The credit crisis and increasing competition have made it difficult for notary offices. In the past they could sit back and wait for clients, but nowadays they have to compete against cheap notaries from surrounding cities. In the past it was common to choose the notary’s own place of residence. The notary rates have been released since April 1, 2003. This has resulted in falling rates to compete with cheap notaries in the nearby area. The rise of comparison sites for rates per office allows consumers to easily compare rates per province. In 2008 and 2009, notary offices also had to deal with a stagnant housing market, which resulted in fewer houses being bought and sold. Notary offices generate most of their income from real estate transactions, making them highly dependent on the housing market.
The activities of the notary arise from the law. He is appointed by our Queen and must take an oath before he can act as a notary. He is called in as an impartial expert and is expected to represent both interests. His activities include, among others, the following matters:
- Inheritance law
- Associations and Foundations
- Corporate law
- Marriage and Family
In the Netherlands there are several comparison sites active for notary rates. In addition, the website Doehetzelfnotaris.nl was launched in July 2009 by Mr Henk Alers (former notary) together with several partners. This website should save money for the consumer or company and save time for the notary. The notary no longer has to spend time completing a standard deed, and the customer can save money by taking over these activities. A notarial deed looks very complicated, but consists almost entirely of standard texts. By answering certain questions it can easily be determined which texts should be included in the deed. The deeds to be drawn up can be sent to the notary of your preference. This person will ensure the legally valid settlement. According to the website itself, you can save thirty percent on the rate. An indication of the costs to be paid by the consumer:
- Will: 150,–
- Cohabitation agreement: €210
- Married will: 225,-
Tough times for notaries
The website Doehetzelfnotaris.nl also states that it is doing the notary a favor by taking work off their hands, but the notaries will not be happy about it. In tough times, they are eager for extra work for which they can charge their rates. Traditional notary offices are finding it increasingly difficult in the battle against price fighters. Many people will continue to choose the well-known and trusted notary in their own hometown, but due to large price differences, many customers will opt for the lower price. However, consumers should be careful not to focus solely on price. The quality of services must also weigh heavily. The problem here is that it is difficult for consumers to gain insight into quality differences. In addition to insight into prices, the website Notarisprijs.nl can also provide insight into the quality of the services. This assessment was given by customers of the notary office in question.