Expat Survival Guide 2021 - The Netherlands

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BUYING • It is common to appoint a real estate agent, or a makelaar, to do much of the legwork. • A makelaar will track down appropriate houses, arranging viewings, suggesting areas where there’s room for negotiation, and advising on potential pitfalls. • A makelaar also knows which property will come on the market shortly. • The agent’s commission will be one up to two percent excl. 21 % V.A.T. of the purchase price. • You can hunt on Funda (www.funda.nl) to get ideas of prices in particular areas. • When buying, proximity to work, schools and amenities all play their part. • Be aware of the costs involved in renovating older property to current building standards or the quality required for renting. • For leasehold properties, check out the ground rents. • Tax is also levied on the deemed property value (WOZ), evaluated by the local municipality each year. • See www.nvm.nl for useful information in English.

IMPORTANT TERMS • Pre-sale agreement (koopovereenkomst): prepared by vendor’s agent or lawyer (notaris) with a 72-hour “cooling off” period. It will include details of when the 10 percent deposit should be paid, or when the bank guarantee has to be arranged. • Valuation (taxatierapport): designed for mortgage purposes; not a survey. • Transfer or conveyancing tax (overdrachtsbelasting): 2 percent of the purchase price. • Deed of transfer: transportakte. • Mortgage deed: hypotheekakte. • Agent commission: (makelaarscourtage): generally 1–2 percent, if applicable. A full structural survey is sensible; possibly fees for translation, plus 21% V.A.T. on the total. • Parental gift tax: In 2020 homebuyers can still receive up to roughly EUR 103,643 euros as a tax free gift to buy a property.

ARRANGING A MORTGAGE (HYPOTHEEK) There are many different types of mortgage and the tax issues are complex. The general conditions for a mortgage up to four or five times your salary are: • You have a permanent residence permit (depending on nationality and employment contract, this may not be applicable). • You have a permanent employment contract or a continuation statement from your employer. • If self-employed or a contractor, you have certified accounts for the last three years and forecasts for the following year. • Maximum mortgage obtainable is 100 percent of the house value. COSTS • The buyer generally pays costs (k.k. – kosten koper) but some costs are tax-deductible. • Allow for around 4 to 6 % on top of the purchase price. • Once your offer has been accepted, a written agreement is mandatory, and a 10 percent deposit should be paid. • Make sure your finances are in place first (ie. that a mortgage lender will lend the required amount). • On completion, both parties sign a transfer contract (akte van levering) and a notary must register the property at the Land Registry (www.kadaster.com). • Notary fees can range from EUR 1,000 to EUR 3,000, so it pays off to shop around. • An accredited interpreter must also be hired if one or more of the parties is not a Dutch citizen. • The whole process can take two to three months.

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