Finding your dream home

The three main areas to pay attention to before buying a house.

While it is a promising situation to find yourself in, finding the house of your dreams can be quite a nerve-wracking experience. This is especially true when the ideal home you have in mind does not exactly line up with the reality of the offers available on the market. In many cases, you are looking at a house that still needs adjustments – big or small. You might start to think of your priorities and ask yourself what you are willing to compromise on: budget, location, layout. However, you might not always need to compromise. Fortunately, there are solutions to help transform a house and bring it closer to your desired ideal before you move in.

What is important is to make sure the house you buy with the intention of transforming it into your dream one offers an appropriate starting point for such a project. The feasibility of the project needs to be confirmed before you buy the house: is it possible to make the desired changes to the house from a technical, legal, and financial point of view? These considerations can play an important role in deciding on a particular property. You do not want to buy a house and then discover that the adjustments you had in mind are not feasible, for whatever reason. This is why it’s essential to have these aspects professionally checked in advance.

There are solutions to help transform a house and bring it closer to your desired ideal before you move in.

When viewing the houses that you are considering buying, there are three main areas to pay attention to before deciding if you have found the one:

The fundamentals

1. Structural walls
When walking around your potential new home, you might already start thinking of different changes that you would like to make. You might not like the effect that a particular wall has on the layout of the house, or you might be wondering whether a bigger window could create a more pleasant feeling in a specific room. However, technical aspects could limit the nature and amount of changes that you are able to make, depending on the building itself and its plan. For instance, not every wall is easy to move or remove, as some of them are load-bearing and carry the main structure of the building.

2. Natural light
Natural lighting is a function of the house’s orientation and surrounding buildings; two things that are, of course, not possible to change after having bought the house. So, you might want to consider the orientation of the windows in your new house according to your specific preference for different rooms. A window facing the south-east side will provide the most sunlight in the morning, while the south-west side will have the same effect during the afternoon. Another relevant aspect to consider is the proximity of other buildings to your windows, as they might create shade and limit the amount of light that is allowed in the house.

3. The state of the foundations and roof
Checking that the foundations are in a good state before buying a house is essential in order to avoid surprises later on. This includes making sure that there is no flooding in the basement and no leaks coming from the roof. Those kinds of problems would be too difficult and too costly to solve.

With the appropriate technical, legal, and financial considerations, a house can be more easily adapted to nurture you and your family and made into your dream home.

The legal requirements

In the Netherlands, some buildings are classified as monumental and protected. To know if the changes you would like to make are possible, the first thing you need to check is whether a permit is needed. This often depends on the type of building in question. For regular buildings, a permit is generally required when the work you intend to do changes the main structure of the building. However, some other buildings are classified as monuments by the municipality, implying a different set of rules and requirements. These could firstly be classified as national monuments, meaning that it would be difficult to make significant or even small changes to them. Secondly, in the case of municipal monuments, renovating the exterior of the building or making some small changes on the inside is more likely to be possible, provided that a permit is granted. The question of whether a permit is needed depends on the area as well. A particular building could therefore be located in a protected area and different regulations might apply for this reason.

The financial side

Considering your budget is equally relevant when determining the feasibility of a project. It is very easy to underestimate how much you need to invest in making changes to a particular house. An architect could advise you on the required costs for your specific case. Sometimes, the renovation of a particular house might be so costly that it could be more profitable and less time-consuming to opt for a different one from the beginning.

You could find the house of your dreams and feel like it needs no modifications, or you could find a great house that you wish to improve. In the latter case, investing in a proper investigation and personalised advice before making the purchase is essential. We believe that with the appropriate technical, legal, and financial considerations, a house can be more easily adapted to nurture you and your family and made into your dream home.

In a famous Irish joke, a traveler asks a local from a small town for directions on how to get to Dublin. After hesitating, the local responds “well, if I wanted to get to Dublin, I wouldn’t start from here”. Likewise, making sure to have the right starting point at the beginning of a project is crucial when you already have an idea of the desired outcome.

If you are in the process of looking for your next home and you need help, get in touch! Over the years, we have developed a specific method of advising people like you before buying a house to help them with their decision. Through a quick, smooth, and low-budget process, we accompany you on a site visit, understand your wishes, study the house and deliver a report of the key aspects, as well as pros and cons that are worth considering before making a purchase. If you have any questions about how to find the right home for you, then we would be happy to assist you.


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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA



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