Is it a good time to buy a house?

Good time to buy a house? We have heard this question and others over and over again, so we've made an overview of frequently asked questions and has asked an expat-expert to answer all! We kick off with Barry Burgemeester of Burgemeester Vastgoed.

Everyone can become a real estate agent. There is no diploma or certificate required to get started in this line of work. However, Barry has the proper certification and has been in the business for 23 years. The past 17 years he specialized in assisting expats with buying homes and commercial real estate. There's a lot of misinformation out there about what real estate agents actually do, so he'd published recently an article "A typical day in the life of an Amsterdam Real Estate Agent". Let's see if is it a good time to buy a house!

Aren’t we in a property bubble in Amsterdam? Shouldn’t I just wait? 

The only answer to this is that unless you’re planning to speculate on the Dutch property market and sell your home within say 6 to 8 months, then it’s always worth buying. With tax rebates and low-interest rates, you’ll usually end up paying less money on a mortgage than you do rent. It’s always a good time to buy and I’m here to help you find the right place in Amsterdam that meets your needs.

What is the real challenge in the process of buying a house?

In this market, the search for just the right home is important, and we can help you with that. Once a client has set his/her sights on a desirable house, then the real challenge starts the bidding process and the presentation of our client to the selling party. A real estate agent should advise his client on what is and is not possible. Where previously it was often about having the highest bid, now the buyer is also under scrutiny, because the selling party benefits from a customer who can also pay for the property. We can help you make the right bid, safely and freely, and within the possibilities, ensuring the highest chance of success.

So, what should I do first?

The first thing you need to know if you want to buy a house is how much money you can borrow. The market is so hot, that if you find a house you like, you must be ready to act straight away. Remember, you will need more than the actual price of the property. You can borrow up to 100% of the value of the property, so you will need your own cash – about 6% to 8% of the purchase price – to cover the bills for taxes, the estate agent and notary fees and other matters. There are a lot of different banks and institutions providing mortgages in the Netherlands so it makes sense to talk to a mortgage expert first.

My offer on a house has been accepted, what happens now?

Once your offer for a house has been accepted, you have to sign a contract. So you, your estate agent, the seller and their agent will meet at a notary’s office to sign the voorlopig koopcontract – the purchase and sale agreement. The notary is a type of lawyer, and the contract gives you three days to change your mind. The contract also includes a clause saying the transaction is ‘subject to financing’.That gives you a period of time to arrange your mortgage. This is usually four weeks. It might sound like a long time, but there is a lot of paperwork to go through. Once all that is done, you go to the notary again and sign the final deal.

We like to thank Barry very much for his clear answers and will be back next week with another expat expert answering questions! We invited Marielle Groen of Advocura to answer the questions you have asked about legal issues in The Netherlands.

Be sure and check out our Facebook community, How to Buy a House in the Netherlands. This group was specially created to provide support and assistance for homebuyers during every step of the process, from just thinking about buying a home to making the final offer.  Ask us all your questions via and we will get back to you!

Expat Oriented Organistion

Introducing the Expat Oriented Organisation Certification Mark

The How To Buy A House Expat Oriented Organisation Certification

How To Buy A House, organisers of events for expats looking to buy a home have announced the launch of the Expat Oriented Organisation Certification Mark.


Expat Oriented Organistion



Monique Burgemeester, founder of How To Buy A House (HTBAH) came up with the idea of certifying organisations who she partners with based on the criteria she has long used to ensure that the service providers she recommends are structured correctly in order to provide quality services to expats.

HTBAH believe that buying a property in the Netherlands as an expat is not a circus nor an improv comedy act. Buying a home is the most serious financial decision that people make in their lives. It’s momentous and daunting in one’s own country, but when living and working as an expat in the Netherlands, it’s even more important to get the right advice to be able to make the right investment.

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

Buying a home in the Netherlands a lousy comedian
Buying a home in the Netherlands is not a laughing matter

In order to ensure this organisation seeking to be certified need to meet the following criteria.

1. Have an English section on their website

Holders of the EOO certification need to have content available in English on their website. Not just a Google translated version, but information needs to clear and easy to follow and the site needs to provide clear contact details.

2. English speaking staff

An organisation that’s looking to sell services to expats must have staff who are able to communicate both verbally and in writing in English.

3. Clear contracts without hidden or vague clauses

It goes without saying that the contracts of service providers will need to be clear and without any vague or hidden clauses.

4. Contracts translations in English

While some contracts may have to be in Dutch in order to be compliant for Dutch law, EOO service providers must be able to provide their clients with English translations of their contracts

5. Terms and Conditions in English

All terms and conditions should ideally be no longer than a single page and written in English

6. Flexible Opening Hours

There’s nothing more frustrating for expats than having to attend meetings during office hours. All EOO certified organisations have flexible times for meeting their clients

7. Registered in the Netherlands

EOO organisations should be registered at the Kamer van Koophandel (KVK) for at least a year.

8.  Possess knowledge about the needs of expats

Applicants for the EOO will need to be able to demonstrate experience and knowledge about the challenges faced by expats in the Netherlands and be able to provide solutions and services that will support them.

9. Service orientated

EOO members need to be customer focused and be willing to go the extra mile (or kilometre) to deliver quality services to their expat clients.

10. Be nice

A smile goes a long way. Be nice!

If you’d like to apply for the Expat Oriented Organisation Certification please contact us. If you’re already a partner of HTBAH you’ll also need to request this certification.



Not all of our partners will be able to apply for this certification. Notaries, lawyers, banks and accountants are certified by their own professional bodies.