Housing in Europe is like finding a great spot to have your picnic; as soon as you get a good spot, a crowd of people join you. With its high standard of living, work-life balance and wonderful family resources, everyone wants to lay down their blanket in the grand duchy. So finding accommodation can be a challenge in Luxembourg; whether renting or buying, it’s pricey. Rute Vendeirinho tells us what to consider when looking for your dream home in Luxembourg.
Property prices (especially in and around the capital) are not just high; after only London, Luxembourg is the second-most expensive European capital in terms of housing. However, due to the duchy’s small, perfectly-formed size, even moving out of town to the countryside is a viable option; you’ll never be having to face a London-style commute.
Whether renting or buying, athome.lu is the place to check out most of the different options available in all of Luxembourg’s neighbourhoods. Popular areas for expat relocation are Belair, Merl, Luxembourg ville, Kirchberg, Strassen and Bertrange, but they come with an unpopular price tag. Search for a while and check out many properties before you decide where your new pad is to be.
Rent is (surprise!) rather expensive, especially in Luxembourg City and in the west of the country. The vast majority of houses and flats are let unfurnished. Some furnished studios are however available for short-term rentals. The rental agreement (contrat de bail à loyer) stipulates the terms and conditions of rental rates and is signed between the landlord or estate agent and the tenant. The term for a new rental agreement is normally two to three years.
When the rental contract is signed the new tenant generally pays the agency’s costs, which are equivalent to one month’s rent plus 15% VAT. Landlords generally require a deposit equivalent to two or three months’ rent. The rent is usually payable monthly in advance. The tenant is contractually required to have household and fire insurance covering the building. Insurance for contents is only required if they belong to the landlord.
If you’ve decided to plant roots here, stay that little bit longer, then perhaps buying is the option for you. Properties become (relatively) cheaper the further out you are, so you may pick up a ‘bargain’ at a price that would have made your eyes water in another country. Buying will typically involve a visit to the bank (to many banks; they offer astoundingly differing rates) to see how much of a loan you can get. The outcome will be based on what sort of income the household has and what kind of deposit you are willing to put down. Hopefully you’ll find a property you like for the magic number given to you and you can settle in your new home.
Things to note when you are buying include the fact that agent’s fees and commission should be paid for by the seller, unless otherwise stated. It’s recommended to get a purchasing agreement (compromis de vente) drawn up once you have chosen your dream property; this ensures neither buyer nor seller withdraws from the sale. A duly appointed Luxembourg notary must be used to complete the purchase, i.e. you will pay the monies into the bank account of the notary who will then tranfer those funds over to the seller and pay agent’s fees.
We will go a lot deeper into the murky business of buying and selling property on the site; this is just the City Savvy overview. Happy house-hunting!
Featured photo: Allen McGregor/flickr (file)