Thursday, November 8, 2012

House to Huis: finding a house

Ever since Copenhagenize featured my post (!) about Dutch-style school pick-up and since I started blogging for Amsterdam Cycle Chic, I've been getting more emails from curious readers. I love it! I thought I'd share some of their questions and my answers as part of weekly post about relocating. Hopefully it will be helpful to many more people! So the first question is....

How did you find your house/apartment?

This is the second time we've moved to Holland. The first time we were on our own; the second time we had an employer's help. The second option is much easier. As a foreigner without any prior knowledge or connections to the Dutch real estate market, you generally need to go through an agency that caters to expats. Before settling on one, we checked out Funda and Pararius. Both are good options. Your chosen agent will work with the broker for an apartment who works with the owner of the apartment. The agent will be paid (usually) a full month's commission by you. All the agencies in a city work together and often their portfolios overlap. All you need to do is choose ONE agency and one agent at that agency. They will do all the work for you--negotiating, translating the lease, setting up utilities, etc. 

No matter what, you will pay more than the locals; accept it, and move on. The Dutch are very open/blunt about housing costs and will ask how much you pay without batting an eye. They will then proceed to throw their hands in the air and exclaim how expensive that is. Remember: You cannot apply for housing subsidies, get a mortgage, or find a place on Craigslist that is 'legal'. And, they know the system way better than you (read: they know how to work the system way better than you). 

our living room


  1. Whoop whoop! So glad you started this! Can't wait to see you tackle the other subjects.

  2. The other day my American friend said to me, "Sorry to be so Dutch about this, but what are you paying for your apartment?" The nice part is that we can also 'be Dutch' and ask what others pay. It's part of our integration into Dutch society.

  3. Love the new design and content of the blog. Great idea to add tips for expats, it's surely very useful.
    Keep going, it's getting better and better! :)


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