Navigating Customer Due Diligence in Your Home Purchase Journey

Buying a home is a thrilling step, and as you explore the Dutch real estate scene, understanding why identity verification matters is crucial. Let's dive into this in a friendly and accessible way, tailored to your quest for a new home.

We've enlisted the expertise of Merel Drechsel , general manager at Handelzeker, to explain the law in simple terms. Handelszeker, a leading company in the Netherlands, assists professionals, including real estate agents, in risk and compliance investigations, as well as ID verifications.

As you set your sights on your dream home, know that real estate transactions, especially those with substantial sums, are closely monitored under the Dutch Wet ter voorkoming van witwassen en financieren van terrorisme (WWFT). Real estate agents follow robust Customer Due Diligence (CDD) procedures to ensure a secure process.

Why Your Identity Matters:

  1. Keeping Money Clean: Identity verification helps agents prevent money laundering activities, ensuring your home purchase funds are clean and legal.
  2. Preventing Financing of Terrorism: Confirming your identity in the real estate process contributes to stopping funds from falling into the wrong hands for potential terrorist activities.
  3. Ensuring Legal Compliance and Reputation: Following legal frameworks safeguards agents and maintains the industry's reputation, assuring a smooth and trustworthy home buying experience.

The Key Role of Identity Verification

In this adventure, a pivotal part of CDD is confirming your identity. Your real estate agent will request and verify your ID, typically a passport. Your agent may also ask to make a copy of your passport. However, it's important to note that, according to Dutch law, it is not mandatory to keep that copy.

The agent can simply note down all the necessary info. According to Dutch law (WWFT), specific details like the Citizen Service Number (BSN), passport photo, and MRZ code71 are not obligatory.

A Word on Document Exchange Between Agents

Sharing personal documents among real estate agents is strongly discouraged. Why? Channels like email and WhatsApp, often used for document exchange, can be vulnerable to data breaches. In alignment with both GDPR and WWFT, Handelzeker suggests avoiding the exchange of identification document copies.

Also, if you buy a home, the deal is formalized in a purchase and sales agreement. This agreement starts with all the personal data of you and the seller. The seller's agent can use this data to conduct an investigation on you.

Securing Transactions Without Document Exchange

Instead of sharing sensitive documents, your agent can provide necessary personal information to fulfil client investigation requirements. This ensures compliance without compromising your confidential details in case of a security breach.

Understanding Payment Methods

Wondering who needs to know how you'll pay for your new home? Your agent has an obligation to ask about the source of your funds to ensure transparency and legality.

You are not required to disclose every financial detail to everyone. Although the seller's agent may ask about your funds, you don't need to submit documents or sign papers. The notary will carry out a comprehensive investigation throughout the process, guaranteeing a secure and seamless path to homeownership. The buying agent only needs to relay the information you shared when queried by the seller's agent.

If any warning signs or suspicious activities are identified, the transaction must be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

In Conclusion

As you set out to purchase your new home, remember that the Dutch WWFT is more than regulations – it's a commitment to your safety and the integrity of the real estate market. Real estate agents, by verifying your identity, actively contribute to creating a secure and trustworthy environment for your exciting home buying adventure. It's a collaborative effort for a successful and fulfilling experience in finding your dream home.

The WWFT has different verifying methods for individuals with other professions, such as a Politically Exposed Person (PEP). Explaining these methods if you have a different profession or if you come from a sanctioned country goes beyond the scope of this article.

For more information, you can contact Merel; she can precisely guide you on what is required and what is not.


Interview | How ABN's Jocelyn can help you find the right mortgage

Expat-friendly mortgage advice for Netherlands homeownership

Are you planning to move to the Netherlands or have you just arrived? Let’s talk about what you need to do to settle in comfortably.

First things first, finding a place to live is crucial. You’ll have to decide whether you want to buy a home or rent for a while. If you’re interested in buying, the first step is to figure out how much money you can borrow. ABN AMRO has lots of experience helping expats like you buy homes, so they’re a great choice to guide you.

Let me introduce you to Jocelyn, a senior mortgage advisor at ABN AMRO BANK!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work

Hi, I’m Jocelyn, a mortgage advisor at ABN AMRO. My job is to help people from different countries buy homes in the Netherlands. I started by working with expats, helping them with things like banking, loans, and insurance. Later, I decided to specialize in mortgages to give even better help to our clients. Now, I’m part of ABN AMRO, which has been doing this for more than 25 years.

Who are your clients?

I work with expats, people from the Netherlands who are working abroad, and others who are somewhere in between. Many people who come to the Netherlands are new and need support to settle in well. That’s who we focus on.

What do you do, and how do you work with others?

We handle everything for your mortgage, from the beginning to the end. Our goal is to help you afford the home you want. We also help you find the right people to work with and guide you through all the paperwork and steps to buy a home. Our aim is to make it easy for you to move into your new place.

Any tips for expats to make moving to the Netherlands smoother?

Sure, here are three tips:

  1. Join an Expat Group: You can talk to others who have moved to the Netherlands and learn from their experiences about buying a home and more.
  2. Get Used to Transport: Bicycles and public transport are big here. It’s good to get familiar with them.
  3. Be Ready for Weather: Netherlands weather can change quickly. It’s a good idea to have an umbrella handy.

What should expats do or avoid when dealing with your field?

Let’s talk about what’s good to do and what to avoid:


  1. Start with a Mortgage Advisor: Talking to an advisor can help you understand everything and make your home-buying journey smoother.
  2. Visit Houses: It’s a good idea to check out different houses to understand how things work.


  1. Don’t Go Alone: It’s a good idea to get advice from someone who knows about Dutch mortgages. They’re different from what you might be used to.
  2. Don’t Rush Buying: Take your time finding a home that suits you. It’s an important decision.

Why should someone choose you over others?

ABN AMRO has everything you need to settle in the Netherlands. We offer lots of financial products, and our advisors have helped lots of people like you. Plus, we can help you with things like insurance, payments, and even car loans.

How can people get in touch with you?

You can email me at or visit our website to set up a meeting, even if you’re not an ABN AMRO customer yet.

Jocelyn is one of our experts in the next How To Buy A House Event in Amsterdam. You can purchase your tickets to this informative event HERE

Places are limited!

This is just the beginning of your journey! See you Soon!


Interview | Anja Kroon, Interior Designer

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with the immensely talented Anja Kroon, a renowned interior designer with a wealth of international experience and a background in building and architecture.

Anja, your journey as an interior designer with a background in building and architecture is truly fascinating. Could you share with us how your passion for design and architecture first began?

A Certainly! My fascination with design and architecture ignited during my childhood, where I found myself captivated by the harmony between aesthetics and functionality in the spaces around me. As I grew older, my passion only intensified, leading me to pursue formal education in architecture and design.

That's truly inspiring! How has your architectural background influenced your approach to interior design?

My background in architecture has a big influence on my interior design approach. I see spaces as a whole, considering both their structure and the interior elements that bring them to life. This helps me create designs that not only look beautiful but also make the space practical and easy to move around in.

How does designing for different cultures and regions influence your creative process on international projects?

Designing for different cultures and regions is a wonderful journey. Every culture has its own special style, traditions, and way of living, which I love incorporating into my designs. I take the time to deeply understand my clients' cultural values and dreams through research and close collaboration. This helps me create spaces that truly connect with them on a meaningful level.

Anja, what do you believe sets your interior design style apart from others in the industry?

I love creating spaces that are both elegant and functional. My design style combines timeless elements with contemporary aesthetics, ensuring that the spaces I create stand the test of time. I believe in crafting designs that not only look beautiful but also cater to the practical needs and lifestyles of my clients.

What would you say is the biggest misconception about hiring an interior designer?

Ah! That is a good question! Hiring an interior designer is often misunderstood as an expensive option, reserved only for large-scale home makeovers. However, interior designers are more than willing to assist with smaller refurbishing or restyling projects like bedrooms, kitchens, and living spaces.

In fact, a significant number of inquiries received by our office are for these smaller-scale projects. Our expertise can make a substantial difference in enhancing the appeal and functionality of your home, no matter its size. From optimizing space to suggesting creative storage solutions and introducing colour schemes, we bring fresh ideas and innovative solutions to transform any space.

Moreover, we have access to several skilled building teams and therefore we can often complete projects more efficiently than traditional builders.

Anja, what advice would you give to aspiring interior designers aiming to make a mark in the industry?

For all aspiring interior designers, my advice is to stay curious and keep learning. The design industry is always changing, so staying up-to-date with trends, materials, and technologies is crucial. Find inspiration from different sources and trust your instincts. Remember, creating meaningful spaces requires passion, perseverance, and a deep understanding of your clients' needs. Keep pushing forward and believe in yourself!

Thank you, Anja, for sharing your valuable insights with us! Your words have clarified that interior advice is beneficial for everyone, not just the wealthy. We appreciate your time and expertise in answering our visitors' questions.

We're excited to have you as our special guest at the upcoming Boutique Event in Marriott Hotel. See you soon!


Certified Purchase Agents: A must for Expats buying in The Netherlands

Buying a house in a foreign country can be an exciting yet daunting experience, especially for expats. The Netherlands, known for its beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities, attracts many expats looking to settle down. However, navigating the Dutch real estate market without professional guidance can be risky. In this article, we will explore why it is crucial for expats to never buy a house in the Netherlands without the help of a certified purchase agent.

What is the role of a buying agent, also known as a "makelaar"?

A good buying agent (makelaar) provides comprehensive guidance throughout the entire process. They help you find properties, accompany you to viewings, ensure both you and the agent have seen a home before buying, handle bidding and due diligence, accompany you to notary appointments, and provide ongoing support. Experienced agents working with expats often offer English translations and have a good command of the English language, making it easier for you to understand home-related information and communicate effectively.

Is "Makelaar" a protected title in the Netherlands?

Anyone can start a real estate agency without qualifications, as it's an unregulated field. However, certified agents have diplomas and knowledge of the home-buying process. It's best to work with a local agent who knows the market, has a diploma, and can keep you safe even after finding a great deal. Not all certified agents are members of a Dutch trade body, as membership is optional.

Safeguarding your interests

Buying agents, or "makelaars," are responsible for negotiating with the seller's real estate agent on your behalf. They provide guidance on your offer and act as your main contact with the seller. Their primary role is to provide information, advice, and address any questions you may have. It is their responsibility to carefully investigate and review all relevant documents to ensure properties are in good condition and have no legal issues. This protects you from unexpected expenses and future legal disputes.

The Myth of Pre-Listings: separating fact from fiction

Real estate agents sometimes have access to properties before they are listed on larger housing websites. However, this early access doesn't always give sellers or buyers an advantage. It's important for sellers to reach a wide audience to get the best price and conditions. Listing properties on bigger housing sites ensures maximum exposure and attracts a diverse range of potential buyers. In the case of higher-priced properties, hidden or pre-market homes are more common. When buying an expensive house, it's essential to work with a certified and experienced agent who has up-to-date knowledge of available market options. Don't be swayed by agents who claim that finding off-market properties is a significant advantage in your home search.
Having said this, sometimes, luck may be on your side ;)

What should I do if I discover major defects after buying a home?

Experienced expat agent, Barry Burgemeester, has written an informative article that sheds light on important considerations before starting your home negotiations. With 19 years of exclusive experience in assisting expats with their home purchases, his insights can be valuable for you. We highly recommend exploring all the news articles available on his website and social media channels.

As How To Buy A House in The Netherlands we strive to make the process of buying a home stress-free and enjoyable. We will continue to publish articles like this to assist you. Take a look at our expat-oriented list, where we recommend companies that we have personally tested and approved as being expat-friendly.

Wishing you a successful and happy house-hunting journey!

Legal questions when purchasing a new home

Are you looking for your dream home? With a driven team of experts by your side, who easily know where to find each other if necessary, your housing dreams come true!

When you buy a house as a (foreign) buyer, it is wise to be assisted by a local real estate agent a.k.a. “Makelaar”. The real estate agent is familiar with the market, the state of the house and can guide the negotiation process. If necessary, a financial specialist can advise on applicable tax schemes for expats. The notary is also involved in the transfer, and often a mortgage advisor or a bank will be engaged for financing. If the deal is done and dusted you might need an interior designer or a PA to make a house a home.

Although not immediately noticeable, legal aspects also are involved when purchasing a house. Below are some frequently asked questions our office answered at the How To Buy A House Events.

What does the reflection period entail?

The law stipulates that the purchase agreement when buying a house must be entered into in writing by a natural person who is not acting in the performance of a profession or business. The agreement, or a copy thereof, must be made available to the buyer. The buyer has the right to dissolve the purchase for three days after this delivery by hand. The buyer does not have to state a reason for dissolving. If the buyer has made use of this right and a new agreement originates between the same parties with regard to the same property within six months, the right to dissolve will not arise again.

Does my employer have to provide me with an employer statement or a declaration of intent?

No, an employer is not obliged to provide these statements. In practice, employers often cooperate. However, it is advisable that employers carefully formulate the letter of intent from an employment law perspective.

Who is liable in case something appears to be wrong with the property after the purchase and delivery?

The seller has an obligation to disclose and the buyer has an obligation to investigate. In principle, the seller’s obligation to disclose takes precedence over the buyer’s obligation to investigate. However, under certain circumstances, the buyer may need to obtain further information, for example on the basis of communications from the seller. Should it subsequently become apparent that there is a hidden defect, it will have to be established whether there has been a violation of the obligation to disclose by the seller, or whether the buyer has neglected his obligation to investigate. In the first case, the buyer could, under certain circumstances, cancel the purchase or receive compensation. However, should it become clear that the buyer should have carried out (additional) research, he may not have any claim against the seller. Obviously, it is also important what parties have agreed in the purchase agreement; for example, has the seller guaranteed certain matters.

Can I dissolve the purchase agreement in case my bank does not provide the requested financing?

A financing reservation is a condition precedent in the purchase agreement and means that the buyer can dissolve the purchase agreement if he is unable to obtain the necessary financing (in time). However, an active attitude is required from the buyer with regard to obtaining the relevant financing. The buyer will therefore only be able to invoke this condition precedent successfully if he can demonstrate sufficiently documented that his financing application(s) have been rejected.

Next live event

Our next event is scheduled on September 6th 2023 in the beautiful Vondelkerk in Amsterdam. We’ve invited companies who can answer all of your personal questions if you are looking to buy a home. Keep an eye on our website or send us an email if you are in need of information.

See you soon!


Interview | David Bellingham Revolutionizing Financial Services for Expats

Black Swan Capital – Better Financial Futures, by Design

We are thrilled to present an insightful conversation with David Bellingham, the esteemed CEO of Black Swan Capital, an award-winning independent investment advisory firm. With a steadfast commitment to catering to the specific and unique needs of internationals, Black Swan Capital has garnered recognition for its exceptional investment advice and personalized services. Revolutionizing Financial Services for Expats and International Professionals is one of the topics we discuss.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into David’s wealth of experience and expertise in the financial industry. Join us as he shares valuable insights, market perspectives, and his vision for empowering internationals with tailored investment strategies.

Introduce yourself! Who are you, what industry do you work in and how did you get involved with HTBAH?

Hi there! My name is David Bellingham, and I head up Black Swan Capital for Europe. Having met HTBAH through the industry, I enjoy meeting like-minded business people like Monique and her team who value high-quality service and looking after their clients!

Who are your clients?

Usually, we deal with internationals – people either living outside of their home country. We provide objective financial advice on a fee-for-service basis.

What kinds of service do you deliver yourselves and what expertise do you forward to your partners?

Black Swan’s employees are all internationals themselves! Overseen by Dutch central bank, Black Swan can guarantee the highest standard in Europe and is very proud to be the first firm in the whole of Europe that has a fully independent investment firm license.

Can you take me on your customers’ journey from A-Z?

When we meet someone, we first get to know them and see if it’s fit; will partnering with Black Swan be mutually beneficial? If it’s a match, we sign a client agreement and spend a few weeks making a full advisement report for them. Then, we help them to implement the recommendations or outsource should they need it, and have an ongoing management service for our clients to ensure they are always on track to achieve their goals.

What are your top 3 tips in working with expats to ensure they have a smooth transition from their last country of residence to The Netherlands?

    1. Know what you want to achieve, we can help them with this if they don’t know yet
    2. Built-in flexibility
    3. Get reputable advice


David Bellingham and the Black Swan Capital team in Amsterdam


Give us an example of a time you successfully helped a client. What happened? What did you learn from it?

Every client is an example, but for privacy, I cannot divulge certain information. However, the main thing is that we know how to listen to clients and every service is bespoke on a case-by-case basis.

How can your expert advice assist a client moving from overseas to the Netherlands?

Helping them to understand the environment here, as well as understanding the options they have that are in their home countries.

What are some do’s and don’ts for expat clients that you would/wouldn’t recommend in relation to your industry?

Flexibility – the Dutch regulator has a commission ban. You can passport your license around the EU. Be careful – ‘free’ is not often the case, fine print and exit charges are often a problem for people after they’re realized it. Make sure the person you’re talking with is qualified.

What are the benefits of working with you as opposed to another vendor in your industry?

We always ensure our clients are comfortable, we’re qualified, and experienced, and have a judicial obligation to act in our client’s best interest.

How can a potential client get in touch with you?

The best way to contact us is to visit our website or send us an email at

7 Steps to your mortgage

It all starts with a number. Here are 7 steps to get your mortgage done.

7 Steps to your mortgage
7 Steps to your mortgage

Video transcript of 7 Steps to your mortgage

hi are you an expert wanting to buy Dutch property then here are seven easy steps to success step 1 determine your budget find out your gross annual income work out how much you want to spend and schedule a meeting with us it's free of charge step 2 when looking for your perfect property you could either do it yourself on the internet or let us help you by introducing you to an estate agent or Makelaar as they're called here step 3 this is where the fun begins bidding and buying but to be honest this is where your trusty estate agent might well come in useful it's a jungle out there step 4 and this is where we at expat mortgages get very excited it's the mortgage application process we will make sure that everything goes smoothly and don't worry all the paperwork will be in English step 5 once everything has been approved you then have to have a meeting with a notary signed some papers and then the keys are yours and it's time to celebrate wahoo and by the way the drinks are on us step 6 is arranging your taxes for the first two years and free of charge we will happily organize a tax refund for your mortgage related costs and the final step we will reach out to you every year just to make sure that you are okay but if you have any questions in the meantime then just give us a call expat mortgages makes you feel at home.

Do you have any questions? Attend to our events or request a personal session!

Freehold and Leasehold: What is the difference?

Freehold and Leasehold: What is the difference? If you buy a house in Amsterdam not all the land you buy a house on is yours. The choice of property is either freehold (eigen grond) or leasehold (erfpacht). Here I will explain the difference.

Freehold and Leasehold: What is the difference?
Freehold and Leasehold: What is the difference?

We will provide all the information you need in order to buy your dream house. Feel at home while shopping around; we will make sure to have some drinks, snacks and even a nanny service ready for you so you’ll have nothing to worry about and be able to talk with our partners. All the experts you need to meet under one roof. Ask them questions related to your particular situation. Buy better by being better informed.

Barry Burgemeester is a certified real estate agent with 23 years’ working experience. 18 years ago, he made the switch from a predominantly Dutch clientele to an exclusively international one. Helping expats purchase homes has remained his passion and his strength.

Barry has invited a number of friends in the housing sector to help him inform/educate you about buying a house.

Do you want a free session with a real estate agent? Check out available sessions.

Why do I have to go to a notary to sign the contracts?

Notary sign contracts: In Amsterdam the notary is a VIP. The purchase and sales agreement is signed at the office of a notary and also all money travels through the notaries account. I will explain you why.

Notary sign contracts: Why do you need a notary in Amsterdam?
Notary sign contracts: Why do you need a notary in Amsterdam?

Barry Burgemeester, Burgemeester Vastgoed

Transcript of the video on notary sign contracts:

Hello! My name is Barry Burgemeester, I'm a real estate agent and I help Expats find their dream home! In Dutch law property ownership process through notaries, a type of lawyer who is specialized in civil contracts. When you've got your mortgage we will visit the property again to check if everything is as we agreed. We also read the gas, electricity and water meters. Then we plus the seller and the agent go back to the notary to sign the "Akte Van Levering", the deed of transfer and the mortgage papers. Dutch law states that this must be done by a notary and if you don't speak Dutch, a translator will also be needed. Once the Akte Van Levering has been signed, you will get the keys and your dream home will be yours! Formally, this is where my job ends. Let's see if we can team up and can get started!

Buying a home is a big step. We understand that it is hard to find your way around. You can find a lot of information online and from expats experts. However, Are all of these companies trustable? Who is good and who is not? We started the Expat Oriented Organisation register (EOO) to help you out.

The EOO certification ensures that expats are working with organisations who are credible, provide outstanding services and understand the needs of expats.