brought all the necessary information about equity, income and expenses with them. Fed into a corresponding computer program, every consultant could actually have created a solid offer.
But some of these already failed with the basics. According to "Finanztest", almost every fourth consultant sets the loan amount far too low, so that at least 10,000 euros would have been missing to finance the property including ancillary costs. Some had overlooked the fact that the couple could not access part of their savings in time deposits at short notice, so that it was not available for purchase. Other consultants, on the other hand, overestimated the loan amount by up to EUR 50,000, so that the interest rates worsened unnecessarily.
In many cases, the consultants also set the monthly loan installment too high, so that the customers would have had difficulty in paying it. The offer from Frankfurter Sparkasse with a repayment rate of 5 percent was particularly sporty: According to "Finanztest", the couple would have had to pay 780 euros more for the loan each month than they could have afforded without sacrificing their standard of living. The "financial testers" also rate the suggestion of an adviser at BW Bank to save instead of paying off a home savings contract as unsuitable, because the bottom line is that it is too expensive.
"Finanztest" was particularly shocked by "chaos financing" at the Hamburger Sparkasse. As soon as he entered the data, the consultant slipped the digits – he set the purchase price at EUR 494,000 instead of EUR 449,000. He also overestimated the loan by more than EUR 30,000 and recommended a loan offer that customers would not have gotten at all. The loan was only intended for particularly environmentally friendly properties, and the apartment for sale fell far short of the criteria.
You can read the complete test for a fee at www.test.de