Yesterday, we passed another milestone in the process of buying a house: we formally hired a mortgage broker to deal with the process from hereon out. We had signed the bill of sale last Friday, and earlier that week we had an engineer inspection done on the house, just to be sure. So, with all that done, it was time to formally hire our mortgage advisor and get into the final stages of buying this house.
The engineering inspection, fortunately, showed that the house was in pretty good state. Of course it had some wear and tear, as all older houses will, but overall it was in good stead. Basically, there were only three real points of concerned: firstly, the fuse box was one of those older ’50s models that has the individual fuses; secondly, a board on one of the windows in the back (the side that gets most of the weather) was rotten; and, lastly, there was some damage on the chimney stack that needed repairing before it could cause damage. All in all, pretty decent. There were some other minor things, such as some mortar that needed replacing, and some potential asbestos in the tiling inderneath the hallway floor, but that’s nothing too surprising or worrying.
Signing the bill of sale was nerve-wracking but banal at the same time. It was a nervous moment, because at that time you’re really solidly committing to seeing the process through. Technically, under Dutch law, we still have until the end of tomorrow to make use of a buyer’s remorse clause – an opportunity to cancel everything without any consequences. However, of course we want this house, and everything looks fine, so why would be? As nervous as the moment of signing was, it was also incredibly bureaucratic: we both had to initial every single page of the contract and sign at the end, doing everything in duplicate.
Both of those things allowed us to take the next step, and yesterday we spoke with our mortgage broker to start the financial part of the process. We really like the one we have – of all the people we called and mailed to ask about this, he was the only one that invited us over to the office, and spent as much time as we needed to explain everything in an orientation meeting (i.e. before we even committed to anything or paid him!). His indication is that, as long as the valuation of the house comes out to what they put it on the market for, everything looks good. It may be a little expensive, but what’s great about this office is that they will now take care of everything. Any mail, question, or thing that happens from hereon out, we forward to them to deal with.
Given how procedural, administrative, and legalized the process of buying a house is, I’m very happy we went with a mortgage broker. It feels like every little bit takes quite specialized knowledge so as not to be tripped up by anything problematic. It’s such a relief to know that now it’s pretty much out of our hands. We’ll sign some documents that are all prepared by other people, and at the end we’ll have a house.
There’s one last hurdle to overcome, though. As I mentioned, the mortgage broker is now sending somebody over to value the house. Our maximum mortgage is determined by that valuation – if it ends up as less than the asking price of the house, everything falls flat. Fortunately, we have a provision in the bill of sale that means if we cannot get a mortgage for the price, everything is off without consequences. So, sometime next week, by virtue of that valuation, we’ll essentially hear whether we’re getting the house or not. Fingers crossed!