From the moment you become interested in a property to the moment you sign the contract for your new home, you will be confronted by a multitude of questions. Not surprisingly, as buying a house is not something you do every day. Real estate brokers affiliated to the NVM (Dutch Association of Real estate brokers and real estate experts) do do this every day, however, which gives us the experience to quickly give you the right answer to most of these questions. The ten most frequently asked questions are answered below, to give you an idea of where you stand when looking for that dream home.
1. When am I in negotiation?
You are only in negotiation once the vendor has responded to your offer by making a counteroffer. You are not yet in negotiation when the vendor’s broker says that he/she will discuss your offer with the vendor.
2. Can a broker continue with viewings while an offer is being negotiated?
Yes, this is permitted. Negotiation will not necessarily lead to a sale. Furthermore, it may be that the vendor wants to know how much more interest there is. In addition, it is possible that
negotiations may be under way with more than one prospective buyer at once. An NVM broker is obliged to make this clear to you. The vendor’s NVM broker will often tell interested parties that a property is ‘under offer’, as we say. As an interested party, you are then also entitled to make an offer, but the broker may then only enter into negotiation with you once negotiations with the first interested party have been concluded. The NVM broker will not make any statement about the amounts of offers. This could lead to outbidding.
3. If I offer the asking price, is the vendor then obliged to sell the house to me?
No. The Supreme Court of the Netherlands has ruled that the asking price should be seen as an invitation to make an offer. Even if you offer the asking price, the vendor can therefore still
decide whether to accept your offer or not, or have his broker make a counteroffer.
4. Can the vendor increase the asking price for a property during negotiations?
Yes, the vendor can decide to increase or decrease the asking price. In addition, as a prospective buyer you may also decide during the negotiations to decrease your offer. As soon as the vendor makes a counteroffer, your previous offer lapses.
5. How is the purchase actually made?
Once the vendor and the buyer have reached agreement on the most important points (such as the price, the date of transfer and the resolutive condition), the vendor’s broker will set out the agreements made in a contract of sale. Resolutive conditions are an important aspect of this. As the buyer, you will not automatically get a resolutive condition. If you require a resolutive condition for the finance, for example, you must state this when making your offer. It is then important that the parties agree on any additional agreements and resolutive conditions before the contract of sale is drawn up. As soon as both parties have signed the contract of sale, and the buyer has received a copy of this contract, your statutory three-day reflection period as a private buyer takes place. Within this period, you as the buyer are entitled to cancel the purchase. If you choose not to do so, receive the finance and no other resolutive conditions stand in the way, then the
transfer will take place with the civil-law notary on the agreed date of transfer.
6. Is an NVM broker permitted to change the method of sale during negotiations?
Yes, this is permitted. Sometimes, there are so many interested parties offering the asking price or thereabouts, that it is difficult to determine who the best buyer is. In such cases, the vendor’s broker – in consultation with the vendor – may decide to discontinue the current negotiations and change the offers procedure, for example to a registration procedure. This gives all bidders an equal opportunity to make the highest offer. Before changing the system, the broker must of course fulfill any agreements already entered into.
7. Is an NVM broker entitled to ask a ridiculously high price for a property?
The vendor determines in consultation with his/her NVM broker the price at which he or she wishes to sell his/her home. The buyer is entitled to negotiate on the price, but the vendor always decides.
8. What is an option?
In a legal sense, an option gives a party the choice to conclude a contract of sale with the other party through a unilateral declaration. The parties have agreed on the conditions of the sale, but the buyer, for example, is given an extra week to consider. Such an option is common when purchasing newly built properties. This is not the case with existing properties, however. The term ‘option’ is often used incorrectly. In this case, it refers to certain concessions a vendor’s NVM broker may be prepared to make to an interested prospective buyer during the negotiation process. Such concessions may include, for example, that an interested buyer is given a few days to think about an offer. In the meantime, the NVM broker will try not to enter into negotiations with another party. The interested buyer can use this time to obtain better insight into his/her finance or the potential uses of the property. You cannot demand an option; the vendor and the vendor’s NVM broker will decide themselves whether particular concessions are made as part of the negotiation process.
9. Does a broker have to negotiate with me first if I was the first to call for a viewing or if I am the first to make an offer?
No. The vendor’s broker will determine the sale procedure together with the vendor. He/she is obliged to inform you of this, however. If you are seriously interested, ask the broker what your position is. This can prevent disappointment.
10. Is the real estate broker’s commission included in the ‘purchasing costs payable by the purchaser’?
No. The ‘purchasing costs payable by the purchaser’ includes the costs the government associates with the transfer of a property. This is the transfer tax (6%), the notarial charges for drawing up the deed of transfer of title and the cost of the inclusion thereof in the registers. In addition, the buyer should take the (notarial) costs for the drawing up and registration of the mortgage deed into account. If the vendor has called in a real estate broker to sell the house, these costs are at his/her expense. After all, the vendor’s broker represents the interests of the vendor and not yours as the buyer. For this reason, it is generally a good idea to hire an NVM real estate broker yourself. The real estate broker’s commission for the buyer’s broker is at the buyer’s expend.
See also our site at www.nvm.nl or visit an NVM real estate broker in your area. He or she will be happy to help you.