House & Rentals

 House rentals

When moving to the Netherlands, finding accommodation there may be the biggest challenge you face. The housing market is very competitive and requires time, effort and the willingness to make quick decisions. So, before setting out to find the perfect type of home for you, arm yourself with patience. In addition to this necessary persistence, having some savings will also help you feel more secure. Both the average price of housing and rent is relatively high, while public services in the Netherlands can cost a couple of hundred euros a month. Therefore, be prepared so that the costs of the house take a good part of your salary.

When thinking about how to rent a house, know that unfurnished accommodation is the most popular in the Netherlands (sometimes referred to as “shell” housing on Dutch real estate websites). In fact, furnished places are usually only available in big cities. That’s one of the reasons short-term contracts are unpopular, and you can expect your rental agreement to last a couple of years or more. Settling in takes time and not many want to move once they have everything in order.

If you are thinking of something more long-term, consider finding out how foreigners can buy a house in the Netherlands. Know that being a foreigner does not prevent you from obtaining Dutch property. However, as in any other country, the process is neither cheap nor easy. The Netherlands has a fairly large population compared to its size, which can make finding accommodation in the country a bit tricky. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of the housing market is reserved for social housing, which is rarely available to expats.

Depending on where you decide to reside, housing in the Netherlands can be expensive. This is especially notable for anyone who wants to find a house or apartment for rent in the central area of ​​large cities such as Amsterdam or Rotterdam. The market in the Netherlands is very fast, so you will have to be quick when deciding whether or not to sign a contract. When visiting a prospective home, come prepared and have the necessary documents handy. However, that does not mean that you will be able to find and get the place you want right away. Finding the perfect home can take a while, so consider short-term rentals as a temporary option while you survey the market.

Although today the country has quite a few types of houses available both to rent and to buy, the most common is the traditional townhouse that you see on the streets and along the canals. If the canals intrigue you, you can literally immerse yourself in them by living in a houseboat. If you want to buy a house, you will not have to face any legal restrictions as long as you have a sufficient budget. However, to apply for a mortgage you will have to prove a stable income.

housing in the Holland

Renting in the Netherlands as a foreigner

There is no great science behind how to rent a house or apartment in the Netherlands. The main advice is to trust a real estate professional who can guide you through the process of renting a home and be quick and decisive when making a decision.

Furnished or unfurnished apartments?

There are three types of apartments that can be found when looking for accommodation in the Netherlands:

  • Fully furnished
  • Without furniture
  • Shell type apartment

– The fully furnished ones are the rarest and most expensive of all. They can be found in larger cities, such as Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but they are very rare in smaller cities.

– Unfurnished and shell-type accommodations are sometimes used interchangeably; however, there is a notable difference. Shell-style homes lack the appliances, lighting fixtures, and in some cases even the flooring that unfurnished homes often have. Keep this distinction in mind when looking for a place to rent. Some shell-type accommodations have basic products installed by previous tenants, so find out if you have to pay for them.

Requirements and documents to rent

If you are working in the Netherlands, you will need to present your employment contract to your prospective landlord. You may also need to submit your Dutch bank statement and your general credit history from other countries. Keep in mind that, in some cases, your prospective landlord may ask you to prove that your salary is at least three or four times higher than the monthly rent.

Requirements and documents to rent

If you are working in the Netherlands, you will need to present your employment contract to your prospective landlord. You may also need to submit your Dutch bank statement and your general credit history from other countries. Keep in mind that, in some cases, your prospective landlord may ask you to prove that your salary is at least three or four times higher than the monthly rent.

Rental process and rules

Once you find accommodation that suits your needs, you will need to make an appointment with the landlord to sign the contract. The best practice for renting in the Netherlands is to hire a team of local experts to make sure your home is insured on time. This also prevents you from potential scams and helps you overcome the language barrier that could exist if you do not speak Dutch.

Dutch law is in favor of the tenant. Your landlord is required to take care of major home repairs and problems. Your duties as a tenant will be to pay your rent on time and follow other agreed rules regarding pets, tobacco, and apartment or neighborhood rules. The tenant is also responsible for taking care of minor repairs and giving the landlord access to the accommodation for necessary maintenance.

Rental contract and deposit

Since furnished apartments are rare in the Netherlands, it is not surprising that most rental contracts have a minimum duration of one year. This gives the tenant enough time to orient themselves and settle in their new place. Typically, rental contracts have a duration of two or five years. The notice period is usually one to three months.

Buying a property as a foreigner

If you are wondering how to buy a house in the Netherlands as a foreigner, know that as long as you have sufficient funds, you should not encounter any restrictions in acquiring a property. However, making a purchase on your own is likely impossible. Therefore, you should contact professionals who will help you find and secure your future home in the country.

Requirements to buy a property in the Netherlands

There are no legal restrictions on who can buy property in the Netherlands when it comes to citizens of other countries. However, having a Dutch or EU residence permit will increase your chances of obtaining a mortgage from a local bank.

Due to the leniency of the law on foreigners acquiring property in the Netherlands, you cannot obtain citizenship, permanent residency, or a visa just for buying a home in the country.

House prices in the Netherlands

Know that you can negotiate the price of second-hand homes. Newly built homes are often sold at a fixed price.

Please note that some buildings come without the terrain they are on. You may have to buy the land separately or rent it from the city where you plan to live. The rent of the land can be paid in full or divided into annual installments.

Average house price in the largest cities in the Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam – (from) 500,000 EUR (552,600 USD)
  • Utrecht – 325,000 EUR (359,200 USD)
  • Rotterdam – EUR 285,000 (USD 315,000)
  • The Hague (Den Haag) – EUR 240,000 (USD 265,300)

Get a mortgage in the Netherlands

Banks in the Netherlands can lend you a sum equal to 100% of the value of the property in question. However, that does not necessarily mean that your purchase is fully covered. It depends on the valuation of the property you want to buy by an independent expert from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Thus, if the property you want to acquire costs 500,000 euros ($ 552,600), but the expert indicates that its value is 450,000 euros ($ 497,400), the bank will lend you 450,000 euros ($ 497,400) and you will have to pay the rest.

Process and steps to buy a house in the Netherlands

Once you find a home you want to buy, with the help of your hired real estate professional, you can submit your offer. It is usually conditional, depending on your financing, since the amount of the mortgage can only be determined after submitting the offer.

You will then have a minimum of six weeks to finalize your financial situation. During this time, an inspection of the building must be carried out and the possible property must be appraised by the Dutch tax inspectors.

When the financial situation is resolved and everything is agreed upon, you can close the deal with the help of a notary. Once the Land Registry is informed of your purchase, you will officially be a homeowner in the Netherlands.

housing in the Holland

Guide to additional expenses when buying a home in the Netherlands

Additional expenses can be between 5 and 6% of the price of the house, in addition to the purchase. These are:

  • Real estate agent expenses
  • Financial advisor and/or mortgage broker expenses
  • notary fees
  • Interpreter expenses
  • Costs of additional documents and translations
  • Property inspection fees
  • Transfer tax for the government

Also, once you become a homeowner, you will have to start paying real estate tax. If your new property is an apartment building or townhouse, you are also required to make contributions to the community of owners of your building.

Public services

Some of the public service sectors in the Netherlands are privatized. That means you can search for the most suitable service company before signing up. However, keep in mind that having utilities included in your bills will avoid the hassle.

Utility companies: Electricity and gas

Energy (both electricity and gas) in the Netherlands is privatized and there are many providers you can choose from when you move into your new home. However, your choice may be limited to what is in your area. Some of the companies are:

  • Eneco (electricity, gas, and heating)
  • Essent (electricity, gas, and heating; the largest energy company in the country)
  • Nuon (electricity, gas, and heating)
  • Vandebron (electricity; green energy company)

Find the best deal available by visiting this directory that allows you to compare your options. Energy contracts typically last one, three, or five years.

Utilities: Water

In the Netherlands, you cannot choose your water supplier, as the companies are not privatized. Instead, the companies that regulate the water network are assigned their own zone in the country. These are:

  • Brabant Water (northern part of Brabant)
  • Evides (Zeeland and southern Zuid-Holland)
  • Duena (The Hague and Leiden)
  • Oasen (east of Zuid-Holland)
  • PWN (North Holland)
  • Vitens (Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Flevoland and Friesland)
  • Waternet (Amsterdam)
  • WMD (Drenthe)
  • WML (Limburg)
  • WBG (Groningen) 

Public utility company registration

There are no documents required to open a water or energy account. The most common is that both are already connected to your home and all you have to do is call the company and configure everything by phone.

What you need to know

  1. Tap water in the Netherlands is drinkable.
  2. Your first water bill is an estimate of your use. If the estimate is wrong, at the end of the year you may be reimbursed or have to pay more.
  3. You can choose an energy provider that supplies both gas and electricity to your home. However, it may be cheaper to choose different companies.
  4. When choosing your energy supplier, you can go for green energy, coal, or nuclear energy.
  5. If you have a house in the Netherlands, you can choose to install solar panels on your roof. However, the government no longer subsidizes the costs.
  6. Getting an electricity meter can allow you to make use of a cheaper rate on weekdays between 23:00 and 07:00 and on weekends.