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Can non-residents buy property in Norway?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Can non-residents buy property in Norway?
While it is technically possible to purchase a home as a non-resident in Norway, things will actually prove quite difficult in practice. Pictured is a cabin in the mountains in the area around the Aurlandsfjord. Photo by Barnabas Davoti on Unsplash

While Norway allows anyone to buy property in the country, the reality of trying to purchase a property while being a non-resident is far more complicated.

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Norway’s property market has no regulations on whether foreigners can buy property in the country. 

In theory, this means you can indeed purchase property if you are not a resident of Norway. 

For that reason, plenty of guides online highlight “how easy” it is to buy property and that banks offer mortgages up to 85, or even 100 percent. 

However, plenty of paperwork is involved in buying a home in Norway, most of which only residents in Norway will possess. 

For starters, you won’t be able to get a Norwegian mortgage as you have no ties to the country or any income in the country. Therefore, you would represent too significant a risk to banks. 

Credit scores are also confined to a single country. So, it doesn’t matter how good your credit score may be; without a credit history in Norway, you’ll be a no-go from the perspective of a Norwegian bank. 

One option would be remortgaging your home in the country you live, the only other option would be buying outright. 

When buying outright, you must prove where your income has come from as part of anti-money laundering procedures.

There’s also the process of getting an offer accepted. Typically, homes in Norway go through bidding rounds. One needs a Norwegian personal number and an electronic ID to place a bid. 

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These are only available to residents, as you will need an identity number to open a bank account and be granted an electronic ID

Therefore, you will likely need to find a realtor or lawyer willing to represent you during the sales process. 

This means that as a foreign buyer, your lawyer or realtor will need to approach the buyer with an acceptable bid before the property goes to the bidding rounds. This may mean slightly overpaying for a property, although an experienced realtor may be able to find you a good deal. 

As a general rule, you shouldn’t expect too many sellers willing to go through the extra hoops required to help you purchase the property when they know they are pretty much guaranteed another offer on the property in the near future. 

Then there is dealing with the sale and finding properties. In Norway, the onus is on the buyer to investigate faults and flaws with the property, which are outlined in the property report, which is in Norwegian. 

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

For this reason, a lawyer or realtor will probably need to review the documents before the offer goes through (all offers made are pretty much legally binding, and most terms and conditions apply from the moment the offer was made). 

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Be aware that certain renovations in Norway, such as for bathrooms and kitchens, are much more expensive than in other countries. Properties that require maintenance and attention in these areas may prove to be a money pit further down the line. 

In addition to the purchase price and the cost of using the lawyers and realtors, there are other additional costs, such as stamp duty and potentially dealing with the land registry. 

READ ALSO: The hidden extra costs when buying property in Norway

Once the property is purchased, several issues will pop up. Firstly, you must get utilities and wi-fi set up in your name. This will require a Norwegian bank account and a Norwegian identity number. 

There is some good news, though. Those who own a residential property in Norway can get a D-number. They can order one from the Norwegian tax authority. They can order it to their new address. When ordering the d-number, the homeowner must ensure their name is on the postbox. 

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Otherwise, it will be sent back, and you will need to chase the Norwegian postal service to obtain the D-number. 

With the D-number, you will be able to order a bank account. Getting an account may still be a long-winded process. The bank will also not issue a BankID to D-number customers. There may also be a fee for opening the account. 

You will need a digital ID, however, so you should try to obtain a MinID from the Norwegian Tax Authorities to access paperwork online. 

With a digital ID and a bank account, you can finally pay utilities and bills on the home. 

What else should I know? 

Owning the house won’t grant you any special residency or citizenship rights. Therefore, if you come from outside the EEA, you will be limited to 90/180 days in the Schengen area. 

Some areas also have residency requirements, and you will likely be restricted to owning a house outright rather than belonging to a housing association

Despite the challenges outlined, owning a home in Norway as a non-resident in Norway is entirely possible. However, it’s worth pointing out that you may need to overcome a few obstacles to achieve your dream. 

Furthermore, it’s also worth pointing out that you will need to enlist the services of a lawyer or realtor to achieve this ambition. Unfortunately, The Local is unable to suggest any realtors or lawyers to help with the process. 

Have you bought a home as a non-resident? Let us know what the experience was like by contacting us at [email protected].  

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