Rent or buy? The pro’s and cons

The first thing every expat has to do when arriving in the Netherlands (or any other country of course) is find a place to live. Most expats choose to rent when they first arrive, since this gives more flexibility. Very often, as an expat, you do not know how long you will stay, and the decision regarding renting versus buying a home is not a decision to be taken lightly.

The advantage of renting is obviously the flexibility. How long will you stay? Do you expect to be employed in the Netherlands for a long or short period? Then, there is location to consider. It is a good idea to take some time to find out which area of the city you would prefer to live in. The locals will always know which are the better areas, but for the newcomer these are often hard to judge. Being close to schools may be an important criterion, but is this an area where you would feel at home? And if the house needs repairs or maintenance, all you need to do is phone your landlord to have the problem solved. However, there are also good reasons to consider perhaps buying your own house or apartment. When you are renting, you are effectively paying or subsidizing someone else’s mortgage. When you buy your own home, you can build up equity in it. For those who are tax payers in the Netherlands, the Dutch Fiscal Authorities contribute towards the interest payments by way of deduction allowances for mortgage interest. This can often make buying no more expensive, or maybe even cheaper, than renting. So, all well and good you might think, but are Dutch banks prepared to lend money to expats for property purchase? Actually yes, they generally are! Maybe not all banks are equally accommodating, but if you seek specialized advice from a financial advisor with a lot of expat knowledge and experience, you will find that owning your house in the Netherlands can become an affordable reality, and soon!