Your Guide to Buying Property in Belgium
Belgium is a small country with much to offer. From the North Sea beaches in the north, through historic cities like Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp, you can easily travel along to Zeeland, near the border of The Netherlands. In the south there are Walloon hills and forests which make for great cycling routes. All this combined equals a number of homes on sale that keep growing year after year.
In 2013 Belgium had more than 1 million houses for sale! Combined with a general population of about 11,000,000 people (of which only half live in Flanders), it becomes difficult to find available homes within your budget – without compromising too much on quality or location.
If you are looking for a long-term home to buy in Belgium (https://www.bluehomes.com/Immobilien-Belgien/B/de/debut.html), it is better to start early. We all lead such busy lives and buying a house can easily take 5 months of preparation – finding the right real estate agent, learning about different locations and houses, meeting with notaries…
When you find an interesting place that meets your needs and you see yourself living there for years, don’t hesitate and make them an offer on the spot! The seller might be willing to negotiate even if they have accepted another buyer’s offer. It pays off to go out there and actively look instead of waiting for opportunities to drop into your lap by chance.
There are many things potential buyers should know before they make their first steps toward owning property in Belgium:
- It is wise to invest in a survey that analyzes the state of the house, typically called an ‘audit’. This will give you an idea of how urgent certain repairs are and what you can expect after renovations have been made. If there are any visible cracks in the wall or floor, they could be signs of serious things to come (sloping foundations for example). You can always ask someone who has experience with these kinds of issues to go along.
- Notary Fees: Buyers in Belgium (and everywhere) need not worry about buying costs like real estate fees but it’s wise to count on spending at least 10% of purchase price on legal fees alone. The selling agent will be able to give you a better estimate.
- Property taxes: If you buy a property for over €350,000 you will have to pay notary and registration fees as well as stamp duty – this is a particular type of tax that varies from region to region but the average amount is 8%. This doesn’t include rates which are a yearly tax on your property’s estimated value (varies per region) and must be paid independently by the owner.
- Translation of Documents: Make sure any documents or contracts are translated into English before signing anything! Don’t forget, you should never sign anything without understanding what it means in every detail first . Always consult with an expert who can help explain things clearly so there are no awkward situations later on.
- The most popular and easiest way for anyone looking to buy a home is to use a real estate agent . They will have been trained to show homes within your budget that meet your requirements, as well as being able to answer every question you have about the buying process. In addition they can also give some great tips on neighbourhoods and locations as they know the area inside out!
Not all houses are listed online: You might need help finding houses that aren’t listed online – this doesn’t mean there aren’t any but it does mean there’s a lot more work involved in finding them so be prepared! Your best option is still going door-to-door with real estate agent, whether you want to buy or just find out more about the homes in your budget.
- The real estate market changes rapidly & there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes besides simply showing people a few houses. You need a professional who knows what they’re doing and has connections to help move things along as fast as possible for their clients – otherwise you could end up waiting weeks or even months to find the right home with someone who isn’t up-to-date on local market trends.
You’ve probably heard about people having bad experiences when using real estate agents in the past but that’s because they didn’t have anyone helping them along or give them inside information! A good real estate agent will always go above and beyond to help with everything throughout the buying process – this includes negotiating prices, deadlines, dates, etc…
- Buying outside of Belgium: No matter where you are looking to buy your new home it’s very important to remember many foreign countries (especially Belgium) require a pre-approved mortgage before you can start looking at properties or make an offer on anything . Not only is this more hassle than it’s worth (not to mention expensive and time-consuming) but it also means you could end up missing out on the perfect home while you’re waiting for approval.
What’s more, many non-Belgians find that their mortgages are not granted because they don’t meet all the necessary requirements . This is why we try to get everyone approved before they even set foot in Belgium – it saves a lot of time and money in the long run!
- Be patient: It’s best to go into house buying with patience rather than expecting everything will happen quickly. Once you’ve found your dream home & made an offer there are still steps involved including inspections, signing contracts, background checks, etc… so never rush anything or make quick decisions as you might regret it later.
- Most sales fall through: In the business world, an agent’s job is to make as much money as possible – this means making a sale for you & getting their commission from the sellers. To do this, many agents will try and convince buyers to take whatever house they have available – even if it’s not suitable or something that could easily be fixed up with a small investment .
In addition there are often problems during the inspection period which may lead someone to pull out of a deal , so unless you’re 100% certain an offer is the right choice always have a back-up plan to ensure you don’t end up waiting for nothing.
Trust your gut: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t! We know this can be difficult when you’ve never bought property before but the truth is that most people end up regretting their choices because they didn’t listen to their intuition . Your emotions are what make you unique and help keep you safe – so trust them above all else & remember if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is!