Home Buying Your First Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Buying Your First Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Closing costs, sales rights, mortgage mandates, agreements, variable interest rates, loan-to-value ratio, repayment schedules, APR, easements, mortgage insurance… Buying your first home will certainly expand your vocabulary. Here’s a beginner’s guide in seven steps, with a few links for further reading. Hooray, you’re finally diving into it!

Buying a Home in 7 Steps

Step 1: Determine Your Budget

How much can you actually afford? This is the starting point as you browse real estate websites and get shocked by the prices. The answer depends on your income and savings. Two tips to keep in mind: banks rarely lend more than 90% of the purchase price, and there are additional costs of roughly 7% on top of the listed price due to notary fees, mortgage costs, and registration fees, which vary between Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia.

What does hypotheek.winkel do? Provides an independent estimate of your total budget, so you know where you stand, without being overly optimistic or afraid to make an offer.

Step 2: Start Your Search

Once you know your budget, begin the house hunt. Don’t rely solely on online listings. Take the time to visit various properties in person to build a comparative basis. Stay critical and don’t let excitement or the opinions of friends and family cloud your judgment.

For those living near the language border, it’s crucial to understand the rules, as they differ between Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia. These differences apply to both financial aspects and energy regulations.

Step 3: Make an Offer

When you find the right house, it’s time to make an offer. Do so with care because an offer is legally binding, even if made via SMS or WhatsApp. Include a time limit on your offer to avoid future complications.

What does hypotheek.winkel do? Ensures your offer is legally sound, using tools like our standard offer template.

Step 4: Sign the Agreement

The sale becomes serious with the signing of the agreement, which is binding and requires a deposit. Ensure the agreement includes a condition that the purchase is contingent on securing a loan within a specified period.

What does hypotheek.winkel do? Translates complex notary language into plain Dutch, making sure you understand every detail.

Step 5: Find the Best Loan

The next step is finding a mortgage. Don’t limit yourself to your current bank. Compare offers from multiple banks, considering not just interest rates but also hidden costs like mandatory accounts and insurance policies.

What does hypotheek.winkel do? Saves you time by comparing loan options from 25 banks, offering free and neutral advice.

Step 6: Prepare Your Loan Application

Your bank will want to assess your financial worthiness, requiring documents like pay slips, tax returns, and information on existing loans. Some banks may also require a property appraisal.

What does hypotheek.winkel do? Facilitates communication between you, the bank, the appraiser, and the notary, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Step 7: Get the Keys

Celebrate! The sale is complete once the final deed is signed, either at the notary’s office or remotely via digital power of attorney. The notary ensures all documents and certificates are in order and registers the mortgage.

Is It Always This Simple?

Not quite. Every home purchase has its unique challenges and uncertainties. Our guide, “12 Steps to Your House,” offers more detailed assistance, but even after that, new questions can arise as each project is different.

Want 100% certainty before you start house hunting?

Stop by and we’ll answer all your questions.