Moving house in Holland - Part 2

The euphoria of getting "the call" was short-lived when we realised the amount of paperwork that was to follow. In our case, with our limited Dutch, we were saved by the fact that we employed an expat specialist mortgage advisor.

Yes, they can cost a few thousand euros but should save you money by giving good advice and securing favourable rates. Stress levels were high at the prospect of reading through the purchase agreement, deciding our mortgage type and filling out bank and insurance forms.

In our case, with both the makelaar and mortgage advisor on board, we knew that we were at least operating within Dutch law and with a degree of expertise.

Buying a house in Holland

There are a lot of small but important decisions that need to be made when buying property. Do you choose a basic structural survey or a more expensive and extensive one?

You also need to be aware of what items will stay in the house and what the former owner will take with them. It should be clearly marked in the house information pack. We failed to pay more attention to this information and ended up having to fork-out a further 300 euros for a fireplace that we expected to be included in the house sale.

On the day of the transfer we did a final walk through the house to check that there were no major problems before we signed. This is also really important. We found that the dishwasher had broken and so were able to get a guarantee from the former owner that it would be replaced.

One other issue to consider for unmarried couples is whether you want to pay for a cohabitation agreement (samenlevings). It clarifies ownership of personal property, establishes who gets what if the couple splits up and who takes on the responsibility of the house. It sounds pessimistic but its content is worked out between the couple. 

Dutch banks see it as an extra piece of security and if you want to use your partner’s tax allowance you may need this document.

Both practical and fair, we found it to be a very "Dutch" document. It has other uses; I can now jokingly bring out the paperwork whenever my boyfriend hogs the jointly owned TV remote!

At the notary's office

On the day of the deeds signing, there were nine people sitting around the table at the notary's office. They included the notary (notaris), two estate agents, the (mandatory) interpreter, the previous owner, the bank, our mortgage advisor, my boyfriend and I.

It seemed a bit excessive but it meant that every moment was explained to us in a very clear manner. It is a nice example of how the Dutch system takes care to ensure you, as an expat, know your rights. The process itself was relaxed and jovial with a congratulatory atmosphere when the keys were finally handed over.

It has been two months now since the purchase of our home and halfway through its redecoration, our Scottish / Dutch project is taking shape. If only we could get our cat to forgive us for the move!

Moving house in Holland - Part 1 (Finding a house) can be found here.

Helen Frew


Helen Frew

I am a freelance policy consultant. I was born in Scotland, worked mainly in Brussels and am now living in the Netherlands.

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