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Buying a home in Belgium? ING's free event on 12 March is here to help
Belgium has long enjoyed a love affair with home ownership - but as an expat you might find it daunting making that first step on to the property ladder.
Is it worth buying if you think you'll only be in Belgium for a few years? How much can you afford? What's involved in getting a mortgage here?
The answer to these questions – and many others you might not yet have thought of – can be had at ING Bank’s free event Buying Real Estate for Expats. Three main topics will be covered during the event, which is fully in English and takes place on the evening of Tuesday 12 March at the ING building on Avenue Marnix in Brussels, next to Trône metro station.
Kristien Viaene, the CEO of NOA Real Estate will present a session on "the latest trends in property purchases". Having worked as an estate agent in Brussels for many years, she has a wealth of knowledge about the local market.
One of her top tips for finding your dream home is to not rely too much on the internet - but walk around and open your eyes in the neighbourhoods you like.
"You can register your criteria on a website and sign up with different real estate agencies, but it’s time-consuming," she says. "Even if you register with ten agencies, you might still miss your dream property – say it belongs to an old lady who just puts a ‘for sale’ notice in her window.
"If you want to move, visit the area you have in mind and get a feel for it. Walk around the neighbourhood on different days, at different times, look out for noise, traffic and so on. Talk to the neighbours if you can and find out if there are problems in the neighbourhood. You can learn a lot like this."
Other speakers at the event include Alexis Lemmerling of notary firm Berquin, who will present: "How the notary will protect you and your property", and Dave Deruytter, head of expats and non-residents at ING Bank Belgium, whose session "Buying real estate in Belgium, the financing, insurance and … taxation issues" provides invaluable information.
Doors open at 17.30 with the conference starting at 18.00 sharp, followed by a drinks reception from 19.30. The Buying Real Estate for Expats event is free, but advance registration is essential.