Buying a house in the Netherlands: the absolute beginner’s guide - (2024)

Fed up with paying high rent? Looking for a new place to move into with your partner? Or planning to put down real roots in the Netherlands? It might be time to think about buying a home. But what will it cost? Here’s a rundown of the financial side of buying a house in the Netherlands.

Can I get a mortgage as an expat?
Yes, you can. It is easiest if you have a permanent contract but there are options for people on shorter contracts or who are self-employed. You may also be eligible to buy if you are paid in a foreign currency.

How much can I borrow?
That depends on how much you earn and whether you are single or part of a couple. The ABN Amro mortgage calculator will give you an estimate on how much you can borrow and what your monthly payment will be.

If you are entitled to the 30% ruling tax break, this will increase the maximum amount of your mortgage. A specialist mortgage advisor can give you an accurate picture.

You can also borrow more money if you buy a property with a high energy label or if you buy a home with a low label but pledge to invest money in energy-efficiency measures.

How much of my own money do I need?
In theory you can borrow up to 100% of the value of the property you want to buy. This means you will need to have some savings to pay for other essential costs, such as taxes, a survey, and the notary – the specialist lawyer who does the paperwork. That amounts to roughly 6% of the purchase price. In Dutch these additional expenses are known as kosten koper or the buyer’s costs.

Some of these costs, such as the notary fees, a valuation, and the fees you pay to your mortgage advisor are deductible from tax. Others, including the property transfer tax, or overdrachtsbelasting, and fees to your estate agent, are not.

However, if you are under the age of 35 and this is your first home, and it costs less than €510,000, you do not have to pay property transfer tax which amounts to 2% of the purchase price.

How does a Dutch mortgage work?
There are a lot of different types of mortgages in the Netherlands but only two allow you to deduce your interest payments from tax – the annuity mortgage and the linear mortgage – both of which combine interest payments and loan repayment.

Mortgages in the Netherlands typically run for 30 years, but can be shorter. You also need to decide if you want to fix the interest rate you are being offered for one, five, 10 or 20 years. This decision will also determine your monthly payments. Your mortgage advisor will help you with this.

ABN AMRO also offers a slightly lower interest rate if you buy a property with at least a B energy label.

How does the tax break on mortgage interest payments work?
If you have an annuity or linear mortgage, and are living in the property yourself, then you can deduct the interest paid on your mortgage from tax for a maximum of 30 years. The tax office calculates this automatically for you and will give you a refund either monthly or once a year.

Mortgage interest tax relief is being slowly reduced in the Netherlands, but in 2024, the deductible mortgage interest rate is 36.97%. This means that you will get roughly one third the interest you pay back in the form of a refund.

What other costs do homeowners in the Netherlands face?
If you have bought a home in a larger complex, you will have to pay a monthly contribution to the owner’s association, or Vereniging van Eigenaren. This money is put into a special fund to pay for maintenance and other costs associated with running the property. The amount can vary and will be included information provided by the estate agent selling the property.

All homeowners pay local authority taxes, or OZB, which is based on the value of your property and goes towards paying for local services. Your local authority can tell you how much that will be.

Then there is the eigenwoningforfait, or “own home forfeit”, a sort of asset tax based on the value of your property which also takes the size of your mortgage debt into account. It’s a complicated tax to explain, and your tax advisor will sort it out for you.

Is it worth it?
Buying a house might sound both complicated and expensive, but it needn’t be. A mortgage advisor with experience in helping expats can sort it all out for you. Sign up for one of ABN Amro’s regular online webinars in English to find out more. Or ask all the questions you like by making an appointment for a free, no-strings orientation meeting with an ABN AMRO expert, in English.

Buying a house in the Netherlands: the absolute beginner’s guide - (2024)
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