Brussels can seem strange for people who have just moved to the city, and the subtleties of the communes play a pivotal role in deciding where exactly one should look to live. As mentioned before, it is advantageous to be in the city for a while before signing a long-term rental lease or buying a property as the intricacies of the city take a while to discover. Using a real-estate agent from the very beginning is a very good idea, in particular if you are new in the city, as they will be able to determine the areas best suited to your needs, value the property, as well as negotiate price, financing and other information you may not be familiar with as a foreigner. Estate agents typically charge around 3% of the property price for purchases and a one month equivalent on rentals, to be paid by the landlord.
One advantage of Brussels is that if you do buy within the 19 communes of greater Brussels, you are close to most of what the inner-city has to offer and it is relatively easy and quick to get around, ruling proximity to certain things a non-issue. However, once you get acclimatized to the city you will find your own niche and that will lead to making an informed decision as to where to live. The internet provides the widest range of listings in the city and the websites listed below are the most valuable resource in your search. Newspapers can be a good resource as well, and a list of some of the English newspapers is below.
- The Bulletin – A weekly publication that has a classifieds section that includes real estate. It does not have as many listings as some of the websites but it does provide residences in areas expats tend to call home. Subscriptions can be found at discounted rates on the website http://www.xpats.com/en/real-estate-categories
- Away Magazine – A bi-monthly production focusing on expats and their requirements. This publication does have properties in its classifieds but not a great resource when seriously on the hunt for property http://www.awaymagazine.be
- Het Laatste Nieuws – One of the largest circulation newspapers in Belgium. Has a large classified section including accommodation. It is however only available in Flemish.
- La Soire – The most popular French language newspaper lists properties in its classified section, in French.
Websites are the best resource and below are 3 popular websites and they can be used if you’re looking to buy or rent. The first website is in English and the other two in French or Dutch, though they are relatively simple to use:
Real Estate Agents
A comprehensive list of estate agents can be found at http://www.logic-immo.be/en/estate-agents.html. Below is a list of a few English-speaking agents;
- Groupe Trevi – Agents based in Uccle in the south of Brussels. All agents are multi-lingual. Telephone: 023432240. Address: Rue Joseph 35, Uccle 1180. Website: http://www.trevi.be/fr/index_fr.php
- Macnash Associates – Agency with a large number of listings and multi-lingual staff and offices around the city. Telephone: 023590678. Website: http://www.macnash.com/en/Macnash/Who-are-we
- Green Key – Located on the western side of the city. Rue Theodore de Cuyper 119, Brussels 1200. Telephone: 0495544944. English-speaking contacts: Rapahael Ney Viera and Dominique Dagonnier. Website: http://www.greenkey.be/Web.mvc/en-gb/Index