Can you get a mortgage in the Netherlands as an international? With 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 may influence your 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 international 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 Melissa Zahaf and Arjen Hardesmeets at Expat Mortgage Platform to answer all the “can I get a mortgage in the Netherlands if…?” questions that many of you have.

We will cover a lot of ground in this piece, if you’re looking for information on your specific situation feel free to use this handy little box!

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 a certain contract/payroll-construction or without a ‘letter of intent’?

Before we answer this question let’s lay out some definitions. A flexible contract. What is that exactly? It’s simple: all contract forms that do not have a permanent character. Think for example of a temporary contract without a declaration of intent by the employer.

A declaration (or letter) of intent states that your employer will give you a permanent indefinite contract if the current contract expires. How does this affect your mortgage? Often banks will give you a mortgage based on this letter of intent.

photo-of-a-woman-gathering-information-to-fill-out-a-mortgage-application-in-the-netherlands
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.

READ MORE |The easy guide to understanding your Dutch employment contract

Now let’s look at an example of what kind of mortgage amount you can get when you have a flexible contract:

Does your income look like this:

  • 2021: €80.000
  • 2020: €75.000
  • 2019: €50.000

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

If you only live and work here since 2019, only an annual statement can be submitted from 2019 and 2020, 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, as a result of the above calculation strategy, the income that your mortgage is based off can vary considerably compared to your current earnings. If you have any questions about this, please contact Expat Mortgage Platform. They also offer helpful tools such as a mortgage calculator.

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

The Dutch are known for their 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’er 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.

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

The minimum requirements to get a mortgage as a freelancer:

  • You need to be at least one year active and need to have closed off one financial year. 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 will deduct the profit with a percentage. The reason for this is the uncertainty on how the business will perform in the next years.
  • 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.

4. Can you get 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 different 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 — less borrowing power from the bank per month
  • New loan system: € 112.50 — less borrowing power from the bank per month

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 less for your potential mortgage loan based on 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.

READ MORE | Rent or buy a house in the Netherlands? What you need to know in 2021

How does foreign student debt affect your Dutch mortgage?

Do you have a student loan abroad? The calculation is similar to the Dutch way. However, 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.

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

It might 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.

Photo-of-cross-border-worker-netherlands
If you’re a cross border worker, the way in which your Dutch mortgage loan is calculated is slightly different. Image: Saulo Mohana/Unsplash

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. Converted to euros, that is approximately €85,000. €85,000 x 90% is €76,500. In that case, your maximum mortgage will be calculated based on an income of €76,500.

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

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 many contracts to navigate. With a mortgage advisor by your side, you don’t have to deal with the bank all by yourself, they’ll get you the best rates and there’s somebody to watch your back with what is arguably one of the biggest financial deals of your life.

The mortgage advisors at Expat Mortgage Platform give you all the explanations and documents in English, which is really helpful seeing as contracts are already complicated enough as is — let alone when they’re 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

Feature Image: ArturVerkhovetskiy/Depositphotos

Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱http://www.abuzervanleeuwen.nl
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]dutchreview.com

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1 COMMENT

  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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