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Check these key points when buying Nieuwbouw projects in the Netherlands

As the nieuwbouw project market became unstable from the end of 2021, we started to offer the "All in one" off-plan consultation package at the beginning of 2022.

The ‘All in one’ nieuwbouw consultation package covers all the professional assistance you may need when purchasing off-plan properties. The followings are some of core services in this package.

  • Background review of two off-plan projects

  • Analysis on the layouts

  • Review the real estate property drawings

  • Help with ordering kitchen & bathroom

  • Estimation of the decoration budget before the handover

  • including all the contents that may require professional assistance when purchasing off-plan houses.

We published an article last week, called "The Dutch nieuwbouw market is experiencing a storm, which may affect the housing market in the coming years severely.". Many readers started to ask questions like if there is any risk to the nieuwbouw projects that the building has already started, and what documents should be reviewed when buying a nieuwbouw project. And we’ll zoom in on them in this article.

Background check on the off-plan project

The background check focuses on the following departments and institutions.

  • The situation of the city hall where the project is located

  • The background investigation of the real estate developer

  • The background investigation of the builder/ contractor

  • The background investigation of the off-plan property sales agency

  • The background investigation of the project in general, e.g. whether there is project resale or soil pollution.

Among the investigations, we pay the most attention to the real estate developer, the builder as well as the contractor. In the investigations, we will know the financial strength of real estate developers and the project management ability of contractors.

We always keep our eye on the negative news of the city hall where the project is located. We ask questions like, ‘is it a responsible city hall?’, ‘is the security of the foundation considered when selling the land?’, ‘is the project approved in terms of urban development or local government deficit?’.

Since 2 years ago, many small real estate developers have joined the market. There are even real estate agencies that have directly financed the purchase of land and built off-plan properties as contractors. However the process is not regulated at all, and so the risk has skyrocketed. And we are able to quickly filter out them in the background checks.

Check up on the Nieuwbouw project certificate

To make a nieuwbouw project official, there are many permits and certificates needed, such as a zoning permit, an environmental permit, and a guarantee for construction. Among them, a zoning permit will be announced after the plan is approved. And there should be a guarantee for construction guarantee before the sale starts. As regards the environmental permit, it may get approval only shortly before the construction starts.

The professionality of architectural drawings is for sure in the scope of our review.

There was a case we reviewed, in which the insurance company that made the guarantee for construction was on the industry blacklist, and there was a lot of negative news regarding the company. Moreover, the city hall where the project is located has some big issues. In short, it is impossible to finish such a project successfully.

The guarantee for construction is the most important document to ensure that the off-plan property won’t be left unfinished. If the real estate developer went bankrupt, the insurance company issued a guarantee would be responsible for finding a new builder to complete the project.

Reviews on the nieuwbouw project drawings

It is of great importance to review the architectural drawings in the background investigation as well. We have seen irregularities in architectural drawings of some off-plan properties. As an example, there was an off-plan project stated on their website that due to the use of experimental new materials in this building, there will be force majeure and construction. Risks may even increase construction costs, please consider carefully before buying

The off-plan contract is normally drafted by lawyers, who consider all aspects for the developers and contractors, and also the wording is very strict. As a buyer, you can only choose to sign it or not, but there is no right to modify the contract.

The soundness of the architectural drawings determines whether the building method of the property is standardized and if it is a risk-controlled project led by the builder.

Investigation of the suppliers

We do a thorough background check of kitchen companies and bathroom companies that cooperate with off-plan projects. We also make price comparisons among them.

In the nieuwbouw projects, the installations on the kitchen and bathroom are done by the supplier outsourcing company, and it is also the place where the most quality problems occur when handing over the property. If we know that the off-plan project is reliable but the suppliers are not, we can request to dismiss the suppliers hired by the real estate developer.

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