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Questions and answers

Are you on the point of buying an apartment? Or have you just found your dream house? Obviously, you would rather take this important step without being burdened by too many worries. On this page, CENTURY 21’s real estate specialists answer the questions most frequently asked by buyers.
If you would like personal advice, please contact a CENTURY 21 office in your neighbourhood. CENTURY 21’s real estate specialists will give you personal, objective and impartial advice.


What must I do first: buy or sell?

Everything is possible, but you will be in the advantage if you sell first, as you will then know exactly where you stand regarding your financial situation. You can then start looking for your new home with complete peace of mind. However, you may be worried that you will miss out on your dream home if you don’t move quickly. In that case, you can buy first and make use of a bridging loan. In some cases, it is possible to remain in your current house for a while. Your CENTURY 21 consultant will have the answers to all your questions.

Am I eligible for a bridging loan?

That is up to your banker, who will assess your application on your credit worthiness and the saleability of your house. The bridging loan is then repaid from the proceeds of the sale. Caution: costs and interest can be very high: sometimes other forms of financing can be more advantageous. Ask your CENTURY 21 real estate specialist or banker for more information.

What is a preliminary sales agreement (compromis)?

You will sign a preliminary sales agreement after agreeing upon the price with the seller. Caution: this agreement is legally mandatory and binding. It is therefore very important that all information is correct, complete and in compliance with legislation. Your CENTURY 21 real estate specialist will guide you through this important step.

What is stipulated in the preliminary sales agreement (compromis)?

  • the agreed upon price
  • the deposit to be paid and registration rights
  • the term in which the remaining balance is to be paid
  • the exact location of the property
  • any existing rights of use
  • any existing suspensive conditions
  • occupation fees, if the current owner wishes to remain living in the property for a while
  • and much, much more …

When does the preliminary sale agreement (compromis) apply?

The preliminary sales agreement will enter into effect once all suspensive conditions, such as obtaining a loan, have been met. The deposit must also be paid upon signing. We will check that the house is not encumbered by debts or taxes. The notarial deeds must be executed within four months after signing the preliminary sale agreement in the presence of a notary, where the buyer will pay the remaining balance and receive the keys to the purchased property.

The preliminary sales agreement has been signed. What now?

Now, there is work to be done, because you will be moving shortly. First of all, read our handy relocation guide, which is full of information and tips to make your move a success. Ask for a free copy at your CENTURY 21 estate agent.

A few of our tips:

  • Start organising your move now. Find a removal firm and remember that packing normally takes longer than you think!
  • If you live in a rented property, terminate your rent contract. You may be permitted or required to find another tenant yourself.
  • Ask your water, gas and electricity providers to close your meters and provide connections in your new home, if necessary.
  • Inform everyone of your new address.

What are the notarial deeds?

The notarial deeds give you legal certainly about your purchase. They are drawn up by a notary – hence the name – on the basis of the preliminary sale agreement. The notary will also register them with the registration and mortgage registry office. This prevents you from taking out a second mortgage on the same house.

What is reduced registration?

In Belgium, you pay stamp duty on your purchase to the tax authorities. The amount depends on various criteria, such as the cadastral income or the district in which your home or plot of land is located. If a stamp duty of 10 of 12.5 per cent applies, this is known as a ‘full registration’, while 5 or 6 per cent is known as a ‘reduced registration’. Must you pay the full or reduced rate? Your CENTURY 21 real estate specialist will guide and advise you.

What is a suspensive condition?

As the name suggests, this term refers to a condition that can suspend the sale: i.e., the sale will only become definitive once this condition has been met. An example of a suspensive condition is obtaining a loan.

What is the difference between the estimated value and the sale value?

A chartered or acknowledged assessor will determine the estimated value of a property using objective criteria, such as its condition, location and surface area. This estimated value is useful for determining inheritance tax or your fire insurance.
The sale value also depends upon subjective criteria. The owner and buyer will determine the final sale value between themselves. The number of buyers also has a large influence upon this price. The more buyers are interested, the higher the sales price.

Why do I need an estate agent if I can find a house myself through the newspapers and the Internet?

Surfing the Internet is an excellent way to find a property, but a CENTURY 21 real estate specialist is even better. The difference lies in our personal, professional approach that clearly works in your favour.

  • You will save a great deal of time by making a pre-selection of properties that meet your requirements.
  • You will receive detailed advice and answers to all your questions.
  • You set the agenda.
  • You will see brand new houses on the market before they appear in the newspapers or on the Internet.
  • You will benefit from our knowledge on prices, taxes, costs, financing and the neighbourhood in which you are looking for a property.
  • You will have access to every available tool for advice.
  • You don’t have to worry, because you will never have to face this challenge on your own. We will help you from the start of your search to the execution of the deeds.

Is it not more expensive to buy through an estate agent?

No. Estate agents are paid for their work – that is only reasonable. However, they will save you both time and money, thanks to their expert knowledge of the market. They will also protect you from making a bad purchase and administrative problems. In the long run, it is often cheaper to buy through a real estate advisor.

What is a tying arrangement?

This means that you purchase a plot of land and the house that you are going to build upon it together. Occasionally, this can come as an unpleasant surprise. Our tip is to read the sales conditions very carefully and to go through them with your CENTURY 21 real estate specialist.

Which additional costs must I bear in mind?


  • Notary costs
  • Stamp duty in Belgium: in Flanders, this is 5% or 10% (depending on the cadastral income), in Wallonia, it is 6% or 12.5% (also depending on the cadastral income) while in Brussels it is 12.5% of the purchase price. Your CENTURY 21 consultant will know the conditions.
  • Costs of the mortgage deeds: these depend upon the amount of the loan. These costs include the notary’s fee for drawing up the mortgage deeds, the costs of the mortgage research and stamp duties.
  • Mortgage protection insurance
  • You usually take out a mortgage protection insurance along with the loan for your property. In the event of your death, this insurance will repay the amount still owed to your financial institution.
  • Fire insurance
  • You must have an owner’s fire insurance policy for the duration period of your loan. It is best to do this immediately after signing the preliminary sales agreement, as you are liable for all risks from this point onwards.
  • Administration costs
  • The costs charged by your financial institution for arranging your loan.
  • Land tax
  • The land tax in Belgium is based on your home’s cadastral income and is stated on your annual tax assessment notice.

In the Netherlands you will have to take into account the cadastral expenses for the registration of the contract and of the tax on the transfer of ownership.

You will pay this tax after your purchase and this will equal 2 per cent of the value of your purchase.

Are interest, capital and life insurance tax deductible?

All expenses for your mortgage loan, such as interest, principal payments and life insurance premiums (mortgage protection insurance) are tax deductible, providing that you meet certain conditions. They are only available if this is your only property and if you are the actual owner. Your CENTURY 21 adviser knows all the details.

What is the reflexion period?

In the Netherlands, the buyer has the possibility–during this period- to cancel the preliminary sales agreement. This reflexion period consists of a (minimum) of 3 days and begins the day after the day the buyer signed the agreement (signed by the two parties) or the day after the day on which you receive a copy of this agreement. The reflexion period will end at midnight of the final day of this period.

If you have any questions? Contact us: