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  • Writer's pictureSerge Gerritsma

Moving to the Netherlands: 5 important house-hunting questions

The decision has been made: you’re moving to the Netherlands. When making the cross-border leap, you will want to find a place to live. However, that can be quite the task, especially if you don’t speak the language and aren’t familiar with local laws, regulations, and customs.


So, where to start if you’re looking for a new house in the Netherlands? This list of questions will provide a foundation for the house-hunting process and make it easier to go through the different steps.




1. Should I buy or rent a house?

Buying a house is no easy feat, so renting might seem like a better alternative. But remember, both options will require you to pay a monthly amount for your home. If you buy a home, your property is an investment, and you’re simply paying off your debt. Rent, however, is basically wasted money.


Moreover, expats are usually charged more rent in the Netherlands, so it’s often cheaper in the long term to buy a house.


2. How to prepare for a house viewing?

The average house viewing doesn’t last longer than 30 minutes. That means you can walk around a bit, but it's not enough to make an important decision like buying a house. So, do your homework, prepare a list of questions, and get all the answers you need. Also, take a moment to sit on the couch and determine whether the place feels like home. Finally, make sure you explore the neighborhood and see if it feels safe.


3. What hard-and-fast data should I collect before making a decision?

A property that was built before 1980 might have foundation problems, and it may cost 1.500 to 2.000 euros per square meter to fix. Additionally, if there’s lead and asbestos in the property, you will also have to reach into your own pocket to have them removed.

Furthermore, you might need certain permits if you decide to buy a house in the Netherlands. And a mortgage lender will want to know if the homeowner’s association is viable.


Briefly put, you have to collect crucial information before you decide to make an offer. If you prefer to get some guidance, work with a reliable local expert (see question five below).


4. How do you make a good offer?

Devising a good bidding strategy is a complex process. You want your offer to be competitive yet realistic. But sometimes, a little patience goes a long way. If, for example, a house hasn’t been sold after two weeks, its price will usually drop. That means that you might get a better deal if you wait. But if you really want a certain house, this strategy comes with risks.


Since no two cases are the same, it’s often best to work with an expert who knows the area and the housing market!


5. What can a real estate agent do for you?

Buying a house in the Netherlands is a difficult process, especially for expats. Therefore, it’s often wise to work with a local expert. However, you should only hire a well-versed real estate agent who listens to your demands, takes time to explain things to you and has your best interests at heart.


Additional questions

Here are a few questions you might want to ask during an introductory meeting:

  • “Do you have experience working with expats?”

  • “Do you have a wide network in the area of my choice?”

  • “What type of guidance and support do you provide?”

  • “How can we contact you if questions pop up throughout the house-buying process?”

  • “Do you have the construction engineering knowledge required to assess a property’s condition?”

  • “Are you a certified real estate agency?”


Contact a real estate agent

If you are looking to buy a property in the Netherlands as an expat, a local real estate agent can give you expert advice and take you through the whole process. A real estate agent ensures that you are not alone in your journey and that you have the specific knowledge and support that you need.

You want to know more? Please don't hesitate to contact us: info@xpats-service.com www.xpats-service.com

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