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The 3 Questions When Buying for the Second Time

When buying a house for the second time, will it all go more smoothly? Of course! If you misjudged the notary fees or the loan the first time, you know better now. A donkey doesn’t bump into the same (brick)stone twice.

And yet, new questions arise. What is your first house worth? Do you take out a new mortgage or can you do something with the previous one? And most importantly: what do you do first, buy or sell?

For clarity: we are talking about a new primary residence here. If you’re considering a second home or investment property, you should read this article.

Question 1: How Much is My First House Worth?

Some questions never change, whether it’s your first, second, or umpteenth time. Namely: how much can you borrow? For the first house, the bank looked at your fixed income and savings. Now, an important factor is added: the value of your current home. Nine times out of ten, it’s higher than what you paid for it back then. Our housing market breaks the records of the previous year every year, and renovations can significantly increase the sale price.

If you want to put a number on it, don’t do it by guesswork but with a professional. For a few hundred euros, an appraiser will objectively assess what that new roof and heat pump are actually worth. With a good appraiser, you’ll certainly earn back that small investment. At hypotheek.winkel, we know them well after all these years, so feel free to ask us for the right person!

Question 2: Should I Go for a New Loan or a Collateral Transfer?

There is something called a collateral transfer: you keep the same mortgage with the same bank but transfer it to your new house. The advantage is that the notary and the government charge fewer fees. A collateral transfer isn’t free, but it’s a few thousand euros cheaper in paperwork than canceling the old mortgage and registering a new one.

Sounds good, but don’t get fixated on just those costs. Especially if you’re moving to a more expensive house. Chances are you don’t have enough savings to cover the additional cost of the new house. Since the bank usually won’t adjust the term of the existing loan, your monthly payment will also significantly increase due to the extra credit you need. Can you handle that? If you don’t like juggling such figures, it’s better to ask hypotheek.winkel.

Question 3: What Should I Do First? Buy or Sell?

It’s always a tough decision when you want to move. Your gut feeling probably tells you to buy the new house first and then sell the old one. At least you’re guaranteed to have a roof over your head! But that’s not necessarily the smartest choice. If you don’t know how much you’ll get for your house, the bank doesn’t either. A bank always plays it safe and therefore only gives a bridging loan for 80% of the appraised value.

Buying First

  • You should do this if you’re reasonably sure you can sell your current home quickly (say, an apartment in the heart of Antwerp with an outdoor terrace).
  • You can move directly from one house to your second home without having to find a temporary solution.
  • A bridging loan helps finance the new house while waiting for the sale. Note: limited to about 80% of your home’s value.

Selling First

  • You know exactly where you stand because the euros you have in hand are the ones you can invest.
  • Any additional profit you make is immediately included in that account.
  • You avoid a double housing cost because you don’t have to pay for two houses at the same time at any point.
  • You can agree with the buyer to stay in your home until you can move into the new house. This usually happens with an occupancy fee, which is essentially rent you pay to stay for a certain period after the deed.

How Do I Make the Decision?

As usual, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Discuss it with us first, and you’ll walk out with the right answer to each of the three questions.

And this is not the whole story.

If you also want to invest in a garage or a few hectares of agricultural land, or if you want to know what such a second home can yield in tax benefits—all those boxes on the tax form!—then speak with our experts.