Your Guide to Buying Property in Belgium
Every year more people are discovering the wonder that is Belgium. With a rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and affordable living costs, now is as good a time as ever to check out a property in Belgium!
Before starting the purchase process, let’s first go over why Belgium is the perfect place for newcomers. Not only is it home to some of the finest chocolate, waffles, and beers in the world, but another key perk to Belgium is also its accessibility. The country’s smaller size can allow you to live in the countryside while still having an easy work commute. For travel lovers, Belgium is only three hours or so by train to tourist destinations like London, Paris, or Amsterdam. Belgium is a relatively cheaper option as well, where you can experience a high standard of living without the high costs that you might find in neighboring countries.
Where in Belgium?
Don’t let the small size of the country fool you, there is plenty of variety in the Belgium real estate market. While we recommend you travel to Belgium yourself and contact an experienced RE/MAX agent to figure out which region fits you best, here’s a quick taste of the options Belgium offers:
Brussels: As the center of Belgium's economy and one of its main cultural hubs, the city’s high concentration of entrepreneurs (over 50 restaurants per square kilometer!) makes it a popular choice for expats.
Flanders Region: Many of Belgium’s breathtaking cities like Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent are found here. This region is filled with history and is celebrated for its old-world beauty and detailed architecture.
Wallonia Region: Wallonia offers more affordable housing options, and still provides vibrant nightlife and beautiful neighborhoods. With a castle for every 25 square kilometers of the region, this is a dream destination for fairy tale lovers.
Ready to Buy?
Once you’ve found the right home, it’s time to begin the buying process. You’ll need to make a formal offer in writing, and your local RE/MAX agent will be able to draft an offer on your behalf. If the offer is accepted, then a purchase commitment contract is required next in order for you to be legally tied to the sale. Since most Belgian contracts are in French or Dutch, a local agent will be key for translation assistance. Keep in mind that once the contract is signed, 10% of your deposit will be put in escrow and forfeited if you decide to pull out of the deal. While it may not be required for a mortgage, we still recommend a valuation survey to give you a clear idea of what you’re buying into, and to make you aware of any potential problems with the property.
Mortgages and other Fees
Although tax requirements may differ, foreigners are able to purchase Belgian property without being a resident – and as long as they have proof of identification and income, foreigners are also allowed to take out Belgian mortgages. These mortgages can be both fixed or variable, and loans are typically granted for ten years or more. Ask your RE/MAX agent to suggest a lender that will suit your needs.
In addition to the sales price, there are a number of fees you’ll need to take care of before the sale can be finalized. These include the VAT, the notary fees, valuation costs, mortgage costs, and agent commission. Total fees can reach as high as 21% depending on whether the property is newly-built or older than two years.
Finalizing your Purchase
One of the final steps of your property journey is to visit a notary. Notaries are responsible for drawing up the deeds that transfer the legal ownership of the property, and you’ll need one to finalize the process. But don’t worry, your local RE/MAX agent will have the right connections! Once both parties sign the notarized deed, you’ll receive the keys to your property, and the sale must be registered with the registry office within four months of the sale. Getting all the legal paperwork taken care of can be quite a time consuming – sometimes even taking half a year or longer to complete – but the right real estate agent by your side can shorten the process by half!
Now it’s time to ENJOY
Once the sale is complete and all the paperwork is out of the way, all that will be left to do is to get ready for the time of your life in Belgium. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with your local RE/MAX agent in Belgium and take the first step in your exciting new journey
Please Note: While RE/MAX Europe has compiled the information on this page diligently and to the best of its knowledge, RE/MAX Europe does not assume any liability for the accuracy of the information or for any damages resulting from the use of the information.