Finding a home among the charming canals and vibrant cities of the Netherlands can be challenging. Whether you’re relocating as an expat or recruiting new talent, Cleo Boland from Expat Management Group presents this guide to assist you with the home-finding process in the Netherlands.

Finding a home in the Netherlands is a difficult process, especially for expats who are not as familiar with the local housing market.

Cleo has navigated the house-hunting journey herself and has gathered six important insights here, which she hopes you will find valuable:

1. Municipal registration and temporary housingThe first thing to take care of when you are moving into a new home is registering your move with your local Dutch municipality.

It is important to make sure that you can register at your potential new address; this is a legal requirement and is needed for obtaining your burgerservicenummer (BSN).

Temporary housingConsider moving into temporary housing for a smoother transition and a less stressful experience. This way, you can find a cosy place to settle for a moment and figure things out while you conquer house-hunting in the Netherlands.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that many rental listings may not allow you to officially register at the address. This will give you challenges in proceeding with the next steps to get you settled. Getting a (temporary) accommodation that can be registered at the municipality right at the start will help you in the long run and make your journey easier.

2. Preparing your documentsWhen searching for a home in the Netherlands, landlords will often require a number of documents in order to be considered.

BSN: Your key to Dutch housingImagine arriving in the Netherlands with just a suitcase full of dreams – it is a very nice image but it won’t get you far without the prized BSN. The BSN is your means of accessing Dutch housing and navigating the country’s overall bureaucratic landscape.

Other things to be aware of before you jump into the housing search are:

Proofs and permits: Gather your proofs and permits – your income statement and residency permits to be exact. Both are crucial for your housing journey. Rental agreements and tenancy laws: Dive into rental agreements and tenancy laws and familiarise yourself with the housing terms. Also, knowing your rights will empower you in potential negotiations. Housing allowance: Check if you’re eligible for a housing allowance (huurtoeslag) which is provided by the Dutch tax authorities. They assess your eligibility according to your rental costs, income, savings, and number of roommates. Pro tip: Keep those proofs and permits handy in both physical and digital forms. In the rental world, one simple rule applies: First come, first served!

3. Utilise your network and online resourcesWhen looking for a place to live, you should try the following things to increase your chances of success:

Network: Your friends, colleagues, distant cousins – everyone counts. During my search, a friend and colleague introduced me to my first gem of an apartment in Amsterdam. Networking is your secret weapon. Scour the internet: Explore Dutch housing websites like Funda and Pararius for plenty of listings. Expat forums and Facebook groups are gold mines for insider tips. Pro tip: Set notifications, refresh your browser frequently and have some patience. Commitment and dedication to finding a place can get you far.

4. Advanced tools and techniquesApplying the following, advanced techniques can increase your chances of finding a home even more:

Rental algorithms and virtual tours: There are new rental algorithms on the market to get you fresh findings tailored to your preferences. Virtual property tours are also an option if you’re not in the country yet to attend to your viewings in person. Ask the right questions: Go beyond the number of bedrooms – dig deep and ask about everything, from local amenities to prospective neighbours. Pro tip: Create a checklist of your must-haves and deal-breakers and let it guide you toward your ideal place.

5. Financial considerationsWhen looking for a new place, your budget is an essential part of the search process. In order to protect your finances, it is essential to do the following:

Research rental prices: Knowing the average rental price in your city shields you against inflated offers. Having a figure in mind prevents overpayment. Prepare for unexpected costs: Prepare for additional costs like utilities, local taxes and maintenance costs – don’t let them catch you off guard. Think about furnishing funds: Whether it’s unfurnished, semi-, or fully-furnished, be ready for the expenses to make it feel like home. Pro tip: Set realistic expectations of the property’s condition and the investment needed in time and money. Knowing what to expect will remove stress.

6. Property inspection and managementSo you have found a property and are considering moving into it. Before you make the commitment, you should:

Inspect the property: Before committing to your potential new home, give it a thorough inspection. Check for any potential red flags in every nook and cranny. Know your rights: Understand the rights and obligations of a tenant or homeowner. This avoids surprises like large security deposits and unexpected fees. Pro tip: Take photos or videos during the inspection; they’re your safety net against future misunderstandings.

Start your housing searchAs you set off on this new adventure, being prepared is your power. Gathering essential documents, networking and understanding the housing market can give you a leg up in the Dutch housing puzzle. However, even with all of that, it can still be a challenge without proper guidance.

If you need help with your housing search, reach out to Expat Management Group at [email protected] for a free consultation or read more about their unique rental algorithm and personal guidance on their website.

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