Property deals (in a so called asset deal structure) in Germany has to be signed by the notary and then filed to the land register by the notary.
The notary is a neutral person by law. Typically he is a lawyer with a special education on top. The notary profession can only be practiced if one belongs to the top lawyer of the federal land. A lawyer has to serve many years as so called “Notarvertreter” and pass a very hard test before he will become a German Notary. The notary is a very honorable person on Germany and is not comparable with an american notary public.
In some federal districts as Baden-Wuertemberg the notary is a public officer.
The notary leads the negotiation between one or more parties and puts the will of the parties in legal text form. He functions as hinge between the will of the parties and the public registers (land register, company register). He has a semi-public function and most of the legal aspects of German business and private life can be handled with him. He is by law not able to advise you legally or taxation wise on the same matter.
The Notary fees
1.2 – 1.5 percent of the buying price, plus any fees for a needed translation of the deed, if the buyer is not able to understand German. We recommend to check especially the translation fees in advance, as they can vary strongly. We have seen differences from 300 EUR to 3000 EUR for the same type of work. We recommend written translation, but you can have a simultaneous translator with you. Alternatively you can give POA power of attorney to someone and before or later testify that the attorney acted with your approval. Don’t act under pressure or in a hurry, don’t sign anything that you have not fully understood. If you give POA, give it to a trustworthy person, typically somebody that is not beneficiary involved.