Buying a house
If you are going to be in Groningen for several years then you might consider buying a house ("een huis kopen").
You can get an idea of what is on the market by looking at Funda (Dutch only), which lists almost all properties. To know what you can afford, it is advisable to talk to a mortgage advisor at your bank or an independent mortgage agency.
Almost all properties in the Netherlands are sold through agents, and listed on the websites Funda or VBO. As well as searching actively on these sites, you can set up an account on Funda to receive updates on any new listings which meet your search criteria. Additionally, many people also engage the services of a real estate agent to help with the process of finding a house - a so-called ‘buying agent’ ("aankoopmakelaar"), who might be able to inform you about properties when or before they come on to the market. New housing in the region can be found on the recently launched website GroningenWoont (Dutch only).
You can read more about the process of finding a house on the IWCN website.
There are many independent estate agencies ("makelaars") operating in Groningen. The selling agent for any house will be listed on Funda with the property, but for a buying agent, it is worthwhile meeting a few agents in / around the area you live or want to live. A Google search for ‘makelaar Groningen’ will give you a good idea of the possibilities in your area.
If you are interested in living outside of the city, you should look for an estate agent who is active in that location. Have a look at our page about commuter towns for more information about living outside of the city.
To get a mortgage (hypotheek), you will need to talk to an advisor at your bank or an independent mortgage agency. There are many different types of mortgage available. You can read more about Dutch mortgages on the Expatica site.
The costs associated with buying a house can be around 8% of the purchase price. A breakdown of these costs can be found on the IWCN website.
Closing the deal
In the current housing market in Groningen, you may not have your first offer accepted on a house and it may take some months to find a house which meets your criteria.
Once your offer is accepted, there are a number of steps before the sale is completed.
Before confirming the purchase, you will need to organise a property valuation report ("taxatierapport"). This report gives an advisory valuation based on a preliminary survey of the property. It is not a comprehensive structural survey. If you are buying an old house or suspect structural damage, you can also arrange a full building inspection ("bouwkundige keuring").
To finalise the sale, both parties must sign a transfer contract ("akte van levering") at a notary.
An overview on the buying process can be found on the Dutch website of the Vereniging Eigen Huis, the national Association of Homeowners.
Enjoy your new home!