Last time we talked about you internationals buying a house and getting a Dutch mortgage, we had a nice, lengthy chat about the housing market in the Netherlands. But besides deciding which house you want to buy and where you want to buy in the Netherlands, it always helps to know what you’re in for when you want to get a Dutch mortgage as an expat.
I mean, buying a house in the Netherlands is that grown-up stuff that even Dutchies struggle with. Everybody can use some help with that — especially you internationals (your head must be spinning when you hear words as ‘bouwtechnische keuring’). Since I’m just a simple home-owner who writes articles to pay the Dutch mortgage, we at DutchReview teamed up with the experts at Expat Mortgages tell you all about the steps to getting that Dutch mortgage as an expat.
Expat Mortgages: Can they help me with buying a house in the Netherlands?
As the name might give away already, Expat Mortgages helps Expats in the Netherlands with getting a mortgage for their new Dutch home. And by expats, we mean basically everybody who wants to buy a house in the Netherlands but isn’t skilled enough in Dutch to understand all that hypotheek mumbo jumbo. Also, not only do they help you with understanding the language, but they also know all the ins-and-outs of all the issues that internationals might face when they want to secure a Dutch mortgage.
They really were helpful with this article because Expat Mortgages has mortgage advisors throughout the whole country. That really comes in handy, since we’ve got readers throughout the whole country.
Now time to get sucked in and talk about the 10 steps to buying that Dutch house and getting a Dutch mortgage!
Step 1: Convince yourself that you actually want to buy a house in the Netherlands
Why buy when you can rent you might ask? Well, as so often is the answer: money. But not just money.
“Obviously, it’s important to find out with what you feel the most comfortable with and if it is attractive for you personally to buy a house in the Netherlands,” explained Kenneth. “But if you have kids and plan on staying here for a while it’s often a good idea, financially at least, to buy a house.”
It’s also simple economics; rent for most houses in the Netherlands is higher (way higher) than mortgage payments for Dutch houses. And then there’s the fact that rent payments are gone forever, but mortgage payments let you end up actually owning a house after 30 years. Or you know, own a part of the house after you sell it again. I have friends who sold their place and went on a world trip for two years of the money they received, just to come back and start renting again.
The other most important factors are the low interest rates at the moment. “That means the monthly payments are lower as well and that can save you hundreds of euros per month,” said Kenneth. “Rental prices will increase each year but your mortgage payments will stay the same.”
So sure, that €700 – €800 mortgage payment per month may now look the same as the rental price, but in 10 years that will be peanuts compared to future rental prices (unless you’re thinking that Amsterdam and Utrecht rents are going down in the future?).
Buying a house in the Netherlands might not be right for everybody though. If you expect to move to a different country one to two years from now, it’s probably not the best way to go. Part of the reason is that you have to invest some of your own money when you buy a house, and you might just lose that money if you quickly need to sell again.
But if you’re planning to stay here for a couple of years (and you know, care about your money like the rest of the world), buying a house in the Netherlands is the smart thing to do as an expat.
Step 2: Have a free consultation and see if you can actually get a Dutch mortgage as an expat
In the olden days, when people worked for 50 years for the same employer, one could only hope to obtain a Dutch mortgage when they were on a contract for an indefinite period (the fabled ‘vast contract’). But this is 2020, and no longer the case when you want to get a mortgage in the Netherlands. Huzzah for all you zzp’ers, college-debt-having, flexible contracts folks!
To see if you can get a Dutch mortgage, and even more importantly, how high that mortgage can be in the end, it’s best to set up an appointment with a mortgage advisor. The good people at Expat Mortgages can help you with this. “It’s important to know that these appointments have no strings attached what-so-ever,” Kenneth says.
It’s in this appointment that you can find out everything about the conditions of getting a Dutch mortgage, ask questions specific to your situation, or get into the nitty-gritty about how high a mortgage you can actually obtain here.
* Pro-tip! If you want to get an indication of your possible mortgage now, you can use this mortgage calculator by Expat Mortgages.
Step 3: What do you wish for your Dutch home?
After step two, you should have an idea of your budget. Now it’s time to determine what you really want from a Dutch house. Of course, a lot of this is personal, it all depends on where you work, what you like, if you have kids, or have a dream about living on one of these Dutch houseboats.
But! Some of these Dutch housing dreams require a bit of knowledge about the Dutch housing market. For example, buying a house from the 1700s might be nice but please do know that you’re in for a bit of maintenance — which can be expensive here since a lot of Dutchies wanna get some renovation work done nowadays.
Or, for example, you want to buy a house in Rotterdam, but where are you going to live there? City centre might be expensive, other neighbourhoods might be cheaper but not a live-able as you would hope. So yeah, lots of stuff to consider when you’re thinking about buying a house in the Netherlands. If you want more info on this step, definitely check out our guide to the housing market in the Netherlands in 2019 right here.
Step 4: Find that house and make an offer (and let’s teach you a bit of Dutch)
So you spotted a house, visited it and want to make an offer? Well, I don’t want to pressure you BUT this is a tense market and houses in the Netherlands go quick. So don’t waste your time and get an offer in as soon as you’ve made up your mind. If you really want the house then you might consider offering more than the asking price. It’s not uncommon at all when buying a house in the popular cities of the Netherlands.
How to make an offer? By email! Which is weird sometimes because you’re sending out an email that literally says ‘I want to buy your house for €543.000’ — crazy stuff! Anyway, send the mail yourself or get your realtor to do it. There are two Dutch phrases you might want to know about:
‘Onder voorbehoud van Financiering’
Literal translation: with the condition of financing.
Actual meaning: this basically means the deal is off if in the end, you can’t get that Dutch mortgage. Otherwise, cancelling the buy without this condition might mean that you’d have to pay 10% of the price.
Literal Translation: ‘engineering examination’ (I think, anybody got a better one?) or ‘survey report.’
If this is a relatively old house you’re intending to buy you want to get this as a condition. This ‘constructional examination’ will point out any big flaws in the building. This way you can still cancel your offer if they find a massive hole in the basement or something.
Step 5: Offer accepted for a Dutch house?
All that hard work has led you to this: your offer on a Dutch house got accepted and you’re almost a Dutch homeowner! HUZZAH! CONGRATULATIONS, THE WORK IS DONE!
Enjoyed that moment?! Good! Because obviously the work isn’t finished at all. Sorry, you still need to arrange your Dutch mortgage and that’s another process we’ll cover in the next steps. But for now enjoy, go out for dinner and think about whether you’re really happy with that house. Because what if you’re having second thoughts about the house you just bought here in the Netherlands?
The Three Day Cooling Down period
Just blindly bought a house in Amsterdam for half a million euros and realized you’re totally not up for it, right after you got your offer accepted? This is where the cooling-down period comes into play!
In fact, whenever you agree to buy a house in the Netherlands, you can cancel the deal within three working days. You can do this without any specified reason and without it costing you a cent (besides the hassle). The cooling-down period starts just after midnight the day after you’ve received the written news that your offer has been accepted. If you do decide to pull out, you need to thoroughly inform the selling party (so not a FB message, go for multiple communication channels).
It’s also good to know that there’s no cooling-off period for the selling party unless this has been specifically agreed in the sales contract.
Step 6: Get in touch with your Dutch mortgage advisor!
So you had a night of celebrations and want to obtain that Dutch mortgage ASAP. Time to hit up the people from Expat Mortgages. They’ll get right to work for you.
It’s necessary, too, since money lending parties in the Netherlands are rather busy. It can take a while to jump through all the administrative hoops and get a mortgage as an expat. Luckily the folks at Expat Mortgages know all this and will guide you swiftly through this whole process of getting a mortgage in the Netherlands — here’s their excellent 7 steps video on it:
Step 7: Prepare your Dutch mortgage application: paperwork!
If you’re wondering what’s next, it’s paperwork and loads of it. A good mortgage advisor can help you a bit with it, but it speaks for itself that you’ll have to get on top of this one!
I’ve checked with Kenneth from Expat Mortgages and this is the kind of stuff you need to get your hands on:
• Employer’s declaration. A statement made by your employer confirming your annual income based on salary, bonuses and fringe benefits. This could be your employment contract.
• Salary specification. Your monthly payslip, which will correspond to the information given in your employer’s statement, and which will also show aspects such as the 30% ruling, expenses, payable taxes, etc. You should have this one somewhere!
• Necessary information about the mortgaged property, such as:
-Copy of the purchase agreement, signed by both parties
– Original valuation/appraisal report
– A copy of a survey report
I’m not going to lie, this is a bunch of work. But if your employer helps you out and you’ve got a good mortgage advisor it should be really do-able. Then, your mortgage company takes care of the next steps:
“We gather all paperwork, get offers from a few selected money lenders which you can review,” said Kenneth. After you’ve said yes to one they will also review your paperwork and get back to you with whether or not your Dutch mortgage application is accepted.
You can find more detailed, info on the whole process of obtaining a mortgage in the Netherlands at the site of Expat Mortgages — this is grown-up stuff so you want to read up on that!
Step 8: Your Dutch mortgage application is accepted: celebrations!
It’s your mortgage advisor on the phone telling you that the bank has accepted your mortgage application! This is it! You’re really close now and realistically speaking it’s totally going to happen: you’re going to be a Dutch homeowner!
We’re entering the final stages of this whole process of becoming a homeowner and getting that Dutch mortgage. It’s where you sign all the paperwork:
Step 9: Go to the notary and become that Dutch homeowner!
If you’re wondering who’s doing all the calculating and actually supervises the exchanging of the keys and wiring of the money; it’s the notary! Here’s where the magic happens!*
Expat mortgages has some good advice on which notary to pick in which region, good contact with trustworthy interpreters should you need any, and will actually hold your hand at the notary** if you want to.
After you’ve signed off on all the paperwork at the notary you get the keys and it’s actually your home! Yes, a real adult with a real home!
Some people might perceive the notary as a costly and useless step in the mortgage process. But I disagree, it was good having somebody drawing up all the papers, calculating the costs and making sure everything went okay.
*Magic pertains to: lots of contracts and reading in an office
** Holding your hand is: “Your adviser from Expat Mortgages will be present during the transfer of title procedure and, if necessary, when the (provisional) contract of sale is signed.” (But 99% sure they will give you a pep-talk if you need one.)
Step 10: Sort your taxes and be a responsible adult
You can relax now, or start renovating your new home straight away. But you’ll also want to get hands-on with your taxes after you get a Dutch mortgage. Why, you ask? Well, because you can actually get a quick refund from the Dutch tax office off loads of the expenses of buying that Dutch house. Expat Mortgages will gladly help you with that one.
Then there’s also the ‘mortgage interest reduction.’ It’s a sweet Dutch tax arrangement that you can now apply for. It basically means you can deduct the costs of the interest that you’re paying for your mortgage. Nobody really gets how this works, but it’s called a provisional tax refund, and once again, Expat Mortgages will be your advising buddy on getting this sweet homeowner tax deal.
Word to the wise: being a homeowner in the Netherlands is a great thing when it comes to your tax situation, ask your mortgage advisor all about the upsides of our the Dutch tax system and being a homeowner.
That important extra step: get in touch with Expat Mortgages
If you’re thinking; ‘damn, that dude from DutchReview knows his Dutch mortgage stuff,’ well, thanks, but most of the credit should go to Kenneth from Expat Mortgage.
These guys are mortgage advisors who exclusively work with expats and internationals, helping them out with getting mortgages in the Netherlands. So they’ll be answering the phone in English and they know what they’re doing when they’re helping you get a Dutch mortgage.
Expat mortgages has top-of-the-line advisors in every region of the country! So whether you’re interested in buying a house in Eindhoven or Amsterdam, Expat Mortgages has the right person to advise you on all the ins-and-outs of it.
Want to get in touch for an offline appointment? Well, they can meet you for a no-strings-attached meeting in which you can ask everything about the mortgage possibilities. Or just drop by at one of their events, also conveniently held throughout the country! We really enjoyed working with Expat Mortgages and so would you!
Are you thinking of buying a house in the Netherlands? Have any questions about any of these steps when it comes to buying a house in the Netherlands and getting a mortgage? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image: Pixabay