Buying a House in the Netherlands – Part 1

Sorry that I’ve been a bit out of sight, out of mind lately.  Between getting ready for the move, the puppy’s arrival and the holidays, it’s been a bit crazy here.  And after NaNoWriMo, I just haven’t been in writing mode.  Thankfully I’d started a few posts prior to my November writing contest and just needed to add a few finishing touches. This being one of them:

So now you know that we’ve made the decision to buy a house here in the Netherlands (a little late on this since we actually closed on the house yesterday!). It wasn’t planned but like so many things we’ve done in the last 6 1/2 years, rather spontaneous.  But it felt right.  However, it also felt scary – as it should!

We knew nothing about how the real estate market works in the Netherlands.  Once again, we were in foreign territory (literally) and learning to navigate as we went.  I had an American friend (with a European husband) who had just purchased this past summer giving me guidance or else I probably wouldn’t have had a clue.  I asked our baseball friends for advice on how things worked and how to come up with an offer and how you find the city valuation, etc of the house.

In the Netherlands, you really don’t need a realtor on the buyer’s end unless you want them to negotiate for you.  And if you hire one, you will pay 1-2% of the purchase price as their commission.  The way we saw it was that we could negotiate on our own rather than essentially having someone negotiate a lower price and then having to pay them that difference.

In fact, what’s also different is that there are different choices for the seller regarding a realtor as well.  As in different packages.  Our owner decided to the show the house herself, using the realtor for more the legal end of the sale.  This is good and bad.  Good because we could ask her questions that the realtor might not know.  Bad, because it’s hard to negotiate with someone you really like!!!

Also different in the Netherlands is that you are given what’s called a Lijst van zaken which is a list of what comes with the house, what is going and what is negotiable.  It is not unusual for people to take things like the smoke detectors, doorbell, the flooring, toilet paper holders and more.  Even if it’s attached, it’s fair game!

Thankfully, our sellers weren’t like that.  And their lijst van zaken was very fair.  Below is an example of one page of our list and you can see the kinds of things they include or don’t include.  We did add a number of things that we wanted to negotiate and created a list that we sent to the owners.  Once they got back to us on if those items could be included (some were on the “going” part of the list), we would be able to create an offer on the house.


Click to enlarge

The owners got back to us within a day on the items that we wanted to keep along with pictures to confirm just in case there was a translation issue.  Great attention to detail on that which we appreciate.  I also appreciated the fact that when we were out on the boat (test driving since it could be included), that one of the owners took a picture of all of us and then they sent it to us under the title “first trip” meaning that there would be more to come 😉

Putting an offer in is very similar to that in the US, but according to what I’ve heard (and all I have is hearsay) is that you verbalize the offer until you come to an agreement and then it goes into writing.

I made my first offer in person with the owner.  She seemed a bit disappointed but I think she recognized that it was a starting point.  She also understood where I was coming from the on the extras which was good.  We ended amicably with the agreement that she would discuss with her husband and come back to us.

Later that same day we had a counteroffer along with a separate offer regarding the lijst van zaken.  Wow, that was quick!  I think like us, they wanted to get the process moving since we were clearly serious about the house and they wanted to sell it!

The counter offer was higher than we would have liked but also expected.  We took a day to think about it, not wanting to seem to eager.  We countered (hopefully our final) on Wednesday via phone with the owner – we felt it was a fair compromise.  Just a week and 2 days after we first saw the house.

Thankfully once again they were quick. And they accepted!!  Just a week and a few days after Josh and I agreed to look at a house, here we were getting our offer accepted and moving on to the next stage!!!  For more on what happened next, head on over to the next post (coming soon!)!

Knuffels en kussen,


4 thoughts on “Buying a House in the Netherlands – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Buying a House in the Netherlands – Part 2 | The Expat Chronicles

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