The three-day cooling off period


The usual cancellation clauses when buying a house
Imagine, you want to buy a house and after meeting us for a chat about your options, you start searching for the home of your dreams. A few weeks later you find the perfect place and after some tough negotiations you agreed on the purchase price.

You are now one step closer to being the owner of your own home. The next step is agreeing on additional terms and cancellation clauses. Perhaps, for example, you would like to bring in an expert to carry out a structural survey?

Don’t forget either that you need an escape clause to cover you in case you cannot find a mortgage (which usually takes five or six weeks). This is something we, or your estate agent can help you with.


The three-day cooling off period
But what if you wake up the day after signing the initial agreement and realise that it is not the home for you or that your dog will never make it up the stairs? This is where the cooling-off period comes in. In fact, whenever you agree to buy a house, you can cancel the deal within three working days, without giving a reason and without it costing you a cent.

The cooling-off period starts just after midnight the day after you received the signed purchase agreement. If you do decide to pull out, you need to inform the seller (and to be on the safe side, the seller’s real estate agent as well) before the cooling off period expires. Weekends and official public holidays don’t count towards the three-day period.

It’s best to send a letter or a confirming email (and/or even a Whatsapp with blue ticks) to avoid discussions at a later date.

This schedule shows when the cooling off period ends:

Signed purchase agreement
received by the buyer:
Cooling off period
ends 23.59 on:
Effective number
of full days:
Monday Thursday 3
Tuesday Friday 3
Wednesday Monday 5
Thursday Monday 4
Friday Tuesday 4
Saturday Tuesday 3
Sunday Wednesday 3

There is no cooling off period for the seller, unless this has been specifically agreed in the sales contract.

Good to know: If you change your mind again and decide within six months to buy the house after all, then you are not entitled to a second cooling-off period.


More housing/mortgage info:
Should I rent or buy a house?
How to buy a house in the Netherlands
Calculate your maximum mortgage
What are the costs of buying a house?