Frequently asked questions

Below, you can find some questions our customers ask us regularly.

If you have any question that is not covered in the concerning topics, please contact us.

 

Buying/renting

If the seller and buyer reach an oral agreement about the most important matters relating to the sale (usually the price, the delivery date and contingency clauses), then the purchase is completed. The selling estate agent confirms the purchase in the deed of purchase. This outlines the oral arrangements made between the parties. Usually, further arrangements (such as the penalty clause) are also documented in the deed of purchase. Such additional arrangements only apply after both parties have signed, or verbally agreed to, the deed of purchase. 

 Contingency conditions are also an important subject. The parties must reach agreement about these before the “verbal” purchase. Please note: you as a buyer are not automatically granted a “subject to mortgage approval” clause. When making your offer, you must explicitly state that this is "subject to mortgage approval".
The seller, together with his estate agent, decides on the price he wants for his home. The buyer can negotiate the price, but the seller decides. This principle applies to all matters that the seller considers important in deciding whether to sell his home to this buyer. If the seller and buyer manage to agree about these matters, the purchase is completed. Sometimes the seller and buyer decide not to negotiate certain less important details – such as movable property – until reaching agreement on the principal issues. 
 In such a case the court may decide that the parties, having agreed on the matters that they themselves have indicated as the principal issues, must continue with the negotiations until a reasonable result has been achieved.

General

You cannot force the start of negotiations. You are only in negotiation when the seller responds to your offer; in other words, when the seller makes a counter-offer. The selling estate agent can also explicitly inform you that he is in negotiation with you. You are not in negotiation if the selling estate agent says he will discuss your offer with the seller.
Yes. If the asking price is only an invitation to make an offer (as described under "Will I be the buyer if I offer the asking price?"), the seller can also decide to lower or increase the asking price. During the negotiation process, offers and counter-offers may pass to and fro between parties. If the selling party accepts an offer, then the purchase is completed. If the seller makes a counter-offer, the buyer can complete the purchase by accepting it. The reverse is also possible. If the potential buyer makes a counter-offer that differs from the selling party’s earlier offer, then the selling party’s earlier offer is no longer valid. Therefore, even when the parties "come closer to each other" in the bidding process, the seller can suddenly decide to raise their counter-offer, while the buyer can lower their original offer.
The answer in all cases is no. The selling estate agent decides on the selling procedure together with the seller. The selling estate agent is obliged to inform you of this procedure. If you are seriously interested, it is wise to ask the estate agent what your position is. That can avoid a lot of disappointment. If the estate agent makes you any promises or concessions, they must honor these.
Yes, he is. Negotiations need not lead to a sale. In addition, the seller may want to know whether more people are interested. The first bidder need not be the best. That’s why the viewings continue. Very often the selling estate agent will tell other prospective buyers that the property is "under offer". In this case, another prospective buyer is entitled to make an offer, but will not receive an answer until the negotiations with the first interested party have ended. The estate agent will not make any statements about the size of the offer. This could induce overbidding.
An option in a legal sense gives one of the parties the choice to conclude a purchase agreement with another party by means of unilateral declaration. In this case the parties have already agreed on the conditions of sale, but the buyer is, for instance, given an extra week to make up his mind. Such options are quite common when purchasing new-build properties. With the purchase of an existing home, the term 'option' is often used incorrectly. In such cases, it refers to certain promises or concessions that a selling estate agent may make to the prospective buyer during the negotiation process. Such a concession may, for instance, be that a prospective buyer gets a few days to think the offer over. In that time the estate agent will not try to enter into negotiations with another party. The prospective buyer can use this time to find out more about their mortgage or the suitability of the property. You cannot demand an option; only the seller and selling estate agent can decide whether any promises or concessions are made in the negotiation process.
No. The buyer pays the costs that the state imposes on transfers of property, i.e. property transfer tax (6%), and the notary’s costs for drawing up the deed of delivery and entering the deed in the registers. If the seller engages an estate agent to sell his property, then they must pay the estate agent for their service (estate agent’s fee). The estate agent mainly represents the seller’s interests and not the buyer’s. So the buyer would be wise to engage an estate agent. 

Selling/letting

Yes. Either party may discontinue the negotiations. Sometimes there are so many prospective buyers offering or approximating the asking price that it is difficult to decide who the best buyer is. In this case the selling estate agent can decide – in consultation with the seller – to break off the negotiations and to change the bidding procedure. But before doing so, he must naturally meet any commitments already made (see also questions 8 and 9). The estate agent may then opt for a tendering procedure; in which case all bidders have an equal opportunity to make the highest offer. Ask your NVM estate agent for a folder about this procedure.

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