Buying a house nowadays – especially in the Randstad, but also beyond – seems practically impossible. House prices continue to rise and all types of owner-occupied homes are massively outbid. Yet Lean and Remco have no choice but to look for another place. The family has outgrown the apartment in Amsterdam.
The couple has been looking for a new home for three years. They just get outbid every time. That is why they enlisted the help of Natasha and real estate agents Vinod and Debbie. They selected four potential homes for Lean and Remco, including one out-of-the-box home. In other words: a house that the couple themselves might not think of quickly – for example because of the place of residence or the type of house – but which may still pleasantly surprise them.
Demands and wishes
They prefer to continue living in the capital. Remco in particular has his heart in Amsterdam, but unfortunately there is nothing to be found that meets the requirements and is also affordable. They really have to leave Amsterdam.
They want at least three bedrooms and an open kitchen in the new home. It is also important to sit close to the water. They like to sail with a boat on the weekend.
Because they both work in Amsterdam, it is important that the travel time is no more than one hour. In addition, having a garden with afternoon and/or evening sun is a must for the couple. Here they like to toast the day with a beer. The budget? €500,000.
Let the search begin!
House 1: Koog aan de Zaan
After three weeks of hard searching, Vinod and Debbie have found four houses for Lean and Remco to view. The first house is located in Koog aan de Zaan, a village right next to Amsterdam. It is a 1930s semi-detached house.
Upon arrival, both Lean and Remco are very enthusiastic. The kitchen has recently been renovated, there are three bedrooms, the house is ready to move in and the garden is located on the east; i.e. morning and afternoon sun. The house has 132 m² usable area and a plot of 165 m². The asking price for this house is €425,000. “In our minds we already live there”, Remco says when they discuss the house with Natasja, Vinod and Debbie.
And just for comparison, for a comparable house in Amsterdam Nieuw-West you would arrive at an asking price of approximately €675,000 (at the time of the TV recordings). Do the math!
House 2: Hippolytushoef
The second home is the out-of-the-box home that the team selected for Lean and Remco. It is located even more to the north than Amsterdam, so actually a different direction than they had envisioned. Lean’s parents live in Limburg and that means that the long travel time they already had to deal with will become even longer.
The house is a detached house from 1920 and has already undergone quite a few renovations, whereby much of the old material has been reused. There are three bedrooms and the open kitchen has an island with an induction hob. The garden is about 400 m² and at the end there is a veranda overlooking large meadows. “This is like a holiday!”, says Lean enthusiastically. In total, the land on which the house stands is about 600m2. The asking price for this house is €385,000. If you were to place this house in Amsterdam, it would (at the time of the TV shooting) have an asking price of €850,000. In other words: a difference of €466,000 compared to Hippolytushoef.
House 3: Uddel
The location of the third house feels like coming home to Remco. He came here from childhood with his mother and the family. The village is located in Gelderland, in the middle of the Veluwe and even has its own national anthem.
The house they are going to view is a modern, detached new-build house. Upon entering, Lean and Remco immediately walk into the garden, but Debbie first wants to show them the inside. The house has an open kitchen with an island and again three bedrooms. The garden is large and offers space for the sauna that Remco would like. The surface of the house is 136 m² and the asking price for this house is €389,000. This means that they would keep more than €100,000 of their budget for a renovation, so that they can make the kitchen the way they want and place a sauna in the garden.
And oh, if this house were in Amsterdam? Then the asking price at €760,000 would be more than €350,000 higher (at the time of the TV recordings).
House 4: Vreeland
This village feels very familiar to both Lean and Remco. It is only a twenty-minute drive from Amsterdam and offers many opportunities for waterways. But the village is very small and has a limited range of shops. Fortunately, the beautiful surroundings make up for a lot.
The house they are looking at is a corner house from ’58. The whole house has been renovated and is therefore ready to move in. There is a large, closed kitchen and a spacious garden adjacent to the house. This house again has three bedrooms. The surprise of this house is the large attic. This is because there is a wide dormer window that saves a lot of space. The couple really likes the garden: “Yes, it’s nice!”, says Remco. The asking price of the house is €475,000, which is almost €100,000 less than if it were located in Amsterdam (at the time of recording).
After they have looked at all four houses, Lean and Remco opt for the fourth house: the corner house in Vreeland. They were allowed to live in this house for a week to see whether they liked both the house and the living environment. They were given a van that they could fill to the brim with their own stuff to get the full experience of moving. “I’m getting a bit of tears now,” says Lean when she sees the beds of their children disappear in the moving van. “It is very exciting, but we are really looking forward to it,” says Remco.
At the start of the first day, Lean and Remco immediately noticed how quiet it is in the area around Vreeland. You can hear the birds chirping. At the end of the day, Lean and Remco toasted the day – as desired – with a beer at the barbecue. The kids slept alone for the first time on the first night in the new house. In Amsterdam they shared a small room with the two of them. Fortunately, the first night and the week that followed went very well.
The couple continues to work in Amsterdam and so they immediately started a new morning routine in the new house. Normally they did everything by bicycle, but now that is no longer possible, so they took the car. Fortunately, that all went well.
Lean and Remco wanted an open kitchen in the new house, but the house in Vreeland does not have that. “It’s nice, that you really have a kitchen to yourself”, says Lean when she is cooking.
The next day the time had come, they went out on the water. “We really are water people. We love to relax on a boat”, says Lean. The family thoroughly enjoyed the boat trip and the surroundings in Vreeland. “Beautiful surroundings, nice gardens, beautiful houses”, says Remco.
“I don’t know if it has gotten better”
After a week of trial living, Natasja visits the couple to catch up. When they left for the new house, Lean and Remco were quite upset that they were leaving Amsterdam. “I don’t know if it’s gotten any better,” Lean jokes. The couple has experienced the trial living well and has decided that they will make an offer on the quiet corner house in Vreeland.
A few months later, Lean and Remco surprise the team with an announcement. In the end, no offer was made on the house, especially because they did not like the closed kitchen in the house. Instead, they have been selected for a new-build home in the Zaanstreek, which they are expected to move into in 2023.
How are things now?
We spoke to Lean and Remco to hear how they are doing now – more than a year after the recording of the program – and what made them decide to participate in the program. Lean and Remco indicated that they had been looking for a house for three years and were tired of having to walk through a house very quickly before you can make an offer. “Then I gave up on us,” said Lean.
And what is it actually like, to participate in such a house search and then be allowed to test living in a potential house for a week? “Great fun!”, Lean and Remco both react enthusiastically. “We had a lot of laughs with the crew and it was also a lot of fun to have a look behind the scenes,” said Lean.
They also experienced the trial living itself as very positive. They have also lived there as they normally would and have therefore gained many new insights regarding their wishes and requirements for their future home and place of residence. That was ultimately the reason that they did not make an offer on the house after all. They would like to have a supermarket nearby and there was not one in Vreeland. In addition, they found it too quiet in the small village.
The rest of the wishes have also been slightly modified. They are sure that they want a south-west facing garden, that the travel time to work should be a maximum of 20 minutes and that the tranquility of a village is very good for them.
Finally, we asked whether they would have bought the new-build house in the Zaanstreek even if they had not participated in the program, to which Lean replies: “We do think that we have taken the step faster through the program, because we have now experienced that the tranquility does us good.”
We wish Lean, Remco and the children a lot of fun and happiness in their new home!