A purchase agreement for a house is also called a "preliminary purchase deed". Entering into this agreement is a first, and very important, step in obtaining title to your desired house.
However, the word "preliminary" is somewhat misleading as this means that there is now a final written agreement between the parties about selling and buying the house. Here the word "preliminary" only refers to the fact that a deed of transfer will follow after the purchase agreement.
This deed of transfer is the second step and through this deed, title to the house is transferred to the buyer by the seller, after which the deed of transfer and the actual transfer of title is registered in the Land Registry (Dutch Kadaster). The new owner is then identified in the Land Registry. This completes the transfer of title and the buyer is now the owner of the house.
So in summary, obtaining ownership of a house consists of three steps, as explained above: the purchase agreement, transfer of title, and its registration in the Land Registry.
A Dutch notary will already be involved in this process as an expert at the phase when the purchase agreement is entered into. In this agreement, the parties agree that the house will become the buyer's property through the deed of transfer of title, under certain conditions, as stated in the agreement, for a certain price and at the date agreed.
If the purchase deed is drawn up without involving a notary, there is a risk that important legal details, e.g. soil contamination, are not covered. Other such details are the conditions precedent, e.g. the agreement that buyers can undo the purchase transaction if they cannot arrange sufficient funding within a certain period of time. Or if they do not get the housing permit that is required in some municipalities when buying a house below a certain purchase price or that has never been issued for a garage that has been rebuilt to create an apartment.
Servitudes are one of the details that need to be considered here as well. Servitudes are rights that form a limited invasion of one's property rights, for example a right of way enjoyed by the neighbours. And special stipulations may be important for the buyers as well, such as sales-regulating stipulations or a right of first refusal when a house is put up for sale.
It is these very aspects that can be a reason to buy or not buy a house and exactly why a notary should be engaged, preferably before signing the purchase agreement. And if the agreement has already been signed, a notary can remind the parties of any risks and insecurities that exist and that the parties must still consider and arrange.
Notaries offer all the necessary expert legal assistance and advice. And as independent counsellors they are always mindful of the interests of all parties involved.