Buying Property in Belgium
There are many places in the European Union that are becoming popular with investors and travelers alike. One hot spot currently is in the Belgium marketplace on property. Currently there are many nice locations around the country that are being snapped up quickly at great prices thanks to the downturn in the world economy. Currently in Belgium and the city of Brussels the capitol of Belgium property prices are rising rapidly so is a great time to buy. However, if buying from overseas there are additional cost in which you must take into account. From local tax laws and other fees which can add an additional 15% on the purchase price for property.
When you first buy a property in Belgium the first additional cost that you want to be aware of is the registration tax of the purchase price of property. Usually the tax is roughly 10-12% for large property purchases or around 5-7% for smaller land purchases. There are some jurisdictions in Belgium that for example in Flanders, Belgium they offer lower rates for property purchases of percentages from 4-9%. Also if property is purchased in the main capitol with a purchase price of less than 40,000 Euros then the registration fee is waived and no additional costs are added. There are additional fees that normally come along in a mortgage as with most countries in Belgium you will be required to pay a tax on the mortgage as well as a fee to the mortgage lender. These can be rolled up into the initial loan as needed. When having things signed it is always a good idea to have a witness and a notary public may be needed and there are fees for them as well but nominally around 1% of the total cost.
But, do not think this is all negative and you should stay away from purchasing property in Belgium. If you happen to be a owner or occupier of Belgium property then you can gain a great tax advantage. In the early part of 2003 there was new regulating tax information that was introduced by the parliament. These new tax laws allow mortgage interest, capitol repayments and premiums for current outstanding loans and insurance on property to be tax detectable from your yearly income tax. The tax can deduct up to a large maximum of 3000 Euros a year per individual and piece of property.
Now as with every country there are capital gains taxes on property purchased or sold with a specific amount of year. Currently in Belgium capital gains is paid on land sold within 5 years of purchase if the individual does not meet certain tax exception.
Here I will outline the procedure for those interested in purchasing property in Belgium for personal or business investment.
1. First you need to locate a piece of property. When you have chosen a sufficient piece of property have a local structural survey completed on the property to make sure it is sound. (this is not a requirement for a mortgage but for personal protection)
2. Find a local notary public that can assist you with the legal checks of the property and be able to work with the seller’s notary public in dealing with the legalities of the documentation.
3. Agree to the purchase price of the property, Sign the agreement to the property and pay the required deposit which is usually 10-20% of the purchase prices.
4. Place calls to insurance companies and sign a deal to have the property insured – All damages after the agreement has been signed make you the sole liable party.
5. Secure the mortgage with a reputable company.
6. make a time to meet with your Notary and the sellers and there notary to have all contracts finalized. (Usually a closing date of 2-3 months)
7. Take Possession of the property.
Remember mortgages are available from a wide range of sources including banks & mortgage loan companies and between them all there is a variety of different payments and interest information. It is always a good idea to check with local business bureau to make sure the company you are negotiating with is on the up and up.
One final thing to take into consideration if you are currently employed in Belgium is that under certain special tax arrangements of foreigner expats should check to see if that buying local property in the country would invalidate there eligibility for any special arrangements they have made prior. Happy property hunting J
If you would like there is additional information and research sources on my website at www.Expatcrossing.com
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