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Buying a house/apartment in Amsterdam

11th November 2017 - 11 min read

Damar and I have recently moved to our new house! Wooohoo! Alhamdulillah.. So happy!

We are relieved to finally get through the real struggle to get a house in Amsterdam. The house market is tremendously crazy at the moment due to the low interest. This situation creates a high price and competition. Sometimes I reminisced the house hunting time and we are very grateful that we are not in that situation no more. Yup, it is that crazy. But it is not a reason to give up!

The main reason for us to look for a house in Amsterdam is because it is close to our work as well as the demand. It is incredibly high that people just increase the price knowing there are always potential tenants or buyers somewhere. Although, there is such thing like buyer/tenant protections that do not allow seller sell in any price they wish. But the potential buyer would kill to buy a house in Amsterdam that they bid as crazy as they could. Hence, volatile house price. According to dutchnews.nl house prices in the capital have risen steadily since the end of 2013, with annual increases of up to 25%.

So there you go, hope it can be a good investment for our future. *Remembering about our nomade and working in a coworking space everywhere in the world plan gives me such a big smile*. We would like to rent out this house in the future for a passive income or simply sell it. Oh I guess we will see. Start easy Maurilla, you just got a house!

Anyway that is my main reason, other people want to settle their life in this capital city just because it’s simply beautiful. And it is a good idea, I am telling you!

Here are usually the reasons to buy a property in Amsterdam

  • Control over the property (design, decoration, pets, activities, etc)
  • Great financial incentives / tax benefits.
  • Can be a smart investment
  • Multicultural and big expat comunity

I want to share several tips to get you ready to the whole process. It can be quite exhausting yet you have to realize and keep on reminding yourself that it is worth the risk. Also, nothing worth having comes easy 😉  This does not only apply for Amsterdam but also other cities.

1. Check the estimation on how much you (or you and partner) can borrow from the bank

All bank has this mortgage calculation in their website, even Funda has. All you need to do is entering your income (and your partner) income. Note: Bank would prefer to lend their cash to indefinite contract owner employee, for most people intentional letter of indefinite contract extension will suffice too. And for business man, they need at least 2 years establishment and report from their accountant. This is something for the next step but good to keep in mind.

2. Browse through actively when you get the chance

Funda by far is the best resource to browse houses/apartments in the Netherlands. It is one leading website that always gets updated. Do a good filter in Funda, it might be quite confusing at first, but take your time and you will know that it is all what you need. Click ‘koop‘, put your city/neighborhood you prefer and your price range. To be really honest, I would suggest to only put city and see where the map (kaarttake you.

I think map layout is one of the best invention about this website. It shows you a clear overview of Amsterdam. And then on the left side you can filter more in detail, house type, number of rooms (this is always including living room, not only bedroom, so if you want 2 bedrooms, then search for 3 rooms). You can also search for the days when it has been advertised in Funda. We found this very helpful as well.

3. Act quickly

Due to its crazy competition in Amsterdam, a house can be sold in a few days or even in a day after put up. Call the numbers and be persistent!!

4. Real estate agent (in dutch aankoop makelaar) or not?

Damar and I did not use any aankoop makelaar because we simply don’t want to spend extra money. So far, we could get information we needed ourselves. It might not be in depth as if you have aankoop makelaar that has its eyes and access everywhere. However, there are a lot of ways to get all the information such as how much houses in that neighborhood sold in the past. You need that information to assure you bid decent amount of money. Huispedia.nl (link) is one of the websites you can use, for the one you need to pay is kadaster.nl (link). You will have more visibility in details for the paid website. I think for each house info, you need to pay around 2 eur or something.

We did not come to a conclusion bluntly, we had some phone appointment with aankoop makelaar. There are 2 types of fee, fixed or percentage. The percentage is usually 1% from the house price, yet normally they have minimum amount. What it means by it, if the minimum is 2500 but the house price will result to less than 2500 in percentage, you still have to pay 2500. I hope that is clear?? But conclusion was, we do not want to spend that money and were willing to take risks in finding our ways.

However, other benefits for having aankoop makelaar are the priority to get the most up-to-date information. Sometimes the makelaar association get the first news on the houses that are on sales. It might be earlier than Funda. Also, for expats they are the bridge for communication and to minimize the risks on the seller side. The risk is hit and run, while if somebody comes with makelaar, normally they sort of know each other from the organization they represent, hence the trust. Some of my friends said the downside of having it is that it is very hard to match schedules, while you don’t want to lose chances. In this case, just go by yourself.

Note: If you decide to hire aankoop makelaar but at the end you get the house by yourself and with your export, no obligation to pay that makelaar. 

5. Mortgage adviser/broker or not?

Damar and I used this service. But it’s not necessary if you already have a relationship with your current bank and do not want to go extra in the effort. For us, we are keen to get the lowest interest offer possible. That is the key role of mortgage adviser. They will also help out to advise what are the best for our condition (working, contract, age, finance, future plan etc).

Another key role of mortgage adviser is their legal access to borrow money on your behalf to the mortgage lenders/bank. Brokers work with a variety of lenders to find loans for clients, but do not lend out money directly. They are the middle man. The lender could be a mortgage bank, which specializes in mortgages; it could be a large commercial bank, a community bank or a credit union. Ask a broker what he or she can offer that a bank can’t and the response will almost certainly be variety. Because brokers are not tied to any one lender, they have the ability to shop around on behalf of their client.

Note: At the end the extra service fee you pay is more or less the same with what you pay to the bank. Because they also have mortgage adviser that is shoved to you to be used.

6. Take it easy in bidding

Don’t bid too crazy and try not to be too attached to one house. Always believe that if you lose one, there will be many more coming and it will only be for the better. Nothing is too good! By having this mindset, you will not go mental in bidding. Think realistically! First of all, you have to think about the taxation process that will happen after you get the house. If the taxation report (done by an official to check the value of the house on behalf of your mortgage lender) is lower than what you bid, you have to pay the extra amount yourself. If you do not have savings, bank might reject your mortgage request and you have to cancel your bid, which no one really prefers after the long process. So, make sure of this.

Bidding tips: It’s always good to mention your savings (if any) because these days the selling agent (verkoop makelaar) are very cautious and they do not want to go too far when they know there is a chance that your mortgage request will get denied by your chosen bank.

7. Enjoy the process

I know that it could be very overwhelming, house visits, calling, research, checking the house pieces, bidding, waiting in vain, rejected, and start all over again. We had to go through around 10 house visits in 2,5 months and 6 successfully rejected bidding. But we learnt through it all, we observed and know where we could improve. Not only in the hunt process but also in my relationship with Damar. Through it all, it’s more and more clear for use about the priority we both wanted. We did it all together, split tasks etc. It was a bonding moment with him. So, no stress just enjoy it and don’t get to emotionally attached to anything you are interested in. Rejections and struggles only lead to something better!!!

Good luck!!!

This is a glimpse of our house look (in Indonesian)



nytimes.com – Choosing between mortgage and bank


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