Ten things to consider when buying a house

It's not every day you buy a house. So it is important to take enough time and inform yourself well. We explain what you need to consider when buying a house, so you don't buy a pig in a poke, and when it's worth calling in an expert.

1. Define your needs before buying a house

Get a clear picture of what you want before buying a house. How many rooms do you need now – and in the future? Do you have time to look after a garden? Where would you like to live? What is important in the neighborhood? How much neighborhood noise are you willing to accept, and how important is the view to you? How much can your owner-occupied home cost per month? These questions are important so that you don't get lost in the advertisements, and so that you buy a house that you want and that will give you happiness for a long time to come.

2. Secure the financing for the house purchase early on

The cost of the house you have in mind can be estimated based on your requirements. Therefore, the second point on the checklist for buying a house should be how to finance it. You must be able to provide at least 20 percent of the purchase price from your own equity, and no more than ten percent of this can come from employee benefits insurance. Affordability must also be ensured.

It is best to get the advice of a mortgage expert. It's worth obtaining the bank's financing confirmation early to prove your solvency to the seller. This can make the difference if several people want to buy the same house.

3. Buying a house: Search on different channels

You have probably already browsed around on property portals. Now you need to run a targeted property search based on your needs and budget. Houses for sale can be found on property portals, in newspapers, or in compulsory auctions. Sometimes the property itself has a notice saying that it's for sale. And not least, the bank's mortgage experts often know of properties that are for sale but have not (yet) been advertised on property portals.

4. View the house you want to buy

Once you have found a suitable property, a viewing is essential. Check whether all the information from the advertisement corresponds with the property while you are there. Does the house really meet your requirements?

Unlike when you build a house, you cannot plan your owner-occupied home from the ground up when buying a house. You will have to make compromises. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the design. Where must you – and can you – make compromises? What conversions and renovations are necessary and possible? What renovations have already been made? It is best to already make an estimate, so that you know what costs to expect.

5. Find out why the house is being sold

When you decide to buy a house, you should know the history of the house and reasons why it is being sold. Are there faults that have driven the owner to sell? Often it is also worth knowing who lived there before. Here it is useful to speak to the neighbors and find out about the area at the same time.

6. Check the details before buying the house

Trust is good, but control is better. Especially when buying a house. You should make inquiries when you want to buy a house from private individuals in particular. Check the ownership and any easements in the land registry, and check the stated year of construction. Find out from the local authority which building zone the house is in and whether there are any requirements.

It is worth having the market value of the house checked by your bank's mortgage expert before purchasing it.

7. Find out about the neighborhood

What is important to you in the neighborhood? Do you feel comfortable in the area where you want to buy the house? Find out where there are shops, public transport, schools, recreation areas, and other amenities. It is advisable to visit the street or the neighborhood on several occasions and at different times of day to get an impression of the potential new area. You may even end up chatting with a future neighbor.

8. Have the sale price of the house verified

Before buying the house, find out whether the sale price matches the market value. Otherwise there may be unpleasant surprises in store when you apply for the mortgage later. Your bank's mortgage expert will give you a realistic estimate. It may also be worth asking at the local council whether large construction projects are planned for the coming years. These can lead to increases – but also decreases – in the value of the property.

9. Arrange a second viewing before buying the house

It is also essential to have a structural survey done on the house. Is it actually as good as the seller promises or are there faults that aren't obvious at first glance? What is the energy rating? What costs could you expect in this regard? Arrange a second viewing and take enough time to check the house and the installations. Otherwise you may have to pay for faults that are discovered after buying the house.

10. Take a close look at the contract of sale

Once you have reached an agreement with the seller, you should not sign the contract for buying the house too hastily. Read it in peace and show the contract of sale to an attorney. Be wary of wording that provides for a disclaimer of warranties in the event of faults. In that case, the seller may no longer be liable for certain faults. You should also already establish the handover date and deposit payment in the contract of sale and define the payment of the real estate gains tax into a blocked account. The purchase must be certified by a notary and the change of ownership entered into the land registry for it to be valid.

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