What Will The Notary (notaris) Do For You?

When buying a house in the Netherlands you'll have to make use of the notary. You'll always need one to become the owner of the house!

It must be underlined that Dutch notaries are civil law notaries.

They are fully qualified legal professionals and thus very distinct from the profession of notary public in the United States and other common law countries.

Keep this in mind when you read "the notary" on this website.

So what will the notary do for you, when you buy a property? 


  • Make the pre-sale-agreement (as soon as the sale has been made) and arrange for the buyer and seller to sign it. This is customary in Amsterdam. In other parts of the Netherlands the selling real estate agent draws this agreement, or the buyer and seller do this together (when there is no agent involved).
  • Make the completion contract. This contract is required to change the ownership of the property.  You'll sign it in the office of the notary. That day you'll become the owner of the property (usually you'll then sign the mortgage deed as well). 
  • Make the mortgage deed. This is needed for the bank. This will be record in the land registers office, so everyone may know that there's a mortgage on this property.
  • Check the public records to verify all kind of data ( seller, buyer, the house, etc..), make sure there are no unexpected debts, make sure the ownership of the property may legally be transferred an some more stuff.
  • Takes care of the registration of the necessary papers in the public records. You'll be owner of a property only after registration. 
  • Arrange the payments between buyer, seller and the bank. He makes the memorandum of settlement.
  • Takes care of the settlement of the deposit and/or bank garantuee.
  • Helps when problems arise for instance by creating a depot. This is an amount of money in a secure account of the notaries office. This amount will stay there until the problems have been resolved.

Furthermore he can help you with

  • The cohabitation agreement. When you're going to live together and you're not married, you may want to officially arrange some things in writing. 
  • A testament. To whom will you bequeath your stuff? Certainly when you're living together (but you're not married) a will may be necessary. For the event when one of the partners dies. You can make sure that the other partner is allowed to stay in the property. Without a testament that may be problematic. 

I have worked with many notaries. And almost always they were friendly and helpful.

Sometimes I deal with an "old-fashioned" firm, where contact is very formal and the people are not so customer friendly. But nowadays this is (in Utrecht anyway) an exception.

Most offices that I know, employ multiple people in their support staff.

The notary does the face to face appointments with the customer, but the paperwork has very often been done by the invisible employees. 

When a notary has a good reputation, this will be for the greater part because of the people behind the scenes. 

So how do you find a great notary? Take a look at this page.

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