Mortgage and more: our aftersales advice service
In more than 12 years of helping expats in the Netherlands get a mortgage, we have found that they really like the way we keep in touch and answer their follow-up questions.
One of our more unusual services is to proactively contact our existing clients to check if their situation has changed, and update them about new opportunities to negotiate better mortgage conditions with their bank. In the last two years, we have grown significantly and so we have decided to appoint a dedicated person to answer our clients’ questions and potentially help them improve the terms on their existing loans. This service, we should add, is completely free if we cannot get you a better deal.
Introducing our aftersales adviser, Selina van Beek
“I was born in Amsterdam and when I was 10 I moved to Almere, where I still live with my husband and kids. In my spare time I like to go ballroom dancing, read a good book in the sun, and support my soccer-playing sons from the sidelines!
“I have been working in the banking and mortgage industry for more than 20 years. I started my job at Expat Mortgages in 2014 and have had four amazing years here. At the end of 2017, I was promoted within the team and I am now the first Aftersales Adviser dedicated to taking care of our existing clients.
What does an Aftersales Adviser do? Isn’t everything done when you finally get your mortgage and buy your dream house?
Well, yes and no. You got your mortgage at a particular time in your life and we helped you get the very best deal then. But you change all the time and the market changes too. Maybe your family has been increased and you need some extra renovations done to create a better living space or you would like to have a new kitchen or bathroom. At the same time the interest rates might have dropped significantly (as they have in the past two years).
We proactively contact our existing clients to check if their situation has changed. (And new clients to are also welcome to contact me and see if there are any possibilities for them to adjust their mortgage with their bank).
The most important change is that the value of your house may have gone up and consequently the proportion that is part of a loan has gone down. This could lead to a better interest rate.
There are two ways to make this change. One way is to prove that the value of your house has increased significantly and so the risk for the bank is lower. We call that the Loan to Value (LTV) rate. For example, say you take a mortgage for €320.000 at an interest rate of 3.3% and an appraisal report two years later shows the new value of the house is €415.000. With these numbers and some extra administration work, we can convince the bank to remove the initial mark-up and classify your mortgage as lower risk: this could lead to a discount of 0.5% (or even higher) on your existing interest rate.
You will have to invest €750-850 (a specially-discounted €249 consultancy fee for existing customers + €499 – 599 valuations) but this might save you €1.500 a year or €10.000* for the rest of your fixed interest rate period.
If you have a mortgage but are not a current client of Expat Mortgages, we would love to help you, with a free consultation meeting and slightly higher administration fee. And if you can’t adjust your mortgage, we charge no consultancy fee.
In some cases, the Loan to Value (LTV) adjustment won’t work but you could have another option – to break your fixed interest rate period. This is actually the only option for mortgages with the NMG (national mortgage guarantee). They are already considered part of the low-risk group. The penalties for this kind of change are usually pretty high, but the final decision will depend on your interest rate and the size of the loan. (note that these penalty fees are tax deductible) I will make all the calculations and then you can decide if it is worth doing it or not. Again, no win, no fee.
How do you like working mostly with existing Expat Mortgages clients?
It’s a real joy. It is so much easier to work with existing customers, who have experienced all the steps of getting their mortgage, buying the house and living in the Netherlands. Some of them have even become our friends and ambassadors. I like it most when people approach me in Dutch in their emails, showing how well they have settled into their new life here. I am offering them an extra service with the potential to reduce their monthly costs, so you can imagine that most of my clients are extremely happy to hear that. This makes me happy too and I genuinely love my job!
Any advice for your future customers?
Every year, new rules and regulations affect your mortgage and connected services. Your work and family situation are probably also fluid. The only way to know if your mortgage still fits your needs is to contact me. I will gladly look into your file and advise on the options suitable for you. So don’t hesitate to get in touch (even if you don’t yet dare to do it in Dutch!)
* the numbers given in this article are approximate and may vary for every individual situation