Buying a house in the Netherlands: 3 crucial questions to ask

Buying a house in the Netherlands: 3 crucial questions to ask

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Wil Jansen, real estate agent at @WORK Makelaardij, answers three essential questions house-hunting expats in the Netherlands often ask.

Buying a home anywhere in the world is a big step that requires a great deal of thought and foresight. But if you are an expat living in the Netherlands, it might be even more challenging since you are not as familiar with the country and its housing market.

Wil Jansen wants you to ask yourself the following questions before getting started on your journey to home-ownership:

1. What information do you need to make an informed decision?

A good start is half the battle. When buying a house in the Netherlands, you'll want to be well-prepared. If a property sparks your interest, start by figuring out if mortgage lenders would consider the homeowner's association viable. Then, verify if you require specific permits. For homes built before 1980, you should also check for potential issues, including lead, asbestos, or foundation issues.

Potential risks

Make sure you're aware of potential risks, such as issues with the land under and surrounding the property sinking (subsidence). These issues can vary depending on the area, but it may even occur within the same street! Subsidence maps, which are regularly updated, can indicate whether a property is experiencing significant sinking.

Since it can be overwhelming to gather all this information, you may want to consider working with an expert who knows the local market and who can help you navigate complexities and assist you in making an informed decision.

2. How do you make a successful offer on a house?

Crafting a winning bid requires a well thought-out approach. It's essential to have up-to-date information about very recent transactions in the neighbourhood. Furthermore, data from just a few months ago might no longer reflect current conditions.

A well-versed real estate agent can tap into their network to provide you with critical insights like these. They'll figure out a property's current market value, which often differs from the asking price. With their help, you'll understand whether you should offer a bid above this price or not.

The highest bid isn't always the best

That being said, the highest bid doesn't automatically win. In the Dutch real estate market, trust and reputation are often the most decisive factors and a reputable real estate agent will often secure a property without the highest offer. So, you can significantly benefit from working with a well-connected agent who knows when and how much to bid on various properties.

3. What can a real estate agent do for you (and do you need one)?

Given the substantial financial stakes involved in buying a house, you might not want to go down the bumpy house-hunting road alone. A good real estate agent helps you avoid pitfalls and buy your dream house in the Netherlands.

The question is, what makes for a good real estate agent? For starters, you should look for an experienced professional who listens to your needs and guides you through the entire process - from understanding contract conditions to notarising official documents.

Experience with expats

Check a real estate agent's ratings and reviews to make sure they have a good reputation. On top of that, ask if they have experience working with expats and if they're flexible enough to accommodate your schedule (someone with a 9-to-5 mentality might not be the best fit for expats, who often need to cram house-hunting into their already-packed schedules).

Extra housing knowledge

Also, try to work with a real estate agent who has construction and engineering knowledge. They can assess property conditions, help identify potential issues like asbestos, and estimate removal costs if necessary.


Finally, choose a VBO-certified agent. VBO (Vereniging Bemiddeling Onroerend Goed) is a trade organisation which represents the interests of real estate agents and appraisers. Certified agencies have completed comprehensive training and are required to keep their knowledge up-to-date through annual training courses. With them, you're usually in expert hands!

Hiring a real estate agent

Clearly, there is a lot to be aware of before buying a house in the Netherlands. From the property's foundational integrity to its location, it's important to get as much information and knowledge about the process as possible. In order to make the best decision for you, it might be a good idea to work with an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with the market and current housing trends.

Want to navigate the Dutch housing market with confidence? Contact Wil Jansen from @WORK Makelaardij. He is happy to provide personalised advice, tailored to your needs.

Wil Jansen


Wil Jansen

My name is Wil Jansen, and I’ll be happy to meet with you at your convenience. I usually work evenings and weekends, which means I’m always there for you. Creativity...

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