Alternatives to Bank Mortgages – a Q+A. A mortgage is the standard path for most people to become a homeowner. The absolute pleasure coming from owning your own home is also the single biggest financial loan most people will have during their lives. With that fact in mind, it is no wonder that people take extreme care when choosing a mortgage. There are so many options and for us expats it can all be very confusing. How do we choose? All too often, to keep it simple we ask our banks and they will very ably sell us one of their own packages. But what happens if that is not the best financial package? It can easily happen. Many of us expats do not speak Dutch or understand the intricacies of the payments and the tax implications. It is such a minefield! Here is a Q+A with the team from Independent Expat Finance on why it is worth getting advice and looking at all the options.
House price rises in The Netherlands are going up at an alarming rate. It is clear that this is mainly due to the supply and demand causes. There simply is not enough new build coming onto the market. Add to that huge levels of demand and you have the simple reason why houses prices are constantly rising. Add into this mix inflation which is causing interest rate hikes and this means you definitely need to choose the best mortgage for you. Guess what? It isn’t always the one your bank has on offer. Small monthly differences will add up to be a massive pile of money over 20 years. With that in mind, we asked these questions to the team at Independent Expat Finance and the answers and insights are very revealing. So let’s ask the questions about alternatives to bank mortgages
q1. Please tell us how your company started and how you help expats in The Netherlands.
Serge and Liaget founded the company in 2016. Prior to that, they were both working for ABN AMRO Bank as mortgage advisors focusing on expat clients. Within the banks, everything was being standardised and advisors are pushed to speak to more and more clients. This meant they were no longer able to offer the service that they wanted to each individual client. At Independent Expat Finance, we are able to take our time for clients. We guide all our clients throughout the whole mortgage process, from bidding to getting the keys. Also, once you have the keys the service doesn’t stop. Refinancing, mortgage increases or moving to your next home. We also offer additional services such as personal loans and insurance. You can always reach us through your personal advisor.
q2. For mortgages, why is independent advice so important?
You can walk into a bank and in some cases, this is perfectly fine. But for most clients, expats especially, getting unbiased advice always pays off. In The Netherlands, there are over 40 mortgage providers. Some of these you can only access through advisors like ourselves, When selecting a mortgage provider and product we look at your situation and wishes. Our advice is based on 3 elements: (1) interest rates, (2) terms & conditions and lastly (3) acceptance policies and processes. As we are specialists, we can save you time and money. Making it a stress-free application.
q3. What kind of money are we talking about over the years, just so readers can see how much they could save?
If you buy a home with energy label A you probably can get the best deal with ABN AMRO because of the extra discount. So if you are a client with another bank and don’t know this then over a 30 year period the difference can be thousands of Euros. But it’s not just about saving money, it’s also about getting your mortgage approved without any stress in the first place.
q4. Financing has until recently been at record lows. How do you see the next few years for interest rates and why is it still better to act now?
Over the last three years, interest rates have been fluctuating within a very low and tight range. Expectations were for rates to stay low. But with inflation worries now we can see that governments are considering increasing rates this year. This pushes mortgage rates up and we see that in the last few weeks this has been happening at a quick pace. Some banks have increased their rates 5 times since the beginning of the year. Many of our clients have just been refinancing their mortgage for lower rates or to gain security for a longer period of time. Also for buyers, it is still a good time to buy. Rates are still reasonably low and with the shortage of houses In The Netherlands that will remain for years to come we expect prices to keep going up (but maybe at a slower rate than in the last years). The longer you wait, the more difficult and expensive it will become.
q5. In your experience, what is the most important part of the mortgage process for expats?
Guidance. Helping people from different countries and backgrounds (who often don’t speak the language) understand the buying and mortgage process in clear and understandable language.
Listening to understand their situation and wishes so that we can offer different recommendations and the client is in total control to pick and choose what they want to do based on our advice.
q6. What particular things should expats consider when thinking about getting a mortgage?
If not with us, always still work with an independent mortgage advisor. We often get clients that have been to a bank first but somewhere in the process run into bumps or stressful situations and decide to switch to us. We know the acceptance policies of each bank and have good access to their mortgage acceptance teams. Some of these banks even handle our applications with priority ahead of all other clients, meaning we can get the mortgage approved within 1 day.
Thank you for these interesting insights on this important topic of alternatives to bank mortgages. For More information about how the Independent Expat Finance team can advise and help, see the contact details here:
Independent Expat Finance Website
Telephone: 085 058 0056
Address: Kingsfordweg 151, 1043 GR Amsterdam
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