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Auteur: Laura Herlé-Ruys Datum: 7 maart 2024

How to buy a house in the Netherlands (as an expat)

Are you thinking of buying a house in the Netherlands? At this moment we see more and more expats who are buying houses in the Netherlands. But the Dutch housingmarket is at high speed and just like in any other country the Netherlands have rules and regulations that you need to know before you enter the housing market. So especially for everyone who is new to our beautiful country and wants to buy a home, here is some helpful information about how to buy a house in the Netherlands.

I’ll give you a step by step guide to buy a house.

What are the benefits of buying a house in the Netherlands?

Your own equity

For starters, in stead of giving all your money to the landlord, you’re actually building equity for yourself.

Below 35 years? No transfer taxes

Also if you’re under 35 and are buying a property below a purchase price of € 510.000,– you don’t have to pay transfer-taxes, which are usually 2% of the value of the property.

Tax advantage

And thirdly you can deduct your interest payment off your taxable income, so you will end up paying less taxes.

And the downside?

The downside of buying a house is most certainly that you need to be willing to live in the house for a longer period of time.

When buying a house, you’lll have to pay buyers costs. (costs for closing the mortgage, for the notary  and the valuation of your property for instance)

Because of these extra costs you’re paying, which are approximately 5% of the purchase price, it’s usually not very handy to sell after 1 or 2 years.

Buying a house in the Netherlands, step by step guide

Step 1. Preparation

Start your house hunting adventure with some research.
Find out what your financial possibilities are. The best way to do so is by visiting a independent financial advisor. And even better, visit a few and compare their offers. This because you’re new to the

They can either differ in price, but also in the way that they can explain all the financial mambo-jambo in English.

Can I get a mortgage in the Netherlands?

Good to know: everyone who holds a Dutch BSN can buy a home. The process of buying a home is exactly the same as it is for Dutch people.

And even if you have a temporary employment contract, you can apply for a mortgage. You’ll need to hand over a “werkgeversverklaring of intentie verklaring”. This is a declaration of intent, in which you employer states that he intents to extend your contract.

After this appointment you know what mortgage you can get and what your monthly payments will be.

Can I get a mortgage for more than the asking price of the house?

It’s very important to know that your mortgage can’t be higher than 100% of the value of the home.

So if you decide to make an offer higher than the asking price, and you need a mortgage for this amount, you must be sure that the house will be valuated at the amount you need a mortgage for.

Or make sure you have enough savings so you can pay part of the amount yourself. Don’t forget you also need to have money for the buyers costs.

Typically Dutch

In lots of countries, for buying a house you’ll need a pre-approval from the bank.

In the Netherlands however, once you’ve bought a house, you can start the application for a mortgage.

Step 2. Aankoopmakelaar or not?

Now you know how much you can spend, it’s time to decide if you wish to have an “aankoopmakelaar”, the Dutch name for a buying agent.

This agent can help you during the entire buying process. Things the buying agent can do for you are planning the viewings, checks the houses and the documents, but he or she can also help you establish the fair value of the house.

And if you decide to make an offer, the buying agent will do this for you. He or she will help you with the purchase contract and all the way through to the notary.

Keep in mind that because all the documents are in Dutch and you’re buying a home in a foreign country without proper knowledge of the procedures and practices, it can be very helpful and save you a lot of trouble.

However it’s not mandatory for you.

Step 3. Determine search criteria

You’re all set to start searching for a home. But before you really start searching I think it’s best to first determine your search criteria.

Make a list of your wishes and try to prioritize. This list will be your guideline throughout your search. Ofcourse your wishes can change a bit during your search, but with this list, you can try to stay true to your wishes during the process.

Step 4. Search for homes

Okay let’s go, this is the fun part! Most people start searching on Funda.nl, this is the biggest housing site in the Netherlands. Good to know:  and you can also switch Funda to English.

Be aware; the housing market is booming. At this moment more people search for a house than there are houses available.

 Keep that in mind when you atart looking for a house online. Lower your searching price on Funda, so you don’t get disappointed as most of the houses will be sold above asking price. This of course can differ in different regions. Want to know what to expect in you region? A buying agent has lots of data available to give you the right strategy.

If you’re new to an area, it can definitely help to change the settings in Funda to map, so you can see where the house is situated.This way you have a better view on how the house is located and where to find shops, schools or playgrounds.

Step 5. Start the viewings

Before visiting a house, it’s good to check all documents, this might be tough because all documents are in Dutch.

This is what you should check thoroughly:

Energylabel: Houses in the Netherlands can only be sold with an energylabel.
The energylabel indicates the energy efficiency of the property. This label is indicated with letters. If the house gets label A, it’s more energy sufficient than a house with label D. A better label gives you 2 advantages:1.    Your monthly energycosts will be lower2.    . If the house has an energylabel of B or higher, you’ll be able to apply for a higher mortgage!


Also a lot of places in the Netherlands have leasehold. This means that the land is actually owned by the municipality and you will have the right to lease the landplot. The house is yours but the land it stands on remains the property of the municipality.

This could mean extra costs per year and can also change the marketability of the house.

But beware; if you see that a house is sold with a landplot that’s on leasehold, this does not automatically mean that you have extra monthly costs.
In some places groundlease is paid of for eternity. This means that when you buy the house, you will not have any extra costs.

So check this in advance and if you are not sure, ask the broker that is selling the house.

When you buy an apartment:

If you’re planning on buying an apartment, it’s wise to check everything about the owners association. You’ll have to pay a monthly amount to the owners association, “the servicecosts”. The owners association called “the VvE” will arrange for the maintenance of the building.

I already told you that the market in a lot of places in the Netherlands is super competitive, so in order to plan a viewing it’s important to be super super quickly. Otherwise chances are that you’ll be to late.

Also be aware that all viewings are mostly during office hours, which means extra difficulties planning.

Step 6. The viewing

Either you’ll have a private viewing, or you’ll be part of an open house. In both situations it’s good to come well prepared. Check all documents and especially the questionnaire and the list of movables  which is filled in by the seller.

During the viewing, check carefully if there are any additional renovations required and of course also check how the area feels for you.

Pictures and a video sometimes can be a little bit deceiving.

Further more if you’re new to the area it’s good to check the amenities. How is the house situated? Is there a supermarket close by, how about public transportations and restaurants?

Step 7. Place an offer

Before thinking about placing an offer, it’s good to know how many people have visited the property, and how you can submit your offer.

Is there a one time possibility with a deadline or can you place an offer and maybe negotiate?

Because I am active in the Amsterdam region, in our case most houses are sold with a deadline.

This means that you have one shot, to place your best offer.

Your offer consists of your bid, the desired transfer date, and also the conditions under which you are willing to buy the house.

Conditions that you can have can be a financial condition or the condition of a technical inspection.

Please see your offer as applying for a new job. The seller will always compare different offers and quit often they choose the buyer which gives them the most security.

Step 8. The purchase contract

Once your offer is accepted, a lot needs to be done.

First of all the purchase agreement needs to be drawn up in which all agreements will be recorded.

Only once both parties have signed the contract, there actually is an agreement which is binding.

After signing the contract, you as a buyer have a 3 days cooling down period, which means that you will be able to cancel the agreement without any fines.

The seller however is binded by the contract as soon as it is signed.

Step 9 Applying for a mortgage

To be honest this is not my favorite part, but unfortunately mandatory if you need a mortgage.

Please contact yovf fmcmffffff ffdur mortgage adviser as soon as possible. He can immediately start the process to application for a mortgage.

You’ll also need to choose the notary office to arrange the transfer of the ownership, the technical inspection and a valuation report for your mortgage.

It might take 6 weeks or more to receive a binding offer for a mortgage, so start your mortgage application right away.

Step 10. Transfer date

Finally the day has come! You’ll soon be the owner of the house!

But not before you do the final inspection. This is a very important part of the process, because this is your chance to check if the house is in the same state as it was when you bought it.

After the house is transferred to you, all risks will pass over on to you, so if something is broken or gone for example, this is your time to speak up.

The notary will arrange the transfer to take place. Prior he will send you an invoice.
Check the invoice carefully. Here’ you’ll see the total amount  that you’ll need to transfer to the bankaccount of the notary. (he will be the intermediate between you and the seller. You transfer the money you need to pay the seller to the notary and he will transfer it to the account of the seller.) It’s very important that the total amount is wired to the bankaccount at the day of transfer.

The deed of transfer that you need to sign will be in Dutch and so it’s very important to have a translator during the appointment with the notary, this is actually mandatory.

The notary will explain the deed for you and then you’ll sign the deed.

This is the moment you’ll get the keys of your new home and the ownership will be transferred to you, happy new home owner!

As you can see, there’s a lot to know when buying a property in the Netherlands. This is why I have made a special guidebook for you with a lot more tips and tricks. You can download it for free.

Delen: Wil je vaker blogs van ons ontvangen?

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