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The must-have vocab for buying a flat or house in Norway

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
The must-have vocab for buying a flat or house in Norway
Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Buying real estate in Norway can seem quite challenging – especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terminology used by realtors. In this guide, we will walk you through the key terms that pop up when you’re buying a home in Norway.


We’re giving it to you straight - looking for your first home can be time-consuming, and the process might, at times, seem complex.

However, if you stay within your budget, have realistic expectations, and familiarise yourself with both the process and the related terminology, things are more likely to proceed smoothly.

In this article, we will cover some of the key Norwegian terms - and steps of the home-hunting process – that you will likely encounter once you decide to buy your own flat or house.


Mortgage (Norwegian: boliglån) and equity (Norwegian: egenkapital)

For a lot of people, the road to buying a home in Norway involves taking out a mortgage. In Norwegian, mortgage translates into boliglån.

As a general rule, know that Norwegian banks lend up to 85 percent of the purchase price, meaning that you will have to cover 15 percent of the purchase price from your own funds.

These own funds are called egenkapital in Norwegian, meaning equity.

In addition, you will usually have to cover the costs associated with the home purchase, such as state taxes and various fees. These additional expenses are called omkostninger in Norwegian, and they vary based on the type of home you plan to purchase.

If you want to buy a home as a freeholder (Norwegian: selveier), you will have to pay 2.5 percent of the purchase price in document taxes to the Norwegian state, as well as a few additional small registration fees.

On the other hand, if you want to buy a home in a housing association with a cooperative ownership structure (Norwegian: borettslag), the additional costs will be significantly lower and amount to ca. 5,000 or 6,000 kroner.

Proof of funds certificate (Norwegian: finansieringsbevis)

However, the first step in the process of purchasing a home usually starts with you requesting – and, hopefully, obtaining – a proof of funds certificate (finansieringsbevis).

The proof of funds certificate demonstrates that you have the funds available to buy a home and specifies the sum you can spend on a home.

The process of applying for the said certificate tends to be straightforward. For example, if you apply for a finansieringsbevis with Norway’s largest bank, DNB, you’re likely to have everything in place within a week – provided you meet the bank’s criteria.

Once you obtain the proof of funds, you will be eligible to participate in bidding rounds for the property you want to purchase.

The certificate is usually valid for multiple months, so you can take your time and research the local real estate market before you move on to the next step.

Note: Most homes in Norway are sold through bidding rounds. You can find out more about the process here.


House or apartment viewings (Norwegian: visning)

So, you’ve made your initial mortgage arrangements with the bank, and you have a proof of funds certificate. Now you’re ready to go to viewings (Norwegian: visning)!

It’s recommended to go to as many viewings as possible to get a good overview of what you can buy at what price in the areas that interest you.

Always examine the property brochure (Norwegian: prospectus) carefully, keep an eye on any risks or potential problems, and be thorough when you visit the actual property for a viewing.

As a buyer, you have a duty to carry out the due diligence on the property you intend to buy, so make sure to prepare for viewings – so that you can ask realtors the right questions and address any potential concerns.

Note: Don’t show your proof of funds to the realtor because that will disclose how much money you can put up in a potential bidding round - remember that the seller pays the realtor to sell the property.


Biddings rounds (Norwegian: budrunder)

You have a proof of funds certificate, and you’ve been to several viewings. So far, so good. You now have an understanding of what the market looks like, and you’re ready to (try to) buy a home.

After finding that one special flat or house that takes your breath away at a visning (and after making sure that the property’s documentation isn’t hiding any surprises), it’s time to participate in a bidding round (Norwegian: budrunde), which usually takes place shortly after the viewing.

It’s generally recommended to set a bidding limit in advance of the bidding round so that you don’t get carried away and bid beyond your means.

If you don’t end up placing the winning bid, don’t let it get to you – Norway has a “hot” real estate market, and other interesting properties are bound to pop up sooner or later.


Finalising the mortgage documentation (Norwegian: lånedokumenter)

If the property seller ends up accepting your bid, you will become the immediate owner of the home (remember that the bids are binding).

The next step? Signing the loan documents (lånedokumenter in Norwegian).

At this point in the process, the real estate agent will usually invite the seller and buyer to a joint meeting, where they will review and sign the relevant contracts and documentation.

This is also the time when you will need to consider insurance options. You can find more information about home insurance and home contents insurance in our deep-dive article on the issue here.

And that’s it – congratulations! You now have a firm grasp on the vocab you’ll encounter during the home-buying process in Norway.

Note that the purchasing process described in this article has been somewhat simplified to illustrate the key Norwegian terms you’ll likely encounter as a prospective home buyer.

Make sure to closely examine all the bank documentation, property brochures, and all other related documents that you’re presented with while you look to purchase a home.


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