The final steps to becoming a homeowner

As promised, I’ll now cover the next phase of the purchase process. We’re now moving forward to an actual sale, yay!

So I stopped at the topic "purchase offer" in my previous article. I want to give you a really important tip, make sure that you have written evidence of your accepted offer, meaning a document signed by you and the seller. Having said that, we can move forward!

As stated previously, it’s important to contact a notary 'cause you will need him in this stage. Fair tip: there's no problem in using the same notary as the seller. After signing a legally binding purchase offer, it’s recommended to close a private contract. There are two types of contracts: a "compromis" and a "mutual sales agreement". The mutual sales agreement has become the standard in Antwerp.

The main difference lies in the the time gap between the contract and the official deed. If you sign a compromis, the offical purchase deed needs to be signed before a period of 4 months passes. If this doesn't happen with actions taken by the parties, the notary is legally obliged to interpret this first document as an official deed, so you will have to pay the purchase price and registration fee right away.

The mutual sales agreement gives you the flexibility to shorten or lengthen the period of 4 months beforehand. This agreement is a legally binding promise of the seller to sell the apartment exclusively to the buyer, who pays an option fee to fortify his promise to buy before a fixed date. If there’s no action taken before the fixed date, the owner can claim your option fee and legally make the purchase feasible through court.

For better time management and flexibility, I would recommend to opt for a mutual agreement. Because of the possibility to already draw up the agreement without the presence of all the required sales documents. Some documents take weeks to be received after notary request, and that puts you in a period of uncertainty.

Most of the time, the deed gets signed between 2 and 3 months following the agreement. When completing the purchase, you need to pay the remaining sum, meaning the original purchase price minus the option fee. And also your buyer costs. Afterwards, the notary is responsable for the registration of the deed at the registration office, and the registration in the mortgage office of the district where the apartment is located.

Afterwards, you still need to pay the registration taxes. For the purchase of an appartement where you will be domiciled, you need to pay 6% upon the purchase price. In other situations, the standard 10% is applicable.

An exception has been made for apartments with a maximum purchase price of 220.000 euro (200.000 euro outside of the city center). That category enjoys an extra tax-discount, because 80.000 euro wil be deducted from the taxable base. Meaning: if you buy an apartment of 200.000 euro, you’re taxable base will be 120.000 euro, which equals to a discount of 5.600 euro in total.

But no need to worry, these last topics won't prevent you from not being able to live in your new apartment. You will get the keys of your new home after signing the deed.

Pop the champagne, 'cause you’re a homeowner now! Or perhaps right now, you're still a homeowner to be. Anyways, I hope this already gives you a better image of what to expect in a purchase process.

Good luck!