How to get a Dutch mortgage as a Brit, freelancer, and more

Divorced? A freelancer? British? Not everyone has 10 years of payslips behind them. Here’s how you can get a mortgage in the Netherlands even when your situation classifies as “challenging.”

Tired of renting a house in the Netherlands for a gazillion euros and that mortgage-in-the-Netherlands-life is looking pretty sweet? In a 10/10 world, you would just pay a million euros cash for a snazzy Dutch home — but, like us, you probably don’t have that sort of money sitting in your bank account.

In a 9/10 world, you and your significant other would both have an indefinite contract, no debts or car payments to pay off, a Dutch passport, and an unending amount of financial wisdom to smoothly dance through the process of obtaining a mortgage in the Netherlands.

But you’re reading this article, so that’s obviously not you! That’s why we’re dedicating this space to those with challenging career statuses, migration issues, or passport concerns. 

Watch out! These are some tricky circumstances below — but believe it or not, it is possible to get a mortgage in less-than-standard conditions. To find out how, we went to the experts: Expat Mortgages, where Richardo told us all about how you can buy a house no matter your situation. 

Getting a mortgage as a Brit after Brexit

What if you’re British and you’re trying to buy a house in the Netherlands in this post-Brexit world?

Numerous Brits and UK companies are jumping across the North Sea into a Dutch life, many of them also interested in buying a Dutch house (we guess we’re still cheap compared to London?). 

But as with many of Brexit’s consequences, buying a house abroad also just got a tad bit more interesting. 

How will Brexit affect applying for a mortgage in the Netherlands? Image: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

“On December 31, 2020, the British people lost their EU citizenship overnight,” Richardo explains. He says that some EU banks took the liberty of recognising a transition period and decided to still define UK citizens as EU citizens.

“However, some banks didn’t do anything and said ‘we are going to treat you as a non-EU citizen.’” 

Why does this matter? Essentially, some banks don’t provide 100% mortgages to non-EU citizens, and this now includes Brits.

But if you’re a Brit in the Netherlands, don’t panic yet — with the help of a good mortgage advisor who knows all the banks and their requirements, they know which banks will still give 100% mortgages to British citizens. Just make sure you’ve applied for your Dutch residence permit first! 

TIP: On your residence permit (ID card) it must include: Residence Document Withdrawal Agreement Art. 18. for you to be eligible to get a mortgage for 100% of the purchase price. 

Now what happens if you’re not an EU-citizen, but are married to a Dutchie who is an EU-citizen?

Getting a mortgage as a “nationally mixed” couple

So you’ve moved to the Netherlands for love? Perhaps you’ve found the one, or perhaps you just want to be with a person who shamelessly puts hagelslag on their boterhammen

If you’re an EU-citizen, good news: you’re basically Dutch in the bank’s eyes. However, if a member of your couple is not an EU-citizen, the amount you can get for your mortgage could be impacted. Here’s how:

When the EU citizen earns the most money

If the EU partner is also the partner with the highest income, there will be no consequences for your mortgage. The higher income is taken into account for 100% and the second income for 90% — just the same as with a Dutch/Dutch couple.

When the non-EU citizen earns the most money

Here’s where it gets tricky: if the non-EU citizen of the relationship also earns the most money, suddenly the entire mortgage is treated as a non-EU citizen mortgage. But don’t fret! This just means you’ll have more paperwork to fill out because the banks have to do their client due diligence. 

Ultimately, all this information is considered on a case-by-case basis by banks. A good mortgage advisor can help you with this to make sure you can secure your mortgage.

If the non-EU citizen gets paid in a currency other than euros that can also affect your borrowing potential — but more on that below 😉.

Good to know: Currently a partner’s income (a.k.a the person making less) counts for only 90%. However, mortgage advisors predict that next year it will raise to 100%!
It used to be even less than 90% before 2021 so if you had your last mortgage calculation a few years ago you may want to have it checked again!

Getting a Dutch mortgage when you’re paid in a foreign currency

What happens if your employer doesn’t pay you in euros? Can you still get a mortgage in the Netherlands then?

How does applying for a mortgage work when you are earning a foreign currency?Image: LinkedIn Sales Solutions/Unsplash

Since DutchReview is fueled with cheese, online-nitpicking, and certainly not euros, we asked Richardo. “This is definitely possible,” he says. “The only thing is that the amount you earn does not fully contribute toward the amount you can borrow.”

What does this mean? Let’s break it down:

Emily lives in Amsterdam, but works remotely for a London marketing firm. She earns £100,000 (GBP) per year which, converted at today’s rate, equals about €117,000 (EUR).

But, the bank doesn’t know what exchange rates will do in the future. So, to be safe, they say that they’ll only take into account 90% of Emily’s income, which is €105,000. This number is what the bank will use to calculate Emily’s borrowing capacity.

Richardo warns that while the bank accepts 90% of the income now, that number is rumoured to reduce to 85%, or 80%. “But you never know the future,” he emphasizes.

The good news is that this is all only the case if you’re about to make a certain amount with — say for example — a new job. If you have earned your income in a different currency before you came to the Netherlands then there is no diminished percentage. 

This is because the bank can see that you’ve already made that amount in the past, so the bank can be confident of your earning potential.

Does the bank look at your old job? Richardo lays it out for us: “An old job is taken into account if the new job doesn’t offer a permanent position or the new employer doesn’t provide the letter of intent. In that case we flex the income based on the past earnings.”

Oh and by the way, this is a percentage applicable to all currencies: no advantages for dollars over pounds, friends!

Pro-tip! If you want to get an indication of your possible mortgage now, you can use this mortgage calculator by Expat Mortgages.

What happens with your mortgage situation when you get divorced?

A happily married couple bought an apartment in Amsterdam three years ago, but COVID-19 came. After a year of working/living/doing everything in the same abode, they decide they’re done and file for divorce. Happy freedom! 

But not quite: they’re still left with the real-world implications of that split-up and whether they can buy a new house afterwards. 

If you want to buy a new house after a separation, you need to first settle all the business you have with your ex-partner. It’s plausible that one person is staying in the house, and one wants to go, explains Richardo. “The bank will want to see, eventually, if the person that wants to stay can afford the mortgage.” 

On top of this, the person that is leaving can say “we bought this apartment three years ago for €400,000, but now it is worth €450,000. I want my share of the profit.”

This must be compensated by the person who is staying in the house, says Richardo. “This can be financed by the bank, but that depends on whether the person who is staying can afford the additional amount or not.”

Once the business of separation is settled, your mortgage advisor can go to the bank and discharge you as a mortgage debtor of the loan and as the owner of the house — meaning, you are no longer responsible for the payment of the mortgage. 

Now, comes the fun part: it’s time to go to your mortgage advisor and see what you can buy! Your mortgage advisor will discuss your needs, and calculate how much money you can borrow based on your financial situation. Once that’s sorted, it’s time to get on with your new single life!

READ MORE | After buying a house in the Netherlands – the ultimate aftersale guide for expats

Freelancing: Can you get a mortgage as a ZZP’er?

Yes you can! It’s certainly possible to obtain a mortgage in the Netherlands as a freelancer. But this is a grown-up world so you know it isn’t all “rozengeur en maneschijn” (all fun and games).

Getting a mortgage is possible, but you need to show a little bit more paperwork which all depends on your unique situation: 

ZZP’er in the Netherlands for at least three years

If you’ve been freelancing for three years, it’s easy: just show your last three years of income to the bank!

ZZP’er in the Netherlands for less than three years

If you’ve been a freelancer for less than three years, don’t stress — you can still qualify for a mortgage! There are a few extra steps to go through, but buying a Dutch home is far from impossible. 

To find the mortgage for you, Expat Mortgages have a “Special Cases” team dedicated to finding a solution to get you into a house — three years of statements or not!

Here are just a few ways that you may be eligible to get a mortgage as a more recent Dutch ZZP’er:

Employees who switched to being a ZZP’er

Were you employed at a Dutch company, then made the switch to being a ZZP’er in the same line of work? Great! Your mortgage advisor can use the same income that you earned when you were employed. This acts as a track record of employment.

ZZP’ers with foreign income

For those who have a short history in the Netherlands but had the same line of work in a different country with a different currency, your bank can use the foreign income earned abroad as an “income history.”

ZZP’er with future prospects

If you’re a ZZP’er that used to do one career, but now has moved on to a different career, you’ll need to show at least one year of income, plus your future prospects. 

Can you apply for a mortgage in the Netherlands if you are a freelancer? Image: Per Loov/Unsplash

For example, if you have a big assignment for the next six months that will guarantee you a good income, the bank may be willing to take this into account. “It is definitely stretching the rules of the bank, but it is within the realm of possibility,” says Richardo.

Ultimately, your mortgage advisor is there to argue a case for you. That means that even if a company is currently in the red, a mortgage advisor can still sometimes show why it’s a good idea to go ahead with an application. 

TIP: As a freelancer, it helps if your business is registered here at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KVK) and not abroad

Ready to buy a house in the Netherlands in a non-standard situation?

There may be some conditions or extra paperwork involved when you’re not a standard mortgage applicant, but you may be surprised at how possible it is for you to get that mortgage!

Are you British, recently divorced, or a ZZP’er and you’re still interested in buying a house in the Netherlands in 2021? That may just be possible! To find out, you can reach out to Expat Mortgages and see what they can do (a consultation is 100% free!).

Want to get in touch for an (online) appointment? Well, they can arrange to meet you for a no-strings-attached consultation in which you can ask everything about the mortgage possibilities. Or just digitally drop by at one of their webinars.

Since they only work with expats and internationals, Expat Mortgages really know the ins-and-outs when it comes to all the details that play up when it’s a foreign person trying to get a mortgage in the Netherlands. 

Most importantly, they also make sure that you can understand the whole process of getting a mortgage in the Netherlands by using proper and understandable English.

Want to know more about getting a mortgage in the Netherlands? Check out how buying a house could actually save you money (I know, but it’s true, read it!), buying a house in the Netherlands during coronavirus, or our 10 step guide to buying a place and getting a mortgage.

Are you looking to buy a house in 2021? Think your chances for a mortgage have changed in this year? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Karolina Grabowska/Unsplash

Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Abuzer founded DutchReview a decade ago because he thought expats needed it and wanted to make amends for the Dutch cuisine. He has a Masters in Political Science and IT but somewhere always wanted to study history or good old football. He also a mortgage in the Netherlands and will happily tell you too how to get one. Born and raised in Rotterdam, Abuzer now lives in Leiden but is always longing back to his own international year in Italy.

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