Navigating the Dutch Real Estate Market

Navigating the Dutch Real Estate Market

A Guide for Expats

More about Expat Mortgages

Are you planning to call the Netherlands your new home? This beautiful and diverse country has a lot to offer, from its rich history and culture to its efficient infrastructure and high standard of living. But as an expat, one of the first steps towards settling in is finding the right place to live. This can be a daunting task, especially if you're unfamiliar with Dutch real estate practices. Let's make that process a bit smoother by giving you an overview of the role of real estate brokers in the Netherlands, what to look for when buying a house, and tips to help you make an informed decision.

Read also: Do's and Don'ts in the Dutch Housing Market in 2023

A selling agent represents the seller's interests, while a buying agent acts on behalf of the buyer. When moving to the Netherlands, it is advisable to hire a buying agent who is experienced in the local real estate market and can guide you through the purchasing process. An agent can also assist in negotiating the price, preparing the sales agreement, and liaising with the notary.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Broker

  1. Membership in Professional Associations: Look for a broker who is a member of recognized professional bodies such as the Dutch Association of Real Estate Brokers (NVM), VastgoedPRO, or the Association of Rental Property Brokers (VBO). These associations uphold a certain standard of practice and ethics among their members.
  2. Knowledge of the Local Market: Make sure your broker is familiar with the city or area where you intend to buy. They should have a good understanding of local market trends, prices, and property availability.
  3. Service and Fee Structure: Understand the services offered and their fee structure. Dutch brokers typically charge a percentage of the purchase price. Ensure these details are clarified beforehand to avoid any hidden costs.

What to Look for When Buying a House

  1. Location: Consider the proximity to amenities such as schools, hospitals, supermarkets, and public transport. If you work in one of the larger cities but prefer quieter surroundings, consider suburban or satellite towns which offer good commuting options.
  2. Property Condition: Look at the property's structural condition, including the roof, plumbing, electrical system, insulation, etc. In the Netherlands, it's common to get a 'bouwkundige keuring' (technical inspection) to assess the property's condition.
  3. Legal Aspects: Be aware of property rights and zoning laws. Some properties in the Netherlands may come with restrictions related to renovations, expansions or even renting out. Your broker can guide you through these legalities.

Tips and Tricks for Buying a House in the Netherlands

  1. Be Prepared to Act Quickly: The Dutch property market, especially in major cities, can be competitive. Properties sell fast, so it's important to be decisive. Having a mortgage pre-approval can give you a competitive edge.
  2. Understand the Bidding Process: Unlike some countries, Dutch properties aren't necessarily sold to the highest bidder. Sellers consider various factors such as certainty of sale, speed of transaction, and conditions of sale.
  3. Consider the ‘Kosten Koper’ (KK): This term translates to 'costs for the buyer' and includes transfer tax, notary fees, and valuation costs. These costs are usually around 2-5% of the purchase price.
  4. Hire a Notary: A notary (notaris) is legally required to transfer ownership of the property. They ensure that the contract is fair, register the property in the Land Registry, and handle the transfer of funds.

Finding a new home in the Netherlands may feel challenging, but with the right knowledge, support, and a little patience, you can navigate the Dutch real estate market with confidence. As an expat, having an experienced real estate broker by your side can make your house hunting experience smoother and more rewarding. Happy house hunting!

Overall, buying a house is a big step, and can be especially challenging when you're an expat and living abroad. 

Hanno organizes a monthly webinar, where we will tell you all about the current status of the housing market in the Netherlands. Feel free to join this free and interactive webinar, and let us help you on your way.