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Buying Real Estate for Expats event on 11 October in Brussels

16:14 20/09/2018

Workers and their families who arrive in Brussels have plenty to keep them busy, sorting out residence permits, school enrolments, work contracts – and where they’re going to live. Many start out renting, but then soon want to buy once they know the capital and its neighbourhoods a bit better.

But is it worth buying if you’re not sure how long you’re going to stay? How do you nail down a budget? And does Belgium have any specific tax or mortgage laws you should know about before you begin looking for your dream house?

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 11 October at the ING building on Avenue Marnix in Brussels.

Kristien Viaene, the CEO of Noa Real Estate will present “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.

‘Look past cosmetic improvements’

In a recent interview on homebuying, Viaene shared some information, just a bit of what you’ll hear at Buying Real Estate for Expats: “You have to ask: Is the heating system new or old, how are the roof and the wiring, are windows double-glazed? Look out for humidity in the cellar or cracks in the walls. Ask the owner to peel back wallpaper or lift the carpet so you can see the state of the flooring. There might have been cosmetic work done recently, but if you look beyond that it could still be an old house with old wiring and an old roof.”

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 “Buying real estate in Belgium, the financing, insurance and … taxation issues” provides invaluable information.

Buying Real Estate for Expats is free, but advance registration is required

Photo: Getty Images

Written by The Bulletin

Comments

Bocholt

We made the mistake of renovating and buying our grandparents family home in Bocholt and then made the move. After 3 years of paying our tax in the UK on our pensions, the tax office decided it could go back 3 years and tax us over there. We could not afford to stay and sold our house 2 years later. The writing had been on the wall when we went to apply for residency and came away in tears from the Bocholt Gemeente.Only trated with respect when a cousin working for the council stepped in! Although I was born in Brussels we were treated like unwanted migrants! Glad Brexit is on the way!!!

Oct 6, 2018 13:34
bobk100

You may wish to investigate being taxed twice.

As I understand it, there is an EU and a separate bi-lateral agreement that you cannot be taxed twice on the same income.

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/taxes/double-taxation/index_e...

Hope these clues help you.
Regards

Oct 6, 2018 20:59
Bocholt

Thanks. Yes we were able to get our UK tax back but Belgium's crippling regime meant that we had to pay 3 times the amount of our UK tax! The tax inspector in Bree said that a large number of Begian Nationals avoid tax via the "black" economy, make no provision for pensions and so they tax those that they can. This was 3 years back tax even though we had visited the tax office in Bree for the 3 years and been told we were ok as we paid tax in the UK. He also said that my NHS pension was something he would aspire to! While trying to sell our house the friendly Bocholt Gemeente decide they would tax us on an Empty house 3 times our normal council tax only saved by the fact that the Burgermeister had not been charged for his "Empty" house! We also had to sell our new car at a loss as we had de-registered. I think it is important that people are aware what can happen. The fact that the jealous Dutch people who had purchased houses in our locality between the two canals in Bocholt told us to go back to the UK was another matter! Sorry but having worked in the uk all our lives we had not expected to be treated like this in another EU state. I hope this is helpful for those considering a move to Belgium.

Oct 7, 2018 10:33