Saturday 14th July I spent a lot of today researching, learning how to rent a new home in The Netherlands It’s been a while since I rented a property – we’ve lived in a house we bought in Australia for the last few years – and the whole process is totally different here.  Here’s how I went about it and a few things I learnt along the way.

1. Find out which websites to use By both asking friends and family as well as using Facebook and Google, the most popular websites for renting a property in The Netherlands emerged.  The main one we used is:

funda.nlThey also have a neat iphone/ipad app.  I loved the ability to be able to search on certain criteria on an interactive map. A few other websites we checked out as well were:

Thanks to those on the Dutch Australian Facebook page who made some of these recommendations.

2. Choose a specific location We had already done some research in this area and were lucky to have lived here before and have some friends and family we could ask.  There’s a huge number of factors to take into consideration including work opportunities, travel times to work, affordability, schools, public transport and much much more.  I’d suggest making a list of the most important criteria for you and your family and using this as a base for either internet research or actually exploring various areas if you’re able to. We chose the area of Ypenburg as it fits a lot of the criteria we had for our family.  By choosing a specific location, it meant I could do some extensive research and become really familiar with that particular area.  We still kept an eye out for nearby locations but as we got to research it more – and then went to personally explore the area – the more my husband and I felt it was the right choice for our family.   If you need to, list out the pros and cons of various areas before deciding on one (or two) but I felt in my experience it was important to narrow the search or it just got too overwhelming.

3.  Understand the various terms used in rental propertiesSome descriptions of rental properties are in both Dutch and English, but either way there are some unique terms you need to understand such as:

  • Kaal: meaning the property is bare, literally meaning “bald” – and it totally is – you’ll need to put in flooring and lighting and curtains/blinds
  • Gestoffeerd: there is flooring already in, and likely to be lighting and curtains/blinds
  • Gemeubileerd: fully furnished
Below is an example of gestoffeerd…unfortunately not within our budget though!
gestofferd

4.  Set a budget You will need to know how much you are able to comfortably spend on renting a property and there are also actually regulations in place meaning you may not be allowed to rent a property if the monthly rent is more than a quarter of your monthly income. Also make sure you know if the rental is inclusief (including electricity etc) or exclusief(meaning you pay electricity etc yourself).  Ask what exactly is included and expected for you to pay – the most common are

  • electricity
  • service costs
  • parking

5.  Compare properties This is where the Funda.nlapp and website makes it easy, you can save a few as your favourites and compare the overzicht (overview) with things such as:

  • the size of the property,
  • Number of bedrooms (the decription of any Dutch property will
  • Whether there is a garden (tuin) and/or balcony
We made an excel sheet so we had a quick overview of the specifics for each property.

6.  Make appointments to view Depending on where you are renting, you may find there is one agency that represents a majority of the properties.  We found one who seemed to be the most prominent in the area, phoned them with a description of what we were looking for, and they set an appointment to view (the first available was next week)….so look out for that post for the next stage in how to arrange to rent a home in The Netherlands.

To follow the rest of our journey, head over to Life in The Netherlands for more posts.