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Buying a house in the Netherlands? Is your heart beating out of your chest reading that? Then you’re probably a person trying to buy a house right now in this crazy market. If I am being completely honest, I have never purchased a home. Before I moved here, my Dutch partner already bought a home in the Netherlands. But it did take him over a year.
So I got to learn about the infamous Dutch housing market. I’ve also heard tons of stories about how hard it is to buy a home here. I have also worked for almost 4 years in real estate management in New York City. It’s not the Netherlands, but it is a competitive market too. Therefore, I decided to write about it and hopefully offer a few tips to make life a little easier.
The Infamous Dutch Housing Market
During normal times, buying a house in the Netherlands is tricky enough. The Netherlands has a huge housing shortage due to it being a densely populated country, restrictions on emissions, not having the right to build, and many other things. Unfortunately, those things and others have made this housing market pretty much impossible for a lot of people to buy a home. Bring COVID into it and you’ve got a whole new problem. Interest rates are super low, meaning people want to take advantage of that. But that is another problem in itself because the house values have skyrocketed due to the new demand.
Tips on How to Deal With the Market
I’m going to be honest with you. It doesn’t look good. Wanting or needing to buy a house in the Netherlands in this day and age is a terrible situation to be in. Here are a few tips I can offer you:
Only look at homes that are far below your budget. For example, if the most you can get as a loan is €250,000 then only look for houses listed at around €175,000. The majority of homes nowadays are sold to the highest bidder, often being sold well above the listed price. If you don’t have room in your budget to bid, you’re probably not going to be able to buy a single house here.
2. Lower Your Expectations
Most of us love the fancy new interiors, but being honest, those homes sell for way too much. Why not buy a home that has an old interior and either just accept it, or renovate it yourself? Most of the time, you’ll spend a lot less money buying the home and make more money when selling it.
A Real-Life Example
My Dutch partner bought a really old home. Anyone who walks into our home is transported into the 1950s. It isn’t pretty, but it has its charm. He bought the home a few years ago for €200,000. The home was listed at a higher price but all he could afford was the €200k. The owner accepted his offer because the house sat on the market for a year. No one wanted to buy a house that looked so old on the inside. Now, whatever we do to the house will not only add value to the house but also will bring in a profit when selling. Renovations are expensive but the selling value will more than cover the renovations.
3. Write a Letter
This is something to try. It may not work, but there’s no harm in trying. Write a letter to the owner(s) of the house that you’re bidding on. Explain to them your story and why buying this house is so important to you. People empathize with other people. Maybe your letter will convince them to accept your offer instead of someone else’s.
4. Expand Your Search Area
Have you ever heard of Roosendaal? Probably not. But did you know it’s only 18 minutes by train from Breda? Probably not. If you want to live in Breda, I highly advise you to check out all the little towns and cities around Breda. Chances are, the homes are cheaper than in Breda. The same applies to most of the country. Sometimes you need to settle on living a bit farther away from your dream city to be able to afford a home. That could even mean moving to Belgium or Germany. All possible options should be considered.
5. Hire A Real Estate Agent or Advisor
If the cost of buying a house is making you feel like you’re drowning, then you’re not going to like this tip. Hear me out though. Yes, hiring a real estate agent or advisor adds to the already overwhelming cost of buying a home, but it can also save you money.
A real estate professional knows the ins and outs of the market, can negotiate for you, give you advice about when and how much to bid, and help you find an affordable home in a good neighborhood. That’s only a short list of what he/she can do for you.
Another reason to hire a professional is to even be able to bid on a home. Unfortunately a lot of times homes a listed or seen on Funda, they are already gone. A real estate professional would know of houses that aren’t listed and sold yet.
Be Strong and Don’t Give Up
I hope at least one of those tips helps you in your search of buying a home. It may seem impossible. You’re probably stressed and annoyed. But I can promise you that if you put enough effort and love into something, you’ll achieve your dreams. It may be corny, but it’s the truth.
Do you have personal experience with this and would like to offer a tip or two? Drop a comment below.