What do you have to pay when buying a house?
If you’re planning to buy a house, make sure you’ve accounted for all of the costs involved. After all, you don’t just have to cover the cost of buying the property, you also need to pay the fees for your mortgage loan. We’ve listed all the costs you should expect below.
Fees when buying your home
- Registration duties, also referred to as sales duty or registration tax
First and foremost, you’re required to pay registration duties when buying a house or a plot of land. These duties are equal to a certain percentage of the purchase price.
Registration duties in Flanders were comprehensively reformed on 1 January 2022.
The exact rates and rules depend on several factors:
- Is your property located in Flanders, Brussels or Wallonia?
- Is your property located in an urban centre?
- Is this your first and/or only home?
- Are you planning to rent out the property to a social letting agency?
- Are you going to renovate the property to make it much more energy-efficient?
- Can the property be categorised as a ‘modest dwelling’ subject to reduced registration duties?
If you’d like to know how much the registration duties will cost when buying a property, be sure to check out the Federal Public Service (FPS) Finance website or ask your notary for help.
- VAT instead of registration duties
If you choose to buy a new-build property, you’ll pay VAT on the purchase amount instead of registration duties. If you’re also buying an attached plot of land from the same seller at the same time, you’ll pay VAT instead of registration duties for the plot as well.
If you buy the property and the plot of land at different times or you’re buying the plot from another seller, you’ll pay registration duties on the plot of land.
Good to know: if you’re only buying a plot of land, you’ll always pay registration duties rather than VAT.
- Notary’s fees
Another cost to consider are the notary's fees, which are regulated by law and equal a given percentage of your home’s value. This means that all notaries charge the same rate.
The notary also charges a flat administrative fee to cover the cost of their search work and the expenses incurred for correctly preparing the deed. These include checking the cadastral information, stamp duty, surveying fees and making sure there isn’t an existing mortgage on the property.
If the purchase is following a public sale, you’ll have to cover additional notarial expenses not involved in a private sale, such as the cost of announcing and organising the sale.
The notary will list the relevant fees when the sale process first starts. You’ll also have to pay VAT on the notary’s fees. Go to www.notaris.be or ask your notary for a detailed calculation of all costs.
Mortgage loan fees
In addition to what you pay for the property itself, you’ll also pay for arranging your mortgage loan. This includes a loan origination fee and appraisal charges, which both vary from bank to bank, and notary’s fees for establishing security (i.e. the registration fee or mortgage fee).
A deed of loan creating a mortgage must also be registered at the competent mortgage registry. In addition to the mortgage fee, a fee must be paid to the registrar of mortgages for this service. Like the fee charged by the notary public, the applicable rate is set by the government.
Tip: You can save money with a power of attorney to create a mortgage. Some banks allow you to take out a loan with a power of attorney to create a mortgage, which means you give the bank permission to request a mortgage for a predetermined amount during the term of your loan. If you fail to repay the loan as planned, the bank can use this power of attorney to register a mortgage. This usually costs more than if you had opted for a conventional home loan to begin with.