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The important small print to look out for when you buy a house in Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
The important small print to look out for when you buy a house in Norway
These are the small details you need to look out for when buying a home in Norway. Pictured is a home in Norway. Photo by Kristin O Karlsen on Unsplash

The devil is in the detail, and in Norway checking the small print of a house listing can determine whether a purchase will be your dream home or a money pit.

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Almost everyone knows to check the small print when making purchases, especially when buying something as expensive or life-changing as a home. 

When living in another country, what you look for in the small print could be different in Norway compared to other places you have lived. 

A strong understanding of the small details to look out for can help save you heaps of cash and turn you away from any 'dream homes' that could become a nightmare later. 

The seller must provide key information in the property info… 

A few years ago, how homes were sold in Norway was tweaked in a way where a small change has made a big difference to the information available. 

Previously, homes could be listed “as seen”. This meant that sellers could sell the home in the state it was in during the viewing. 

Now, this isn’t allowed, and sellers must try to be a bit more transparent when selling the home. They will likely be required to list any defects they are aware of when selling a home. 

…However, the responsibility is still on you to uncover flaws

When a buyer purchases a home, it is presumed under Norwegian law that the purchasing party were aware of the conditions shown in a condition report or property ad. 

This means the responsibility is still on the buyer to gather all the information they can on the home before making a bid on the home. 

The reason why this applies before making a bid is because house bids in Norway are legally binding. This means you must have an excellent understanding of the small print when purchasing a home and are required to investigate any potential red flags earlier. 

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This also means asking for information about when areas like the kitchen or bathroom were last renovated if it isn't listed in the information. 

Any condition reports

 A condition report on the home is one of the most important documents where you should fine comb through all the details. 

During an inspection for a condition report, an appraiser will check for deterioration on the property, assess the materials used in the construction and thoroughly evaluate the home for any areas where maintenance will be required in the immediate or near future. 

Close attention should be paid to information on kitchens, bathrooms and cellars. Renovations and repairs to these areas of the home in Norway can be incredibly expensive. Knowing these rooms are clear of any current or future issues should provide peace of mind to buyers. 

A condition report isn’t a requirement when selling or buying a home, but it is recommended for both buyers and sellers. 

Housing association costs 

Many apartments in the big towns and cities across Norway belong to a cooperative housing structure, with an association being called a borettslag in Norwegian. 

When you buy into this, you will own a share in the association and the exclusive right to live in the home you are “buying” rather than buying the property outright. 

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Housing associations have a shared debt, as well as monthly costs that need to be paid on top of the mortgage and other bills. 

This is pretty easy to spot on property ads.

Checking the overall financial health of the housing association is also essential and will give you an overview of whether the building is being properly run. Other information to look out for is whether any future renovations are planned – which can hike up these monthly costs. 

READ MORE: How to analyse a Norwegian housing association’s finances before you buy an apartment

Check whether somebody has priority over you when making a home offer

Many housing associations will see an existing member given priority over a non-member if two bids are the same

Even if you are a member, somebody with a longer membership can have priority over your bid. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t too much you can do about this other than go back to the seller with a higher bid, and while that’s great for them, it’s not great for you.

Being aware of whether such a rule will be enforced can help you realise that you may have your budget stretched or that you may not secure the home even if your offer is accepted.

As a general rule, OBOS properties operate with this rule. So, when seeing a property is an OBOS one, you can begin to prepare yourself. 

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