How to Buy Property in Belgium as a Foreigner

Who can buy property in Belgium?

International buyers face no restrictions in acquiring property in Belgium. However, non-residents have a different tax status compared to permanent residents, and transaction costs are generally perceived as higher than in many other European countries.

Do the research

Investing in real estate in Belgium can be appealing for several reasons. The real estate market in Belgium is characterized by a mix of historic and modern properties, catering to diverse preferences. Additionally, the country has a well-developed infrastructure, a strong legal system, and a high standard of living. Belgium´s political stability and transparent governance contribute to a secure investment environment.

The demand for rental properties is notable, especially in urban areas, making real estate an attractive option for generating rental income.

Below are some of the desired locations for real estate investments:

  • Brussels - As the capital of Belgium and the European Union, Brussels is a major economic and political hub. It offers a diverse real estate market, including both historic properties and modern developments.
  • Antwerp - Known for its vibrant cultural scene, Antwerp is a key economic center and a popular location for real estate. The city combines historical charm with modern amenities.
  • Ghent - Ghent is celebrated for its medieval architecture, cultural events, and lively atmosphere. The real estate market here may appeal to those seeking a blend of history and contemporary living.
  • Bruges - A UNESCO World Heritage site, Bruges is famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture. The city´s unique charm makes it an attractive location for real estate investment.

Where to find properties online:

Financing

Foreigners are eligible to secure property loans in Belgium. The Belgian banking system permits non-residents to apply for property loans, subject to certain conditions and requirements.

To obtain a property loan in Belgium as a foreigner, you typically need a valid residence permit, a stable income, and a good credit history.

Property Visits and Preliminary Contract

In Belgium, the pivotal document in real estate transactions is the property purchase agreement, known locally as the "compromis de vente" or "koopovereenkomst" depending on the langugage. This agreement serves as a contract where both the buyer and the seller mutually consent to the terms of the property sale, including the agreed-upon price.

Due Diligence and Sales Contract 

While not obligatory under Belgian law, engaging in due diligence is strongly advised. Typically conducted before the contract´s execution, although parties may agree to perform it afterward, due diligence is primarily carried out by buyers. This process is crucial for assessing potential issues and liabilities, and it also allows for the verification of any liens on the real estate.

Property Buying Costs and Taxes in Belgium

Transaction Costs
    Who Pays?
Registration Fee 6.00% - 12.50% buyer
Notary Fee 0.20% - 4.00% buyer
Legal Fees 1.00% buyer
Real Estate Agent´s Fee 3.00% - 5.00% seller
Costs paid by buyer 7.20% - 17.50%  
Costs paid by seller 3.00% - 5.00%
ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS 10.20% - 22.50%
Source: Global Property Guide