27/08/2023 by Team Concepts 0 Comments
The Dos and Don'ts of Purchasing a Property for Expats
In this article, we're exploring the dos and don'ts of purchasing a property for expats.
DON’T BUY THE FIRST HOUSE YOU SEE
You may be one of those extremely fortunate people who find their dream home on the first try and live there happily for years to come. You may also end up being one of those less fortunate people who purchase their dream home, regret it but are stuck pouring money into it with no other choice. Always shop around before you settle on a property ESPECIALLY if this is your first time buying in the Dutch market. Don’t take risks, play it safe.
DO LOOK BEYOND THE PROPERTY
So you think you’ve found your dream home – it’s got the right sized kitchen, the perfect garden, a spare bedroom, and that bathtub you’ve been dreaming about. But have you given its location the same consideration? If you have children or want to start a family in the near future, you may want to make sure you’re in a good school district without a rowdy pub at the end of the road. If you don’t drive, you may want to make sure you have easy access to public transport, and that there’s a supermarket or corner shop nearby.
DON’T GO TO VIEWINGS ALONE
It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing a property for one person or six, never go to viewings alone. A second set of eyes that you trust should always be welcome. You’ll be looking for things that are personal to you, but other people will see other things. Bring a friend or family who knows you well and has sharp instincts. And if you really want to be taken seriously by sellers, invite your buying agent along!
DO GET THE BUILDING INSPECTED
The buyer is legally responsible for checking a property for defects in the Netherlands. If you purchase a house and then realise that there are issues with it, it’s on you. Technical inspections are often required when applying for a mortgage, too. You may be the most thorough person in the world, checking off a list of six hundred points, but a professional will always see something you haven’t. Independent inspectors can also check the house for structural issues that might need attention sooner than later. So be sure to get the building inspected by a trusted professional – if you’re not sure who to hire, ask your mortgage advisor or buying agent for a good recommendation.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE EXPENDITURE
Stay realistic about what you can afford and remember that purchasing your property is not your only expense. When it comes to mortgages, you don’t have to withdraw the maximum amount. Yes, you are entitled to the maximum, but the mortgage is not the only expenditure you’ll have after you’ve purchased your house. You still need to pay for renovations, insurance, municipal and property taxes, etc., and your monthly bills. And you want to be able to live a good life (filled with fun adventures) so you’ll want to keep yourself some money to live off afterwards. The bank will also only cover the appraised market value, so if you’re bidding on a property, don’t go over your budget. Be responsible with your money.
DO VISIT THE PROPERTY MORE THAN ONCE
You might want to visit your top three properties a couple of times before you pick which one to purchase, but definitely have multiple visits to the house you want to turn into your home. When you look over a property you love a second or third time, you’ll remember to ask questions and check for things you forgot in previous viewings. You’ll spot things you didn’t notice before. AND, more importantly, those rose-coloured glasses will come off and you’ll be able to see the property more objectively.
DON’T SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING EVERY WORD
This is a life rule people often forget. Especially expats assuming a contract in the Netherlands will be the same as a contract outside the Netherlands. It’s not! Make sure you understand every word of the contract before you sign – and if you don’t understand it, then be sure to get help from an impartial third party.
DO ASK FOR HELP
The Dutch housing market offers brilliant opportunities but in order to make the most out of them, you need to a) understand them, and b) ask professionals for their advice. It’s always better to be safe than sorry so get those experts in! An independent property inspector can make sure that you’re not overpaying on a property or picking somewhere with structural issues that will eat away at your bank account next year. An independent mortgage advisor can make sure that you are getting the best deals and guide you in your search. A legal advisor can help you understand the jargon and make sure you’re not signing a contract that will bite you in the long run.