Buying a house

When you intend to stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, it might be beneficial to buy a house. There are some important ‘need to knows’ when you are considing buying a house:

  • When you become a property owner in the Netherlands, you are entitled to claim certain tax benefits. If the house which you have bought is your primary residence, your mortgage (hypotheek) interest payments will be tax-deductible, as will many other expenses incurred during the purchase (notarial deed etc). Moreover, if you rent a property and your employer pays the rent or contributes to it, this is taxed as a benefit.
  • It is advisable to consult with a mortgage advisor at your bank or an agency first, in order to calculate a realistic estimate of the price range  suitable to your situation.
  • You can contact an estate agent (makelaar) to keep you informed of suitable properties for sale, to arrange house viewings and for practical advice. An estate agent will require a commission, usually between 1 and 2% of the purchase price, plus VAT (BTW).

Need to know

For properties advertised as ‘kk’ (buyer costs, kosten koper), you will be obliged to pay the additional expenses such as the services of an estate agent, transfer costs etc. On average these expenses will comprise approximately 6% of the property price.

If a property is advertised as ‘vrij op naam’, this means that all expenses are included in the price. This is only the case when it concerns a newly built property.

During your negotiations for buying a property, the seller's agent is still permitted to receive other parties to view the property. Always bear in mind that the agent will generally act in the best interest of the seller. Many buyers choose to protect their interests by hiring their own agent.

Base the price which you are willing to pay for a house on the market value of the property, not the asking price. Make sure your proposition for a price is made, subject to the condition that you will be able to arrange financing within a certain period of time.

Once an offer has been accepted the initial written agreement is known as the Presale Agreement/Contract of Sale, and is signed by both the buyer and seller of the property. You are allowed a 3 -day cooling-off period during which you may still withdraw from the agreement. When this period has expired, you may risk a penalty of 10% of the asking price if you pull out of the agreement.

When it comes to the actual purchase of a house, you will be asked to provide the mortgage provider a property valuation report (taxatierapport), which is usually arranged by a valuer (taxateur) who will charge a fee.

To conclude the sale, both parties must be physically present to sign a transfer contract (akte van levering). Generally, this contract will be in Dutch, therefore it is advisable to arrange for an interpreter in advance if you feel this is necessary.