There are no restrictions for foreigners when considering buying property in Belgium. The house buying process is relatively straight forward, but may take some time to process.
When you have found the house you wish to buy an agreement to purchase is signed (compromis de vente/verkoopcompris) this therefore commits you immediately to buy. A final contract (acte authentique/authentieke) is signed a few months later when all the required legal paperwork and mortgage has been sorted. The work is done for each party – the buyer and seller buy a notaire each.
A Notaire When choosing a notaire it is a good idea to select one before you find the house, that speaks a common language to suit both parties and conveniently located, a recommendation is always best. All notaires are obliged to charge the same fee, there are fixed state-agreed costs for their legal work.
The sellers’ notaire will draw up the draft purchase agreement (compromis de vente), and send it to the buyer’s notaire and during this time can amend any clauses, once happy with the agreement both parties visit the seller’s office to sign and the buyer pays a deposit of usually 10%.There will then be an agreed time to find the relevant mortgage, a notaire will do legal checks and ensuring no problems approximately 4 months later the final signing (acte authentique) will be done and the remainder of the house price is paid by cheque, in return the keys are handed to the buyer.
Finding a House The final sum you pay can vary dramatically compared to the original purchase price because there is for most properties in Belgium a 12.5% registration tax to pay to the state. Buying in Flanders may have a slight reduction to this figure.
There is also the notaires fee although charges may vary according to the value of the property it is around 1.6%. Then it is likely you will require a mortgage so there is a state tax added to this, plus the fixed cost for the notaire and a fixed fee for the lender to be paid. So with all the extra fees it can add some 17% to the original house price making the buying process in Belgium expensive. Surveys When buying a house a structural survey is not a required legality for acquiring a mortgage. An independent can be under taken for peace of mind, however it should be done before signing the compromis de vente incase of hidden major problems as penalty fee is payable after signing. Also after signing the compromis de vente you are liable for property insurance, even though you do not own it.