So, you’re looking to buy a house in the Netherlands. Great choice! There are just a couple of things to consider before jumping into it however. Some regulations in the Netherlands might be different to what you are familiar with. Here’s a list of 10 typical Dutch rules and regs to keep in mind when buying a house.

Expat mortgages: what's different in the Netherlands?

1. Expats can buy property in the Netherlands

As a start: yes, you can buy property in the Netherlands, depending on your residence status. There might be different requirements per mortgage provider regarding your residence permit, however.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the rules that apply to a few specific situations and residence permits.

2. Interest rates are non-negotiable

All potential customers are given identical options for the same mortgage product. It is prohibited by law to negotiate on the interest rate of your mortgage product, and mortgage providers cannot differentiate on the conditions of your mortgage based on your personal situation (such as income or residence status).

It also makes no difference whether you are receiving advice from an independent mortgage advisor or directly from a provider: the interest rates are set and non-negotiable.

In some cases, you might receive a so-called interest discount: for example when you open an account at the bank of your choice, or if your energy label has a high energy efficiency rating.

3. You pay a separate advice fee

As a consumer, you always pay a fee for your mortgage advice, whether you obtain it from an independent advisor or directly from a bank. This fee is not included in a product margin. When you get advice from an independent mortgage advisor, you don’t have to pay a second separate advice fee to the bank.

The upside is that this advice fee is tax-deductible.

4. Dutch rules on lending amounts are set

The amount you can borrow is not mortgage provider-dependent. The Dutch government decides the maximum amount you can borrow based on income and collateral. The maximum mortgage value can be up to 100% of the buying price, although you can borrow up to 106% if you are planning on making the house more sustainable.

Note that mortgage providers can maintain different rules on which kind of income they can take into account (for example bonuses), and how much mortgage they can provide to customers with different residence permits.

In this article, we explain the 5 most important factors in determining your maximum loan. Use our calculation tool to easily calculate your maximum mortgage and the corresponding monthly expenses so that you can start your search for the perfect home in your specific price range.

Calculate your mortgage

5. Get the property appraised

In order to get a mortgage, you’ll have to get the property appraised. The mortgage provider needs to see the appraisal report before they can approve your mortgage.

6. Arrange your mortgage after your bid is accepted

We get a lot of questions about this. In the Netherlands, you can only start arranging a mortgage after your bid on a property has been accepted. This is due to the fact that the house serves as collateral for the mortgage.

You can schedule a comprehensive mortgage advice session before you start bidding on properties, after which our advisors can provide you with an accurate estimate of how much you can borrow. This advice serves as a pre-qualification for a mortgage.

7. Pay attention to the clauses on your bid

If you make a bid on a property, be aware that there are some important clauses to take into account. The cancellation clauses are almost as important as the financing clause and the building survey of the house since they are your safety net to cancel your purchase without penalties.

More about financing conditions

8. The purchase agreement is binding

Also, be aware that the preliminary purchase agreement is binding in the Netherlands – after a 3-day reflection period. This makes it extra important to double-check all the terms and conditions in the agreement. When in doubt: don’t sign the contract, but check with your real estate agent or mortgage advisor. We’re happy to help you!

9. You will not generally be granted permission to rent out your property

In the Netherlands, normal residential mortgages stipulate that the home must be occupied by the owner: letting is usually not permitted. There are several providers who offer buy-to-let mortgages though, which are specific products for properties that are let or intended to be let, and you are not allowed to occupy yourself.

In this article we’ll explain more about buy-to-let mortgages.

10. Capital donations from abroad

Are you receiving a capital donation from a family member from your home country? In that case, the donation does not need to be declared in the Netherlands.

It depends on the rules in the country of the donor if taxes need to be paid over the received donation. It therefore makes sense to ask for fiscal advice in the country of the donor.

For more information about donations, check with the tax authorities (Belastingdienst, in Dutch).

Looking to find out more about buying in the Netherlands?

Would you want to know what options are available to you when buying a house in the Netherlands? If so, schedule a free phone call with a Viisi consultant.

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