The expat and the Dutch housing market
When coming to the Netherlands as an expat for work, there are several important aspects of the Dutch housing market that you should be aware of. Here are some key points to consider:
High demand and limited supply
The Dutch housing market, particularly in major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht, is known for its high demand and limited supply of affordable housing. Finding suitable accommodation can be challenging, so it's advisable to start your search as early as possible.
Renting vs. buying
Renting is a common option for expats in the Netherlands due to the competitive housing market. Renting offers flexibility and may be more suitable for those planning to stay for a shorter period. Buying a property is another option, but it requires careful consideration of your long-term plans and financial situation.
Rental prices and contracts
Rental prices in popular areas can be relatively high. It's essential to research average rental prices in your desired location to ensure you have a realistic budget. When signing a rental contract, make sure you understand the terms and conditions, including the duration, notice periods, and any additional costs such as utilities, maintenance fees, or agency fees.
Many expats find it helpful to work with housing agencies or real estate agents specialized in assisting foreigners. These professionals can provide guidance, language support, and access to a wider range of housing options. Be aware that some agencies charge a fee for their services.
Shortage of furnished rentals
Furnished rentals are in high demand, especially among expats. However, the availability of furnished properties might be limited, and they often come at a higher cost. If you prefer a furnished rental, be prepared to be flexible with your search or consider temporary accommodation until you find a suitable place.
Housing websites and platforms
There are several popular housing websites and platforms in the Netherlands, such as Funda, Pararius, Kamernet, and Expat Rentals. These platforms allow you to search for available rentals or properties for sale. Utilize multiple platforms and set up alerts to stay updated on new listings.
Registration and permits
Upon finding accommodation, you will need to register with the municipality (gemeente) where you'll be residing. This registration (known as "BRP registration" or "domicile registration") is mandatory and provides you with a citizen service number (BSN), which is required for various administrative tasks like opening a bank account or applying for healthcare.
Housing regulations and tenant rights
Familiarize yourself with Dutch housing regulations and tenant rights to ensure you understand your legal obligations and entitlements as a tenant. The Dutch rental market has specific laws protecting tenants, which can be advantageous for renters.
The Netherlands has a well-developed public transportation system, and living outside major cities can offer more affordable housing options. Consider the commuting distance to your workplace and explore transportation alternatives like trains, trams, buses, or cycling routes when choosing your location.
Housing expenses and additional costs
In addition to rent, factor in other housing-related expenses such as utilities (gas, water, electricity), internet, and insurance (home insurance or liability insurance). These costs can vary depending on the property size, location, and personal consumption.
Remember that the Dutch housing market is dynamic, and conditions can change. Stay informed, be proactive in your search, and consider seeking advice from fellow expats or local professionals to navigate the housing market effectively.