Finding housing in Amsterdam, made easy.

Whether you want to rent or buy, we've got you covered

with our ultimate guide to housing.

OVERVIEW
Thanks to the great lifestyle and its role as a business hub, Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. That means you're not likely to find cheap housing, especially in the more desirable neighborhoods. Rentals don't last on the market here very long so you'll have to move fast.

 

HOUSING TERMINOLOGY
Once you start your housing search you'll come across some unusual terminology and symbols. It's important to understand what these are since they have a financial impact, so we've outlined the most common ones you'll see: 

  • Gemeubileerd: A fully furnished home.
  • Geen kosten huurder: No fees are charged to the tenant.
  • Gestoffeerd: A partly furnished home.
  • In overleg: Translates to "to be discussed' and often refers to working out the move in date or date when the home can be officially signed over.
  • Kaal or Ongemeubileerd: An unfurnished home.
  • Kosten Koper: Typically displayed as k.k. after the price of a home (example: € 500.000 k.k.), this means that you, the buyer, are responsible for all the costs associated with purchasing the home. This includes contract fees and taxes and can equal 6% of the home's price.
  • Onder bod: Means there is an offer pending and other buyers can no longer submit their offers on a home.
  • Rechtsbijstandverzekering: Winning the title of most unpronounceable word you'll see today, this refers to legal assistance insurance. This affordable insurance offers legal assistance for a host of things, but when it comes to housing it helps in the event of a legal dispute, for example, with a landlord.
  • Verkocht onder voorbehoud: Means the home has been sold with reservations (such as the buyer getting mortgage, the buyer selling his/her old house, or whatever reservations buying partner have stipulated).

 

RENTING IN AMSTERDAM
Finding a rental in Amsterdam requires quick action...and patience. Apartments don't last long on the market given the high demand in many of the more desirable neighborhoods.

There are a number of real estate websites (listed in the Helpful Real Estate Websites section) that you can use to find a home. Most properties listed on these sites will either be immediately available or available within a few weeks. You should ignore the ones that are "in overleg" since those are in the process of being rented out.

Whether you find a property on one of these websites and contact the agency listed or go directly to a real estate agency, in general the agents are representing the landlord. If that's true of the agency you work with, then you, as the tenant, are not required to pay any agency fees or commissions. It used to be standard for them to charge a fee equal to one month's rent if they were successful in getting you the property; that morphed into charging a "contract fee" of €300 to €400. Both of those practices are illegal (again, if the agent is representing the landlord). 

If you do use an agent that is not representing the landlord, however, you can expect to pay a commission of up to 1 month rent plus an additional 21% VAT.

Rent is displayed per month in the Netherlands (example: € 2,000 /mnd). Security deposits are typically equal to 1 or 2 months rent. You should be sure to ask whether there are other fees you'll be responsible for (such as electricity and gas) or if they're all inluded in the rent.

Laws in the Netherlands are very pro-tenant but you should still protect yourself by ensuring your rental agreement is in writing. Once the initial rental term (typically 12 months) has passed agreements can only be terminated by the tenant, but you must give the landlord one month's notice.

If you suspect you may need to move before the initial rental term has finished you can request a Break Clause, also known as a Diplomatic Clause. This let's you or the landlord terminate the agreement at any time.

 

BUYING IN AMSTERDAM
There are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing property in the Netherlands. If you know you'll be staying in the Netherlands for a while there is a key benefit to owning versus renting: homeowners get a tax refund on the interest paid for the home's mortgage up to a maximum level of 52%. 

Purchasing a home can be a time consuming process with a number of steps:

  1. Once you've agreed on the price with the seller you wil both sign a pre-sale agreement. This contract may have financial penalties for not completing the transaction.
  2. A notary holds the signed contract and a 10% down payment
  3. The buyer secures a mortgage for the purchase price
  4. You and the seller sign a final sale contract. You do get a 72 hour "cooling off" period after the sale to change your mind and cancel the purchase, though as mentioned above, there may be financial penalties to doing so.
  5. The notary registers the sale with the land registry process

There are a number of costs you'll incur beyond the purchase price: 

  • Transfer tax of 2% (does not apply to house boats and new builds)
  • Real estate agent fee equal to 1.5% of the purchase price (if you're using an agent); some agents may also just charge a per hour consultation fee
  • € 1,000-3,000 for a notary
  • € 200 for a translator (mandatory for non-Dutch citizens)

Note that if you do secure the services of a real estate agent they may make you sign an exclusivity agreement. This means that even if you end up finding (and buying) a property on your own you'll still owe them a commission.

 

HELPFUL REAL ESTATE WEBSITES
Funda.nl - The Netherlands' largest real estate website makes it easy to find homes for rent or for sale by street or neighborhood. It's only in Dutch, however, so non-speakers will need to use Google translate (although it's pretty easy to figure out the key words). Mobile app available.

Pararius.com - Another big real estate website, Pararius has the advantage of offering its content in several languages. However, its search feature doesn't let you be as specific with location as Funda, but you can view results on a map to focus on a certain area. Also offers a mobile app.

Kamernet.nl - This real estate website is focused on helping you find an available room (though you are able to search for a whole home as well). The downside is you can only search by city, not neighborhood, so either you can't be too picky or you should expect to spend a lot of time looking through results.

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