How to buy a house in the Netherlands (4): Before the closing date

Are you an expat trying to buy a house in the Netherlands? Not sure about the whole process and which steps to take? Here is some information especially for you!
And do you want more information phone Willem den Hartog Jager of HJ Makelaardij. He has experience in helping expats and expat starters in particular buying a house in Utrecht. Telephone 06 – 14 88 88 33 or email him: willem@HJMakelaardij.nl

You can download a PDF version here.

Before the closing date

©HJ Makelaardij

Before the closing date
The closing date is coming closer and you are probably getting very excited about your new house. Maybe you are already looking for a new colour of paint on the wall or some new furniture but before you can receive the keys of your new house there are some things that need to be checked and done by you as the new owner.

Home insurance
The notary is legally bound to ask whether the new owners have insured the house. If this isn’t the case the notary can’t pass the delivery deed and the new owners won’t receive the keys. So it’s very important for the buyers to arrange a home insurance before the closing date.

Be aware that there are usually two types of insurances for a house. The first one is the opstalverzekering (home insurance) which covers damage to the house itself and everything that is structurally attached to it. This is the insurance that you need to have before the notary will pass the house. The insurance will cover damage by fire, storms, leakage and all other damages beyond your own fault.

The other is the inboedelverzekering (contents insurance). This insurance will cover everything that’s not structurally attached to the house, for instance your furniture, a laptop or even your clothes. The inboedelverzekering isn’t obligated when buying a new house but might be interesting if you have a lot of valuable stuff.

There is one exception on the need to insure the new house and that is if the buyers are buying an apartment. In this case it’s usually the owners association (VVE) that has an insurance for the whole complex and therefore the new owners don’t have to insure their new apartment separately. So if you are buying an apartment you should always check with the VVE if they have an opstalverzekering and check what it covers for you as an apartment owner.

There are a lot of insurance companies that provide home insurances. A good starting point to look for a home insurance would be one of the comparisons websites like Independer, Inshared or look at the websites of insurance companies itself.

Registration at the municipality
When you move to a new house everybody that’s going to live there (including children) needs to be registered at the municipality (Basisregistratie Personen or BRP). This is needed to have access to the official Dutch organizations like the tax authorities.

Nowadays it’s possible to registrate yourself a month before you move to the municipality of Utrecht but it might differ in other municipalities. Be aware that not registrating within 5 days after moving in, can have consequences!

Translator
Dutch laws states that the notary uses a Dutch written delivery deed and reads this aloud during the signing session. If buyers or sellers aren’t capable enough in the Dutch language they can ask the notary if he can use English but most of the time the notary will not do this. In this case there needs to be an official (sworn in) translator present that will make sure all parties understand what they will be signing for.

If you need a translator, you can ask the notary if they know an official translator for your native language or look for somebody yourself. But be aware that this will take some time and needs to be arranged well before the closing date.

Before the closing continued

Gas, water, electricity and city heating
When you are moving to a new house you want it to have running water, electricity and potentially gas. With an existing building this is normally already supplied to the house. In this case the buyers need to inform the various companies that they will be the new owners of the house and sign a new contract for the supplies.

Not all houses have a gas connection. If there is no gas used in the house, for instance to cook on or to get hot water, it’s not obliged to (re)connect the house to the gas network. It’s even possible to disconnect from the gas network for instance if you get a new kitchen that uses induction cookers instead of gas. If you do need gas, the new owners of a house should contact the supplier they have chosen and sign a contract for the gas supply after the closing date. A good starting point to choose a gas supplier will be the different comparison websites like Independer and Gaslicht.com.

Having a running water supply is legally obliged by Dutch law because it’s seen as a primary necessity of life. Next to that, you can’t choose your water supplier freely. This is because the water supply in the Netherlands is separated into 10 region’s with only one supplier per region. For Utrecht city and the neighboring villages the supplier is Vitens.

As a (new) home owner you are free to choose your electricity supplier and although it’s not mandatory almost all houses in the Netherlands are connected to the electricity network. The easiest way to choose an electricity supplier will be the different comparison websites like Independer and Gaslicht.com.

City heating is normally used in (older) apartment complexes. It is a separate service from the gas, water and electricity supplies and the apartment owners are usually obliged to sign a contract with the supplier. This is because there is only one company that provides for the whole apartment complex.

Internet, TV and telephone
Not obligated but nice to have in your new house will be internet, tv and maybe a home phone. You can contact the different suppliers before you go to the notary so they can assure you are connected from the first day you get the keys to your new house.

You should be aware that the suppliers of internet, tv and phone usually don‘t cover the whole of the Netherlands and you might get a difference in things like internet speed or prices depending on the location of the house. A good way to compare the different suppliers are comparison websites like prijsvergelijken.nl or pricewise.nl.

The next step is the Concept Delivery Deed on which you find information on the next page.

Kanaleneiland