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PROPERTY

Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Norway's house bidding process is equally stressful and confusing, but before putting in an offer, you should make sure you aren't making any of these costly mistakes. 

Pictured is stylish apartments which overlook the Oslo Fjord.
You should avoid making these mistakes when putting in an offer on a place in Norway. Pictured are stylish apartments in downtown Oslo. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash.

Buying a house is normally stressful enough, whether it’s getting a mortgage in place, going to dozens of viewings or spending hours going through listings. 

In Norway, the process is further complicated by the house bidding process, which you will have to go through when buying most properties today.

Additionally, you could make several mistakes that could make the process harder or cost you dearly. 

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Not having financing in place

Before you can bid on a property, you need to visit the bank to ensure financing for your purchase. If you are taking out a mortgage on the house, you will need to make sure you know the set limit the bank will allow to borrow. 

When you make a bid, the estate agent will contact the bank to ensure that you have the financial arrangements. If you do not have enough money or the mortgage your bank agreed on doesn’t cover the cost, your bid will be rebuffed. 

Therefore it is crucial to know your financial limits when entering bidding rounds to avoid any disappointments. 

Making a bid on a house you aren’t sure about

You should be absolutely sure that you could see yourself living in a property when you bid on it. This is because bids in Norway are legally binding, meaning that even if you put in a speculative bid and it’s accepted, you won’t be able to back out.

This means that you should avoid putting in any offers on homes you aren’t 100 percent sure about.

So while you may be in a rush to get on the property ladder or take a step up, patience will prevail over diving in headfirst. 

Forgetting to do proper research

The devil is always in the detail, and as dull as it may be, you should always read the small print to avoid any nasty shocks. 

This is especially important when buying apartments in Oslo and other cities where you will likely encounter housing associations where residents will be expected to pay various fees or contribute to the upkeep of the block. 

“For instance, if they are planning to replace the roof of the block the next year, you will read about it in the sales documents. It is important to consider whether you can afford a property also after potential add-ons,” Trine Dahl-Pettersen, real estate agent at Eindom 1, explained to The Local

Reading the small print isn’t the only place where research pays off. For example, one reader who has bought a house in Norway pointed out that finding a place that needs a little bit of work can help you avoid intense bidding wars, and locals tend to want a ready-made home to move into. 

“Finding a property that won’t go sky high over the asking price when bidding can be challenging. However, I quickly noticed that Norwegians are not afraid to bid high for a ready-to-go home,” Scott told The Local of his experiences buying in Bergen. 

“If you are comfortable doing some work on it, you can find a much better deal, maybe even under the asking price,” he added.

Therefore, market research can help prevent you from paying over the odds. 

Making more than one bid at a time

Unfortunately, putting plenty of bids out and seeing which offers stick could be a lot more disastrous than you may think. 

As mentioned earlier, bids in Norway are legally binding. Meaning that if you have two bids accepted at the same time, you will be legally obligated to purchase both of them.

Not having BankID

Despite the bidding process being done over the phone, there are still some hoops to jump through. 

You’ll need to have a Norwegian Bank ID available for the bidding process, as it is needed to confirm your identity when sending your bids. 

Without this, you won’t be able to lodge any offers. 

In addition to bank ID, you will need a Norwegian identification number (D-number/Personnummer) to hand. 

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PROPERTY

Half of Oslo’s old apartment blocks don’t meet fire safety regulations

As many as 1,800 old apartment buildings in Norway's capital pose a fire risk and fail to meet modern safety regulations, Oslo Fire and Rescue Service recently warned. 

Half of Oslo's old apartment blocks don't meet fire safety regulations

In total, there are around 3,500 apartment blocks categorised as 1890 buildings. These are buildings built between 1860 and 1930. Half of these buildings could pose a significant fire risk and don’t meet modern regulations, broadcaster TV2 recently reported

“The probability of deficiencies is very high. In 99 percent of the inspections we have already carried out, there have been deviations (from the regulations),” Patrik Czajkowski, team leader for the apartment building team in Oslo Fire and Rescue Service, told TV2. 

Compared to modern building standards, these older blocks typically allow fires to spread quicker and lack steel fireproof doors, automatic fire alarms, or extinguishing systems. 

“The buildings that have not been upgraded are less equipped for a fire. All the measures that should be in place and could reduce the risk of fire are not present” Czajkowski explained. 

Around 1,700 of the city’s 1890 buildings have been upgraded to meet modern fire safety regulations, according to Oslo Municipality

Tenants and homeowners in Oslo can check with the chairperson of their apartment board about the building’s fire measures. An apartment building’s chairperson is responsible for ensuring the building’s fire safety is up to scratch.

The National Association Of Homeowners said a lot of work had been done to improve fire safety in general over the past few years. The association added that making older buildings more resilient in the event of a fire was a more cost-effective process than people may have realised. 

“People think it is expensive, but when they complete the project and see that they actually have the opportunity to survive a fire, I think most people think it is well-spent money,” Anders Leisner, head of the legal department at the association, told TV2. 

However, Leisner said that it can be challenging to motivate associations to spend money on fire safety if they haven’t been ordered to do so. 

“They are subject to several costly requirements, such as replacing front doors and plastering the basement and attic. It can reach millions of kroner, especially in apartment buildings with a small size,” the lawyer said. 

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