The Dutch and the British have a lot in common: We both have royal families. Both love chips and Brits have even come round to having mayonnaise on them, as this helpful map illustrates. And Brits have even come jumped on the houseboat bandwagon, with 33,000 now on Britain’s waterways though we definitely aren’t up to Netherlands numbers quite yet.
But the significant cultural similarities don’t end there. When it comes to buying property, the comparisons continue.
Home Buying in the Netherlands and UK: Housing Market
The Dutch and the British are both nations of homeowners, with 60% of Dutch and 64% of Brits owning their home. House buying in both countries was seen as a sound investment, with house prices rising rapidly until the financial crash. However both markets have seen recovery and in Netherlands it is once again considered again a verkopersmarkt (sellers market) with house prices expected to rise another 5% in 2016.
Neither country has restrictions on foreigners buying property, so if you are thinking about taking the leap, here are some tips.
Do your sums
Figure out how much you need to borrow. If the credit crunch has taught us anything, it should be “however much you want to give me” is not an acceptable answer. Online tools are your friend here. Budget calculators will give you an idea of what you can save each month, mortgage calculators will illustrate what a bank is likely to let you borrow and what your monthly repayments will be. After this, you should have a good idea of your house buying budget.
In the UK, you will obtain a mortgage in principle at the start of your house search. In the Netherlands, you do not apply for a mortgage until the end of your search after you have put an offer in for a home. (calculate your possible mortgage with ABN AMRO)
With the financial crash, the process of getting a mortgage in both countries has tightened up. In the UK, days of 110% mortgages are gone. You will now need at least a 5% deposit and mortgage lenders will not only take into consideration your salary but also your monthly outgoings to calculate mortgage affordability.
In Netherlands, you can borrow up to five times your gross salary, there is no minimum deposit and a mortgage can cover up to 102% of the purchase price of the property, though on average it is 80-90%.
Go forth and look at homes
Flats, houses, house boats, don’t hold back. Just stay within your price range. In the UK, popular property sites are Rightmove and Zoopla. In Netherlands, Funda is main site but as it is in Dutch you will have to rely on Google translate if your Dutch isn’t up to scratch.
Home Buying in the Netherlands and UK: Enlist some professional help
In the Netherlands, if you don’t know the area, it can be beneficial to use an estate agent. They will know the local market, neighbourhoods and schools, can do initial screenings for you and perform property checks. For buying in the UK, it is recommended to secure the services of a conveyance solicitor who will put any offer you make in and perform all necessary legal work.
In Britain, you will put an offer in on a property and then arrange for a survey, with the idea that the survey will reveal the properties worth which will lead to further negotiations. In Netherlands, you get a survey done and request land and property information before you make an offer.
Negotiating is expected in both countries. This is when your poker face and your bottle will really be tested. Just remember not to get carried away and only pay what you think property is worth and what you can afford.
Hopefully you and home buying dreams survive this stage and you get your offer accepted. Say goodbye to renting and hello to the biggest debt you’ll ever have.
If you purchase a home in the Netherlands, you now get to claim tax back. Unfortunately this isn’t something Britain has picked up and there’s nothing similar operating here. You lucky Dutch can find out how to get tax back here.
Hopefully these tips will make the navigating the house buying process as simple as a jaunt on Amstel. Veel geluk!