Buying a home in NL - How does it work
TO BUY A HOME IN THE NETHERLANDS – HOW DOES IT WORK
In the Netherlands there are no restrictions to whom can buy real estate. So you too can buy a property, provided that you have reached the age of 18. How does this work? Below we tried to outline this process as clearly as possible.
#1 Orientation – Most probably you already have some thoughts about where you would want to
live and which type of property will fit your needs best for the coming years. There are numerous
websites that show real estate for sale, but the site with the most complete supply is www.funda.nl .
Naturally the prices shown are asking prices and not transaction prices but it will surely give you a
good enough idea of which price range goes with your wishes. At this moment it would be good to
check in with a mortgage advisor to investigate if this price range is feasible and to discuss further
options and wishes. Your mortgage advisor will be happy to give you a rough indication of the
monthly costs for the mortgage needed. It potentially saves you a lot of time when you know in
advance where your budget starts and where it ends.
You could also engage a real estate agent (“aankoopmakelaar”) to help you with your search for the
right property. An aankoopmakelaar is no guarantee for a better price, but he or she should at least
provide you with a better understanding of the market based on his / her knowledge of the local
circumstances and his / her access to recent transaction prices. Apart from that the makelaars
network can be very convenient when vistiting or bidding on popular properties (step #2 and #3)
#2 Selection – Once you know what’s your budget and you see an interesting property then you can
usually view these properties by appointment. When you go on viewing, don’t let people rush you
and do keep in mind that the selling agent works for the sellers and in that sense is not neutral or
obliged to look after your interests. A selling agent will always try to make the property look good
and give you the idea that the property is hot and wanted, but nevertheless they have to tell you the
truth when you ask questions. So make sure that you ask all question that come up when visiting the
property. If you should have any doubts about technical aspects or the condition of the property
then you could organise a technical survey at your own costs (approx. € 500 all-in). If there’s pressure
because there are more bids or when there’s a deadline then you can also already make your bid and
include a technical survey as a reservation in your offer.
#3 Bidding – When you are sure that you want to buy the property you viewed, you can ask the
selling agent how you can make a bid. At that point you should contact your mortgage advisor so (if
necessary) he or she can claim interest rates or line up your file at a bank or lender. In your bid you
can include reservations like a financing clause (always recommended!), a technical survey or some
specific renovations or refurbishments to be completed by the seller before the delivery. Further you
need to make sure that – needless to say – the offered price and the desired delivery date are
mentioned. Do make sure that your offer has only a limited validity, in other words state explicitly
that your offer expires after (for instance) 36 hours. This is to put some healthy pressure on the
sellers and to prevent your offer from being used as a stepping stone.
There are now three possibilities: a) your offer is accepted, b) your offer is not accepted without
further comments or c) your offer is not accepted but you receive a counteroffer (laatprijs). If one of
the last two is the case then you can either make a new (final) offer where the aforementioned is
again applicable or you can accept the sellers counteroffer. If the sellers counteroffer is too far from
the desired pricelevel you naturally can cancel the negotiations. In this case it would be polite to let
the sellers know you don’t want to continue. If you are not comfortable performing the negotiations
yourself, then you can very well engage a real estate agent (aankoopmakelaar) for this part of the
#4 Finalize – When you have reached an agreement (congrats!) you have to confirm all conditions in
a purchase contract (voorlopige koopovereenkomst). The sellers agent will initiate this process but it
is normally your right to choose and appoint a notary to conduct the delivery and pass the deeds. In
some cities - like Amsterdam – it is compulsory to have a notary drawing up the purchase contract,
this is due to the often more than average legal complexity (apartment rights, ground lease, etc).
Outside Amsterdam there usually is more flexibility in this regard, so it is possible to download a
standard purchase agreement from the net. However in our opinion it is recommendable to engage a
notary for this. Naturally you can ask your mortgage advisor or aankoopmakelaar if he or she knows
a good and affordable notary. On sites like www.degoedkoopstenotaris.nl you can find a lot of
notaries with often sharp rates, but the quality of the service offered certainly varies from one to the
next. Since the notaries fee is in principle tax deductible you may want to choose a more service
Once the purchase contract is drafted and all conditions are according to your wishes, then the big
moment arrives that you can sign it. If you hired an aankoopmakelaar he or she will check the
contract in advance and otherwise also your mortgage advisor will be happy to quickscan the
contract for you. From the moment that the contract is signed by both parties then by law the buyer
(you) has 3 days to reflect and the option to pull out of the deal during those 3 days. Mind you some
third parties can still charge you for the costs they made and the work they have done for you, for
instance a notary who drew up the contract or an aankoopmakelaar whose sole assignment it was to
perform the negotiations for you.
In most purchase contracts a financing clause (resolutive condition for a succesful arrangement of
your mortgage) and a deadline for a bank guarantee or 10% deposit is agreed on. It is now most
important to make sure you get your financing (mortgage) arranged, in any case before the financing
clause expires. For a description of this process we refer to the mortgage section on our website!