This Real Estate Report – July 2018 edition is a catch up from the last few months. Regular readers will know that we were travelling through Europe. If  you are new (or interested), you can check the various travel posts here, here and here. In the mean time the real estate has been steadily going forwards, not including the expensive renovations.

Real Estate Report – July 2018

Rental Income

Our rental income for July 2018 increased from previous months due to a new tenant (with a higher rental rate) and a rental increase for one unit. We are now at a total income of €3.764.92

The monthly income distribution is provided below:

Real Estate Report - July 2018 Income

Real Estate Report – July 2018 Income

Rental Expenses

The expenses for July 2018 were extremely high and consisted of the following:

  • Outside renovations of two units;
  • Insurance;
  • Mortgage and loan payments; and,
  • Management fees (including new tenant selection).

Now, should we incorporate these large scale renovations as an expense or investment? The properties have increase in value as a result. For now we have included them in the expenses, just to show what it can do to the cash-flow. We previously estimated that we still should just be positive with cash-flow on a yearly basis. This is still correct, albeit barely.

The expenses for the month are as follows:

Real Estate Report - July 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – July 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – Overview

The net rental and loan income for July was -€12.306. The net cash-flow was even lower at -€13.362. As noted earlier, we have a mortgage and we provided a private real estate investment loan that does not pay out the monthly interest (hence a lower net cash-flow). We will get this interest income once the loan matures in late 2020.

If you take the about €14.000 renovation costs out of the equation, we are still doing pretty good. Both in terms of income and cash-flow. The new tenant is initially somewhat expensive due to the property management fees.

Total net YTD income is €3.723, net cash-flow is -€3.653.

Real Estate Report - July 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – July 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – Forecast

We are working to sell one property to family. This should hopefully be completed by September. For now, financing options are being evaluated. The assessment for the mortgage is already done. Once the property is sold, we will have to reinvest the money. We did however not get a lot of love from the twitter crowd as to reinvest into real estate:

We will however most likely reinvest into real estate, but via a loan. We need to keep the funds relatively liquid in the coming years as we have mortgage refinancing coming up in 2020. Buying new physical real estate might not be the best move at this stage.

Also, renovations will still continue in August/September, as new windows will be installed. More expenses to come! Albeit not as much as we already made a deposit to pay for the materials.



How did you do in July?

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Should you buy a holiday home? This is a question that we reviewed several times during and after our epic road trip. Albeit we quickly came to the conclusion that you shouldn’t. In most cases at least, let me explain.

Should you buy a holiday home?

Now that we had our final vacation outside the main peak vacation seasons, we need to get creative. Miss CF will turn 5 not to long from now and will have to go to school mandatorily. Only in exceptional circumstances can you get leave for your child outside the fixed school vacation periods. The fine if you take your kids out of school and get caught: up to €100/day! Not a good idea.

So what if you buy a holiday home? Would this give you a cheaper place to stay during the peak holiday seasons? What are the pro’s and con’s? Time to find out.

Should you buy a holiday home?

Should you buy a holiday home?

The Boundary Conditions

As with everything we evaluate on this blog, we define the boundary limits first. In this case, we go for one (French) example with the following assumptions:

  • Suitable for a group of 3-4 people (family)
  • Budget for a holiday home is €100.000-150.000 (yes, that’s a lot of money)
  • Paid in cash!
  • Return on investment is 6% on above noted amounts when invested
  • Time to travel each year 3 weeks (21 days)
  • Property tax (1.2%) for the selected property
  • 8% transfer taxes (rough estimate)
  • Maintenance cost 2,5% of property value (all inclusive, including reservations)
  • Property price inflation: 2% per year

The Property

After watchin “Escape to the continent” the last few weeks on Netflix, I decided to look for a cheap but special property. This is what I found:

It’s a 41 cottage/fishing hut, unconnected to the grid, in the Dordogne in France. It comes with 3.3Ha (!) of land and it’s on lake (you have 3 lakes actually). Oh, and it has a 5.000m² (0.5Ha) Christmas tree forest How cool is that?

The price for all this? Just €114.450!

Oh, for future references (in case the property get’s sold), you can download the spec sheet here: French property with lake

Operating Expenses

Ok, let’s see how much this property is costing you on a yearly basis. Based on the assumption above, you’d get the following:

  • Total purchase price (incl. transfer taxes): €126.606 = lost opportunity costs = €7.416
  • Maintenance costs: €3.090
  • Utilities (gas use only, estimate): €150
  • Garbage/waste removal (estimate): €30
  • Property taxes: €1.483
  • Insurance (rough estimate): €300
  • Property value adjustment: -€2.472

Based on the above this vacation home would “cost” you €9.997 per year. Cash-flow wise it would only be about €3.000 per year (assuming 35% of the maintenance costs is actually spend every year). Based on the 21 days per year of vacation time, that would mean €474/day and €142/day in cash-flow costs. That’s a lot of money!

Obviously if you can stay longer (i.e. during FIRE), the costs per night would go down rather quickly. It’s actually not an expensive place to enjoy your retired life. Other things you could consider is to rent it out when you are not there. But you likely need a local someone to help you (cleaning, check-in/out, maintenance, etc.).

Extra Holiday Home Income

Ok, so you decide the balance the property expenses with some rental income. Based on an Airbnb search (see also next section) a property like this should fetch about €60 per night. Let’s say that you can rent this out about 30% of the year (this place not for everyone and in winter it might not be interesting). This would bring in about €6.570.

Let’s assume that this is paid by 30 different guests (average stay of about 3-4 days/group) and each check-in/out and cleaning would be €30. You would also have more garbage removal, say €150. And more maintenance due to wear and tear, say €500/year. Total expenses would be about €1.550.

Net profit on the rental would be about €5.020.

In this scenario the place is “only” costing you about €4.977 per year and is actually making your cash-flow positive! By a surprising €2.020 per year.

New expenses for your holiday of 21 days: 237/night. Ouch…..still expensive.

Vacation costs

If you go on holiday in the summer season for 3 weeks, in a similar area and sized property, you are looking at about €40-75 per night (based on Airbnb search). Let’s take €60 here for argument sake (including booking fees). The costs for the holiday (travel to site, food and attractions not included) for 21 days would only be €1.260! Seems like a no brainer to me.


Obviously having your own place is not financially interesting if you don’t rent it out. Heck, even when you rent it out it’s still not financially interesting (albeit cash-flow positive perhaps). For personal use a couple weeks per year, you are better off renting a place for that time. Looking at the lost opportunity costs of €7.416, that’s one heck of a holiday! We actually spent less during our 9 week road trip (post to follow on that too)!

There are some good things about having your own spot. You can make sure its outfitted to your liking, have your own personal stuff there and you can avoid other tourists. It certainly seems to be a quiet place. You are also free to come and go as you like, but at a high cost for sure!

The down side, besides the money, is that you always need to go to the same location. And in this case, the location is about a 1.000km from the Netherlands. You can’t really “hop” over for the weekend, you actually do have to plan your trips.

We made many more calculations like this and made the same conclusion over and over again. So we will not buy a holiday home now of in the future.


How about you? Is a holiday property something for you? 



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Hello Folks, got some exciting news today! We have scheduled another FIRE meetup, but one that is specifically focussing on real estate investing. In short, get ready for Utrecht Real Estate Con!

Utrecht Real Estate Con

We noticed that a lot of people are interested in real estate investing as (part of) their FIRE strategy. Likely because it is an investment that you can see, feel and easily comprehend. However, there are many things about real estate that one should consider.

Utrecht Real Estate Con

Utrecht Real Estate Con
Attribution: Ben Bender
CC BY-SA 3.0

There are also many different investment strategies related to real estate, which depend on your risk profile and preferences. It’s therefore time to review this investment method in more detail during a meetup.

Together with Divnomics and we came up with the idea of Utrecht Real Estate Con (Dutch: Vastgoed Con).

The Date

The “Utrecht Real Estate Con” is scheduled for Saturday 17 November 2018 (in Utrecht, go figure!). Location details will be made available for those that sign up for this event.

The Program

The preliminary program for the day:

  • 12:00-13:00 – Welcome
  • 13:00-14:00 – Introduction to Real Estate investing
  • 14:00-14:30 – Coffee Break
  • 14:30-15:30 – Real Estate investing Examples
  • 15:30-16:00 – Coffee Break
  • 16:00-17:00 – Real Estate Investing Strategies for FIRE
  • 17:00-18:00 – Q&A and Drinks

The final program details will be made available closer to the date. We plan to tailor the program upon your input. For example, we can focus more on the strategies and examples and skip on some of the introduction. Please let us know what you think. Either way, it should be very interesting and a good learning opportunity. Especially for anyone that wants to invest into real estate in the Netherlands.

The Costs

The fees for the day are about €29.61 (€28 + Eventbrite booking fees), which is including drinks and snacks. We have a total of 45 seats available. Don’t wait too long before signing up as our meetups are getting increasingly more popular.

Signing up?

Inspired and interested to talk real estate for the day? You can signup via the following link:

To sign in you need the following password: Vastgoed Con


Hope to see you in Utrecht!


Not interested in Real Estate, just come and have a chat with us in Zwolle! Check out Chris’s blog:

FIRE Meetup 30-9-2018, The Zwolle Edition






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The Real Estate Report – March 2018 edition is a lot better then the Saving Rate report for March, which we posted earlier this week. Where we personally had a bit of a “rough” month financially (everything is relative!), the real estate investments happily continued along.

Real Estate Report – March 2018

Rental Income

Our rental income for March 2018 was the again the same as for January and February (love this boring stuff!), which means we received about €3.640 in real estate related income.

The monthly income distribution is provided below:

Real Estate Report - March 2018 Income

Real Estate Report – March 2018 Income

Rental Expenses

The expenses for March 2018 were low and consisted of the following:

  • Mortgage and loan payments; and,
  • Management fees.

Insurance payments are due again in April, no maintenance required this month either. Property taxes are coming in May. So not a whole lot of money disappeared  from the bank account in March.

We did get a bit of 2017 property tax back! We had gotten a wrong assessment and complained about it (about 12 months ago already). “They” thought we were right and gave some money back. Always nice and better late then never! Another positive note, the tax assessment for 2018 seemed right.

The expenses for the month are as follows:

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – Overview

The net rental and loan income for March was €3.082. The net cash-flow was a bit lower at €2.028. As noted earlier, we have a mortgage and we provided a private real estate investment loan that does not pay out the monthly interest (hence a lower net cash-flow). We will get this interest income once the loan matures in late 2020.

Total net YTD income is €8.030, net cash-flow is €4.873. Keep in mind that we will spend about €10.000 this summer on renovations, so this year will not be very lucrative investment wise! That being said, this should be the last large expense for the next decade or so. There will be small stuff, but no major work like this.

Real Estate Report - March 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – March 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – Forecast

Considering we are going on a long road trip later this month, we are no longer looking at new properties or other investments/renovation works. Everything that we needed to do is done, so we can go on holiday with a peaceful mind. We just need to hope that nothing strange happens, and if it does, it will be taken care of by the property manager.


How did you do in March?

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The last week has been a bit real estate themed. We first looked at our (and others) housing history, next we explored living on a boat. To continue this trend, here is the Real Estate Report – February 2018 edition.

Real Estate Report – February 2018

Rental Income

Our rental income for February 2018 was the same as for January, which means we are well over €3.600 in real estate related income.

The monthly income distribution is provided below:

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Income

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Income

Rental Expenses

The expense for February 2018 were quit high due to a one-off expense item. The expenses consisted of the following:

  • Mortgage and loan payments; and,
  • Management fees.

There were no insurance fees this month, no maintenance either (yay) and the taxes are not due until April. The major expenses were the property management fees due to a new tenant moving in in early February. The screening and contracting fees are expensive at one month rent + value added tax. We then also hope our new tenant sticks around for a while! The one upside, no vacancy between tenants and thus no additional expense here either.

The expenses for the month are as follows:

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Expenses

Real Estate Report – Overview

The net rental and loan income for February was €2.210. The net cash-flow was a bit lower at €1.157. The explanation lies in the fact that we provided a private real estate investment loan that does not pay out the monthly interest. We will get this once the loan matures in late 2020.

Real Estate Report - February 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – February 2018 Overview

Real Estate Report – Forecast

Lots is going on the real estate front. We have been trying to get various quotations in for the paint removal and subsequent placement of stucco on two investment properties. It turned out that adding about 6 cm of insulation saved the costs for old paint removal and made installation of stucco easier. It was therefore only marginally more expensive, so we decided to go for this route.

There are a few benefits too, the insulation lowers the heating bill and also would allow higher rental rates to be charged. Because the Dutch government also plans to go without heating gas as of 2050, we will be making the first step to making these properties future proof too. It all seems a logical decision to us 🙂 We also already got the municipal approval to preform the works, which we are planning for  during the summer.

After some negotiations we selected a reputable company which will charge us €12.000 for the works. Because we will sell one of the properties to family (sale is now also delayed to this summer), we won’t pay for the full amount. The plan is to also replace two windows and paint the remaining window sills, so the property is in perfect condition. Remember that we will move into this property ourselves in the future, so it makes sense to invest some extra money into this property!

New Property?

We have also been looking at a new property last Friday. It’s a double unit that has been on the market for a while, but they just dropped the price (again). It’s promising, but we are awaiting a few clarifications on various questions that arose during the viewing. If we can come to an agreement (and no other party snatches it from under our noses), the sale is likely in Q3 of 2018. Bit excited about this opportunity to be honest!

I wrote this post already on Tuesday, had a call with the real estate agent Wednesday afternoon. He came with bad news as the property is as good as sold, it also had a few issues that we were afraid off. It would have made the conversion more expensive and we therefore could not compete with the other offer. Darn….


How did you do in February?

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How much would it cost to be living on a boat in the Netherlands? I had no real clue, but expect it to be rather pricy. After we looked at our housing history last week, I found myself on Funda once again (a “house for sale” site). Here a found a “creative living option” that looked rather promising (and quite pretty). So I got out the good old calculator, opened up my internet browser and started having fun. Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this 😉

Living On A Boat

What caught my eye? Well this beauty! Almost 22 meters of old Dutch design (built 1902). Pretty cool, eh?




The price for the “floating house” is now €75.000. That is still a lot of money, and you can certainly buy a house or apartment for this. But I doubt the views and character will match. For those interested, you can download the sales brochure here (just in case the ad disappears from Funda in the future ):

Living on a boat – bolhaven 10 Zeewolde


The vessel is for sale for a price of €75.000. Based on the notes in the brochure, there are no transfer taxes applicable (for a house this would be 2% around here). No sales taxes either. You would want to inspect the vessel, that would probably set you back €300-400 (unless you want to take it out of the water). Then there are the notary costs at about €600-800. In short, you should bring a total of about €76.000.

You cannot finance this vessel with a regular mortgage, apparently (see brochure). The ING bank stopped these special “floating house” mortgages in 2016. Only the Rabobank still does them apparently, but not for this boat it seems.  So you would have to get creative! It will be either cash, or crowd fund, take out a personal loan, family loan, or ….(and any combination of the mentioned).


What expenses are to be expected for living on a boat. Most will be very “similar” to those for a house, but some will be typical for a boat obviously. From the advertisement/brochure and from browsing around the web, I got to the following monthly expenses:

  • Slip fees (“havengeld”): €275
  • Heating & Electrics: €225
  • Financing (€75.000 @ 4%): €250
  • insurance: €75 (could not get a quote quickly, so I assume it’s much more expensive then a house)
  • Internet/phone connection: €25
  • Maintenance: €500 (costs and reservations)

The total monthly expenses will likely hoover around €1.350 (or about €16.000 per year). That is all-in! Not too bad actually, especially not considering your house is mobile, spacious and you are living on the water.

Some notes:

  • No garbage or property tax apply according to the brochure (likely partially included in slip fees)
  • Water use is assumed covered by the slip fees
  • The maintenance is a rough estimate as I don’t know for sure how well the boat is maintained. Nor do I know all the costs associated with getting it out of the water for maintenance. I do know it won’t be cheap! You will need to paint something on this boat about every year. You will also need to  pull it our of the water to clean, paint and repair the underside every 5-10 6 years (costs are about €3.500-4.000 + repairs). Also the diesel systems need to run and be maintained regularly.
  • Not sure how the gas stove works? Did not see costs for gas use anywhere.


Living on a boat is often not very practical, but this is a fairly large boat and the layout seems rather good.


It might not be ideal for tall people, but I can see this being a very nice place to live. The location where the boat is currently moored is close to the town of Zeewolde in the province of Flevoland. So even groceries, medical care, etc. should not be a problem. Heck, you might have these guys as your “neighbors” (blog in Dutch).


Financially savvy as we are, we also need to look at this in terms of it being an investment. Let’s assume that we just buy the boat in cash. Let’s assume the monthly expense noted above are the same (minus the interest). In short, operating expense are around €11.000 per year, excluding cleaning.

Based on some browsing around for other vessel/house boats that are rented out, we found that €100-150 per night is nothing out of the ordinary. We will take €125 per night as average (sleeps 5 max). Let’s assume no one wants to say here during the three winter months. The fall and spring will have 60% vacancy and the summer only 20%. This is a yearly utilization of 40% (144 nights) as a base case. This should provide you with €18.000 gross income.

Now let’s say we have cleaning expenses of €30/cycle. The assumption is 144 days of utilization, with an assumed average stay of 3 days = 48 stays. That is €1.440 in cleaning expenses. This leaves you a net operating income of €16.560 – €11.000 = €5.560/year. On €76.000 that is a yield of 7.3% (before taxes). Not bad! We might just need to get ourselves a boat 🙂



Have you ever lived or stayed on a boat?


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Guess there is a new trend in blogger land (well, at least in the Netherlands). Several of our blogging colleagues have been reviewing their housing history. In short, they told us how they lived in their lives, from the moment they were out of school/University. Including some explanation on why they did what they did, costs, prices and more. They sometimes also noted what their plans are for the future. Guess it’s our turn next 🙂

Housing History

To put it mildly, we did not sit still for very long (or we are getting old, you pick). Over the last 12-13 years we have lived in many different type of properties in two different countries. We owned and we rented, in both countries. The latter was usually the best option if didn’t know how things were going to develop in our careers/lives. It’s also the “mandatory” place to start when you have no money 😉

Housing History - Farm House

Housing History – Farm House

The Start

Our living journey overlaps a bit with our student days. As Mrs. CF was still living in her 20m2 (215sft) student condo during the first 3 years after she graduated. She had a shared kitchen and bathroom and paid about €270-300 per month for the place I believe (including utilities).

At the same time I was living in a 35m2 (377sft) social housing condo. I was fortunate enough to have my own kitchen and bathroom. For this unit I paid about €350 per month, utilities/taxes came separate. We were living about 40km from each other during these days. Because of where we were working at that time we often used each others condo’s to live in, saved a lot of commuting time!

Fun fact, this first “grown up” condo for Mr. CF was actually huge compared to the previous student room(s) rented prior. That was a mere 11m2 (118sft) divided over two rooms on either end of a hallway (with shared bathroom in between), but it had it’s own “kitchen”! Needless to say that was rather small but with fun house mates.

Moving Up

After we decided that we really liked each other, we moved in together. We found a nice condo that we could rent for about €650 per month and was “huge” compared to what we had been living in prior. The condo had 4 rooms as was 70m2 large (753sft). So we had more space, spend more time together, and we were still paying about the same!

Before we moved into this condo Mrs. CF did look at buying a place of her own, but could never find something affordable at that time on her income. This was also when we discovered we really like house hunting!

Housing History - Condo

Housing History – Condo

Moving Abroad

The next step in our adventure was to dump all our stuff into a sea container and fly to Canada. We were lucky enough to have a fully paid for furnished condo to our disposal when we arrived. This gave us the ability to look around for a rental place so we would be covered for the first year. Obviously we didn’t have the ability to purchase a property yet, nor did we want to. When arriving in a new country you want to be flexible to be able to adapt to your new life.

The place we found was a 130m2 (1400sft) detached house with attached double garage! Coming from the Netherlands, we were so not used to this amount of space. We loved it! And started to fill the garage with one nice car, a motorcycle, bicycles and a BBQ….(oops). We paid about €950 ($1.500) per month for it (based on todays exchange rate).

After about a year we decied that Canada was a very nice place to live and wanted to stay there longer. But renting was out of the options, as it was considered “too expensive”. This was before we realized the amounts for maintenance costs an property taxes! As the house prices had just stabilized from the crisis years, and the interest rates were pretty low already, we made the plunge into home ownership.

The first house we bought was 205m2 (2.200sft) without the basement developed. We did that a couple years later and added another 75m2 (800sft) in living space to it. Getting to a total (and very ridiculous) 280m2 (+3.000sft). The house cost us (including fees, garden and basement development) a total of €315.000 ($500.000). Yes, we used to own a half million dollar house! My fault, lesson learned and won’t do that again, unless it’s a rental property 😉

Housing History - McMansion

Housing History – McMansion

Moving Back

After Miss CF was born we decided to change our housing history once more and move back to the Netherlands. Because we had no jobs we decided to rent a house once again. We found a deal via Mrs CF’s father and landed our butts in an old farm house. As we were ready to downsize, we would have taken anything, but still ended up with whopping 220m2 (2370sft).

We only paid about €800 per month for this place (it’s condition matched the price, in case you were wondering). However, we also had a huge heating bill! The place had virtually no insulation (and mold in the basement). It still was a pretty cool place to live for a while and we enjoyed the place quite a bit. The house had “character”, shall we say.

Second Home Purchase

After we had settled and found jobs again, it was time to buy another property. One that we could potentially modify and rent out in the longer term. We were definitely not looking for a “forever home” this time around. The last time we did it got us 280m2 to clean, heat and maintain! We’ve (more specifically me) learned that “more space” does not equal more happiness.

It took us a few months of browsing, and a couple “near miss” purchases, before we got our hands on our current house. We now own a 125m2 (1345sft) house consisting of two floors. The price for this house was (including fees) €200.000. Our current mortgage payment for this place (interest and principle payments) is about €626 (excluding any tax returns on the interest). It’s still owned for 86% by the bank 🙂

The Future

The next step is to move again! We will split our house into two rental units and move out ourselves. The current plan is to move into one of our current rentals. This unit is “only” 77m2 (828sft) and has no more mortgage associated with it.

We will however take mortgage on the property to have more money to reinvest into other assets. As it’s a nice place and situated in a good area, we probably could get a €150.000 low interest mortgage on it. That gives us a lot to work with!

Anyhow, it’s a nice little semi-detached house and situated near some green spaces and water bodies. It’s a good place to live and it much closer to family. The latter will make Mrs. CF a happy woman, and a happy wife is a happy life, so onwards we go.

Housing History - Tiny House

Housing History – Tiny House?

Other Bloggers

Fellow bloggers that posted about their housing history:


How about you? Where did you live and how has your housing history developed over the years?

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