Expat Mortgages: A new time, a new face
Expat Mortgages specialises in helping expats navigate the housing market in the Netherlands. We had a chat with Kenneth from Expat Mortgages to ask them about their services.
A new time, a new face?
Henk Jansen and Chris van Maasdijk started Expat Mortgages 10 years ago. They gave birth to this idea they had, they gave the company its DNA and a solid foundation. But, now it's time for the next step. It's time to expand and reach our full potential. Henk and Chris made the decision to enter this "new time" with a "new face", and that new face is me!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Of course! My name is Kenneth Leenders. I started working at Expat Mortgages as an intern, and I immediately clicked with the founders of the company. So, after my internship was finished, we kept in touch.
After I was done studying, they wanted me to be part of the team. Five years later, and I am now the new General Manager of Expat Mortgages!
Expat Mortgages was not founded by expats. So, what made the founders start a business geared towards expats?
The idea came from Henk. At the time, he had been a mortgage advisor for over 15 years.
A lady from Bolivia came to his office one day. She had a very nice income. Her financial profile was great, so he didn’t expect to run into any issues at the bank. However, when he went there to arrange the mortgage, the bank did not want to give his client a mortgage.
Confused, he asked the bank for the reason. The bank answered that they did not want to give a mortgage to an expat, as they could move back to their home country at any moment. This didn’t make sense to Henk. Anyone from the Netherlands with a mortgage could move to another country at any moment as well.
So, Henk started to look into the whole expat market to see if there were any possibilities. He was one of the first to do so, which meant it was quite an adventure. He needed to figure out a lot of things. He thought he could use some help, so he asked Chris to help him.
The first year it was just the two of them, gaining the trust of different banks and, of course, that of the expats themselves. And when that was accomplished, the company started growing.
What can Expat Mortgages do for expats? Why should expats come to you?
This year, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary. We have one target audience; namely expats. We also just have one product; mortgages. I think we can say we are specialised in what we do.
Sure, clients can go straight to the bank or to other mortgage advisors, but at Expat Mortgages we go the extra mile. We are flexible, we know what we do, and we have a large network consisting of parties that are all specialised in working with expats.
We communicate with the clients in English, and we take care of all other communication. The clients just have to send us the right documentation. Therefore, we take away a lot of the stress that may come with buying a house.
A lot of expats think getting a mortgage is a difficult process, and it can be if you don’t know how it works. However, if you employ the right people, people with experience or people who are willing to learn, it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
You are the new General Manager of Expat Mortgages. Do you have any new plans for the company?
These last couple of years, we have been growing rapidly as a company. We now have an amazing team of 23 people! All with a different character and a unique set of skills. I am convinced that the people on our team have "hidden" talents and skills, just waiting to be discovered.
We are focussing on identifying these skills and giving everyone the opportunity to use them within the organisation.
Kenneth Leenders, General Manager at Expat Mortgages
We are also redefining the company's structure, to an even "flatter" organisation than before.
I believe that a big part of the companies' strength comes from the people who are doing the work out in the field or behind the scenes and are communicating with our clients on a daily basis.
This is why I want the company to have a clear "bottom-up" approach. It will give our employees the opportunity to influence the road Expat Mortgages will follow. And with that comes a certain responsibility, which in turn can help all our employees reach their full potential.
Expat Mortgages is located in Amsterdam, Haarlem and The Hague. Any plans to expand to other cities in the future?
A lot of expats are searching for flexibility. They have busy jobs, and they don’t have much spare time. It’s a whole new world for them; they are not really familiar with how things work here. Especially when it comes to financial issues and mortgages.
They are searching for someone they can trust, someone who is flexible. Someone who can meet them when they have time. This is why we wanted a flexible office. As of February 1, we are located in Spaces. Spaces offers a lot of flexibility and is located all over the country.
A couple of months ago, we hired an advisor in Utrecht. We are also looking for an advisor in Eindhoven. After that, we will probably go to Groningen. Our goal is to have Expat Mortgages offices nationwide!
The Expat Mortgages team
You are opening Expat Buy2Let in July. What can you tell us about that?
The last two years, we have seen an increasing demand for buy-to-let mortgages, so investment mortgages. Some of our existing clients noticed that the housing market was very attractive. They already owned a house or apartment here, and they were looking for a way to buy a second apartment and rent it out.
So, we did some research and talked to several banks. It was difficult since many banks were not willing to provide such a mortgage. But we kept searching. And the search paid off. We now work with several different banks that are willing to give a buy-to-let mortgage to expats.
We recently hired a new advisor, Ralf van Arkel, who will solely focus on this market. If you would like to know more about the possibilities feel free to contact Ralf.
Anything else you might like to share with the expat community?
It might look like it, but it really isn’t that difficult to get a mortgage in the Netherlands. You just have to know who to contact if you need some help. This is where Expat Mortgages comes in!
Also, we just launched our new website, so feel free to take a look!
Buying a house in the Netherlands and need a little help? Contact Expat Mortgages:
› Tel: +31 (0)20 7173908
› Mail: [email protected]