Belgium has been a popular spot for expats, especially since Brussels, the capital, is such an important international center. Belgian property is expensive in the cities, as is the cost of living. Rural real estate is less expensive, but keep in mind that Belgium is a very small country, and is also one of the most urbanized. Acquiring property is not difficult legally, but Belgium has very high tax rates.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
You should hire an attorney to buy real estate in Belgium. They will help you draft contracts to be presented to the notary, and make sure everything is executed in your best interest. They should be fluent in Flemish, German or French, depending on what area you are purchasing real estate.
Real estate agents can be helpful, but they are not necessary.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
There are no restrictions on the foreign ownership of property in Belgium.
However, it is very difficult to obtain EU citizenship.
First, you should settle on a property and make an offer to the seller.
Next, an agreement to purchase is drawn up (called a compromis de vente or verkoopcompromis). Once you sign it, you are bound to the property, so long as the seller does everything they are supposed to. Your lawyer will help you with the contract.
The next contract is the private written contract (the acte authentique or authentieke). You and the seller must sign this in the presence of a notary. You will have to put down a 10% deposit, held in an escrow, until the remainder of the purchase is executed. Your lawyer will help you with this contract.
The next step is signing a deed of ownership in presence of the notary. After this document is signed, the property is yours. You should register your new property within four months of signing the deed, as well as pay them a fee of 12.5% of the purchase price.