Back to basics: It’s easy to buy a house in the Netherlands

It is easy to forget that every year, thousands of people are buying a home of their own, moving to a new and bigger place, or downsizing – despite rising house prices, changes in interest rates, and the shortage of property in general.

So if you are hoping to get a foot on the housing ladder, don’t let the bad news get you down. Yes, the market is tight, but there are still plenty of homes – particularly starter homes – on the market. Interest rates are fairly stable and every day websites like have something new to offer. That being said, if you seriously want to buy a property, you need to be prepared to act quickly. And that means there are some key things you should do before you start looking in earnest.

Balcony or second bedroom?

First of all, decide what is important to you. Do you want outside space or even a garden? Do you need a second bedroom to use as an office or are you hoping to start a family instead? If you don’t have a car, for example, think about easy access to public transport or how far you are prepared to cycle to work and the shops.

Then start checking out what is available online. Visit the neighbourhoods you like the look of and walk around, in the daytime and at night. A street with lots of lively bars might seem a great idea during the day, but perhaps not if you are trying to get to sleep.

Once you have more of an idea about what you want, you should find an estate agent to help you in your search. If this is your first home buy in the Netherlands and if your Dutch is limited, you really do need someone to act in your interests. Sellers and buyers usually have their own makelaar who do the negotiations on their behalf and ask difficult questions about foundations and other possible problems. Ask friends or colleagues who they would recommend.

How much can I borrow?

Then, of course, you should think about the money. You can take out a mortgage in the Netherlands for 100% of the property value but you will need some savings to pay taxes, notary fees, valuation fees, other items, some of which are tax deductible. Your advisor can help you determine how much.

I always recommend signing up with a mortgage advisor before you start thinking about making an offer on a property, so you are ready to move quickly once the paperwork is signed.

It is common to have a financial clause in the preliminary agreement that says the sale is subject to the buyer being able to finance the deal. However, if you trying to buy a house that has generated a lot of interest, the more you can do to convince the seller the better, and having the paperwork ready to go is a big plus.

Mortgage advisors

A mortgage advisor will also help you decide what type of mortgage you should take out. If you want to take advantage of mortgage interest tax relief, for example, you have a choice between two types, the linear mortgage and the annuity mortgage.

A mortgage advisor can also help you work out how much you can borrow – if you are a couple, for example, both your salaries can be taken into account. If you are buying an extremely energy-efficient home, or one which needs a lot of work to make it sustainable, you can also borrow more. There are so many different factors that affect how much you can borrow, that a personal chat gives you are far better picture than using an online mortgage calculator.

It might all sound extremely complicated, but with the right advice and proper preparation, you are maximizing your chances of buying that dream home.

If you’d like to find out more about buying a home in the Netherlands, please join me on June 11 at 7 pm for a live webinar on the A to Z of home ownership.

Sign up here.