The majority of the Belgian real estate market consists of houses and not apartments or other forms of grouped housing such as student housing or social housing. There is an increasing demand for new buildings, which has led the government to implement several measures to encourage this construction. This policy aims to reduce waiting times and increase the availability of homes by building more in regions where there is a high demand and reducing them in other less-demanded areas.
There are 3 methods that can be used when buying a house in Belgium (https://www.bluehomes.com/Immobilien-Belgien/B/de/debut.html). Contracts for homes start at €45,000 while contracts on commercial properties start at around €150,000 depending on their size. If you are buying through a professional broker you will have to pay 2% + VAT of the purchase price, and 1.5% + VAT if not intermediated (through a friendly agreement between the parties). If you are selling through a broker too, your costs will be 1% instead of 2%.
Assessors and auctioneers will need to be paid by the buyer as well as the seller. In case of an assessment, it is usually based on market prices as at that date. In cases where no one has made an offer higher than the assessed value, you may ask for a new assessment before accepting it. The transaction costs to buy a house in Belgium must be paid once the purchase contract is signed. The payment process may vary according to whether or not you have chosen a lawyer or an estate agency. However these payments must be paid before you will be able to sign the deeds of sale, but they can be deducted from your final purchase price. This is why it is important to find out what these deductions and payments mean and how much they cost: otherwise they can easily reach 10% or more of the purchase price.
Some services required by either the buyer or seller are not necessarily free of charge. Some services such as estate agents’ fees, legal costs and registration costs must be paid in advance. Other expenses such as notary fees, transfer tax and deed duties may or may not have to be paid by one or both parties depending on the financial situation of each party. A distinction also needs to be made between mandatory and optional costs: some must be paid, such as the registration fees and transfer tax; others are optional such as an estate agent’s fee or a notary’s fee.
The Belgian real estate market is regulated by the Land Registry Act of 30 January 1967 (revised in 2017). It regulates all aspects of property ownership: how it passes on death; the rights of spouses; the conditions under which a property can be occupied and its price determined. If you buy through an estate agent they will give you access to the Land Registry website where you can see what’s available at your level of interest – from small townhouses to country homes up for sale.
The Land Registry records: The buyer’s name and address, and the purchase price, The seller’s name and address, and the sale price. A unique number given to each property – its cadastral number – which is used by local authorities to identify it. It also shows whether there is a mortgage on the property or not.
If you buy a house through an estate agent they will be responsible for carrying out all the legal procedures related to buying a home in Belgium. For most of these tasks, such as drawing up contracts, you will have to pay them 2% + VAT of your final purchase price. This fee must be paid once you have signed contract papers but before you sign deeds of sale.
You will need to decide whether or not you want to be represented by a lawyer in the purchase of your house (see below). If both parties agree then it is possible for you to represent yourself instead. This is known as “propria persona”. It allows you to carry out all transactions at the Land Registry offices without any intermediary apart from the town clerk who has assigned each property its cadastral number. The advantage of being self-represented is that everything can be finalized very quickly, but only if the two parties are on good terms with one another …
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