Real estate

Inspiration Shot June 2023

Years ago I ‘accidentally’ found myself investing in real estate. When I sold my house in Amstelveen, I invested in a few 30m2 apartments in Amsterdam. I had them specially designed, furnished and started renting the ‘tiny houses’ out to expats.
Just when things seemed to be going well and I had done a very pricey refinancing of my investments, the rental property regulations in the Netherlands changed.
Now, I can only charge half the rent I used to. On top of that, property taxes have increased tenfold! It has become an unsustainable situation.
My entire business model is turned upside down. Which means I have to sell the apartments again. At the same time, other opportunities present themselves. That is why I like to share my real estate secrets, tips, and dilemmas I’ve encountered in this newsletter.

Real estate secrets

In my blog ‘Real Estate secrets’ I describe how my Dutch real estate adventure started and share tips, including my top team of financing guru, purchase and rental brokers and talented designer. In this international podcast ‘The 80-20 investor show’ I explain everything in more detail.

Lessons from construction projects abroad

In the spirit of ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’, I started investing abroad. First a finca (little farmhouse) in Mallorca and later my Tiny Trullo projects in Puglia, Italy. All a wonderful adventure, but not always easy.
In this blog, I share my lessons, do’s and don’ts of construction projects in Italy. These are also interesting for other countries. Some life lessons can even be applied outside of real estate!

The Amsterdam discussion

“Because of investors like you, local people can no longer live in Amsterdam” is a criticism I often hear. It is indeed very difficult for starters to find an apartment to rent or buy. It is true that real estate prices in Amsterdam are rising at an alarming rate. This also applies to prices in other capitals worldwide. There is more demand than availability. Wealthy Chinese and Russians buy apartments in bulk and often leave them empty, purely as an investment.
This problem cannot be solved by imposing a price cap on the rents of private investors. That just means that entrepreneurs like me, who own a number of apartments as our ‘pension’, have to sell them. With the current government plans, institutional investors will no longer build any new housing, because it is simply no longer profitable. In short: even LESS instead of MORE homes will become available 😢
I think the problem and the solution lies in the fact that in Amsterdam 50% of the city is devoted to social housing, which is one of the highest percentages in the world. Many decades ago, nobody wanted to live in the inner city, and social housing was offered at ridiculously low rates to ‘lure’ people to the inner city. These people still live there, at such low rates that they will never leave. It is simply not realistic that in the popular city center, someone pays €300 per month in a social housing home, while exactly the same apartments next door in the ‘liberal sector’ cost €1500. It’s great that we offer social housing at affordable rates to people who need it: but does that have to be 50% off the homes? And does it really have to be in the city center? In my opinion, that is the discussion we should be having, not at what price a private investor is ‘allowed’ to rent out their expensively purchased apartment. I’d love to hear your experience and opinion on this!

A new business model?

So now what? There is no point in waiting, I prefer to take action myself. I have already sold one of my apartments. The second mini-apartment is now for sale.
Everything seems to indicate that I should switch to short-term rentals, while I was always focussing on long-term. A completely different business model, so I’m now figuring out Airbnb and Booking, same in Italy (see my TinyTrullo, the beautiful TownHouse and the new cute Studio).

As always, I try to do things a little differently. Being visible, boasting beautiful design and good photos. Just like visibility for entrepreneurs. For example, I made a QR code on a ceramic sign at the door of the Townhouse, so that a passer-by can take a virtual tour… (Did you know, by the way, that you can easily create free QR codes with

So if you, or someone you know, are temporarily looking for a luxury apartment in the heart of Amsterdam, or want to spend some time in Puglia, let me know!

Don’t pay too much for your car rental!

Are you going to view real estate and spot opportunities abroad this summer? Or just go on a vacation? This is how you rent the cheapest car:, etc. have the best rates because car rentals list their unrented cars on these websites. Sometimes I only pay a few euros a day!
Then I rent the car without insurance and with free cancellation.
For €99 you have a ‘year round cover for car rental, anytime, anywhere in the world’. This way you never have to pay that expensive extra insurance again. In 3 days you have already earned back this one-time investment!
One last tip: Check the rental website again a few days before your trip. You often find an even cheaper car, which you then book and cancel the previous booking.

Workshop alert

Light your fire,
without the burnout!

Do you throw yourself wholeheartedly into your passion and want to avoid becoming emotionally or physically exhausted?

This live online workshop gives you practical tips and insights into your energy management.

Avoid the mistakes we all often make (charge your battery just a bit when it is empty and then quickly continue at a killer pace…)

Discover a sustainable way to manage your energy so you can keep working on what matters to you the most.

Inspiration bites

The tiniest apartment in NY

If you like Tiny Houses, you can get lost in the video tours on Youtube.
This is one of my favorite ones, a tiny apartment in the heart of New York.

Could you live like this?

Learn to trust your intuition

In conversation with Birgit Selma, we discuss how you follow your own inner compass, and how to see and seize opportunities.
How do you learn to trust your intuition? And much more in this (Dutch) podcast…

Osa Major Cookbook

Nina Verbeek started this lifestyle book during my writing retreat in Mallorca 3 years ago. My writers always visit her family’s incredible estate for dinner and Nina got inspired to write. The book is about the land, the house, her family, the nature and the delicious food they produce and serve.

30 day stay

Together with Sarah Weaver, I am organizing a retreat for 12 American Real Estate Investors in Puglia from June 24-28th.

Sarah’s book explains why it is interesting to choose medium stay instead of short or long-term rental.

Did you know...?

…that I will be featured in the summer edition of the popular Dutch magazine Wendy with my ‘house on Mallorca’?
Huh? You don’t have a house in Mallorca anymore, do you? You’re right! Yet I’m in the interview! 😜 Photographed in the writer’s villa that I always rent on Airbnb for the Writing retreat. In the article, I could also mention my Tiny Trullo projects in Italy, which I actually bought because Puglia looks so much like my beloved Mallorca! 🙂
During the writing retreat in Mallorca, I also visited my ex-house, the finca (little farmhouse) that I had together with my ex, Marinus. It has now been sold and the new owner is making something very beautiful out of it. A mix of modern, comfort and tradition in this unique place. I was also triggered again to perhaps buy something on Mallorca. I love the island, as you can see in the photo below of the interior and this video of the coast.

Where is Esther?

The two weeks in Mallorca for the writing retreat were great, as you can see in this impression video. My assistant Jelena was also there. It was only the second time we saw each other live, while we have been working together online for 3 years. Super nice to have her there. A new tradition is born.
By the way, another tradition is broken. Next year the writing retreat in Mallorca will take place from June 4-11th instead of the usual last week of May. The Workation village Italy lasts the entire month of May.
Last week I was hired as a speaker at a company event in the Nederlands for the first time in a long time. It was nice to be back on stage, to improvise and to inspire hundreds of people with my ‘unusual’ stories. No excuses!
After 2 days back in Puglia I’m NOT going to Valencia with my Nyenrode sorority, as planned, but back to Amsterdam for the funeral of the father of a dear friend 😢
End of June 13 American real estate investors come to Puglia for a 5 day mastermind.
On my birthday (June 28th) I am flying to London for the conference of the Dynamite Circle, my successful location independent entrepreneur friends. In July and August, I will be in the Nederlands. There I will do something special – in addition to solving the apartment puzzle – I will do a facilitated MDMA session for personal development. The session is guided by one of the authors who wrote a book about it in Mallorca. I will tell you more about this next month.

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