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Do’s and don’ts of buying an apartment in Amsterdam

Are you considering buying a house or apartment in Amsterdam? Not only do you need to think about the location and price, but also the mortgage and taxes. And while forgetting to make a deal on the couch in the living room is not that big of a deal, not checking the VVE could suddenly set you back a few thousand euros. We compiled a list of important do’s and don’ts of buying an apartment in Amsterdam to help you prevent a financial setback. And if you’ve encountered more important do’s or don’ts, please let us know. We’d like to help as many expats as possible!

We are a company specialized in expats services. We offer real estate services, mortgage advice, tax refund services and more. Our company is registered in the KVK (Kamer van Koophandel). If you would like to receive the latest updates on available houses and apartments in Amsterdam, please contact us.

 

Do’s and don’ts of buying a house in Amsterdam

 

  1. One world, one system?

Even if you’ve bought homes overseas before, it’s best to talk to a real estate agent in the Netherlands before you purchase a house. The leasehold system for example differs greatly from China or the United Kingdom. Did you buy a house with a credit card before? In America it might be possible, but in the Netherlands a credit card could negatively influence your mortgage. The Dutch housing market has its own set of rules, so it’s important to talk to a real estate agent who knows about these rules and can work them in your favor.

 

  1. Don’t forget to double check online platforms

Don’t look for houses and apartments in Amsterdam through all kinds of shady online platforms. There are a few large trustworthy platforms like Funda, but there are many websites where fraudsters are active. They will place a fake ad to try and get money or documents for identity fraud. Make sure the platform you visit is trustworthy and take the buying process to a real estate agent.

 

  1. Buying in Amsterdam or surrounding areas?

Amsterdam is a popular city in the Netherlands. Not only is it the capital of the country, it also has a high density of famous landmarks and is easily accessible from just about any other large city in the Netherlands. This means that the houses are priced fairly high compared to surrounding cities. You could ask yourself: do you really need to live in the city center? Places like Haarlem might also be interesting for you. You travel to the city center within 45 minutes and the houses usually have more square footage compared to Amsterdam. Try to be open-minded and ask your real estate agent for houses in the area surrounding Amsterdam as well, you might get pleasantly surprised!

 

  1. Your dream home

As part of the do’s and don’ts of buying an apartment in Amsterdam: do think about the local building habits. Do keep in mind that houses in the Netherlands might be built differently than what you’re used to. Compared to American standards for example, the stairs are quite steep (especially in the grachtenpanden in the city center). It’s definitely not common to have a kitchen island or a patio. A bath tub? Many homes only have a shower. A second bathroom is considered quite luxurious. A garage? A lot of citizens in Amsterdam don’t even own a car but do their groceries and visits to friends and family by bike. If you have a few items you can’t you go without in your new home, it’s best to let your real estate agent know as soon as possible.

 

5. Get your own real estate agent

In the Netherlands it is common to hire a real estate agent if you’re selling the house as well as when you’re buying a house. The real estate agent showing you the home will do anything he or she can to sell you the house for the best possible price: for the seller. If you have your own real estate agent, you can ask them to look for specific houses. They will come with you when you view the property and will ask questions about the state of the property. They’ll know when the asking price is too high or when there is a chance to bid lower than the asking price.

 

  1. Always visit the house you wish to buy

In recent bidding wars, some buyers are waiving home inspections just to get their dream home. However, it’s a great risk to buy a house or apartment without an inspection. There could be unforeseen problems in the attic, crawlspace or fuse box for example. Ask your real estate agent for any pre-existing home inspections and preferably take an expert with you. Our real estate agents can help you with this process.

 

  1. Check the VVE

The VVE is an association of owners and every apartment building will have one. You will pay the VVE a monthly fee, which they use to take care of the building: the lights in the hallway, the elevator or the roof for example. They also have a list with rules for the owners in the apartment building. A popular rule that’s recently added everywhere is that you’re not allowed to rent out your property while on holiday (through AirBnB for example).

 

  1. Financial status and plans of the VVE

Checking the financial status and plans of the VVE is something you should not skip while looking for an apartment. The association always has a certain amount of money for maintenance and repairs. However, if they have decided to redo the roof within a year and there isn’t enough money, the monthly fee might suddenly go up.

 

  1. Talk to the neighbors

The best way to get an idea of the neighborhood is talking to your future neighbors. What are they like, how long have they lived in this neighborhood? What do they like about it, and what do they dislike? It’s not only a great way to discover who lives next to you, but also get a feeling about the area in Amsterdam you’re in.

 

  1. The interior is not always included

Part of the do’s and don’ts of buying an apartment in Amsterdam is to look at the purchase contract carefully, specifically the interior. When you visit an apartment, the owner will have done everything to make it presentable. However, if you forget to make a deal on the furnishings, you might find the apartment you’ve bought without lights, curtains or coat racks after you’ve received the key. Your real estate agent can help you with the list of items that should be in the deal to make sure you don’t have an unpleasant surprise.

 

We are experts in advising expats throughout their journey to their dream home. Would you like to know more about housing services, financial risks or the mortgage check? Feel free to contact us.

Buying an apartment in Amsterdam

buying an apartment in amsterdam

Buying an apartment in Amsterdam can be quite a challenge. Not only is there still a nation-wide housing shortage, Amsterdam is also one of the most popular places to live. How can you still buy a nice property in the capital of the Netherlands? We’ll show you how and where to buy an apartment in Amsterdam.

Would you like to quickly see the available apartments in Amsterdam? Use the contact form to send us an apartment list request and we will send you the latest available apartments as quickly as possible. Please specify the price range or the neighborhood you have your eyes on. Unsure how much you can loan? Calculate your mortgage through our mortgage calculator.

 

Overheated Dutch housing market

To buy or not to buy? Many expats have doubts about buying an apartment in Amsterdam. The prices are sky-high and it doesn’t look like anything will change soon. Not to mention how fast you’ll have to be if there’s a house or apartment available. Is it still possible to buy an apartment in Amsterdam? The short answer: yes, although you’ll have to be quick. However; don’t let the beauty of the apartment blind you. Get proper advice from an expert who knows how the market works.

We provide a wide array of housing services, like helping expats with the purchase of a house or apartment, arranging the mortgage and taking care of tax refunds. For a complete overview of all our services please visit our menu.

 

Buying an apartment in Amsterdam: the location

You can think of a location before you visit a real estate agent or discuss it with your real estate agent during your first appointment. Where in Amsterdam would you like to live? Do you have to live as close to the city center as possible, or are the suburbs also interesting for you? Keep in mind that the housing market is quite overheated, so it is recommended to have a second and third option as well.

 

  1. Living in Amsterdam city center

The city center is the heart of the city and the place where you’ll usually find the tourists. The charming canals and small alley’s make it a great place to live. And if you’re not fond of busy streets: there are also quite a few back streets that are just off the beaten tourist path, but still within close proximity of all the well-known attractions and services.

What kind of house or apartment can you get in this neighborhood? The 17th century canal houses are rarely available on the market; most of them are owned by companies. If they decide to sell you can easily look at a few million for a canal house. Some canal houses are split up in multiple apartments, which might be going for 300k and up, prices of more than a million are possible.

 

  1. Living in the Jordaan

Just next to the city center is the Jordaan-neighborhood. There are songs about this neighborhood and it still is the neighborhood where the real ‘Amsterdammers’ live, with quirky, nice people with a big heart. The independent shops, picturesque canals and lively café’s make it a great place to live.

What kind of apartment can you get in this neighborhood? For an apartment of 53-73 m2 you will pay anything between 300k to 550k, so it’s very important to discuss with your real estate agent if the apartment is worth that amount. Depending on the street or the view your real estate agent can see if the listing price is above market value and offer you another property instead. Would you like to live here? Contact us for available houses and apartments.

 

  1. Living in Amsterdam Oost

Amsterdam Oost actually consists of multiple neighborhoods, each with its own charm. The area has a few parks to relax and a few smaller shopping areas, so there’s no need to travel to the city center to get the things you need. There were a few neighborhoods in the city which used to be ‘problem areas’, but the city worked hard to improve the markets, attractions and greenery.

If you are looking to buy an apartment in Amsterdam Oost, it is important to look at the specific neighborhoods. Prices in Zeeburg and the Indische buurt are slightly lower because this area is still in development. An apartment of 80m2 can sell for around 375k, while the same square meters can cost 525k in the Jeruzalem neighborhood.

 

  1. Amsterdam Zuid

Amsterdam Zuid is well known for the offices and the VU university, but also for the iconic Rijksmuseum, music halls like the AFAS live theatre, luxurious stores in the P.C. Hooftstraat and innovative restaurants.

Just below the grachtengordel in Amsterdam you will find de Pijp, a neighborhood south of the city center. Apartments in the shopping streets like Albert Cuypstraat will easily sell for more than 500k for 75m2. If you look further away from the center and near the Zuidas, you will notice either the prices will drop 50k to 100k, or the m2 will go up. This neighborhood is close to parks and rivers but can feel rather businesslike.

 

  1. Amsterdam Noord

Amsterdam Noord is ‘on the sunny side of the river Ij’, as people who live there like to say. With a ferry you can get to the neighborhood filled with modern architecture, stylish restaurants near or on the water, but also the classic Dutch rural villages. Do keep in mind that this part of Amsterdam is more Dutch than international, so there might be less services or groups for expats.

Prices for apartments here are lower than the city center: you could buy a 112m2 apartment with four rooms for just below 300k. Do ask your real estate agent about the street the apartment is in though. Just like every city, Amsterdam has better and lesser neighborhoods. This area is still in development, so some areas might be less appealing than others.

 

  1. Amsterdam West

Amsterdam West is also called ‘the living room’ of the entire city. The calm and rustic streets are a nice contrast with the busy shopping streets spread throughout the neighborhood. On the Westergasterrein are many old favorites and new comers you have to visit at least once. With independent boutiques, exposition spaces and the Foodhallen you will never get bored in this area.

Prices have been going up for a while now, and in the western area you will pay around 300k for an apartment of about 60m2. If you wish to live near the Foodhallen or Food Center, prices can easily reach the 400k or even 500k for around 60-70m2. Would you like to live here? Please contact us for an overview of houses and apartments on the market.

 

Buying an apartment in the area surrounding Amsterdam

If there is not an apartment that suits your tastes in Amsterdam, it might be worth looking at the surrounding area. Zaandam for example has the upcoming neighborhood Oud-West, with apartments ranging for 300k to 400k for 100m2 to 125m2 with a view of the river. Or Haarlem, which is only half an hour away by train, with a great location close to the beach. You could get an apartment for 250k if you’re okay with 50m2 to 70m2. When buying an apartment in Amsterdam is difficult, these cities can be a good alternative.

 

The process of buying an apartment in Amsterdam

Together with a real estate agent you can search for the right property in the right neighborhood for the right price. While most real estate agents will ask you to go to a mortgage advisor first to see what you can afford, Expats Amsterdam can advise you on your mortgage as well as your future home.

  1. Our mortgage advisor will look at your financial status and determine what your maximum mortgage can be.
  2. After that our real estate agent will work with that budget and show you apartments within your maximum mortgage.
  3. Your real estate agent will plan viewings with you for the apartments you like. We will accompany you to the viewing and give you advice about the VVE association, the structure and if there are any issues that need to be solved. An example could be water damage for which you would need to repair a roof.
  4. After you’ve decided on an apartment, we will negotiate about the price, date of transfer as well as the dissolving clause.
  5. A house inspection will be conducted a few days after the seller has accepted your offer. This inspection serves to spot any damage you might have missed during the viewing.
  6. After you and the seller have come to an agreement, you can sign a preliminary purchase deed.
  7. The bank will want to have a valuation to give them an independent estimate of the apartment you are buying. They will need a payment of 10 percent of the house through the notary
  8. On the day of transfer you will have a final walk-through of the apartment before you visit the notary to sign all the paperwork. Time to get the keys and be a Dutch homeowner!

Expats Amsterdam consists of a team of highly motivated realtors, real estate agents and mortgage advisors, who will help you look for the perfect property.

Buying a house in the Netherlands versus renting

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If you have come to the Netherlands to work you probably start with a house to rent.
When is it wise to take the step to buy ? And is buying better than renting.

In this article we have put the advantages and disadvantages of buying versus renting.
looking to the financial numbers buying gives you huge advantes because of the low rates, see for more information the last part of this article.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying and renting? 

Buying a property

Advantage Disadvantage
In the long term it is usually cheaper to buy, because the monthly payments are often considerably lower than rent. Your ae fully responsible for the maintenance of your home.
Through house renovations you can customize the house to your needs. You have a big financial commitment.
You are building an equity. Selling a house normally takes longer than the rent termination.
You can make a profit if houses prices increase. You can make a lost if houses prices decrease.

 

Renting a property

Advantage Disadvantage
Contracts can be ended short, you are flexible. The rent price normally goes up every year.
Repairs and maintenance are for the account of the landlord. You have no influence on the implementation and layout of the house.
Tenants often receive extensive rent protection. You are only paying, you do not build up.

 

How is the situation between renting and buying financially?
For this we have an example of 2 persons that bought an appartment

Buying 75m2 apartment    

Mr. and Mrs. da Silva are living two years in the Netherlands.
At the moment, they rent an apartment for € 1.750, – per month excluding water, gas and electricity. The house is in Amsterdam and 75m2 .
They would like to live in the Netherlands the next 8 years. Therefore, they are started looking to buy a house.

They have seen a apartment house for which the asking price is
€ 350.000, -.  There is also a Company of Owners (VVE) contribution of € 125 per month.

For the purchase of the house, including additional costs, they need an amount of € 365.000,

They are allowed to finance € 353.500 for a mortgage. The interest is 2,0% per year and is fixed for 10 years.
In 30 years the mortgage is fully paid off.

The monthly amount including interest and repayment is € 1.306.
They receive each month € 150 back from the Belastingdienst as reimbursement of the mortgage interest paid.
The family da Silva would like to know if it is financially better for them to buy this house instead of the current rental house.
Both houses are similar looking at m2 and location.

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Expenses owner of a house

 

Mortgage

Interest and repayment mortgage                  € 1.306
Tax refund                                                   –  €   150

Total mortgage expenses                                                                       € 1.156

Additional costs

Water, gas and electricity                              €   150
Municipal charges                                          €    60
House insurance                                           €     20
VVE monthly amount                                     €  125

Total additional costs                                                                             €    355

Total expenses per month                                                                  € 1.511

 

Expenses renting a house

 

Rent

Monthly rent                                                                                             € 1.750

Additional costs

Water, gas and electricity                                                                         €   150

Total expenses per month                                                                    € 1.900

 

The monthly savings are € 389. Over a period of 8 years is this € 37.344.
When the house is sold after 8 years the mortgage is € 278.877.
If the house will be sold for € 350.000 there is € 71.123 extra money coming to your account.
 

Advantage buy instead of renting after 8 years

Monthly saving                   € 37.344
Repayment mortgage        € 71.123-

Total advantage        € 108.467, –

 

Caution!
Only when you are selling the house, you can calculate if you have had an advantage by buying a house.
If the house drops in value for more than 31% then there will be no financial advantage in this situation between rent and sale in 8 years.
Looking at the current house market this is not likely.

In this example it is wise for the family da Silva to buy a house instead of renting.
Given the huge financial advantage that they have in the period of 8 years, they  have done a good investment by buying the house.
By buying the house they also avoid annual rent increases.

Contact

Are you interested to buy a house in the Netherlands?
Please contact us so we can advise you.
We can guide you throughout the process of buying a house and to arrange the mortgage.

Expats Amsterdam
Staten Bolwerk 1
2011 MK RR Haarlem

Expats Amsterdam

Phone:             023-7515767

Email:             info@expatsamsterdam.com

Website:          www.expatsamsterdam.com

House prices 2015

House prices of the year 2015 by Expats Amsterdam.

The year 2015 was a great year for the Dutch housing market.
The numbers of houses sold was more than lost year and also house prices itself have gone up.

In last quarter of 2015 house prices have increased with 1,8% in comparison with quarter 3 of 2015.
Average prices over the full year have increase with 5%.
Best region was Amsterdam with an increase of 17,3%.
Apartments where the type of houses that where sold the most in 2015.

The average housing prices are still 10% lower than before the crisis started.
In Amsterdam the house prices are already higher than before the crisis.

Our expectations for 2016 are that the house prices will continue increase.
Because the mortgage rates are on a low point it is still very attractive to buy instead of renting.
We expect that the area of Amsterdam will be the region that will increase the most of any other area
in the Netherlands.

We have the full report, made by the NVM, of the municipalities in Amsterdam area for you available.
Numbers housing market Amsterdam
Numbers housing market Amstelveen
Numbers housing market Haarlem
Numbers housing market Haarlemmermeer
Numbers housing market Zaanstad