Managing Expectations in the Amsterdam Property Market

When it comes to purchasing your property in the Netherlands, there is a lot you need to be aware of prior to landing your dream home. All is not always as it seems, and there are many pitfalls to be cautious of along the way! Luckily, a good real estate agent can help you to navigate this unfamiliar territory.

First thing’s first - what do you mean by ‘managing expectations’?

In this unusual market, it can be hard to know what kind of property is right for you, as well as what is attainable. A knowledgeable real estate agent will be able to guide you through properties you’re interested in in order to ensure your needs are met personally, financially and holistically - whatever they may be.

An important thing to remember is that although purchasing a property can be a very exciting milestone in your life, it is paramount that you are realistic about the outcome. It is possible that you may be disappointed during the journey to find your home, so try not to get too attached to an idea before it’s a reality.

What is bidding, and how can it affect the purchase process?

A 'bid' means that you're showing interest in purchasing a house - it's more like a gesture, or even a proposal. It is one of the elements of buying a property that needs to be managed with the utmost diligence, mainly because of the uncertainty of the result when the seller opts for a ‘closed bid.’ A closed bid may occur when multiple parties are interested in the property, so the seller decides to give them all the option to submit their best price blind within a limited time frame.

I’ve heard that the value of the property does not always match that presented online… is this true?

A part of managing expectations is that the prices you see first-day do not always align with the actual purchase price. Buying a home is the biggest investment most people will make in their lifetime. Unless you have unlimited funding, you need to be realistic about what it is you can afford because chances are, the price will be higher than what was advertised.

In the Netherlands, the purchase price can vary greatly from what you originally see online. Your real estate agent will guide you through the effects that the valuation process will impact on the property you are interested in.

Making Changes Within the Canal Ring

Something else to consider when buying property in Amsterdam is that if you are hoping to buy within the canal ring, it is a protected area. Since being added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2010, you need to be aware of some restrictions placed on the buildings should you want to make any changes to your home.

The majority of the time, it is not possible to make any changes at all, and if it is, a permit must be approved prior to the alterations. For example, if you’d like to add a rooftop terrace, balcony, or make any changes to a building, you must have a permit known as an integrated environmental permit (omgevingsvergunning).

This permit is often required before you can make changes to the outside of the building, too. Handling these unique challenges can be tricky, however Barry will be able to guide you every step of the way so you can make a confident and informed decision when it comes to purchasing your home. Even if you have permission to make alterations, it is good to consider that this will be costly, which brings to mind the phrase, ‘caveat emptor’ - let the buyer beware!

I’m ready to know more! Where can I find a good real estate agent?

Barry Burgemeester is a Dutch native. Originally hailing from Utrecht, he has worked for over 23 years in real estate in the Amsterdam and his extensive knowledge of the area is uncontested.

Barry’s background and expertise is invaluable to our expat clients, mainly because his wealth of experience within the Dutch market guarantees that he will be able to predict any potential issues or concerns you may have when introduced to this unfamiliar territory. Get in touch at info@burgemeestervastgoed.nl today!


Event postponed

Friends, colleagues, and HTBAH enthusiasts,

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 cases, we have decided to postpone our How To Buy A House event on November 3rd. The world has changed a lot since our last event, and today, we have made the difficult decision to wait until we feel more comfortable to organise an exciting and informative event that is secure and valuable for everyone involved.

The event will be postponed until the first quarter of 2022. We have not set a date yet but we will keep you posted. Of course, we will refund anyone that purchased a ticket as soon as possible. To see updates, please visit our website www.howtobuya.house.

Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you at our next event in the future! Meanwhile, we are always happy to help and connect you to an expert in real estate or beyond. Please send us an email via monique@howtobuya.house and we will get back to you!

Take care, stay safe, and happy house hunting!

Monique & HTBAH Team x


Interview | Anne-Marie Snel, Notary

Who is Anne-Marie Snel?

Anne-Marie Snel is a top-class Notary. Having recently been appointed by the Dutch courts, Anne-Marie is now able to sign her own deeds - a huge milestone in a Notary's career. Her core business is everything to do with property, whether that's ownership, transfer, or closure of houses. While Attorneys are employed to solve problems, in the Netherlands a Notary prevents problems in relation to real estate as an impartial party. Although Anne-Marie finished her studies in 1994 in a different area, she ended up working in a Notary's office where her journey first began. A How To Buy A House (HTBAH) veteran, Anne-Marie with Monique at the first HTBAH event in the Hague during which time Anne-Marie was employed with a bigger firm.

They kept in contact over the years, and Monique has had the pleasure of working with Anne-Marie on several projects since then, often collaborating with and helping expats to find their dream homes.

What exactly is a Notary?

A Notary is basically a legal coordinator when you choose to purchase a home in the Netherlands. A Notary specializes in 3 areas - real estate, family law and corporate law. A Notary is more common in European countries, it's a Latin system. The moment the Notary signs the deed, you don't have to worry, they will arrange everything with the transaction. In English-speaking countries, the solicitor handles all arrangements, but not transactions. Also, a Notary does not go to court.

From a Notary's perspective, what is the customer journey like when buying a house in the Netherlands as an expat?

Once you have partnered with a good real estate agent and have found a property you like, you then need to acquire a Notary to seal the deal from a legal perspective. Because your Notary is an impartial party to the sale, you can have them look at the contract without any cause for concern regarding their intentions. In Amsterdam, the Notary will draw up the contract. Outside of Amsterdam, the seller will sort this out. In the Netherlands, you have to declare that the money you're using to pay for the house has been earned authentically, whether that income is from your salary, business, or other assets. The Dutch government needs to make sure you're not laundering money because the easiest way to do this is through property.

Are there any particular details of the process that I should be aware of?

If you don't speak Dutch, an official translator will need to be present to sign the deeds, for which you must factor into the cost of the entire purchase. In addition, you have to consider which laws apply to your possessions as a resident of the Netherlands, eg which tax laws apply to you, what happens with your will, etc. You need to decide on who you would like to inherit your possessions after your death; this, of course, includes your home. Depending on what country you're from, international laws are usually taken into account.

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

Every case is different, but a hallmark of a happy client is when the transaction is handled safely and successfully without any stress.

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

Do ask questions; don't try to do it all by yourself. Don't be afraid that they will think you're asking stupid questions - it's our job to help you through the process and it can be very overwhelming.

If the Notary doesn't know it, there will be someone they know that will know the answer. The majority of the time, when there's a fault made it was because someone was afraid to ask a question. Remember, once the deed has been signed and the cooling-off period of three days has surpassed - there's no going back!

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

The advantage with me is that I've worked my way up from a small office up to a big international office with lawyers and notaries. My current firm is now my own firm and smaller once again. The advantage of a smaller firm is that there's less distance between the client and the notary. So I have a lot of experience with different types of clients. I speak English, and have traveled a lot. I know and respect other cultures, in addition to being aware of a lot of the rules in a different laws / countries. I've learned from a lot of other professions over the years in this industry. Everywhere you work, you learn.

If you were to describe HTBAH in 3 words, what would they be?

The benefit of attending a HTBAH event is that all the connections under one roof for expats - they know everyone, and are the best in the business! I don't know anyone who is that broad in terms of connections with so many people and services, especially considering everyone speaks English.

How can a potential client get in touch with you?

Google! Or else, feel free to get in touch with me on LinkedIn: Anne-Marie Snel, Notary at Prinsenhof Notarissen.

What is your top tip on buying or selling in general?

Make sure you understand everything before you sign!

Quote from Monique:

“The Notary is a fundamental party during the whole process of buying a house in the Netherlands. Anne-Marie is not only a very skilled Notary, but a wonderful person and has a superb reputation for nurturing excellent relationships with her clients and HTBAH.

If you require a Notary in Brabant or within the surrounding area feel free to reach out to Anne-Marie! ”

- Monique from How To Buy A House


Interview | René van der Velde, Financial Advisor

Monique Burgemeester has worked with a lot of associates in the real estate industry over the years, including René van der Velde. René is an experienced financial advisor with a demonstrated history of working in financial services. Two years ago he started together with Rob Wouters his own company (Wouters & Van der Velde). Preceded by his fantastic reputation, René is knowledgeable in an abundance of topics such as Mortgage and Financial Planning.

Recently, we decided to catch up with René to get his insights on the latest updates to this year’s transfer tax and how it may affect anyone looking to buy a house in the Netherlands.

What was the old situation regarding transfer tax?
You have to pay 2% transfer tax over the purchase price. This year, it has changed and is now subject to the purpose of the property; this is to ensure the system is more attractive for first-time buyers.

What changed for first-time homebuyers from January 1st, 2021?
At the moment, those under 35, do not have to pay transfer tax at all. When you buy a buy-to-let house, you have to pay 8% transfer tax.

What will be the situation if you’re going to buy together and only one of us is younger than 35?
If you buy the property 50/50, you have to split the transfer tax into 0% and 2%. So, in fact you have to pay 1% transfer tax over the purchase price.

What will change on April 1st, 2021?
Yes, changes have been made to the exemptions heading into 2021. There will be a max purchase price of €400,000, and if you buy the property after 1st April you will have to pay the 2% transfer tax, regardless of your age.

If you want to sell your house after a certain period and you are lucky to make a profit, what taxes do you need to pay?
You don’t have to pay capital gain tax if you are selling your property

What will change for UK citizens who want to buy a property because of Brexit?
If someone from the UK would like to buy property in Holland, they must apply for a resident’s permit in 2021 - EU citizens have automatic access to this.

Looking to get in touch with René to discuss your own situation in buying a property? Contact rene@woutersenvandervelde.nl.


Interview: Tim Wormsbecher, Real Estate Agent

We have worked with many colleagues in the real estate industry over the years, and today, we would like to introduce you to Tim Wormsbecher, the proud owner and real estate agent / valuator at TWM Makelaardij .

After working in real estate for nine years, Tim decided to start his own adventure and in 2017, TWM was founded. In the last few years, the company has expanded, with the team now consisting of three real estate agents and two colleagues in the back-office. Notably, Tim's team are most active in the real estate market in Amsterdam, Purmerend and Zaandam.

We reached out to Tim to get an insight into valuation, the housing market in Amsterdam and the best way to approach finding the perfect home in the Netherlands!

 

What is the customer journey like when buying a house in the Netherlands?

The market in the Netherlands is quite transparent, the majority of houses is to be found on a central website and they are strict in the regulations the advertisements from realtors have to meet. So, it is fairly easy to orientate from home.

Where do I start in buying a house in the Netherlands?

In most cases, people in the Netherlands live relatively close to where the work, so this will most likely be your preferred area. The Amsterdam region is quite small compared to other international cities. With public transport or by car, 30 minutes can get you in completely different areas with different aspects to keep in mind as well as different populations and regulations.

What is the benefit of hiring a good real estate agent when buying a house in Amsterdam?

We know the market like no other, we estimate the pricing of houses, know what areas or what building eras have, which specific issues or things to watch out for. A huge part of our job is to estimate the value of the house so that you don't overpay; it's never the same percentage that you should offer over an asking price. We even regularly buy houses under the asking price. Thorough investigation is crucial.

Why should I not look for a property by myself? 

Although the advertisements are transparent, there are so many rules and regulations when buying a house in the Netherlands. For example, if there is a house with a roof terrace but there was no permission granted, what to do if the homeowners association is not saving enough money for future maintenance, what is a ground lease (leasehold) and how does it affect the value of a house, what is the state of the foundation of the building, what are the costs of a renovation etc. We are aware of all aspects and can answer 99% of your questions right away.

What do I do if I want to sell my house in the Netherlands? What are my options? Is it good to hire a real estate agent in this scenario?

The best is to hire an agent to sell your house, the agent will determine the market value and based on that give advice for the asking price for the advertisement. There will be a professional photographer, floorplans and measurement certificate will be made and the advertisement text will be written by the agent. The house will be put online and the agent guides all the viewers through your house. Your agent will either choose to have a bidding deadline or when an offer comes in the agent will negotiate (in consultation with you) to get the highest price. Your agent will make sure the agreements are legally registered in a purchase agreement and you will also be guided through the rest of the process like signing, inspection and delivery.The entire process is taken care of with nothing to worry about.

If I sell my house, how am I guaranteed the highest bid?

Before starting the process you'll receive advice with the estimated value. Realtors are experts in determining the best price to put the house on the market. In addition, they will make sure the viewers are well informed and get excited to make an offer on your house. With either a bidding procedure or a perfect negotiation we will get you the best price possible.

Does a real estate agent have a pre-market register?

We have an exchange system where realtors put in the newest listings, in general agents are at least one or two days ahead of the main websites. This gives a head start for agent to schedule appointments for their clients and when buying a house it gives you the advantage that you and your agent can be there on the first day of viewings and maybe even buy the house before someone else will even visit the house.

What is the bidding process like?

It differs with every property. In this market most properties are sold with a deadline. Meaning that you have until a certain time to make a one-time offer. If the selling agent has no offers yet, you can make the first offer and see where it lands. If the selling agent receives multiple offers, it can be decided that, in consultation with the seller, there is going to be a deadline still and you have the option to participate in this.

How can my real estate agent help me to negotiate the best possible as a buyer or a seller? Find out what you can afford from mort advisor or bank - explanation.

First we would like to connect you with a mortgage advisor we work with a lot. This way we are very certain that if we make an offer, the buyer can indeed finance it. Before the negotiation, whether it is a deadline or a first offer, we are going to look at the property as an appraiser would. This way we have multiple of the same or similar properties which we can compare to the property the buyer wants to buy. When we are certain of a price, we can advise our buyer not to go over this mentioned price as going over it means the buyer buys it above market value and this is usually not what someone wants. The buyer has always the choice to go over the estimated market value but the buyer needs to know and must be willing to invest their own savings into the purchase of the property.

I need a mortgage so I need a valuation - can you explain in simple terms what a valuation is and why do I need one?

The valuation, also the appraisal report, is a report which is made by a third and independent party who appraises the property. This report goes to the bank / financial advisor so the mortgage process can start. The amount mentioned in the report is also the maximum which will be financed for the purchase of the property. It is also possible to finance a (part of a) renovation.

Can every company value my house?

No, only an appraiser can do so. For a mortgage, it has to be a validated report and only appraisers attached to the union of appraisers may have their reports validated.

Is it mandatory to valuate my house? Why / why not?

If the buyer is in need of a mortgage, yes. If not, it won't be necessary however it is always a good idea to hire an expert in estimating the property value before you make an offer.

What are the consequences if the valuation does not meet the purchase price?

There are two options. In the purchase agreement, it will say the buyer has a certain time to get the mortgage approved. If, in case of a too low amount mentioned in the appraisal report, the buyer hands over a rejection letter from the bank stating they cannot have a mortgage based on the fact the appraisal amount was too low, the buyer can cancel the purchase agreement. It is a choice however, you can always choose to continue, get the lower amount according to the report and add the rest from your own savings.

Do you have any tips on buying or selling in general?

Hire an expert to guide you through the process, this will save a lot of insecurities, answer a lot of questions and most important: a good agent will earn money, not cost money. This works for either a buying agent who protects you from not overpaying and a selling agent who does their best to get the highest price possible for you.


Covid update

After much consideration, we have made the decision to reschedule the next HTBAH event to September 15th 2021.

This decision has been made to ensure the safety for all those involved. While we will need to adapt to the current situation regardless, we think it would be irresponsible to carry out our event at the moment and risk the wellbeing of attendees, staff, and stand holders.

We confidently believe in the physical HTBAH event, as attendees benefit greatly from the opportunity to have private 1:1 time with property experts. However, we continue to offer fantastic online resources, including:

We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation, so stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, we will be posting helpful information about home-buying across our social channels, so make sure you’re following us!

For information about coronavirus we recommend following the current guidance here: rivm.nl – please stay safe throughout these challenging times!


Relocation, Relocation; Helping You To Set Up Your Home Prior To The Big Move!

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

My name is Sjouke Jager, I am the founder of Sjouke Jager Vastgoed and My Home Relocator. We help people to find a home, to rent or to buy. We have been involved with How To Buy A House in The Netherlands (HTBAH) from the start as we have helped Barry Burgemeester during the first event in 2017 in the beautiful Vondelkerk in Amsterdam. Since the great success of that first event our company has been a partner for the Utrecht region.

What was your favorite part of working with HTBAH?

We all have the same goal: helping expats! All partners help expats to find their new home and with all their housing-related questions. You can feel this energy during the events.

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?

Prepare well before relocating, team up with trusted specialists and enjoy the Netherlands to the fullest!

Give us an example of a time you successfully helped a client? What happened?

We have helped Barbara from Poland to find her suitable rental apartment before she even arrived in the Netherlands. She was so happy with our services that we bought a house for her and her new Dutch partner two years later.

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

We specialise in housing and due to the current overheated housing market it's wise to start your house search before your actual move. We inform our clients about the differences in the housing market between countries, explaining how we can find them a suitable new home and the processes involved.

Via video walk-throughs, we can show various options and together with our partners make sure the house is ready to move in to on arrival.

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

Please do not try to save money by not using a specialist to help with housing as many get scammed or end up buying the wrong house and pay too much. Be penny-wise and pound foolish.

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

As we specialise in buying and do not sell any real estate, there will never be a conflict of interest. We help expats exclusively and always have your best interest at heart.

How can a potential client get in touch with you?

People can always call me at +316-18470065 or send me an email via sjouke@jagervastgoed.nl


Finding an experienced law firm in the expat market that can help you to establish your life in the Netherlands!

Finding an established law firm in the Netherlands with significant expat experience can be a challenge. Luckily, we can happily recommend Mariëlle Groen as a trusted partner of How To Buy A House (HTBAH). Want to know more about what Mariëlle can do for you? Read on below!

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

I am Mariëlle Groen, founder of ADVOCURA, an Amsterdam based law firm. I had known Monique for some time and when she told me about HTBAH, I knew it would be a success due to her involvement.

What was your favourite part of working with HTBAH?

It is an excellent event with plenty of opportunity to talk to everyone.

If you were to describe HTBAH in 3 words, what would they be?

Well-organized, inspiring, informative.

What is your top tip in working with expats to ensure they have a smooth transition from their last country of residence to the Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, things are sometimes arranged differently. Make sure you get the correct information, whether it concerns buying a house, concluding an employment contract or starting your own business.

Give us an example of a type of service that you regularly help clients with?

We regularly draw up contracts, including employment contracts, for companies establishing themselves in the Netherlands. It is important to explain the Dutch specifics of these contracts, because not all clauses are self-explanatory and each country has its own particulars.

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

We can we litigate on your behalf in case of a dispute, but we can also assist you in preventing disputes, for example by having an agreement assessed upfront or explaining the Dutch legal specifics.

What is the most crucial piece of advice you give to your clients?

Ensure you are fully informed by the right kinds of experts!

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

The ADVOCURA team responds quickly, is committed and are always delighted to welcome you for a cup of coffee.

9.   How can a potential client get in touch with you?

All address details are published on the website: www.advocura.nl or email info@advocura.nl directly.

If you’re looking for more information on how to navigate your way around the Dutch legal system, visit our website and read Mariëlle's article HERE.


‘Pearlcard: The Ultimate Expat Necessity!’

Meet Sascha Versloot, the Commercial Director of PEARLCARD. This exclusive service network has been indispensable to many of our expat clients, helping them to get on their feet and settled into their new lives in The Netherlands. PEARLCARD offers a wide range of services, from Healthcare to Lifestyle perks. Want to know more? How To Buy A House has collaborated with PEARLCARD to offer an exclusive package that offers a €250 discount! Read Sascha's interview below!

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

Hi! My name is Sascha Versloot and I have been working at PEARLCARD for over 3 years. PEARLCARD is a service company with 12 services including the Lifestyle, Concierge, Travel, Winecircle, and Healthcare service. Through the card, which gives our affiliated members access to exclusive services and privileges, PEARLCARD offers its packages and services via the website and online newsletters. PEARLCARD helps you achieve your wishes, dreams, and goals when making the move to The Netherlands. In our brochure, you will find some highlights of the PEARLCARD services. However, the overview of our services is never limited, the possibilities are endless! Each member benefits from unique discounts with our partners, but above all from fast, careful and reliable service that is tailored to their personal needs.

How To Buy A House (HTBAH) came our way because PEARLCARD started to focus on the expat market. HTBAH is the perfect organization to help expats from the very first moment and PEARLCARD complements that, ensuring our client’s transition is as smooth as possible.

What are the main benefits of acquiring a Pearlcard for an expat?

Your membership includes a special Welcome Package

What's included? Connecting gas, water, and light, Connecting the internet and television,  discount on day-trips and dinners, Cell phone subscription setup, advice parking permit & the first cleaning!

 

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

During these unprecedented times, Healthcare is very important. Due to the fact that "regular care" is now often postponed, if our client needs swift healthcare, PEARLCARD can help. For example, this week we helped a client who had suffered a herniated disc due to working from home and she was only able to go for a consultation in 4 weeks and for an MRI 2 weeks later. PEARLCARD arranged for her that one day later she could have her MRI done and she could go for a consultation!

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

The people behind PEARLCARD are driven, dedicated, and fast in organizing and delivering a wide range of possibilities. Therefore we do not sell a "no" and go to great lengths to process the request as completely as possible. If there is anything on your mind that you are feeling apprehensive about, contact us and we can advise on the best step to take.

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

PEARLCARD has no competition. Because we have our Healthcare service we are unique in the market.

If you were to describe HTBAH in 3 words, what would they be?

Friendly, specialized, personal service!

How can a potential client get in touch with you?

Take the stress out of moving into a new home! If you have any questions please give us a call on 088 – 511 55 66 or fill in the form at https://pearlcard.com/en/howtobuyahouse/