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Essential hacks for buying a home in Norway

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Essential hacks for buying a home in Norway
From early saving for a down payment and necessary due diligence to careful on-site inspections and going through all the contracts attentively, here's our list of tips for buying a home in Norway without excess stress. Photo by Timo Masri on Unsplash

Buying a home in Norway is one of the most stressful things you're likely to do as a foreign resident. So here are some tips on how to navigate the process more easily.


Let's face it - buying a home is a significant investment (one of the biggest ones you're likely to make in your life), and it's normal to feel some stress during the process.

However, that doesn't mean that there's nothing you can do to make things more manageable and reduce your anxiety.

You should first know that Norway has a well-regulated and highly functional housing market. So, generally speaking, you're unlikely to end up in situations where you'll need a lawyer to navigate the purchase.

Still, there are multiple things you can do to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that you end up with the right home.

From early saving for a down payment and necessary due diligence to careful on-site inspections and going through all the contracts attentively, here's our list of tips for buying a home in Norway without excess stress.

The logistics of buying a home in Norway

So, you've decided you want to buy a home in Norway. Congratulations! Now it's time to navigate the logistics of the purchase.

For many people, the road to buying a home in the country involves taking out a mortgage (boliglån). As a general rule, Norwegian banks lend up to 85 percent of the purchase price, meaning that you will have to cover 15 percent of the purchase price – the downpayment or equity (egenkapital) – from your own funds.

In addition, you will usually have to cover the costs associated with the home purchase, such as state taxes and various fees (omkostninger). Note that these costs vary based on the type of home you plan to purchase.

There are several different types of ownership you can opt for. If you want to buy a home as a freeholder (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.

If you decide to buy a home in a housing association with a cooperative ownership structure (borettslag), the additional costs will be significantly lower and amount to ca. 5,000 or 6,000 kroner.


Getting a good mortgage deal

Ideally, you should start saving for a down payment and other associated costs early on.

In Norway, the first step in purchasing a home usually involves you requesting – and, hopefully, obtaining – a proof of funds certificate (finansieringsbevis) from a bank; you'll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

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

The process of applying for the said certificate tends to be straightforward. After you contact your bank of choice, the bank runs a credit check on you (and your partner, depending on your circumstances), and if you meet the bank's criteria, you'll likely get the certificate within a week or two.

However, it's good practice to "shop around" and ask multiple banks for the certificate, as different banks will offer you different credit sums that you can take out, as well as different interest rates.

Also, by using one offer you got from a bank and presenting it to another bank, the other bank might even be willing to give you a better deal on some occasions.

So don't just accept the first offer that comes your way; talk to a couple of banks, get multiple offers, and then decide on the one that best suits your needs.

You can also use Finansportalen, a platform backed by Norway's Consumer Council, to find the cheapest and best loans.

Note: The proof of funds certificate is usually valid for a couple of months, so you'll have enough time to research the local real estate market.


Going to viewings and researching the housing market

Once you get pre-approved for a mortgage and have a proof of funds certificate, you'll be ready to go house hunting and explore the market.

In Norway, one of the best ways to get a feel of the market is to go to viewings (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. Try to go to at least ten viewings to familiarise yourself with the system.

Also, Norwegians looking for a home usually set up a profile on – the country's largest online marketplace – which has a dedicated real-estate section, which is the go-to stop for finding property listings.

By setting the filters on Finn to match your needs (area, budget, number of rooms, etc.), you'll be able to find most deals in the area, and you can even set up automated notifications so that Finn sends you all the new listings that fit your filters and requirements at set intervals in time.

Pssst! Refrain from showing your proof of funds to realtors at viewings because by doing so, you disclose how much money you can put up in a potential bidding round - remember that the seller pays the realtor to sell the property.

Open house

As a prospective buyer, it is important that you carry out due diligence when considering a property for purchase. Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

The importance of the property brochure

Most listings on will include property brochures (prospectus), documents that should give you a detailed overview of the home in question, including the findings of an official property inspector.

Always examine this property brochure attentively, and keep an eye on any risks or potential problems.

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

This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and feel more confident during the process.


What to expect and how to prepare for bidding rounds

After you decide on a home that you want to (try and) purchase, in most cases – unless you're buying a new build – you need to participate in a bidding round (budrunde), which usually takes place shortly after the viewing via SMS.

The realtor will ask you if you want to participate in the bidding round during the viewing, but you can also notify them after the fact.

Let's say you were at a viewing on a Monday, and the bidding round starts on Tuesday morning. Expect the realtor to send you an SMS in the morning, notifying you that you're free to make bids.

READ MORE: Six key tips to survive the bidding war when buying a house in Norway


After that, you and other interested parties are expected to put in bids, and the process ends when the final bid has been made (note that the owner doesn't need to accept the final bid).

It's good practice to set a personal bidding limit before the bidding round so you don't get carried away by the excitement and overbid.

If you don't end up placing the winning bid, don't let it get to you – Norway tends to have a "hot" real estate market, and other exciting properties are bound to pop up soon.

What to do if your bid is accepted

Let's say the property seller ends up accepting your bid. At that point, things start moving pretty fast.

You will immediately become the owner of the home, as bids made during official bidding rounds are binding.

You'll need to contact your bank to finalise the documentation and sign the loan documents (lånedokumenter). Remember to take your time to read and understand the documentation you get from your bank before signing.


Seek clarification on any clauses you find unclear and ensure all agreed-upon terms are included – most banks will provide you with support in English, which makes the process less frightening.

Also, 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.

As with bank documents, carefully review all the documentation before signing anything. Also, you'll get the chance to do a final inspection of the property before you sign the papers – don't forget to use it!

Remember to transfer all the utilities from the old owner to you once you finalise the documentation. Utility companies in Norway are usually quite fast to make the switch.

Provided you don't run into any roadblocks, that will be it – and you'll be set to enjoy your new home in Norway.

Pssst! Keep all the contracts and mortgage paperwork well-organised – this will save you time and reduce stress when you need to refer to them in the future.

Note that the purchasing process described in this article has been somewhat simplified to illustrate some of the key issues you're likely to encounter as a prospective homeowner.


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