Overview In Belgium, prices appear to be lower than in most of European countries despite the fact that there was a 40% increase since 2000 in several areas of Brussels.
Houses and villas are normally preferred by purchasers of high end properties although top class apartments are also available.
Real Estate Practices In Belgium, it is not compulsory to work with a real estate agent. However, it is highly recommended for security purposes and to benefit from high quality service and consultancy
The fee is paid by the vendor (seller) and is normally 3% + VAT (21%), 3.63% inclusive in total. In some cases, a purchaser may agree to pay the agency fee but it has to be declared upfront by the agent.
All real estate agents must have a license assuring both parties of a high standard of professional service:
Assistance from the beginning of the relationship till the conclusion
Professional insurance in case of legal problems
Well-known agencies often have exclusive contracts and a system of distribution of information which gives the purchaser a wider choice of properties as there is no multiple listing service.
The real estate agent is an intermediary between the seller and the buyer. He or she evaluates the property, carries out procedures such as research on a buyer, advertising, drafting of agreements, etc.
A potential buyer must send a written offer to the real estate agent who will contact the seller. If this offer is below the sales mandate price, the seller is free to accept or refuse.
Once they agree on the price, the buyer and seller sign a preliminary sale contract. The buyer pays a 10% deposit fee which is transferred to a sequestrated account by the vendor’s notary
In addition, the buyer will pay a transfer fee called “droits d’enregistrement” collected by the notary for the state which represents 12.5% of the selling price. The notary’s fee is relatively low, +/- 1.5% of the selling price and covers legal insurance relating to the title, contract and town planning regulations.
It usually takes 90 days for properties to go to settlement and at that time, the buyer and seller sign the final contract which is then notarised.
Mortgages are available to foreigners. This issue is normally treated outside the agency, directly with a bank or with a specialist who is able to give complete information and advice on fiscal treatment between countries.
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