Can you get a mortgage in the Netherlands as an expat? (With a college debt? Or as a freelancer?)

Can you get a mortgage in the Netherlands as an expat? Are you an expat in the Netherlands and thinking of buying a house? Then there are a couple of things that have an influence on the possibility of getting a mortgage in the Netherlands.

Perhaps you are self-employed, or you have some substantial college debts — but don’t fall into despair! You’ll usually still be able to get a mortgage as an expat for that nice grachtenpand you spotted. But how do banks handle these kinds of things? Do you have to bring a suitcase of money and be a mathematical magician to get a mortgage in the Netherlands in that case? (No, but please contact us for a feature article, should be an awesome story).

Once again we teamed up with Expat Mortgage Platform — the go-to party to get a mortgage — for your future house in the Netherlands, to answer all the ‘Can I get a mortgage in the Netherlands if…?’ questions all of you people have.

We will highlight the following aspects which will have an influence on you getting a mortgage or not in the Netherlands:

  1. Your nationality/residency
  2. Type of contract/payroll/no letter of intent
  3. ZZP (entrepreneur)
  4. Student loans
  5. Income outside of the Netherlands/in a different currency

1. Can you buy a house in the Netherlands if you’ve got a different nationality or residency?

If you are from the Netherlands, you can apply to every bank for a mortgage to buy a house in Holland. But the further away from this tiny country your national roots lie, the smaller the chances are that banks (or better said, mortgage-lenders) are willing to give you a mortgage. But do not despair, the chances are still pretty good!

So, if you are from the EU, most banks consider you “a Dutchie”, but other banks might want you to be working and living in the Netherlands for a certain period (in some cases three years). Are you from outside the EU? Banks can then have some more requirements for you to obtain a mortgage. This entails mostly the number of years you are living and working in the Netherlands (in some cases five years). Of course, the longer you are living here, the more options an intermediary party like Expat Mortgage Platform has for arranging that Dutch mortgage for you.

But in the end, do not worry… there is always an option regardless of the time you are registered in the Netherlands.

2. What about getting a mortgage with this type of contract/payroll-construction or when you don’t get a ‘letter of intent’?

A flexible contract. What is that exactly? In fact, it’s all those contract forms that do not have a permanent character. Think for example of a temporary contract without a declaration of intent by the employer. Oh, by the way, a declaration, or letter, of intent states that your employer will give you a permanent indefinite contract if the current contract expires. Often banks will also accept this and give you a mortgage based on this letter of intent.

Pro-tip: get a smartphone too 😉 Image: Tirachard Kumtanom/Pexels

Now if you work through an employment agency, work on a payroll basis or if you have a zero-hours contract, then in all these cases, there is a degree of uncertainty about your income and a bank, as you might expect, would like to have a situation as secure as possible. Does that mean that you cannot get a mortgage at all if you have a flexible contract? No, but you must have worked for a couple of years. The bank asks for the annual returns of the past three full calendar years. Then the average (but never higher than the last year) is taken. Also in principle, your work history must have been in the Netherlands.

Now let’s look at an example of what kind of mortgage amount you can get when there’s this flexible contract situation in play:

Did your income look like this:

2018: 80.000

2017: 75.000

2016: 50.000

Then the income on which the mortgage calculation will be based is 68.333.

If you only live and work here since 2016, so only an annual statement can be submitted from 2016 and 2017, the average income according to the above example is 51,667 (80,000 + 75,000 + 0 divided by 3). Keep in mind that in some cases, banks reject applications if there is just one or two years of income out of three years — but a good mortgage intermediary can certainly help you out with these kinds of circumstances!

Be aware that the income can, therefore, vary considerably compared to your current earnings. If you have any questions about this, please contact Expat Mortgage Platform. They can tell you more about this.

3. Can you get a mortgage in the Netherlands as a freelancer/entrepreneur/ZZP’er?

The Dutch are known for its entrepreneurial mindset and so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of people who own a company or are registered at the chamber of commerce as ‘ZZP’ aka freelancer. In these cases, it’s still totally possible to get a mortgage in the Netherlands, but the income on which it will be based is again calculated a tad bit different.

The minimum requirements to get a mortgage as a freelancer are:
You need to be at least one year active and need to have closed off one financial year. Also, you need to have a Dutch registration at the chamber of commerce. Having your business registered elsewhere (such as a foreign chamber of commerce) really complicates things and makes the chances of getting a mortgage really, extremely low.

In other words, once you move here, it is — in the case of obtaining a mortgage — best to move your business here as well. The longer you have your business, the better the chances are when it comes to getting a mortgage.

When it comes to the amount of money you can get with a Dutch mortgage as an independent it goes as follows. For entrepreneurs, they use the average profit over the past three years. Assuming the profit is increasing each year, the average should be higher, if you are already active for a number of years.

If you cannot provide the income over the past three years, because you do not run your business for that long, the banks are deducting the profit with a percentage. The reason for this is the uncertainty on how the business will perform in the next years. If you are self-employed, you can reach out to Expat Mortgage Platform, they can tell you more about this.

And also find out if buying a Dutch house from centuries ago is a good idea or not with them. Image: Edithnib/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

4. Can you obtain a mortgage in the Netherlands and buy a house with college debts/study loans?

If you have a student loan, it is still possible to apply for a mortgage in the Netherlands. However, that loan is taken into account when it comes to the maximum mortgage. In this context, as in the case of other loans, the original study debt is assumed (the one you ended up with at your graduation) — which kind of sucks, to be honest.

As a rule, a charge of 0.75% per month on the original loan amount is taken into account. Since July 2015 there’s a new college loan system in place. If you have such a study debt, then 0.45% per month is assumed.

With a college debt of 25,000 euros, which is kind of average in the Netherlands, we are talking about:

Old loan system: € 187.50 — what you could borrow less from the bank per month

New loan system: € 112.50

So, this amount is deducted from what you can spend on the mortgage on a monthly basis. Because this amount is lower, the maximum mortgage that you can get is also lower (makes sense, right?) In the end we’re talking about around 50,000 euros for the old loan system. If you no longer have such a high debt or you have enough savings, it can certainly be worth it to just pay off your student debt — Expat Mortgage Platform can help you with those calculations.

Also, if you make an extra repayment of the loan, the banks are willing to use your new debt and monthly payment. But this counts only for Dutch student loans.

Do you have a student loan abroad? The calculation is similar to the Dutch way, or if your monthly payments are higher than the banks use that amount. If you have the possibility to pay it back, that would most likely help your case. In any way, there’s something to be done when you want to get a mortgage with college debts, but it helps to get advice from a mortgage advisor.

Also, want to hear something off-the-record? College debts in the Netherlands are not registered anywhere, normal debts are registered with the BKR. So in theory, when your payments aren’t to be seen on your bank account and you don’t tell the mortgage lender — well, I’m just going to let you do the rest of the thinking by yourself…

5. Can you get a mortgage in the Netherlands if your income is from abroad or you work abroad?

It might as well be that you live in the Netherlands, but you have your work elsewhere, such as Belgium, the UK, or even a bit further. That means that you most likely pay your (income) taxes also outside of the Netherlands. Because of that, you are not eligible for tax deduction here in the Netherlands on the interest that you pay.

Some banks are okay with providing you a mortgage if you do not work in the Netherlands, as long as you receive your income in euros and it will be paid on your Dutch bank account. If your income is not in euros, the options are very limited. The bank needs to make sure the income is secure, and to minimize the currency risk, they use 90% of the converted income to euros.

For instance, you have an income 77,000 GBP. Converted to euros, that is approximately 85,000 euros. 85,000 x 90% is 76,500 euros. In that case, we can calculate your maximum mortgage with an income of 76,500 euros.

In conclusion, yes you can probably get a mortgage and buy a house in the Netherlands! (but it never hurts to get help)

If you’re serious about obtaining a mortgage in the Netherlands then Jan Thomas and his co-workers at Expat Mortgage Platform are happy to help you with that adventure and you can schedule a no-strings-attached-scouts-honor to meet up with them. It’s always a good idea to do this since an explanatory conversation like this will make things a lot clearer.

I can really recommend using an intermediary for obtaining a Dutch mortgage. Even more when this is your first time buying a house in the Netherlands and you have some contract situations or such going. That way you don’t have to deal with the bank all by yourself, they get you the best rates and there’s somebody to watch your back with what is arguably the biggest deal of your life.

In case you do decide to let Expat Mortgage Platform help you out with securing your mortgage in the Netherlands then they will go for that tailored approach you need. They can and will help throughout the entire process, thus from purchase to the sealing of the deal at notary and everything in between.

Expat Mortgage Platform also gives you all the explanations and documents in English, which is really handy since this is all rather complex in English – let alone in Dutch. (Check out the Expat Mortgage Platform website and fill out the contact form to set up a free meeting!). Getting a mortgage in the Netherlands as an expat has never been more simple.

Also, when you’re planning to buy your first house in the Netherlands, we wish you:

DutchReview has worked together with Expat Mortgage Platform to bring you this article on mortgages in the Netherlands.
Feature Image: Edithnib/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Abuzer Van Leeuwen
Abuzer Van Leeuwen
Founded DutchReview. Rotterdammer living in Leiden. Politics, innovation and epic food-reviews are his thing. Interested in doing anything with DutchReview? Contact him at abuzer[at]

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  1. Nice article.
    I wonder if it’s possible while arranging a dutch mortgage, that you can transfer a deposit (let’s say £100,000) from a foreign bank account straight in to the hypotheek?
    On most UK bank accounts for example, you have limits of how much money you can transfer to a Dutch account each time (£10,000), so, it would be so much easier to do it in one go!?


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