If you have decided to move to the Netherlands, I would strongly suggest to start your home hunting ASAP. Here, as in many other countries in Europe, the market moves extremely fast and what is available one day, most likely won’t be there the next. Seriously, give it a try in one of the rental websites, mark a couple of places as favorites and you’ll see that the next day you’ll only find half of them are still open. So here are a couple of tips to help you make your mind up and be ready to pick your next home in a smooth and gentle experience.
Budget 💰The first thing you need to figure out will be how much money you are willing to pay monthly in rent. Make a web search so you have an idea of the market prices and determine a range that will be acceptable for your pocket so you are still able to eat, because yes, it is expensive.
Location 📍If you came to Amsterdam, you will probably want to stay in the center to have the full Amsterdam experience, however, they also recommend these nice nearby locations with easy access via public transport or bike, at lower monthly fares.
Traveling times from Amsterdam Centraal Station 🚉 via public transport:
- Amsterdam Noord: Reachable by free ferry or tunnel, 7 minutes (bikes allowed on board).
- Haarlem: 24 minutes
- Amsterdam-Zuid: 20 minutes
- Leiden: 45 minutes
- Amstelveen: 30 minutes
- Nieuw Zuid: 24 minutes
- IJ and Ijburg: 22 minutes
- Amsterdam-Oost: 22 minutes
- Almere: 30 minutes
- Utrecht: 36 minutes
Are you willing to share? There are many accommodations that allow you to share your space. You can try to sign up to pages that will ask you a few questions and try to find you a match for a roommate.
Pets or kids? I know it might seem mean to put these two together, but they are both family, no? There are some facilities that won’t allow pets or are not suitable for kids, so its to take in consideration.
Interior. Have an idea of the floor space (sq mt) you will feel comfortable with and be flexible, spaces are reduced here almost in every location, its the Dutch natural dimensions of places 😅🚽 wait to see the restrooms! Are you interested in renting a furnished, unfurnished or shell property? Unfurnished apartments include stove, oven, fridge, and dishwasher and the furnished come with pretty much everything, ready for you to settle in. Shells are apartments or houses that are missing a couple of details like floor, lights, paint or kitchen finishings, however, prices are lower. True that you will have to make a higher initial investment, but you’ll have lower monthly payments. Just keep in mind that if you are new in town, you might need construction or real estate advice on the services to contract and it will take longer for the place to be ready for you to move in. Another option, if you are willing to have the experience, are houseboats.
Deposit. It’s well known that you will need to pay a deposit plus the first month of rent in an initial payment, however, in the Netherlands there are many properties that might require two or some even three months of rent in advance 💶 so make your numbers well and be prepared.
Utilities excluded. Sometimes the utilities (gas, electricity and water) are already connected and you will only need to transfer them to your name. If they are not, you will be able to select the provider for gas and electricity (which is usually the same), type of energy (green or not) compare prices and available offers. For water there is only one provider per region, check yours in this map and you can connect the service through their website. When moving to your new place, be sure to check and write down the meters readings to ensure you will only pay for your usage. For you to have an idea, for a party of two you will end up paying approximately 100 € for gas and electricity + 20 € for water. You will receive a contract with the monthly fee for each, which will be automatically deducted from your account, at the end of the year, they will take the readings of the meters and if you consumed less, you’ll get some money back, if you consumed more, you’ll have to adjust the amount.
Real Estate agencies. If you can afford it and want to save some stress on the whole renting process, its always better to go through this process with professional assistance. They can give you valuable advice on things that you might not be familiar with in the industry and city, will help you look for your place according to your budget, family composition and needs, they can help you negotiate with the property owner to get out with the best terms and make you aware of the legal aspects of renting in The Netherlands.
Once you have your permanent residence. You will need to update your address everywhere. First of all in the municipality within five days (you can do this online if you have your DigiD), also bank, insurance company and any other service you might have booked prior to your permanent address was available. Check on what are the rules for waste disposal, different regions have different rules, see more here. If you feel like, say hi to your neighbors, here the new neighbor usually goes next door to introduce themselves. In case of inconvenient with your landlord, be aware that there are many rules and regulations protecting tenants’ rights in the Netherlands.
From my experience and the expats I’ve had the opportunity to chat with, the best advice I can give is to do a lot of research and prepare in advance for what you will see, be realistic, flexible and smart. Look at tons of properties online so when you arrive and have to visit the places you already know what is on the market and have a very clear idea of what you are looking for. If a place feels like home to you, don’t sleep on it, it doesn’t matter if its in the first batch of visits you are making, it might be gone by the time you decide to go back and then you will have to continue appointing viewings which can turn to be exhausting and frustrating.
Most popular websites that you can use are Pararius and Funda. You can connect your utilities by phone or online at www.mijnaansluiting.nl (in Dutch), or Partner Pete offers a free service in English to connect expats.
Happy Home Hunting!!