What you should think of first is your budget. How much can this house cost? Don’t forget to add the notary fees, registration fees, etc. to the purchase price. Also take into account the taxes that you will have to pay and the mandatory insurance. If you buy a house that is in need of repairs or renovation, then you also need to take into account those costs.
When you have your final budget, you can go to the bank and ask for a loan (NL: lening FR: prêt). It’s best to compare a few banks and have them compete with each other. They will lower the interest rate if they think you are a good client.
Property in Belgium can be found in 4 ways:
When you find properties that you would like to visit, you should make a list of criteria (price, location, view, garden, distance from your workplace, etc.) and take it with you. That way you can judge the property and compare it with other properties that you visited.
When looking at an advertisement you need to know that the floor area (NL: grondoppervlakte FR: surface au sol) is the square meters built on the first level. The built area (NL: bebouwde oppervlakte FR: surface bâtie) is the square meters on all levels and the living area (NL: bewoonbare oppervlakte FR: surface habitable) equals the built area, but only between the centers of all external walls.
When you visit the properties on your list, it’s best to have someone with you who knows something about DIY or has a good eye for detail. Other things you should take with you on the visit are a measuring tool, a flash light and a compass, that way you know what orientation the house has. It’s important not to let the sales person disturb you when you’re measuring or thinking. Do everything on your own pace.
The first thing you need to do when you decided which property to buy is to have it checked by a surveyor. This will cost you some money (between 100€ and 300€) but is a very useful investment if it finds problems that you would not have noticed yourself. It’s best to find a surveyor that has been approved by the bank where you’ll be getting your mortgage, since they sometimes send a surveyor to your future property at your cost, so if you can show them the survey report, they will not charge you for this.