Buying a house Dutch style


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We have just bought our second house in the Netherlands. It’s just round the corner from where we now live, and even closer to the children’s school. So we are very happy and looking forward to moving there and not moving again! But first we have some renovations to do. We are lucky to have found an older house, but it needs updating and insulating before we move in. If it all goes well we should be in for Christmas, but it depends how fast we can get permission from the Council for a couple of changes we want to make, and what the availabilities are for the people who will come and do the work. It is a big adventure and we are very excited about it.

With this second time going through the process of purchasing property here I thought it was a good occasion for me to write a bit about how it works. The first main difference to the UK is that as a purchaser you have your own estate agent. This isn’t compulsory, but certainly helps with the negotiations and as an outsider they can help you go through an unfamiliar process. We used Jaap from Amsterdam House Hunting as he had helped us last time. Then there is just one notary who deals with all the legal aspects of transferring the property over and presides over the official signing process.

The second major difference to the process in the UK, is that generally within a week of agreeing a price both sides sign an agreement for the purchase. This includes the price and also the date that the purchase will be completed. Once that has been signed there is a penalty clause of 10% of the purchase price if either side break the agreement. The only get out clause is if the mortgage isn’t agreed. One of the benefits of this is that there is a deadline for all the paperwork to be completed, so you don’t have people sitting waiting for replies to come in. When we didn’t reply quickly enough to our mortgage broker they reminded us to get back to them. I’ve never heard of that happen in the UK! We used Chris from Expat Mortgages for a second time, who gave us splendid service and providing everything for us in English was part of the service.

Lastly for the actual hand over of the property you have a meeting at the notary. Immediately before that both sides meet at the property and go round to confirm that it is empty and in the expected condition. Then at the notary’s office you go through all the details of the property and make sure that everyone knows exactly what is being transferred and the details of the mortgage. The keys are handed over, and everyone leaves happy.

Now we wait for the building work to start, and enjoy the summer in our new garden!

4 thoughts on “Buying a house Dutch style

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  1. That process sounds very like the French system too Clari. The only difference is the estate agent. They are contracted by the vendor but paid for by the purchaser! I found that very odd . I wonder if it is supposed to make it as though they work for you both, but it really didnt to be honest. Your new house project sounds very exciting . Best of luck.

  2. Interesting to learn about different countries’ real estate practices. I knew nothing about Dutch real estate before this, and only the idea of the “99 year lease” in England, which I think must have been a holdover from Queen Lizzie 1 (it shows up in research on the late 1500s) or even earlier– “time out of mind” as another favorite English vintage saying goes.

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