When we left for our big journey to Australia we initially intended to sell our house before moving. However the Dutch housing market was still in the middle of a crisis that started in 2008. Prices dropped by 30% since the peak of the market and there was a very low demand. If we could sell it, it would be with a large loss. So we decided to rent it out to a friend who needed a place to live.
As our move to Australia is a temporary one, our friend kept her eyes open for a new place to live and towards the end of last year, she told us that she found one. So we had to decide what we were going to do. Turning our move into one and a half and moving back to the Netherlands now was a quick no. We had thought about extending our planned two years stay into three. Do we want to make that definite? Are we going to rent out our house to someone that we do not know?
In Australia it is very common to have your house for lease. There even is a tax advantage for it. So many people own a house, lease it out and live in a rental themselves.
In the Netherlands you have a large tax advantage if you live in the house. When you lease it out there are no tax advantages. In fact most banks do not accept someone else living in your house, as tenants have a lot of rights. For example if we would not pay our mortgage and the bank would have to sell the house, they could not evict the tenants. Which means they would have to sell it with tenants. As banks are not giving a loan for that, there is no demand for investment houses for private people. So you have a vicious circle.
We had the real estate agent give us an price indication and decided to put it on the market. Currently that is a buyers market. Real estate agents make half hour appointments at times that suit the potential buyers and go through the house with them. If they are very interested they book a second half hour appointment, possibly even a third.
A very different situation to the Australian sellers market as was evident when I visited an auction here. The one or two viewing times are on set office hours or Saturday mornings as scheduled by the agent.
The best part of our house is it’s location, there is a lot of car free play area around it and there are always other children to play with. It is hard to see this advantage in winter.
The current average of a house being on the market in the Netherlands is 108 days. Although we had it on the market in the middle of winter, we can say that after eight weeks on the market our house is now sold.
Luka was born here. The children made their first friends, they learned how to walk and ride their bikes.
We have many very good memories on this square and will definitely miss our neighbors and friends, but beware. We will be back to visit!