Expat guide for buying a house in Amsterdam

Buying a house in Amsterdam

As an expat, you often have more questions and challenges than other buyers when it comes to buying a house in Amsterdam. To assist you, we have set up this page. We hope to increase your success in the Amsterdam housing market.

Prefer an experienced purchasing agent to guide you from search to purchase? Call us at 020-7640808 or email us. Of course, without any obligation. Our expat service is in English, both spoken and written.

Purchasing Agent Amsterdam is the largest independent purchasing agent in the Amsterdam region. Over the past 20 years, we have helped thousands of clients with successful purchases.

Important Information About Buying a House

The Dutch housing market has several important advantages and disadvantages. It's important to be aware of these. Hereby you find the most important items. 

Expats Can Own 100% of Dutch properties

In the Netherlands, both individuals and companies from foreign countries can own 100% of Dutch real estate. As an expat with your own capital, you don't need a residence permit to own property. However, if you want to finance a property with a mortgage, a residence permit might play an important role.

Financing 100% of the Property Value

In the Netherlands, you can finance up to 100% of the property value with a mortgage. If you offer more than the value of the property based upon a valuation report, you will have to cover this difference yourself.

Example of Overbidding

Property Value: 700.000 euros
Purchase Price: 720.000 euros

Mortgage: 700.000 euros (100% of the property value after a possible appraisal)
Own Funds: 20.000 euros (720.000 purchase price - 700.000 mortgage = 20.000)

Important: In addition to the purchase price (the amount for which you buy the property), there are additional costs. These costs are called "Kosten Koper (k.k.)" and are typically 4 to 6% of the purchase price. The exact amount for Kosten Koper varies. More on this under "Kosten Koper (K.K.)"

Higher Mortgage with the 30% Rule

In the Netherlands, there is an arrangement for expats called the "30% ruling". This scheme leads to a higher net salary and thus a higher mortgage.

It's important to know that the 30% is a temporary arrangement for new residents of the Netherlands. It can be a decisive reason to switch from renting to buying. Contact an independent mortgage advisor to see if the 30% ruling is also interesting for you.

Kosten Koper (K.K.)

The amount of the additional costs, the so-called "Kosten Koper" (buyer’s costs) consists of necessary costs (costs arising from legislation) and optional costs (costs you often incur for better decision-making).

Necessary Costs:

  • Notary

  • Transfer Tax

A notary is mandatory in the Netherlands. They ensure the legal transfer of ownership. As soon as this transfer takes place, you are legally obliged to pay tax on it. This tax is called transfer tax.

Optional Costs:

  • Mortgage Advisor

  • Purchasing Agent

  • Building Inspection

  • Appraisal Costs

  • Bank Guarantee

In practice, especially in the Amsterdam region, many people opt for both a mortgage advisor and a purchasing agent. It is advised to choose an independent mortgage advisor and purchasing agent. For a mortgage advisor, this means they can offer more than 30+ mortgages, and for a purchasing agent, they only do purchases without any other interests and therefore are 100% independent.

Appraising a property is not mandatory. It can be a condition of a lender so that they can make a better risk analysis. If you finance a property (largely) from your own funds, then an appraisal report is unnecessary.

A bank guarantee will be necessary if you do not have sufficient financial resources (often 10% of the purchase price of the property). The bank often guarantees a potential financial penalty if the purchase is dissolved. It's important to know that the total cost of a bank guarantee can be recovered from you. It's not an insurance to cover this penalty.

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Buying a house in Amsterdam

Step by step guide for expats

With a solid understanding of the basics, we can now delve into the step-by-step process of purchasing a home in Amsterdam.

Calculate How Much You Can Borrow

Step 1

Always start by calculating your maximum mortgage. By doing this, you can search more specifically for a property and also get more insight into your monthly expenses.

Ground Lease and VVE Fees

If you want to buy a property in Amsterdam, you also have to consider extra costs that can affect your maximum mortgage. These costs are usually VVE (Vereniging van Eigenaren) and ground lease fees.

Buyer's Costs

In addition to common extra costs in Amsterdam, it's important to consider the buyer's costs, known as “Kosten Koper” in Dutch. These include both necessary and optional expenses, depending on your personal circumstances. Necessary costs that are added to your purchase price include notary fees. Additionally, you will face transfer tax costs, which are often exempt for newly built homes. 

Energy Label

From 2024, the energy label will also affect your maximum mortgage. The higher the energy label (e.g., A and A++), the more money you can borrow. The amount you can additionally borrow for an energy-efficient house can go up to 50.000  euros.

Determine Where and How You Want to Live

Step 2

At iAmsterdam and Buyers Agent Amsterdam, we offer you various information about living in Amsterdam.

Important information you might want to know are:

  • Housing Prices

  • Safety

  • Demographics

  • Accessibility

  • Nearby Schools

  • Local Amenities

  • Construction Plans

Find a House in the Amsterdam Region

Step 3

A search for a property in Amsterdam usually starts at Funda.nl. Funda is the largest and most well-known housing offer platform in the Netherlands and offers you various options to search specifically.

Full Range of Properties in the Amsterdam Region

Not every property in Amsterdam is immediately visible on Funda. For access to a comprehensive and exclusive selection, including properties not yet listed on Funda, consider engaging with AankoopmakelaarAmsterdam.nl. With our specialized property offer tool, you'll gain insights into the complete spectrum of available properties in the Amsterdam area, ensuring you don't miss out on hidden gems.

Bidding on a Property

Step 4

Once you have found the right property with our help, it is time to make a winning bid. Here, you don't want to overbid too much and especially not make an expensive mistake.

A winning bid depends on the amount, the conditions, and sometimes also the seller's goodwill. Together, our starting point is first to determine the value of the property. Based on this property value, you can then determine whether you want to overbid and, if so, by how much.

Paid or Free Property Value Tool

The simplest way to find out a property's value is to use a free property value tool. It's important to use a tool with the most up-to-date data and the best algorithm. If you need to act fast and make a good offer, it is advised to take the property value estimation more seriously. Considering a paid online property valuation or consulting a buyer’s agent is recommended.

1. Free Property Value Tool

At AankoopmakelaarAmsterdam.nl, we offer a free property value tool with NVM data. Because this data comes from the NVM, it is often more accurate than other free tools. However, when using it, make sure you select as many comparable properties (especially pay attention to the number of square meters) as possible. The more accurate the comparison, the better the estimated property value.

2. Paid Property Value Tool

If you want to make more accurate estimates, you might consider using a paid tool like Calcasa. If you are a member of the Dutch Homeowners Association, you get a discount on this tool.

3. Hire a buyer's agent

For accurate property valuations in cities like Amsterdam, consulting a buyer’s agent is highly recommended. In such cases, a specialist with up-to-date data and local knowledge is essential for making an accurate value estimate.

Tip: Don't jump to conclusions too quickly if the asking price is lower than the estimated property value. For example, it doesn't immediately mean that someone wants to get rid of their property urgently. It can also be a trick to get as many interested parties as possible. They can then drive up the price by bidding against each other.

Winning Bid with Good Conditions

The conditions also play an important role in the bidding process. It can even happen that not the highest bid, but the bid with the best conditions, wins.

Which conditions are important depends on the situation. For example, omitting a building inspection may be more relevant for a new construction and fast financing more relevant for a property that needs to be sold quickly. It is wise to delve into this or engage a buyer’s agent.

Tip: Make sure you have your financial affairs in order in advance. This allows you to act faster and make a well-considered choice to bid for example, without financing reservation.

Engaging a buyer’s agent

In popular cities like Amsterdam, it is difficult to make a winning bid. This is mainly because the value of properties is difficult to estimate, and many people are willing to overbid with generous conditions.

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To prevent your winning bid from becoming a financial nightmare, it is wise to engage an independent buyer’s agent. These buyers agents can help you with a winning bid that is in proportion to your financial situation, the technical condition and value of the property.

Tip: When selecting a buyer’s agent, it's crucial to choose an independent one, like AankoopmakelaarAmsterdam.nl The hallmark of an independent buyer’s agent is their service offer, which focuses exclusively on property purchasing, without engaging in sales mediation. This specialization ensures that their advice is unbiased and solely in your interest. A real estate office that deals in both buying and selling cannot provide this level of specialized, independent service. Choose wisely to safeguard your interests and get the best possible deal on your Amsterdam property purchase.

Transfer

Step 5

Once a bid is accepted and the purchase agreement is signed, the property must be transferred. This is done through a notary who is legally authorized to do so. They will check all legal matters in a neutral manner and confirm them via a Deed of Transfer.

If you have chosen a buyer’s agent from AankoopmakelaarAmsterdam.nl, you can expect the following:

Thorough final inspection of the property before transfer

Preparation for the transfer at the notary

check of the legal documents regarding the transfer

Support during the transfer at the notary

Engaging an NVM Buyer’s agent

With a buyer’s agent, you are stronger during a purchase. If you choose an NVM buyer’s agent, you choose extra knowledge and certainty via permanent education and many years of experience.

AankoopmakelaarAmsterdam.nl is affiliated with both the NVM and the MVA. In addition, we are the largest independent purchasing agent office in Amsterdam. Contact us today without obligation and become the happy owner of your dream house.

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Checklist Viewings

Besides a free buying advice we offer the opportunity to receive a ‘checklist for house visits’. With this checklist you will be able to make a quick, first inspection.

Free checklist viewing
  • 20+ years of experience

  • Certified registered brokers

  • We assist you in securing the lowest possible purchase price and the best conditions

  • Professional guidance throughout the entire process up to the moment of transfer

  • No cure, no pay

  • 100% independent buyers agent

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