Buying a house in Holland 1

Where to start

Many Dutch newspapers produce a special “woon” section once a week – usually Wednesday or Thursday. This section will include advertisements for properties to buy as well as properties to rent.

Buying a house in Holland 1

There are also a couple of websites such as www.funda.nl  and www.woonkrant.nl  which are very helpful.

Many of the advertisements will in fact be from estate agents (makelaars). Be very careful! Make it very clear when you respond that you are interested in the property that is being advertised and that you are NOT asking them to find a home for you. The same applies if you are responding to an advertising board hanging outside a property or even going into the estate agents to enquire about a property advertised in their shop window.

Of course, you may save yourself a lot of legwork if you approach an agent to find a home for you. Then – and only then – will they have the right to charge you a fee of anything up to 2% of the eventual purchase price. Incidentally it is rare indeed that when an estate agent quotes a fee, he adds the words lus BTW”. But you will always find the BTW at 19% added to his final bill!

However, before you start looking, you should get an indication of whether you can actually raise a mortgage and – if so – how much.

In principle you should not have too much difficulty in raising up to 5 times your gross salary as a mortgage so long as:-

  1. You have lived in the Netherlands for at least 5 years.
  2. You are in permanent employment (i.e. you are not a contractor on short term contracts)
  3. Or (if self employed) you can produce a minimum of 3 years accounts (prepared by a recognised accountant) detailing your taxable earnings over the period as well as a prognosis of your expectations for the current year.
  4. You have a valid residency permit.

However, all is not lost if you do not fulfil all of the above. We recently arranged a full mortgage for a US client who has lived here for less than a year and does not have a permanent residency permit. Alternatively you may use the Strategies property search service. 

It is interesting to note that under EU regulations it is no longer a legal requirement for an EU citizen to have a residency permit to live in The Netherlands. However, some institutions still insist on seeing one before they will extend a mortgage. So if you do not have one I suggest you apply anyway.

Most estate agents have a tie-up with a mortgage broker and will offer you their service. You are not obliged to accept the offer and you would be well advised to seek alternative offers.

A possible source is your own bank. However, I would still advise you to seek alternative offers since – in our experience – your bank will not necessarily give you the best type of mortgage to suit your circumstances.

Finally do not be blinded by an offer with a low interest rate. Make sure whoever is making the offer explains in detail EXACTLY what your monthly repayments are and EXACTLY what the tax consequences are. Take a look at this example

Combination mortgage €481,461total of which €.226,890 is aflossingvrij (interest only) and €.254,571 is a spaarhypotheek (endowment mortgage). Interest 5.2%. Gross repayments €2,452.23 per month

Beleggers hypotheek €481,461 – interest rate 5.6% gross repayments €.2,408 per month.

On the face of it not much difference in spite of the interest rate difference. However it gets better. On the combination mortgage your tax relief would be €1,001.49 per month so your net repayments are €1,450.74 per month. On the beleggers mortgage your tax relief would be €1,078.64 per month so your net repayments will be €1,340.36 per month. In short €110 less per month in spite of a higher interest rate!

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Peter Gibney is a consultant with Strategies based in Dordrecht. Strategies are a fully licensed insurance broker/financial advisor specialising in the expatriate market. Any questions arising from this series of articles or other none related matters may be directed to Peter on {phone} 0788 844 0879 or {fax} 084 751 2944 or e-mail

There are also a couple of websites such as www.funda.nl  and www.woonkrant.nl  which are very helpful.

Many of the advertisements will in fact be from estate agents (makelaars). Be very careful! Make it very clear when you respond that you are interested in the property that is being advertised and that you are NOT asking them to find a home for you. The same applies if you are responding to an advertising board hanging outside a property or even going into the estate agents to enquire about a property advertised in their shop window.

Of course, you may save yourself a lot of legwork if you approach an agent to find a home for you. Then – and only then – will they have the right to charge you a fee of anything up to 2% of the eventual purchase price. Incidentally it is rare indeed that when an estate agent quotes a fee, he adds the words lus BTW”. But you will always find the BTW at 19% added to his final bill!

However, before you start looking, you should get an indication of whether you can actually raise a mortgage and – if so – how much.

In principle you should not have too much difficulty in raising up to 5 times your gross salary as a mortgage so long as:-

  1. You have lived in the Netherlands for at least 5 years.
  2. You are in permanent employment (i.e. you are not a contractor on short term contracts)
  3. Or (if self employed) you can produce a minimum of 3 years accounts (prepared by a recognised accountant) detailing your taxable earnings over the period as well as a prognosis of your expectations for the current year.
  4. You have a valid residency permit.

However, all is not lost if you do not fulfil all of the above. We recently arranged a full mortgage for a US client who has lived here for less than a year and does not have a permanent residency permit. Alternatively you may use the Strategies property search service. 

It is interesting to note that under EU regulations it is no longer a legal requirement for an EU citizen to have a residency permit to live in The Netherlands. However, some institutions still insist on seeing one before they will extend a mortgage. So if you do not have one I suggest you apply anyway.

Most estate agents have a tie-up with a mortgage broker and will offer you their service. You are not obliged to accept the offer and you would be well advised to seek alternative offers.

A possible source is your own bank. However, I would still advise you to seek alternative offers since – in our experience – your bank will not necessarily give you the best type of mortgage to suit your circumstances.

Finally do not be blinded by an offer with a low interest rate. Make sure whoever is making the offer explains in detail EXACTLY what your monthly repayments are and EXACTLY what the tax consequences are. Take a look at this example

Combination mortgage €481,461total of which €.226,890 is aflossingvrij (interest only) and €.254,571 is a spaarhypotheek (endowment mortgage). Interest 5.2%. Gross repayments €2,452.23 per month

Beleggers hypotheek €481,461 – interest rate 5.6% gross repayments €.2,408 per month.

On the face of it not much difference in spite of the interest rate difference. However it gets better. On the combination mortgage your tax relief would be €1,001.49 per month so your net repayments are €1,450.74 per month. On the beleggers mortgage your tax relief would be €1,078.64 per month so your net repayments will be €1,340.36 per month. In short €110 less per month in spite of a higher interest rate!

---
Peter Gibney is a consultant with Strategies based in Dordrecht. Strategies are a fully licensed insurance broker/financial advisor specialising in the expatriate market. Any questions arising from this series of articles or other none related matters may be directed to Peter on {phone} 0788 844 0879 or {fax} 084 751 2944 or e-mail

This article has been submitted by Peter Gibney

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