Person choosing between buy and rent

To buy or to rent in The Hague? Practical information for internationals


This article is provided by our partner: Search & Finance

How exciting, moving to The Hague! Wherever you choose to live, you will never be far from the beach, the historical city centre or any service you might need as an expat or international. Known as the city of Peace and Justice, The Hague is a popular residential location because of its unique blend of Dutch authenticity and international flair.

One of the biggest decisions to make when moving to a new country/city is whether to rent or buy. Let us map out your options so you can make an informed decision when hunting for your new home.


When should you rent?

There are many choices for rental properties in the private market ranging from basic apartments in residential areas to fully furnished town houses or villas by the beach. The rule of thumb is to rent a property if you plan to be here for two years or less.

Practical information on renting

  • Search for Rentals
    Rental properties can be found on funda and pararius (in Dutch), or through a real estate agent. The cost for an agent’s services varies, but it should be clear and transparent from the start.
  • Affordable Housing Permit
    The Municipality of The Hague offers Affordable Housing Permits (huisvestingsvergunning) to make sure that affordable housing is available for people with middle or lower income. The permit is required when you want to rent a property of 185 points or less on the affordable housing scale, or if the rental property costs €975.92 or less per month.


When should you buy?

If you are planning to stay for at least three years, buying a home is certainly the better option. That way, the cost of acquisition outweighs the monthly cost of renting. Moreover, due to the fiscal benefits for expats in the Dutch tax system, some banks and mortgage lenders offer expats a higher debt-to-income ratio, better terms, and interesting discounts.

Practical information on buying

  • Agreement in Principle
    The first step to buying a Dutch property is an Agreement in Principle (AiP), a non-binding mortgage calculation based on your individual financial situation. The Dutch real estate market is very fast-paced. An AiP gives you the advantage to act quickly once you find the right home since the mortgage lender has already accepted your mortgage request (in principle).
  • Search for Properties
    Funda is the most comprehensive platform for house hunting. You may want to consider hiring a real estate agent to do the hunting, negotiating, or both on your behalf. The cost of hiring an agent varies from agency to agency, so be sure to have an agreement on their fees upfront.
  • Mortgage Broker, Valuer and Notary
    Financing is also an important part in acquiring your home – assuming you are not paying in cash. Usually, you will have some time to arrange for your mortgage after your offer has been accepted, but an AiP will give you an edge over the competition. You can apply for a mortgage yourself at the bank or you can hire a mortgage broker, preferably an experienced independent broker who knows about the fiscal situation and other benefits for internationals. The mortgage lender will need a valuation by a certified appraiser and an inspection report of the property to ascertain the loan value. Finally, you will head to the notary to sign the purchase agreement (with a three-day period to withdraw if you change your mind). The notary will also take care of the transfer of finances and the key.  


More tips and advice?

Search & Finance can help you find your home away from home. We can help you in your decision to buy or to rent, where to look for your dream home, and which mortgage best suits your needs.


For more information on housing, mortgage and utilities, join our CONNECT Webinar – Housing and Settling-in on 22 April 2021!