interview

Relocation

Renting
As space is at a premium in the Netherlands, single people can expect to rent (huur) a centrally located, furnished, one bedroom flat with the bills included for € 700-1150. This depends on which city, availability and your requirements. These apartments can be either furnished or unfurnished with energy bills included or excluded. Remember to check.Amsterdam is probably the most difficult city in which to find accommodation and is the most expensive. It is possible, however, to commute on a daily basis (20-40 mins) from The Hague, Leiden, Utrecht or Haarlem. Elsewhere in the Netherlands i.e. outside the triangle of the main cities , rented, furnished, inclusive accommodation tends to be cheaper, starting at €500. If you prefer to avoid the hassle of the bigger cities and prefer a smaller town or village, much larger and more affordable rented accommodation can be found. For a furnished/unfurnished 2-3 bedroom house you could expect to pay € 680 - 1500.

Housing Corporations
If you expect to be staying longer in the Netherlands then the cheapest rents are available through Housing Corporations (Wooncorporatie) . These are unfurnished properties (by unfurnished we mean completely empty, no carpets, no fittings not even a light bulb !!). The minimum rental period is usually one year. They tend to be larger flats with balconies and/or in many cities, houses with gardens. When you sign up for membership, you pay a joining fee and keep an eye on what properties are available through the Woonkrant, a newspaper which comes as a section of a locally delivered, free paper. Many corporations have web sites or, of course, you can call them on a regular basis.
This type of accommodation takes longer to organise and the waiting list can depend on your individual circumstances and how long you have been registered. In most cities the wait is between 6 and 12 months, however in Amsterdam you can expect to be a member for about three or four years before you are offered anything. The person with the longest subscription time is at the top of the list (also those under 27 years of age have a better chance). If you intend to stay long term in the Netherlands and are not intending to buy property then we advise registering with of one of these companies, as time flies and the savings in rent are a valid reason to join.

Commercial Housing Services
There are many accommodation agencies in the Netherlands, the larger national companies tend to have the most accommodation. To subscribe with an agency, you normally have to pay a fee, of between 50 and 100 guilders to cover administration. Be warned most of the agencies expect you to call them daily as apartments turnover is fast and are given to those who happened to be on the phone that day or week. The rent for accommodation agency apartments is much higher than at Housing Corporations but then they are usually furnished. Remember the agencies charge a commission fee usually 1 (one) months rent for a 6 (six) months or longer rental contract. Bear in mind along with the commission fee comes 1 (one) month's deposit and 1 (one) months rent in advance, giving an initial outlay of 3 (three) month rent.

Real Estate Agents
Some Estate Agents (Makelaars) have both furnished and unfurnished apartments on their files and usually there is no commission to pay. Look in the phone book and start calling or try web sites - "makelaar" is the best search word to use and the www.funda.nl web site also allows you to choose location, price, rent or buy. Direkt Woning at www.directwonen.nl is one of the national accommodation agencies with offices in most major cities and towns. Their website is in English

Buying
When buying a house in the Netherlands there are basically two methods. One way is the DIY (do it yourself) method and the other way is to employ an estate agent to work on your behalf. The DIY method is the cheapest, but for the extra cost it is probably worth employing an estate agent, especially if you are not familiar with the system.
To buy property we advise finding yourself a makelaar in the town or area of the city to which you wish to live. Currently mortgage interest is still tax deductible and house prices and mortgage rates tend to remain steady. Mortgages
The first thing to do is to assess how much you can borrow for the mortgage (hypotheek). As a rough guide you can take 4 x your household's yearly salary. If you want a better indication you can look on the websites of the major banks, one of the most comprehensive is www.rabobank.nl. There are several financial brokers who can give you independent advice, the best known are De Hypotheker, Hypotheek Visie, De Hypotheek Shop. For one in your area you should look in the phone book under "hypotheek". Once you know how much you can borrow there are several options available for the type of mortgage.There are two types of repayment mortgage, lineare and annuiteiten.With the lineare mortgage you pay the same amount off the mortgage every month for the entire mortgage term, but because you are paying money off the mortgage, the amount of interest you pay decreases. With this mortgage you have higher gross monthly payments at the beginning of the term and lower towards the end.With the annuiteiten mortgage you pay the same amount every month in total, comprised of repayment and interest. In the beginning of the mortgage term the amount comprises mostly of interest and less of repayment, as the term carries on you start to pay more on repayment and less on interest. With this mortgage you have the same gross monthly payments throughout the whole term of the mortgage.There are two basic types of investment mortgage, spaar and belegging.With the spaar (savings) mortgage you pay only the interest on the mortgage amount and a premium into a saving account. This is more expensive than with the beleggings mortgage, but you have more assurance of paying the mortgage off at the end of the term.
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With the belegging (investor) mortgage you pay only the interest on the mortgage amount and a premium into an investment fund (stocks and shares). This is a more risky option than the spaar mortgage. It is also possible to invest savings as a lump sum at the beginning of the term and then you don't pay the premium each month.The other type of mortgage is the non-repayment mortgage, aflossingsvrij.
The aflossingsvrij mortgage is not available over the whole mortgage amount. With this type you pay only the interest on the mortgage amount and have to make your own arrangements to pay the mortgage off at the end of the term. This is useful for people who have investments that they want to capitalise on.It is possible to combine the above mortgages and have a tailor-made mortgage, the most suitable for you.

Estate Agents
If you decide to employ an estate agent (makelaar) on your behalf they will discuss with you what type of property and what price you are looking for. They will then look at their own available properties and also the available properties with other agents in the region and pass the information on to you. If you wish to view any property the estate agent will make an appointment and they and you will go to view. The estate agent will look for any visible problems and should give you information about the area.

DIY
If you decide to do everything yourself. a good place to start looking for properties is on the website of the national association of estate agents www.funda.nl. This website gives a list of properties in all areas of the Netherlands and in all price classes. You can then call the selling estate agent direct to make an appointment to view. It is also possible to ask selling estate agents to send you information of any properties they have for sale. For addresses of all estate agents in your region you can also look on www.funda.nl. When you go to view a property remember that the estate agent is acting on behalf of the sellers interest.Making An Offer
Either your estate agent will do this for you, or if you don't have one you will have to negotiate for yourself. Once you have decided what you want to offer and the offer is accepted it is legally binding - think before you act!Valuation
For the mortgage it is necessary to get the house valued (taxatie). This report gives you information about the state of the house and the mortgage company a valuation. You can borrow 125% of the execution value (executie waarde). This is lower than the perceived actual value.