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Calculate development costs for a property
Calculate development costs for a property

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Video: How To Accurately Estimate Property Development Building Construction Costs | For Beginners 2023, January

The development costs for a property should not be underestimated - and are difficult to calculate in advance. Depending on the property location and municipality there are clear differences. Read here exactly how the costs are made up and whether you have to pay the entire amount yourself.

Table of contents Table of contents Calculating development costs for a property

  • Different types of development costs
  • When do you have to pay for development costs?
  • Amount of development costs
  • Calculate development costs
  • Caution with contaminated sites
  • Deduct costs

Table of contents Table of contents Calculating development costs for a property

  • Different types of development costs
  • When do you have to pay for development costs?
  • Amount of development costs
  • Calculate development costs
  • Caution with contaminated sites
  • Deduct costs

Whoever builds a house usually has to pay development costs. The amount of the costs usually depends on the scope of the necessary work and the respective community. The costs are paid to the municipality. When connected to the electricity and water network, the utility offices can also charge the fees.

Good to know: You don't always get the information about the development costs directly during the construction of the house. Sometimes the costs are only billed years after it has been fully developed. You can then lodge an objection, but you must note that this has no suspensive effect on the legal basis of the Administrative Court Regulations (VwGO).

What types of development costs are there?

The development costs for a property differ in technical and traffic development costs. The technical costs include the connection of the property to the supply and disposal networks. This includes electricity, gas, the public water supply and the connection to the sewage system.

The traffic development includes road construction, sidewalks, lighting, public green areas, children's playgrounds and noise protection. However, the connection to the telephone and cable television network must also be taken into account.

When do you have to pay for development costs?

A plot of land must always be developed if it is to be built on. This is the only way to provide the planned house with electricity and water later. If you only want to buy an existing house, you no longer have to pay for development costs.

Tip: If you are looking for building land, it is best to only look for fully developed plots of land. Whether a property is partially developed or fully shot provides information about the development costs you can expect. New development areas, which are usually already equipped with all important lines and pipes, are particularly suitable - there are often no development costs at all. Otherwise, according to Section 129 of the Building Code (BauGB), the municipality can invoice up to 90 percent of the costs incurred for the connection to the electricity, water or gas network as a development contribution.

Development costs can vary widely

The development contributions vary depending on the location of the property. For example, if this is far from a main junction or if a road has to be built so that the property can be reached, you can expect significantly higher costs. In addition, the costs differ from city to city and can hardly be fixed as a flat rate.


The location significantly influences the amount of the development costs for a property.

Photo: Fotolia / Bernd Leitner

The Building Code (BauGB) is used to distribute the development costs to the new building plots of a municipality. The municipality can choose different distribution scales to calculate the costs. For example, it depends on the type of construction and the type of use of the property. Good to know: Commercial users have to expect higher development costs than private ones. Furthermore, the costs are determined by the plot area and the plot width. Ultimately, however, the cost allocation depends on the distribution key of the responsible municipality.

Tip: Pay attention to the respective designations when specifying the soil values. You will recognize plots of land that are subject to development by the abbreviation "ebp" (subject to development fees). If there is no longer a contribution to be paid, the property is labeled "ebf" (no development fee). If you want to buy a property in a new building area, the largest share of the development costs such as road construction, street lighting and the supply and disposal lines are usually already included in the purchase price. Here, the developer or the municipality makes advance payments and then allocates the costs to the building plots. Usually, only the last line meters from the connection point to the building have to be paid separately.


The cost of a power connection is usually between 2, 000 and 3, 000 euros - depending on how long the lines have to be. Since the power connection is essential, you can hardly save money here. However, there is the possibility of installing a photovoltaic system on the roof and thus gaining additional energy.


The connection to a gas pipeline is not absolutely necessary - in addition, so-called "city gas" is often not available in older, rural construction areas because there is no corresponding pipeline network. The alternative: install a liquid gas tank on the property. In principle, heating oil also comes As a heat transfer medium, it is no longer recommended due to the emission problems. Hobby cooks generally prefer a gas stove for cooking, but the more common alternative is high-voltage current - even if the heat of the electric stove cannot be dosed so well a local network can expect connection costs of around 2, 000 to 3, 000 euros.


If you decide to connect to the gas network, there are development costs of around 2, 000 euros.

Photo: iStock / fatihhoca


A water connection is always necessary. Depending on the distance to the next junction, you pay between 2, 000 and 5, 000 euros. Those who live in the country can get around a connection to the sewage network. Instead, the wastewater can be stored in a large tank and is regularly pumped out by a special service provider for a fee. It is best to check in advance whether this method is worthwhile for you. So-called septic tanks do not guarantee reliable wastewater treatment - today they are only approved for rainwater seepage.


The costs for a telephone or broadband connection are comparatively low. Expect a few hundred euros. Setting up is usually free of charge, but usually a deployment fee is charged. The monthly amount is then used to pay for the WLAN router, which is generally used for telephone calls (IP telephony). However, you also need a stable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth if you later want to convert your home into a smart home, for example to equip it with a smart home control system or use video streaming services. With the nationwide introduction of the 5G mobile radio standard, high bandwidths will also be achieved in the future that could make copper, television or fiber optic cables obsolete. How stable this mobile connection will be remains to be seen.


A high bandwidth internet connection is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, check whether an optical fiber line is available on site.

Photo: phonlamaiphoto / Fotolia

Calculate development costs

At first glance, calculating the development costs yourself seems a bit complex. There is no rule of thumb that can always be applied. The costs depend mainly on the respective tariff scale of the municipality. Two values ​​play a decisive role here: the number of base areas (GRZ) and the number of storeys (GFZ).

Calculation example

A building plot is to be developed with 1, 000 square meters. The base area is 0.5 and the number of storeys is 1. So a maximum of 500 square meters can be built on. Both floors have a maximum area of ​​100 square meters each, so that 200 square meters are assumed for the waste water development costs. The development costs are set at eight euros per square meter. That means: 8 euros x 200 euros = 1, 600 euros for the sewage connection.

Added to this are the remaining connection costs for electricity, gas and telecommunications. Depending on the location and circumstances, you will then be at least 5, 600 euros. Especially when it comes to the water connection, the costs can vary widely.


Under no circumstances should you forget that when new building land is developed, the land must usually be measured. In addition, in many cases a building site survey has to be carried out.

An official site plan is drawn up during the measurement. In addition, you receive an object-related site plan that identifies the building to be erected. The survey is carried out by a state-approved surveying office. The costs for this are almost identical everywhere and consist of the following points:

  • Official site plan with three versions
  • Object-related site plan
  • Position and height check, building measurement
  • Fine stakeout
  • Fee for the survey documents
  • VAT

If you add up the individual costs, you have to pay between 2, 000 and 3, 000 euros for the measurement.

Occasionally, a soil survey may be required. There is information about the nature of the building ground and whether further measures must be taken before building the house. Always have the soil appraisal done before buying the property or grant yourself a right of withdrawal if the building site requires more complex foundation measures - this way you avoid sitting on possibly undevelopable land or significantly higher construction costs than originally planned. For example, soils with layers of bog in the subsoil, as can often be found in floodplains and near the coast, are problematic - this usually requires an expensive pile foundation for the planned building. The prices for a soil survey vary between 500 and 1, 000 euros depending on the federal state.

Caution with contaminated sites

A major unknown, which should also be clarified before buying the property, is the topic of contaminated sites. For example, if the property is a former industrial wasteland, complex soil remediation may be necessary due to pollutants such as waste oil. Remnants of ammunition or unexploded bombs from times of war must also be professionally removed by the ordnance clearance service in compliance with sometimes very complex safety precautions. Incidentally, it is sufficient if an old steel helmet or an armored chain is found during earthworks on the property - anything that indicates combat operations requires a comprehensive search of the property for so-called weaponry. As a property owner, you must bear the costs for the search and, if necessary, the earthworks to uncover the sources of danger. The state pays for the rescue as well as the defusing, the removal and the professional disposal.

Deduct development costs from tax

The development costs can make up a considerable sum when building a house. The good news is that you don't have to pay for it yourself, but have the option of deducting the development costs from the tax as a modernization service, regardless of whether you want to rent the future house or live in it yourself.

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