Buying a house in the Netherlands, an expat's experience
MortgageMonster.nl has asked their clients to share their experiences with buying a house in the Netherlands as an expat. Today, they talked with Fabrizio from Italy who moved here for his new job in Amsterdam and recently bought a house in Almere.
Renting a temporary place
The first thing I would advise you to do when you have decided to relocate to Amsterdam is to book a temporary place to stay prior to the move. You will probably start your Dutch adventure by renting an apartment, which you can only do once you are physically here.
Unfortunately, the Dutch housing market is hectic, places are rented out quickly and you usually have to compete with a lot of other candidates. You will need somewhere to stay while you are going through this process. You can either look on Airbnb or find a cheap hostel; there are many expat-friendly places that offer decent accommodation.
I arrived with a job already lined up. If you are in a similar situation, I would suggest booking a temporary place for at least two weeks but be prepared to extend that period up to a month.
If you also have to find a job, I think it’s safe to account for a 2-month search period. You can use this time to get acquainted with the local culture and rhythm of life and, on a more practical note, to open a Dutch bank account. You will need it to receive your salary, to pay rent and to have a Dutch phone number, which will come in handy when arranging viewings.
If the going gets tough, the tough gets going
This first period is going to be the toughest and you simply need to push through it. Once all of these building blocks are firmly laid down (meaning you have a source of income and a mid-term place to live in), you will be able to enjoy all the perks that living in Amsterdam has to offer: very high-quality public services, a large, international and expat-friendly community, and beautiful canals on your doorstep.
You just need a good plan
Once you have decided that you want to stay for a longer time, you should consider buying a property.
Currently, interest rates are at their lowest, so paying a mortgage is likely going to be cheaper than renting. However, be ready to face another challenge, as the market for buying property is at least as hot as renting.
But don’t let this discourage you: you just need a good plan. The first thing to have in check is your financial situation. In order to get a mortgage, you need to have a stable employment contract, or, if you are a freelancer, you will need to prove that you have a steady source of income.
How do you know what your home-buying budget is? Simple, there are many expat-friendly financial advisors that will be able to guide and advise you. Once you have determined your budget, I would also advise you to find a makelaar (Dutch for real estate agent), who can help you with the practical part of the process.
At this point, you will start the more exciting part of the process: browsing websites like funda.nl or pararius.com, to find your perfect place. If you want to live in Amsterdam, you will most likely have to be ready to overbid the asking price but with a little bit of luck and persistence, you will be able to secure your dream house.