With the increasing offer of newly built houses in Amsterdam, it can be interesting to know a bit more about the process of buying one. Buying a newly built home is different from buying an existing house. When buying the house, for example, you buy it from the project developer, and the price will be ‘without additional costs payable by the purchaser’. Willem Schilder, MVA Certified Expat Broker, will tell you all about it.
Where can you find new building projects?
Available new building projects can be found on various websites. The largest websites are: funda.nl, AmsterdamWoont.nl, Nieuwbouw-in-Amsterdam.nl or Nieuwbouw-Nederland.nl. On these websites, you can find what kind of houses are being built at which locations, including information about sizes, prices and estimated construction times. Through these websites you can also find the websites of the project developers, which contain much more information about the project. Note: the construction time of a new house in Amsterdam tends to be about 2 to 3 years.
Found one, and now…?
In Amsterdam, there are two different ways in which newly built houses are offered for sale:
- A fixed sales price. You sign up for a construction number of your choice (usually you can enter multiple construction numbers) and then a lottery will take place (because there are usually more interested parties than houses).
- You can bid on a new house of your choice. It is advisable to ask professional advice from a purchasing agent about the amount of your bid. Since there are no comparable properties, it is difficult to determine a price. A purchasing agent can also make a general estimate of the expected value developments in the neighbourhood.
The appointment with the broker
If you did get picked at the draw or made the highest bid, you will have a meeting with the real estate agent who is selling the new property. During this conversation, you can (together with your purchasing agent) check the house plan with its blueprints. The possibilities for change orders and the construction process are also discussed. In this first meeting, you will also be told which extra costs will be added. Always take into account notary fees, construction interest and possible additional work. After a (short) reflection period, a follow-up appointment is made to sign the purchase and building agreement.
Signing the purchase and building agreement
The second appointment will be for signing the contracts. The contracts can be two separate contracts or a combination of both the purchase and building agreements.
- The purchase agreement: this concerns the land costs and development costs, taking into account the fact that the land is almost always issued on leasehold. The development costs are the costs incurred by the project developer in the preparatory phase.
- The building agreement: this contains all costs and payment terms, but also the resolutive conditions, the expected construction time, a reflection period of one week, various guarantees and how to deal with possible conflicts. Your purchasing agent will take a critical and independent look at this agreement.
Both contracts contain the rights and obligations of both the selling and purchasing parties. One of the particularities is that your future house will be built according to the construction permit that has been issued. In the Netherlands, there are a lot of rules when it comes to making building decisions.
Other things that are included in the contracts are the maximum construction time, a financing reservation that specifies the period in which the buyer can arrange their mortgage, a reflection period of one week and various guarantees. Almost all new houses in the Netherlands are covered by a guarantee that gives the buyer certainty about the quality of their future home.
Included in the purchase agreement is the price that you will pay for the land, and the price for building the house. Payment for the building process will occur in installments.
Ultimately, what will the cost of your new home be?
Newly built properties are offered under a so-called ‘vrij op naam’ (v.o.n.) construction, which means that the seller will bear the costs for the transfer of the house. These costs include the transfer tax and notary costs, which you do pay if you buy an existing home.
On the other hand, you do have to pay construction interest and VAT. This construction interest is tax deductible after the purchase and building agreement has been signed. Your broker can advise you about which financing suits you. The VAT on the property is already included in the purchase price.
Delivery of the house
Newly built houses are delivered as shells, or with basic equipment such as a bathroom and sanitary facilities. What kind of basic equipment is included, depends on the project. A technical description details how the house is built and what belongs to it. All additional options are listed in a so-called change order list.
When the house is almost finished, the buyer gets the opportunity to see if everything meets the agreements that have been made and recorded. At the final delivery, when the buyer receives the keys, a delivery inspection takes place, which is linked to the guarantee scheme. An independent consultancy can be called in for this. From that moment on, you can start decorating and living in your house.