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Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

July 29, 2022
If you want to make a good investment, why not consider buying real estate in Belgium? Not only is the country stable and pretty wealthy, but it's a top tourist destination too. You can easily enjoy your life if you move here and if you plan to just use the property as a vacation home, at least you'll have a place to stay when you're visiting the country. You can even rent it out to earn some extra cash too! So buying a property in Belgium holds a lot of benefits, that is if you can do it properly. Let this real estate guide show you the ropes!

Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

Can a Non-Resident Buy A Property in Belgium?

If you're wondering whether or not foreigners can purchase real estate in Belgium, the answer is yes, they can. There are currently no Belgian laws that prohibit non-residents from buying a property in this country. As long as you have a Schengen Visa or you're eligible for the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program, both of which will allow you to enter and stay in Belgium for a period of time, you're good to go. The only time your residency status may pose as an issue, however, is when you apply for a mortgage loan.

What Should You Look For in a Property?

Before you choose a property in Belgium to purchase, there are certain things you need to look for first. Of course, location should be the first one. It might have even been the real estate's location that got you interested in it in the first place. But with that said, you ought to be wary of the nearby facilities as well. Is there a shop nearby? How about a laundromat? If you'll be living in this new home with your kids, is it close to any schools? You also have to check the overall layout and floorplan. Does it fit what you're looking for?

Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Costs of Buying Property?

Do note that the final property price isn't the only thing you'll pay when you buy real estate in Belgium. There are a few more costs than that. Granted that most of them are taken from the property price, there are those that you need to pay separately too. According to Expatica, the costs to consider when buying a property in Belgium include the registration tax, the VAT, the notary fees, valuation costs, mortgage costs, and your real estate agent's commission. These are also why you ought to prepare a huge budget when you decide to take on this endeavor.

How Do You Make an Offer to Buy Property in Belgium?

The trick to making an offer when you're planning to buy a property in Belgium—or in any other country, for that matter!—is that you don't stray too far from what the seller initially set. You have to understand that the current owner didn't make up that initial price out of nowhere. More often than not, it's a result of a valuation conducted on the property. So this means that the real estate's true value isn't far off the initial price. So don't go too low or too high when negotiating. You risk getting rejected by the seller if you do.

Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

How Do You Get Mortgage in Belgium?

In order to pay for your new real estate in Belgium, one of your best bets is to take out a mortgage loan. Now, as mentioned earlier, your residency status might affect your application for one. This is because tax rules apply differently to foreigners than to residents. But for the most part, non-residents can still get a mortgage in Belgium as long as they show proof of identification (a valid passport will do) and proof of income. Another important condition to consider is your age. Most mortgage lenders here will only approve your application if you're under the age of 65.

How Do You Set Up the Sale & Purchase Contract?

One of the most important documents in the purchasing process is the purchase commitment contract. In Dutch, it's called the verkoopcompromis, while in French, it's called the compromis de vente. This document should contain important info on the sale, including details of both parties (you, the buyer, and the seller), a clear description of the property, the agreed final price & the deposit paid, the schedule for full payment, and the date and time of when it was signed. The purchase commitment contract will ensure that both parties will see this transaction through to the end.

Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

What Are The Different Types of Ownership Structures in Belgium?

According to the global law firm, DLA Piper, there are types of ownership structures in Belgium. The first is erfpacht (Dutch) or emphytéose (French), which pertains to long leases. This allows owners to lease their properties for a minimum of 15 years. The second is opstal (Dutch) or superficie (French), which refers to one's building rights on a property. This allows the owner to erect buildings on the property. And finally, the third is erfdienstbaarheid (Dutch) or servitude (French), which is the right to easement. Essentially, this allows the usage of one property in order to clear the way for the use of another.

What Are The Legal Issues in Buying Properties in Belgium?

As you might have already expected, buying real estate in Belgium comes with a few legal concerns. There's the payment of pre-purchase costs, the ownership structure you choose to use, and more. Arguably the most important of them all, however, concerns the purchase commitment contract. Upon signing, the document will legally bind both parties to the transaction. On your part, you'll have to pay a deposit (usually around 10%). And on the seller's part, they'll have to take the property off the market and only sell it to you. If they decide to back out after they've signed the contract, they'll have to pay you back with double the amount of the deposit you paid.

Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

How Long is The Process of Buying Property in Belgium?

By now, you're probably wondering how long your purchase will take. Will it take a lot of time or only a couple of months? The answer depends on how prepared you and the seller are at the beginning of the process. More often than not, it's getting all the legal paperwork done that's the most time-consuming. If you already prepared them beforehand, then you can expect that it will only take you around 2 to 3 months to buy a property in Belgium. If not, it can easily take as long as half a year or possibly even longer!

How Do You Search Properties For Sale in Belgium?

Let's say you're moving to Brussels and you want to find a new home here. How can you look for any available property in the city when you're not even in Belgium yet? Go online, of course! Any of the top property listing websites here are sure to give you many amazing options for your own place in the city. Immoweb and Logic-Immo are great examples. They offer both rental homes and properties you can buy. Consequently, choosing a place from any of these platforms is the easiest way to jumpstart the process of buying real estate in Belgium.

What are The Best Tips for Buying Property in Belgium?

Let's end this guide with a few helpful tips you'll want to follow. For starters, you need to do your due diligence. This is all about inspecting the place yourself to see if it is, in fact, worth your time and money. In this regard, you need to conduct surveys and the like. You'll also want to let your notary deal with the land registry as early as possible. Make sure that the seller is, in fact, the listed homeowner so that you can start the process legally. And once everything's done, you (or specifically, your notary) will have to go back to the land registry to list you as the property's new owner.

Buying Property in Belgium: Our Real Estate Guide

There's no doubt that buying a property in Belgium is a good investment. But before anything else, you need to know about the real estate process. This guide offers the basics to help you begin the purchase and to ensure that you don't commit any mistakes!

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