ABN AMRO explains: Home-buying in the Netherlands
Susan Mulders, a mortgage specialist at the International Client Desk of ABN AMRO in The Hague, tells us about her experience working with expats and answers questions about the mortgage process in the Netherlands.
What services do you provide for expats?
Here at the International Client Desk we are just like a regular bank branch except we have a lot of experience in looking after international clients, and we offer our services in English and many other foreign languages.
We have expats calling in for all kinds of reasons: opening and managing bank accounts and credit cards, replacing a lost card, taking out insurance, investigating loans and requesting mortgage advice, which is my own specific field.
Is it possible for expats to buy a house in the Netherlands?
Home-buying is certainly an option for expats, and it can be much more appealing than renting: there are tax breaks, you have more control over your home, and house prices in Dutch cities are quite reasonable, compared to other European cities.
But naturally there are requirements you will need to fulfil, and you will certainly need some guidance through the process.
Does home-buying in the Netherlands work differently compared to other countries?
The procedure for buying a house in the Netherlands does have some differences compared with abroad. In other countries you often need to apply for a mortgage before you start looking for a house.
However, in the Netherlands, it’s the other way around: you can make an offer on a house before your mortgage is guaranteed. However, you do need to investigate your mortgage options before making an offer, so you know your budget and if you will qualify for a mortgage.
Where do your expat clients come from?
Our clients come from all over the world, especially countries like India, Australia, the United States, England, Germany, France and Russia.
What are the most common questions you hear about buying a house?
When looking to buy a house in the Netherlands expats usually have questions like:
- How much can I borrow?
- What would my mortgage cost per month?
- How long does it take to organise?
People are also often curious about the mortgage tax refund (belastingteruggave).
How does the mortgage process work?
You can break the mortgage process down into three main phases:
1. Introductory meeting
We first have a (free) introductory meeting where we outline the costs and what clients can expect from us. We explain the different kinds of mortgages, the fixed rate period and timelines.
We calculate the maximum mortgage for a client and what it would cost them per month. Obviously, in the first meeting, the client is given a lot of information, so we allow plenty of time to answer questions.
2. Mortgage options and documentation
If a client finds the right property, and they want to organise their mortgage through ABN AMRO, they then sign the mortgage advice contract so we can start the mortgage process.
We have a list of documents that clients need to supply and, once we receive them, the mortgage specialist prepares the advice on different mortgage options and repayment methods.
3. Mortgage offer
After the recommendation is approved, we release a mortgage offer. We make an appointment with the client to sign the offer and, once it’s signed, we send the complete dossier to our colleagues in the mortgage department.
After all documents have been approved they are then sent to the notary. This process takes around four to six weeks.
What are the main conditions for expats to acquire a mortgage in the Netherlands?
For us to provide a mortgage up to 100 per cent of the market value of a property, there are some specific requirements that customers need to fulfil:
- The client must have worked in the Netherlands for at least six months and the trial period with their employer should be over.
- The customer needs a permanent contract with their employer, or a temporary contract with a declaration of intent (of ongoing employment from the employer). If the customer is self-employed or freelancing they need to be able to provide details of income over the past three years.
- It’s important that the client lives in the Netherlands and uses the house as their own residence, not for rental or as an investment property.
Example mortgage calculation
Can you give us an example of a mortgage calcuation and what it covers?
For example, if you would like to buy a property at a price of 350.000 euros, then your maximum mortgage will be 360.500 euros (103 per cent).
With the additional money you will be able to cover all attendant costs (kosten koper). An indiation of these costs is as follows:
- Transfer tax (stamp duty), two per cent of purchase price: 7.000 euros
- Appraisal report: 300 euros
- Legal fees: 1.500 euros
- Bank consultancy fee: 750 euros
- Total: 9.550 euros
If you subtract the costs from the net mortgage amount (360.500 - 9.550) then you will have 350.950 euros remaining, which is enough to cover the purchase price of the property, plus any unforeseen expenses.
Any advice for expats who are looking to buy their first house here?
Familiarise yourself with the Dutch property market on the housing website Funda. Investigate house prices, the kind of property you would like to buy, and what neighborhood you would like to live in.
Also at this early stage, come along for an orientation meeting so we can help you define your budget and inform you properly about everything you need to know.
More information on mortgages
Visit the ABN AMRO mortgage page for more information or to make an appointment.