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© Van Pamelen Finance 2011

What is the procedure to follow if you want to buy a house or an apartment in The Netherlands?


After consulting your financial advisor, you will know what your budget is. The next step is to find your dream house, generally with the help of your own real estate agent. (Since the seller’s real estate agent’s job is to represent the interests of the seller, you may wish to consider hiring your own!). Once agreement has been reached on the purchase price, a Purchase Agreement will be drawn up. In the Amsterdam region this is most of the time done at the Civil Law Notary’s office, but elsewhere in The Netherlands this is normally done by the Real Estate Agents. After signing the Purchase Agreement, you have three days to change your mind. This is the so called cooling-off period. It is also standard to have a financial contingency clause in the contract. This means that you have a couple of weeks to secure a mortgage offer from a bank. If you are unsuccessful, this means that you can still get out of the Purchase Agreement by letting the seller  (or his Agent) and the notary know in writing before this financial due date. You will need two letters from two different banks denying you the mortgage loan. Your financial advisor will also be able to help you here. In normal circumstances, though, the mortgage applicant is rewarded with a mortgage offer and the next step is then to make a deposit of 10% of the house price. This 10% needs to be transferred to the Notary’s office or (and most commonly) the mortgage bank sends a letter of guarantee to the Notary’s office for this 10%.


The final date in the Purchase Agreement is the actual date of transfer of ownership of the property. On this date you become the owner and all rights and duties related to the property will transfer to you. You will go to the Notary’s office to sign both the deed of transfer of ownership as well as the mortgage deed on this day. An interpreter is normally present if you do not have a good command of the Dutch language. The dates in a Purchase Agreement should not be set too lightly or too tightly. The advice of a real-estate agent and that of your financial advisor can save you hassle and keep you safe from legal pitfalls.