Last updated 24 February 2017

Barry Burgemeester – Founder of Burgemeester Vastgoed



ExpatFinder spoke with Mr. Barry Burgemeester, who single-handedly built Burgemeester Vastgoed, a cosy company in Amsterdam specialising in residential and commercial property purchase. Putting clients at the forefront, the company always tries to match 95% of clients’ requirements and only charges upon closing a successful sale. Find out more from Mr. Burgemeester below about the popular neighbourhoods, tax advantages and what to take note about the Owners’ Association.

Company: Burgemeester Vastgoed

Category: Real Estate

Established since: 1994

Geographical coverage: Amsterdam



Q: When did you enter the industry, and when was your company created? How big has your team and clientele grown since?

A: I started working in Real Estate in 1994. I got my real estate license and I just knew this business is for me. I founded Burgemeester Vastgoed in 2003. It was a standard real estate office. We did everything from buying and selling commercial real estate to providing advisory. In busy times, I hired a real estate agent to join for a period, but I did most of the work by myself. Nine years ago, my wife joined me full time and since then, it’s the two of us. At that same period, we decided to focus on what we do best and most importantly, what we really liked. We just did not want to be just one of the agents in town - we want to keep our service level high. So, we made a choice to focus on buying houses and commercial real estate. We do not do rentals. We do well nowadays even though we don’t advertise. All of our clients are referred to us. Maybe that’s the best part of our job; making people really happy with what they buy and our service.

Q: What makes your company different from other real estate companies in Netherlands?

A: Because we are such a small company, we can put all our time, interest and focus on the wishes of our clients. Our first meeting is the most important one, we listen and hear what the wishes are, combine them with our expertise and just go. There are no standards in our job, we just look for the best, although, sometimes compromises must be made. We try to match 95% of our clients’ wishes. That is difficult, but we hang on to the principle: better wait than be sorry. The Amsterdam real estate is a tight market, lots of people buy without restrictions and prices are really high at this time. It is easy to go with the flow, but we still have to be an advisor and do our job. People who are with us are looking for someone down-to-earth. Our main traffic comes from referrals and we would like that to continue. We work on a ‘no cure, no pay’ basis, so if we do not buy the house, we will not charge you. It is our risk to take. We are flexible in time, almost always reachable by phone or email. We work with expats and we know how challenging differing time zones can be and how difficult it is to make an appointment between 9 to 5. We also do a lot of aftersales and concierge services for special needs.

Q: What are the most common types of housing for expats in Netherlands?

A: There are two types:

  • Apartments or family houses situated within the “Ring” of Amsterdam
  • Family houses in Amstelveen/Aalsmeer due to the reputation of the Amstelveen International school (though there are some great schools in other parts of Amsterdam as well)

Q: Do you see a trend in helping expats purchase real estate in Netherlands for either residential or investment purposes? Why?

A: Yes, I do! First of all, most expats really like the chill lifestyle in the Netherlands. Combine that with the fact that a lot of Dutch people speak either English or German, tax advantages and pretty high rental prices, you will understand that it is not odd to see a big percentage of people wanting to buy a home.

About 30% off all houses in Amsterdam are owned. We do not have a lot of building space so buying a home (with all tax advantages) is not a big risk for expats. Rent out a house or apartment inside the Ring is not difficult, so there are really no real disadvantages for expats to buy, even if they are here for a short period.

Q: What is the Vereniging van Eigenaren, and how does it affect home-owners in Netherlands?

A: When you buy a property in the Netherlands in a building with other apartments, you will automatically become a member of the Vereniging van Eigenaren (VVE), the Owners’ Association. This is not for free. The VVE is responsible for the common parts of the building like the foundation, roof, walls, lift etc. The VVE look after the maintenance, insurance, enforcement of the house rules, etc. The Owners’ Association will conduct the management over the communal spaces and property. Decisions of the Owners’ Association are taken in meetings. The meetings will take place at the end of the financial year and one or two times more within the year. Decisions are taken by majority vote. Usually, the standard set of rules or Modelregelement is applicable. In the notarial deed of the property division or Splitsingsakte amendments to the standard rules may be stipulated. Some rules for the apartment Owners are generic. The list of rules can be quite extensive and very often in Dutch.

The VVE funds its costs and expenses by contributions it receives from the apartment owners. The apartment owners pay a monthly fee into the VVE account. At Burgemeester Vastgoed, we always check if the VVE finances are adequate. A new owner of the apartment may be held liable for the debts of the previous Owner.


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