During our brainstorming evenings, with obviously a good glass of wine, we regularly talked about our apartment. We live in a beautiful, accessible apartment in a quiet neighborhood near the city center of Groningen. We only miss a garden now and then, but we don’t have to maintain what we don’t have.
Becoming a landlord
I (Tjeerd-Paul) always lived the same place until my 21st. This was mostly in Sappemeer. So when we were thinking about renting out or selling our house, I thought it would be a massive step to sell our apartment. Especially the idea of not having a place to come back to after our trip felt very destructive and anxious.
When I was studying a few years back I often thought about being a landlord. And now suddenly this opportunity came very close. The Dutch housing market is crazy nowadays, also in Groningen. So this sounds like a huge opportunity!
Doing the research: renting out versus selling our house
After some research on the internet and comparing rental prices, we made an accumulation of all our costs. This includes mortgage, service costs, WOZ tax, municipal taxes, insurances, tv and internet subscription and what not else. We figured that if we’d ask about €1000,- for rent, we would have a little bit of profit. But would this be enough? What if something breaks down in the house or the tenant doesn’t pay his rent on time? What if the bank doesn’t approve and how about insurances? And how would everything work out financially when we’re out there, in the world?
How do other people do this anyway? It seems like everyone is doing it, but what about all the consequences? You hear all these stories, both good and bad. We had so many questions and when we had answered one question, another one popped up. At one point we even thought we’re becoming a little paranoid. So, to help us make a decision, we had to make a plan. We started to talk to some rental agents and decided to contact our mortgage lender. The rental agents gave us good impressions of the possibilities and were very excited to help us renting out our house. But our mortgage lender wasn’t that enthusiastic. They gave us very little information and had many demands to approve our request for renting out our house. The strange this was that they needed us to have a tenant and a signed contract already, without having the certainty of approving our request.
In the same week we spoke to our neighbors, they sold their apartment very well at the end of last year. This triggered us. Even though the thought of having no home when coming home frightened us, selling our house didn’t felt like a very bad thing to do. So after gathering all this information, we realized that we were in a unique position. We could sell our house with profit without the hassle of finding a new one.
We want to travel, to experience the world. It’s not just a long vacation, but an opportunity to live without borders and work wherever our journey goes. We want to break free from The Netherlands for a little while. Accountability as a landlord probably requires a lot of energy along the way and would probably hold us back.
Making the decision
So after having all this information and different feelings, we decided that it would be the best for us to sell our lovely home. We immediately invited 3 different real estate agents. (because time is ticking!) This was quite an experience! Every real estate agent was very enthusiastic about our home and told us it would sell within a week. So after comparing the offers, we made a deal with one of the selected real estate agents. Within the following week, photos were taken, a map was made and all details of the house were collected. Now everything was ready for promotion! After having more than 35 viewings and 15 offers, the house was sold within a week. A sad but proud moment for us as a new chapter will begin!
The photos below show our beloved home which we’ll leave in May. These photos are made by Kim van Giessen van Stijlzinnig.