Buying a house in the Netherlands

Before purchasing a house in the Netherlands it’s always a good idea to set up a budget. This will give you a better idea of what you can afford. In the Netherlands, you will find that there is quite a big difference between buying and renting. Renting is much more expensive, but you will have rent at least for the first year. You can only buy a house once you have a permanent employment contract and you will then also see that the interest rate is extremely low. Comparing house prices in the Netherlands to South Africa will drive you crazy. You will see that the houses are quite expensive when converted to Rand, but please take into account that you no longer earn in Rand’s, but in Euro.

Buy a house in the Netherlands in 7 steps

Are you up to buy a house in the Netherlands? This 7-step plan helps you to get started! You can also contact one of our Expat Mortgage partners.

Step 1: Find a suitable property

If you are planning to buy a house you can make use of an estate agent or you can go about it yourself. If you make use of an estate agent it's recommended to use a so-called NVM-makelaar. NVM is the Dutch branch organization of real estate agents and appraisers. The Netherlands has a national network of 4.000 NVM agents and will definitely fit your needs. NVM owns the largest housing site in the Netherlands: Funda. At Funda, you can scan for a property by yourself and arrange all appointments without the help of an estate agent. Depending on your situation, you can choose the best fitting option.

Just a tip from our side – When looking at houses on Funda or Pararius, be sure to look at the agency advertising the place’s website as well. A lot of times you will find more properties there that are not listed on the sites.

Step 2: Attend viewings

When working with an estate agent, they will normally arrange a viewing for you. You can easily also make an appointment yourself.

When viewing a house, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Roof covering: is the roof covering ready for replacement?

  • Double glazing: is the double glazing still profitable? In addition, the double glass of 20 years ago isn't the same quality as nowadays.

  • Electricity: how many groups are there?

  • Insulation: is the house insulated?

  • CV-ketel: when was it replaced?

  • Sewerage: has the sewer system been renewed in the past? The Netherlands has a lot of old houses due to their history. Not all of those houses have the same quality of living as new buildings.

  • State of painting

  • Pollution

  • Asbestos: asbestos is forbidden in the Netherlands, but common on older houses.

If you are still doubting, you can make use of a purchase broker. He will advise you about extra clauses and is up to date about building permits.

Step 3: Carry out further investigations

It is common to view a house 2-3 times before making an offer, but depending on the area you sometimes have to make a decision quite fast.

You start doing deeper research about: VvE (Association for Owners / Vereniging van Eigenaren) for apartments, energy label, environmental aspects, data of the Kadaster (Land Registery)/municipality/province.

Step 4: Negotiate

If you are ready to buy a house your purchase broker (if applicable) will help you with developing your buying strategy. They are normally also up to date about common market prices. You should always bid in combination with "onder voorbehoud van bouwtechnische keuring en financiering". This means that the purchase will only go through if the house has been approved by a building inspector and you were able to get a 100% loan from the bank.  

Please also note that some of the banks do have a Loan Advisor that will consult with you prior to the loan approval. This is compulsory and also quite expensive.

Step 5: Sign the sale agreement

If the owner accepts your offer, then the official purchase agreement will be drawn up and signed. Your purchase broker will help you with the contract. You then have 3 days to cancel the agreement, thereafter it is permanent.

Step 6: Finance your property

Once the contract is signed, you will need to apply for a home loan. Based on the purchase price, possible renovation plans, savings and the so-called "Kosten koper" (costs for the buyer), the amount of the home loan will be settled. Usually, you will need a taxation partner who creates the taxation report. Your purchase broker is not allowed to do so.

Please also note, that some of the banks do have a Mortgage Advisor that will consult with you prior to the loan approval. This is compulsory and also quite expensive.

Step 7: Go to the notary

If a date has been set for the transfer of the home, your purchase broker will advise you on everything that needs to be arranged. Then you sign the deed of delivery. The house is now in your name and is registered by the notary at the Land Registry.


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