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There are no restrictions on foreigner buying property in Belgium, however, although the buying process is fairly straightforward, it is also a laboured affair, which could put off some potential property investors.

Properties are advertised in local newspapers and magazines and it is also customary for houses to display "for sale" signs (à vendre/te koop) so you could pinpoint a location of you choice and attempt to find properties for sale in that region by their for sale signs. Alternatively, you could use the services of an estate agent who will be able to assist you with your search. It is not uncommon to negotiate on the listed price and your agent will be able to advise as to what similar properties have sold for.

Once you have found a property and agreed on a price, the buyer and seller will sign a sales agreement (compromis de vente), which will secure the sale with the payment of a 10% deposit by the buyer. This is a legally binding document with no get-out clause. The buyer will then have a maximum of 4 months in which to raise the remainder of the funds. The final contract (acte authentique or authentieke) will be signed in the presence of the notaries (in Belgium it is a requirement for the seller to have a notary and the buyer to have a separate notary).

An important note is that once a Belgian property has been purchased you will be liable for a massive 12.5% registration tax to be payable to the Belgian government on top of the purchase price.

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