The pros of opting for an independent mortgage advisor instead of a bank

The pros of opting for an independent mortgage advisor instead of a bank


When Expat Mortgages was founded in 2007, only a few banks would give mortgages to expats. Then, banks still saw someone from Venezuela, for instance, as someone who would potentially move back to Venezuela in a few years, creating an added risk. Something they strongly disagreed on and still do, says Kenneth Leenders CEO of Expat Mortgages. He points out that there is nothing stopping him - a Dutchman with a mortgage - taking a job abroad and leaving the country either. There was and is no reason to discriminate.

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The years have proven something else. In the 16 years that Expat Mortgages has been a mortgage broker for thousands of internationals in the Netherlands, their clients have shown a lower default rate (0,003 percent) than the average Dutch person (2 percent). They tend to bring in savings, rather than expecting a 100 percent mortgage. They often have good jobs with international companies, they pay on time -  and, given a criminal record might invalidate their visas, they have extra reason to be good citizens!

Luckily, things have changed, and more and more banks will give expats a mortgage - so today the challenge is knowing which deal is better, digging into the terms and conditions and finding the right mortgage lender.

If you have the time and knowledge to research, sit down with every lender, and really dive into the fine detail, you might want to sift through the deals yourself. But, especially for an international, there are real advantages to using an independent mortgage advisor.


A bank will only be able to offer you its own options. The biggest advantage to a mortgage broker is that they are independent. A huge amount of time at Expat Mortgages is spent on researching the best deals on the market for different types of lenders and updating their advisers day-to-day.

You might expect a regular bonus and want to pay down some capital. You might be planning a rebuild in a few years or want to make your new home more environmentally friendly - and there are possibilities to increase your existing mortgage to realise this or allow you to pay down extra capital penalty-free.

You might want the option to work abroad for some years and be able to rent out your house, and with new and upcoming government legislation, it’s vital that you stay on top of the rules. In any case, you’ll need to have permission from your mortgage lender, so it’s helpful to think about this from the start.

At Expat Mortgages, they are not working in the interests of the bank or the institution: you are their client, you pay them, and they give you their best advice.


Today, Expat Mortgages has dedicated contacts at certain banks who deal with their clients. There are more advantages to this than you might think. If you approach the bank on your own, you will be dealing with a different department which may or may not be used to typical expat situations - owning assets abroad, for instance, or having a non-standard salary slip.

The contacts of Expat Mortgages understand that expats might be transferring foreign savings to pay for their property, and they are careful to comply with money laundering declarations.

Internationals are also used to putting savings into a house rather than borrowing 100 percent - again, this might deviate from the Dutch standard, but the team at Expat Mortgages helps banks understand it’s a positive thing in lowering their risk.

The norm

The Netherlands has a multicultural society. At Expat Mortgages, they don’t need name-blind applications: they thrive on dealing with people from all kinds of backgrounds.

Gone are the days when a foreign name - or your gender - meant a bank was shy about giving you a loan. But risk-based lending does consider deviations from the norm; a mortgage adviser who deals with internationals can make it clear to lenders that there is nothing abnormal about expats, who are welcomed to the Netherlands to share their expertise, and want to buy a home.

You might think you can borrow more and get a higher mortgage from the bank you’ve always banked with because they know you but actually this isn’t the case. A broker can explain your situation easily to any lender and find you the best match.


Some expats are wary about extra costs which might be much higher than those you are used to in their home country, for example for the house valuation, legal fees and arranging a mortgage. But be aware: many of these are tax deductible.

At Expat Mortgages, they have kept the same basic rate of 2.975 euros to arrange a mortgage for the past eight years - while several banks have been raising their fees to arrange a mortgage directly. The cost difference between a bank and a broker is small, but there’s a big difference in the level of independent expertise and assistance.

The housing market right now is correcting itself downwards after abnormal price increases during the pandemic, but the question is how long this will hold as there is still a real shortage of housing in the Netherlands and building new houses is not going as fast as expected and needed.

At Expat Mortgages they believe the right time to buy a home is when you want to buy a home - and they believe rental prices in the big Dutch cities are going up, while supply is going down.

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Whatever your decision in how you arrange your mortgage, the team of Expat Mortgages wishes you luck! For a free advice meeting with Expat Mortgages, get in touch now!



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