Three day cooling off period, what's that?

When you buy a property in the Netherlands, you may legally have a three day withdrawal period.

If you buy a house or apartment for yourself and you're a private person, you'll have the right to use this cooling off period. 

But when you're buying as a professional, or as a business, you don't have this legal cooling off period. 

Legally three days
This cooling off period has been enshrined in the Code (If you want to read it yourself, it's in the Civil Code, Book 7 article 2).

When you're a buyer you're always entitled to this three day cooling off period. And it can't be less than three days.

You may agree to a longer period, but that's not customary. 

Cancel the sale?
Within the cooling off period you may cancel the sale.

You'll have to inform the seller, but you don't need to give a reason.  

Why would you cancel the sale? 
I can think of many reasons. But the most important is this: you've bought a house too quickly. This can happen because of all the competition on the housing market.

And afterwards you feel you've paid too much (due to the pressure), or find out about problems you didn't know when making the offer.   

You'll have to inform the seller about your cancellation. The best way to do so is in writing, with proof of delivery. 

This way you'll have proof that you cancelled the sale.

When you can't proof that you've cancelled the sale, you'll have to pay for the house. And if you can't, you'll have to pay a fine and the losses the owner suffers because of your actions (at least ten percent of the purchase price).

Ofcourse it's also a good idea to give the seller a call in advance, but don't forget the written part. That's the essential part for yourself.

When does the  cooling off period start? 
After the buyer is in possession of the signed pre-sale agreement (signed by buyer and seller), the cooling off period will begin. It starts at the beginning of the next day.

So, when you've received the signed agreement on Monday, the timer starts as soon as it becomes Tuesday (0:00 pm).

When does the cooling off period end?
The cooling off period is three days (in our example Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and will be finished at the end of the third day at 24:00.

Exceptions in the weekends and holidays
When the period covers a weekend or a public holiday, there's an exception applicable.

Only one day of the three day period can be a public holiday or weekend-day.

When you received the agreement on Friday, the period doesn't end on Monday 24:00, but is extended to Tuesday 24:00. 

And there's another exception. When the last day of the cooling off period is a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, the period is extended to the next workday.

So when you receive the agreement on Wednesday (period starts Thursday 0:00 pm), the period doesn't end Saturday 24:00, but Monday 24:00.

Does the seller have a cooling off period as well?
The law doesn't grant the seller a cooling off period. So no rights there. 

But during negotiations, buyer and seller might agree to grant the seller this right. But I've never seen this in practice.  

New houses
For new developments the cooling off period is applicable as well. 

Beneath you'll find an overview. This way you'll quickly see when the cooling off period ends. 

Signed agreement received at Cooling off starts Cooling off ends
Monday Tuesday 0:00 pm Thursday 24:00
Tuesday Wednesday 0:00 pmFriday 24:00
Wednesday Thursday 0:00 pmMonday 24:00
Thursday Friday 0:00 pmMonday 24:00
Friday Saturday 0:00 pmTuesday 24:00
Saturday Sunday 0:00 pmTuesday 24:00
Sunday Monday 0:00 pmWednesday 24:00


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