Belgian Real Estate: Opportunities for Foreigners

So you want to buy a house, but has no clue where to start? Well then this article is for you! To begin with, in Belgium there are two types of people that can sell you a property. There’s the private person (the “vendeur”) and the company (the “vendeur”). When you buy from the public, it’s called a sale “à l’amiable” or “privé”. When you buy from a real estate agency, it is called an auction. Sometimes they call it an auction when you buy from a private person too, but this is not entirely correct. It’s just that these auctions are often held in the real estate agency and therefor people use the term ‘auction’.

In Belgium there are two types of people that can sell you a property.

For example: If someone wants to sell their house and calls up one of these agencies with their property on sale, they will likely be subjected to an auction procedure. This means that several companies meet up in order to make the highest offer and the house will be sold to the highest bidder. This procedure can be done either in public (like in a real estate agency) or behind closed doors, when you meet with an auctioneer privately.

The difference between buying from a private person and from a company is only visible at the signing of contract: The law requires that all offers must include a deposit which goes into effect once signed by both parties. When you buy from a company, this deposit will go directly to them, whereas if you buy from someone privately, this money will go directly to the seller . At signing of contract however, there’s also another significant difference: mandatory registration fees for private sales. Registration fees in Belgium are calculated as follows: (VAT 21% included)

  • Basic fee: 7,621.00 € / (covers first year of registration and all properties from the Flemish region)
  • Plus fee per square meter, from 0 to 50 m2: 4.28 €/m2
  • Plus fee per square meter, from 50 to 100 m2: 3.42 €/m2
  • Plus fee per square meter, from 100 to 150 m2: 2.58  €/m²
  • Plus fee per square meter, from 151 to 300 m2: 1.96 €  €/m²
  • Plus fee per square meter, over 300 m2: 1.46 €  €/m²
  • Plus fee if the surface area is over 500m²: 1.04 €/m²

Plus fees are much higher when you buy from a company. They are collected by “les greffiers”. For example, when buying an apartment, you’ll daily pay registration fees at about 0,50€ per day the apartment has been in your ownership .

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So one final note for this article. These estimated prices assume you’re looking for an average priced property in Belgium (which is well below rip-off price levels). Prices vary quite considerably based on regions and cities though. In Flanders alone you can find cheaper and more expensive regions. The same counts for the different cities in Belgium (, so always ask around for prices in your region/city of choice! I cannot give any correct estimations for other areas outside of Flanders. As a general rule: Southern parts (e.g.: Brussels and Wallonia) tend to be more expensive though not all that much compared to other European countries .

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