Finding a home in Amsterdam
When looking for an apartment or finding a home, newspapers can come in handy for both looking through classifieds that others have placed and for placing your own (free) advertisement, if you know what kind of accommodation you prefer. There are many different papers for you to choose from:
- Het Parhool and Het Amsterdams Stadsblad are two widely circulating local daily papers that are in Dutch. This is not so problematic, however, since you are able to place ads in English, and it is not difficult to understand housing ads, especially once you have seen a few.
- The NRC and Volkskrant are popular national dailies that are in Dutch, and these might also offer valuable information for your search.
Newspapers are a convenient way to get an overview of the market, providing a large display of what is available in a categorical manner, and you might strike gold and find that ideal apartment or it might happen to find you. Nonetheless, it is more likely that you will find success through an agent (makelaar) who you will get in contact with via the agency that represents the property. You might find that newspapers are a great place to begin your search in this sense, especially on the weekends, when the real estate agencies typically advertise. Along with their classified section, you will be directed to the website of these companies, and you will be able to view the properties that are available through the agencies.
Since most landlords do not individually deal with their properties or the details of the rental agreements, you will find that even if you begin your search for an apartment online, you will often (perhaps inadvertently) find yourself in contact with a real estate agent/agency, as soon as you try to make an appointment to view an apartment. While this certainly comes along with some drawbacks, such as the agency fee that you will pay if you rent one of these properties (which will generally be one month’s rent, plus VAT), it is worth considering that agencies have access to the majority of houses that enter the market. Agents often take the time to personally escort you to the apartments that meet your specific wants or needs.
Real Estate Agents & Finding an Agency Online (in English)
While it is possible to start your apartment search by locating a real estate agent or an agency that might come with good recommendations, it is also important to consider the fact that many homes will already be advertised through a landlord or owner’s real estate agent or agency, and at the end of the day, the agent’s main concern will be to work in your interests so that the apartment (or another that meets your needs) will result in a contract signing and the agent’s commission (or the agency’s fee).
There are, however, some websites and agencies that are more focused on international clients, and they represent owners and landlords who often prefer to rent their properties to expat professionals, who have relocated to Amsterdam for employment purposes. When you rent a home from an agent/agency, you will need to be able to show that you can pay for the apartment for the duration of the contract, for example, by producing a salary slip and a work contract that adds up, so to speak. In some cases, you will also have to show that you are a legal resident in the country, if for example, you are not from the EU or a country that typically allows you to work and live in the Netherlands for the duration of the contract you would like to sign.
The Rots-Vast Groep rents, lets and manages rental properties for over 21 years. It is one of the largest real estate broker in homes for rent in The Netherlands. Most properties are listed online, however there is a one-time registration fee of € 40 in order to be able to arrange viewings and make offers. Registration also gives access to the most recent apartments on the market, giving you the advantage of high priority. They claim to have a 65% rate of success in finding a new home or workspace, which is high for Amsterdam’s cruel real estate market.
This housing agency works specifically for and with international people, who have relocated to the Netherlands on account of their jobs and who are looking for rental accommodations. This agency offers apartments in Amsterdam that are available for any length of time between 3 months up to 5 years with the possibility to extend longer, and they do not charge you a fee for access to their website or their services. You will only pay the agency once they have successfully helped find you the apartment that you will sign a contract for, in which case, they will charge you an agency fee. It is worth noting that with many expat agencies, who work largely with temporary rental agreements, the agency fee will be reduced from the standard one month’s rent (plus 19% VAT) to (typically) half, or a reasonable fraction, of the rent for contracts that are three months or shorter.
On this website, you can search through a large, regularly updated list of properties that are readily available in Amsterdam and around the Netherlands. You can also choose to view the property listings according to specific price ranges and numbers of rooms, and this website will display the listings on a map, so that you can conceptualise them within the city and in relation to the other properties.
Agents and owners can submit properties to this website, but for the most part, individual owners do not use this website to advertise their properties. By filling out a contact form, you are asking the person who posted the listing to contact you about the property. This is a site that was developed with expats in mind, as its name suggests, so don’t hesitate to contact the agent or landlord in English, and you will likely receive a response from someone who is used to working with international residents in Amsterdam.
Only registered agencies can post houses on this website, so when you see a house that you like, you will likely be directed to the agency’s website; through their website, you will be able to set up an appointment to view the apartment that caught your attention. With this kind of website and search trajectory, you will definitely end up paying an agency fee. You will also, however, be in the position to form a business relationship with a real estate agent, if you believe that the agency might help you find an apartment. On a website like this one, you have access to various agency websites.
This website is where agents and landlords can freely advertise apartments, and tenants can see what is available around the Netherlands. If you see something that interests you, you will have to subscribe to the service, in order to contact the agent or landlord. Once you have subscribed, you can continue to contact agents and landlords through the service for six months, for the 19.95 euro subscription fee.
This website is geared towards students, offering shared accommodations and studios that are located around universities, but it is also ideal for some individuals who are not students. You need to register in order to express interest in an apartment, and registration costs €17,95 for 10 reactions, €19,90 for 20 reactions, €23,50 and for 30 reactions that you send to landlords.
If you contact a landlord through one of these websites (as opposed to an agent) you will not have to pay an agency fee if you decide to move into that apartment. However, you will still most definitely be asked to pay a deposit when you rent an apartment. Importantly, you will want to be certain that your rental agreement is legitimate and that you and your landlord will enter into an honest and respectful agreement, if you opt for renting without third party liaising.