Looking to buy a real estate in the Netherlands? The current market might be unfavourable for buyers but there are things you can do to make sure you are making the best possible decision.
Buying a new home is undoubtedly one of the most stressful things you can experience in your life. We can’t make the process easier for you but at least we can connect you with an expert who can. Arthur Pollen is a real estate agent with over twenty years of experience and in this interview he explains what you should keep in mind when looking for a property in the Netherlands.
What are some things expats should keep in mind when looking for a house?
All houses that are on sale are published online on Funda.nl or websites of individual estate agents. You are free to make an appointment for a viewing to see if you like the property. If you wish to buy a property, the procedure here in the Netherlands differs a little bit from usual because of the scarcity in the market.
The usual procedure is to try to come to a deal with a seller with the first move made by the buyer. If you want to make an offer, it needs to contain the amount you are willing to pay, the conditions on which you make an offer and an idea of the date for the transfer of the ownership.
If a deal is reached, everything is put into contract which is a standard model contract made by our branch organisation NVM.
What is the property market like right now in Utrecht and within the Randstad area and how is it different?
In the current market it is normal to have five, six or seven people wanting to buy one house in cities like Utrecht. Then the procedure differs. Sometimes the broker decides that all buyers need to make their final bids known before a certain date and then the seller can choose. It is not permitted for the broker to inform prospective buyers about bids of others or make an auction. Everyone has only one chance to make a final offer.
If I’m a broker for a potential buyer than I can offer advice on the value of the property and how much would be a reasonable offer. Specifically in the present market buyers should be aware what a good price is, as it can be quite high.
The prices are starting to stagnate and there is some risk that a buyer could pay too much. That’s why it’s good to have an overview of the market and property values before bidding. Otherwise your only reference point is the asking price, which can be just a matter of marketing the property. It can be dangerous to just look at the asking price and derive the value from it.
Whether you are buying a house, a flat or a houseboat, there are no restrictions for expats when it comes to buying properties in the Netherlands.
Are there any restrictions for expats buying properties in the Netherlands?
No restrictions. It used to be the case that you needed a permit for purchases under a certain price range but that has changed, there is a free market now. If you are on a temporary work permit you might have issues arranging a mortgage but as long as you have the funds to buy a property, there are no restrictions. That includes investors buying investment properties in the Netherlands.
Why should people go to a real estate agent instead of trying to find a property on their own?
Two main reasons. You need to get a good overview of the value of the property you are planning to buy and normally your only reference is what the seller tells you. This also affects the amount you can borrow in your mortgage so you should rather get it right.
The second is that a good real estate agent knows everything associated with a purchase of a property. For instance, when buying an apartment, you need to look at the Owner’s Association – look at what they have in the bank, how high is the service cost and what can you get for that money. You also need to find out about the communal maintenance and what you have to do yourself.
With houses you have to look at the owners of the house, whether there were any extensions made, what permits were applied for, if any. We take care of the whole completion process, oversee that everything is in the right order and all paperwork is correct. We guide clients through the process, making sure they are doing the right thing.