What you should pay attention to
Buying a house or apartment is a very big financial commitment. You should therefore make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions in the real estate contract. If you feel unsure about some of the paragraphs in the contract, do not hesitate to ask for clarification at your bank or at the notary.
In the Netherlands there is a huge demand for houses in the four big cities. It can therefore be a good idea to contact a real estate agent and specify your wishes. The real estate agent might be able to show you houses, before they are made available for the public.
State of the property
When you buy an apartment or house in the Netherlands, the current owner of the house is obliged to tell you about any possible problems with the house that are not obvious to the naked eye. This may for example include problems with the roof, floors, façade or fundament below the house. The fixing of these problems will either be paid by the current owner, or will be deducted from the sales price.
However, there might be instances where the current owner is not aware of the problems either, or claims not to be. In these cases, it might be difficult to reach an agreement on whom should pay for solving the problems, as you typically will have discovered these problems after the completion of the sale. It is therefore recommended to hire a specialist to inspect the property before buying it. In this way you will avoid unpleasant surprises after moving in.
If you purchase an apartment, you will automatically become a member of the owners association of that building (Vereniging van Eigenaren, usually abbreviated as VvE). It is not possible to decline membership or cancel it as long as you own the apartment. The VvE takes care of the maintenance of the shared areas, such as the staircase, hallways or elevator, and will demand a financial contribution of its members to do so. Make sure to check how much this fee is, because it can vary from association to association.
Registering at the municipality
Whether you buy or rent, you need to register yourself, and all those living in your household, at the municipality where your property is situated. It is obligatory to do this and registering must take place no later than 5 days after you have moved in at your new address. At most municipalities you will need to physically show up to register, although an online portal for registering might be active in your municipality. A passport or photo identification may be required. Some municipalities allow you to show up and wait during opening hours, other municipalities require that you make an appointment. Check your local municipality’s website to see how they organize the registering. Here you will also find information about which paperwork you should take with you to the appointment.