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Accommodation in the Netherlands

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Once you’ve made the decision to move to the Netherlands, finding a place to live becomes paramount.  Real estate in the Netherlands tends to be on the pricier side, though this depends entirely on where you will be living.

Renting or buying

The first issue you will have to decide is whether to rent a home, or buy one.  If you wish to buy a house, you must first satisfy the residency requirements: you must either have resided in the Netherlands for six months, or can demonstrate permanent employment, or show detailed income for the past three years.  If you can satisfy the residency requirements, then you can proceed with buying the property:

  • Visit the property alone or accompanied by your real estate agent.
  • Make an official offer to the owner in English or Dutch. This document should mention your name, address, telephone number as well as basic information pertaining to the property which you intend to buy, the proposed price, the date on which you wish to proceed with the transaction, and all related conditions (validity, expertise, loans, etc.).
  • Negotiate with the owner. Note that the latter is not allowed to negotiate with another buyer once he has accepted your offer.
  • Establish the sales contract (koopakte) which should include the notary's name (you can choose any, except if you are purchasing a new property), your passport and personal information.
  • Sign the sales contract with the owner's real estate agent.
  • Carry out an inventory on the premises (with the owner's approval).
  • Take a bank loan if necessary. In this case, the inventory becomes mandatory, as required by the bank so to determine if the price corresponds with the property's real value.
  • The notary will prepare the deed documents (leveringsakte) and mortgage (hypoteekakte) for the bank loan.
  • Proceed with the transfer. You will revisit the property with the keys in hands, sign two sales documents before the notary in former owner's and real estate agent's presence.

Renting accommodation

If you choose to rent, websites such as Funda and Direct Wonen have numerous listings in cities all over the Netherlands. It is possible to rent houses as well as apartments and rooms, and these can be furnished or unfurnished.  If you rent a room (as most students do) then you are likely going to share the kitchen and bathroom facilities with other people.

Renting accommodation requires you to put a deposit down of, usually, one or two months’ rent.  This is held by the landlord, not by the rental agency. The rental price can include hot water, electricity, Internet, and other amenities, but this depends largely on the landlord and the type of housing you choose.  Regardless of the arrangements, you are advised to verify everything, in the owner’s presence, before you move in. If you are renting an unfurnished apartment/room, be aware that you will be responsible for both putting down a floor/rug and taking it away when your rent is expired.

  Useful links:

VBO
Huurwoningen
Pararius
Kamer – Colocation

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Small earth, Mauritius
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See also

Utrecht has a large student population, which means housing can be competitive. Expats should begin their search for accommodation well in advance.
Amsterdam offers a wide range of accommodation options for expatriates. Unsurprisingly, you can expect rent prices to be higher closer to the city centre.
Known as the Netherlands' industrial hub, Rotterdam also offers a wide range of housing units for expatriates at affordable prices.
European Union citizens are free to travel to the Netherlands without any restrictions whatsoever. But other foreigners have to fill in some formalities.

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