Image credit: weinstock on Pixabay / CC0 / Public Domain

In an earlier post, I wrote about how the social housing system works. If you’re a student and are trying to move in ‘regular housing’ after you graduate, I have some tips for you.

Sign up right after you arrive in the country, no really!

Considering that waiting times are often ten years or more, it’s almost a given that you don’t sign up for a list the moment you want to move. Because you will be ten years late. Most people don’t have a crystal ball either, so you sign up for several lists early. I move to the centre of the country, but I am still high on the list of my old town. If I ever decide to move back, I will have zero waiting time.

Sometimes you need to move earlier than planned with not that much waiting time under your belt. Here are some tips to maximize your chances.

When you are ready to bid on houses, visit the corporations that rent out these houses first. Ask about popularity, about waiting times. Which ones have the longest waiting time? This will give you a lot of valuable information. This will tell you exactly which houses not to bother for and which ones to look out for.

You will have three slots available at any time. But the housing ads aren’t closing at the same time. Ads will be open for a week and posted throughout the week. Keep your eyes peeled to the site and sort on remaining time, not on your chance. As soon as an ad closes, you get the corresponding slot back and can use that for another ad. This way you can sign for dozens of houses per week.

Lottery or regular list?

Many areas have two lists. There’s the regular list that works on the basis of seniority and a second one that is a lottery. You can sign up and the computer will randomise the list after closure and whoever is on top gets an invite. If they decline, the next one on the list gets the offer. Houses on this list are usually the less desirable ones. If you need housing fast, this might be worth trying. I tried this for a few years and never got lucky, but I also heard from people who got a big nice house months after signing up for the list. Your mileage may vary.


In the first stage you need data on how you are doing compared to the rest. This is why people with low chances bid on houses. They know they have zero chance, but they get to see how long number one has waited and by trying various kinds of houses, you get to know where your best chances are. In my early days I would use 1 out of my three slots for the regular list to check and use the other two for lottery.

Don’t Give Up

At one point you start noticing that you are doing better on a certain combination of m2, rooms, neighbourhood. Focus on those and keep trying. Look at your relative position on the list. Try to find the houses with the lowest amounts of bidders.

Always try the new projects

There are two main reasons why new builds aren’t popular. The first reason is that you sign the lease before the house is built and you will have to wait for months until it is finished. Chances are that people with longer waiting times will be able to find another house within this time frame. The other reason is that people like to view a house before deciding on it. If there’s nothing to see but a few drawings, it’s difficult to imagine living there.

In fact, my last two social houses were new projects and in both cases I wasn’t nowhere near the top five when the ad closed. I hope this helps some people. Good luck!