When making the decision about whether you’ll make the Netherlands your long-term home, it’s important to understand what the process of getting a mortgage looks like for expats. Whether you’re employed, or running your own business, there are important factors to consider.
We’ve asked Ilse from Rocket Mortgages to answer the most common questions expats have when thinking about buying their first Dutch home.
Please note that this is by no means an extensive guide to buying a house and the mortgage process. The below is an honest conversation about all those seemingly small, but very important things you were wondering about, but had no one to ask.
1. If someone has just moved to the Netherlands (they’ve been here for less than a year) can they still qualify for a mortgage?
“Yes, this is definitely possible. There are two important things to be aware of. You need to have a permanent contract with your employer, or your employer needs to have the intention to give you one after your temporary contract expires. The other important thing is the kind of permit you have. This needs to be type EU/EER, I and II with a non-temporary purpose of residence. And of course, also type II, IV, V. If you have another type of permit, it can still be possible to get a mortgage, but other rules may occur such as a maximum mortgage of 90% of the value of the house.”
2. How difficult is it to get a mortgage if you don’t have a fiscal partner?
“The most important thing to get a mortgage in the Netherlands is
- your income,
- the type of employment contract you have
- and the kind of residence permit
If your income is high enough to get the amount of mortgage needed for the house you want to buy, you do not need a fiscal partner. To be able to get the mortgage your contract needs to be permanent, or your employer needs to have the intention to give you a permanent contract after your current contract expires. Of course, it can be easier to earn more when you are together with someone and therefore easier to find a house within your budget. Interesting to know is that you can even buy a house with a friend or a family member. Not all mortgage providers allow this, but some do.”
3. Can the home be sold even before the mortgage is paid off?
“Yes for sure. When you want to move you can first get a new mortgage for the new home and after buying the new house you need to sell the old one. With the selling price of the old house the mortgage will be paid off immediately. In case the house increased in value, you even receive a profit.”
4. What if someone is an entrepreneur, can they still qualify for a mortgage?
“When you are an entrepreneur or self-employed it is definitely possible to get a mortgage. There are two things to consider in this case. One is the permit of residence as I mentioned earlier. The other thing is that you need to be able to at least show your numbers of one full business year (ergo: 12 constructive months). If your company only exists for one year, you need to have good numbers the first year to be able to get a mortgage that suits the current market prices.”
5. How long does it really take to get a mortgage?
“Applying for a mortgage really is a team effort, I always say. Because when we start an application for our client, we need to know a lot of information about this person. And the quicker our client communicates with us, the quicker the application will be completed. Of course, we know upfront which documents are needed for the application, but the mortgage provider can always ask for extra documents or information during the process. The speed of the application also depends on the capacity of the mortgage provider at that time. Some periods are a bit busier than others, which means sometimes it can take longer if the provider has more applications to review.
But the short answer is the mortgage application process can take one week earliest and up to four weeks latest.”
6. Will I always know in advance what my monthly mortgage payment is?
“Yes, well almost exactly. The monthly payment strongly depends on the interest rate. The moment we start the application of the mortgage and send the first information to the mortgage provider, we can reserve the interest rate. Reserving the interest rate means that even if the interest rates increase during the mortgage application, your reserved interest will not change anymore if the application is completed in time.”
7. What happens if I lose my job?
“When you lose your job, and you are not able to pay your mortgage anymore it is important to contact the mortgage provider. The mortgage provider is often willing to temporarily lower the monthly payment or to make other arrangements for the time being, until you find a new job. In the worst-case scenario when you are not able to find a new job and you cannot match the arrangements, you will need to sell your house. And then it really depends on if you can get a good price of your house, to not be left with a debt.”
8. Does it currently make more sense to rent or to buy in the Netherlands?
“I always say that if you can buy a house, it is definitely better than renting. Renting is nowadays not necessarily cheaper than buying. And in that case buying is always the best option. Especially when you are planning to stay for a couple of years, because you will be paying off your mortgage monthly. And paying off your mortgage monthly means saving money in your house. Also, in the Netherlands the shortage of houses is huge, which will in the end always means that the value of the house will increase over time. In this way you will build up equity. While when renting, you lose the money you pay every month.”
As you can see, even though the housing market has been crazy for a while, there are options for expats. Who knows, maybe your first Dutch home is closer than you think!
Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Ilse!
For any further questions, or if you want to dive into your specific situation, make sure to schedule a call with Ilse on their website.
If you want to read about this experience from an expat’s perspective, make sure to check out Jelena’s novel about their journey to becoming first-time homeowners in the Netherlands.