Buying a house in the Netherlands
What factors should I take into account before buying a house or apartment?
A very important factor when buying a property is that you are clearly aware of the property’s legal standing. This means that you need to check whether it is eigen grond (freehold) or erfpacht (leasehold) property. If your potential house is freehold, then you fully own the plot and the house. Leasehold would mean that you only own the house but not the plot (this is the case for apartments as well). This means you will be paying an annual fee for renting the plot. Your real estate agent can provide this information.
Existing houses are usually sold as ‘kosten koper (kk)’. This means that all additional costs such as overdrachtsbelasting (property transfer tax) and notariskosten (notary costs) must be paid by the buyer.
New houses are usually sold as ‘vrij op naam (V.O.N.)’. This means that the purchase price includes BTW (VAT), property transfer tax and notary costs.
Bouwtechnisch onderzoek (construction inspection)
It is strongly advised to ask an expert for a bouwkundig onderzoek (construction inspection). This person will check things such as:
- crawl space (if accessible) and floors, drainage, ventilation, piping in crawl space
- state of the facades, roof, chimneys, window frames, gutters, roof, and chimneys
- determination of the presence of lead pipes and risk carbon monoxide
- fire safety and asbestos suspected.
The real estate agent who sells the house often recommends someone to do this. However, this person may not be independent. Therefore it is best to ask your own real estate agent for an expert. If you don’t have a real estate agent it may be useful to ask advice from the Vereniging Eigen Huis https://www.eigenhuis.nl/#/ (Dutch only). This is an interest group for home owners
Things to consider when buying a house or apartment
When buying a house or apartment, take the following things into consideration:
- Research appropriate neighbourhoods considering: housing prices, access to public transportation, green spaces, distance/time to your work, location of schools
- View properties during the day then again in the evening to notice any potential problems and have a sense of the area
- Limit your viewings each day
- Be sure to take photos and jot down notes
- Ask questions and strike up conversations with the estate agent, the seller and people in the area
- Take into account your estate agent’s advice
- Inquire about: who owns the property, how long it has been on the market, how many viewings there have been, how many bids have been made, why it is for sale, and how quickly it needs to be sold
- If possible, do not get into a bidding war and avoid sealed bid offers