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There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property, whether resident or non-resident, although banks may impose some of their own rules.
It is very common to use a real estate agent in the Netherlands and certainly advisable as a foreigner to use one. Dutch estate agents are called makelaars. Be sure to use a real estate agent registered with the NVM.
If you are considering buying a house, it may be advisable to join the Vereniging Eigen Huis (Home Owners’ Society). It is a consumer agency that looks after the benefits for house owners. They can also advise you on construction inspections, legal matters, mortgages, etc. Membership costs €27 per year (in 2015.) You can find them on the website www.eigenhuis.nl (in Dutch).
Costs for the buyer are:
You can find property listings on www.funda.nl. The process of purchasing a house usually begins with a price agreement between seller and buyer, first verbally and then signed in a contract. Most of the time, it will be organized by a real estate agent. A down payment of 10% needs to be paid to the seller through a public notary. The notary will complete the transfer of the ownership, and the purchase will be registered in the Public Registry Office (Kadaster).
If you need a mortgage (hypotheek), discuss the terms with the seller before you make an offer. You may also need to arrange a loan or banker’s guarantee to cover the deposit. For example, you can check this website, read this article or talk to your real estate agent or bank.
In the case of buying an apartment, it should be noted that each apartment is managed by the association Vereniging van Eigenaren (VvE). They are responsible for general repairs, maintenance and home insurance. As a member, you will have to contribute to the VvE. It is wise to check up front what the financial status is of the VvE before you purchase.