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Expat Exchange - How to Buy a Home in Norway
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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway


How to Buy a Home in Norway

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Norway repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Norway. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Norway is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Norway.

Buying a home in Norway can be an exciting yet challenging process, especially for expats. The country's unique real estate market, coupled with its stringent property laws, can make the home buying process seem daunting. However, with the right information and guidance, you can navigate this process successfully. This guide aims to provide you with the necessary information to make your home buying journey in Norway as smooth as possible.

How do I find houses for sale in Norway?

There are several online platforms where you can find houses for sale in Norway. Websites like Finn.no, Eiendomsmegler1, and Zett.no are popular among Norwegians and expats alike. These platforms provide detailed information about the properties, including location, size, price, and photos. Additionally, you can engage the services of a real estate agent who can help you find a property that suits your needs and budget.

Are there restrictions on foreigners owning property in Norway?

Yes, there are restrictions on foreigners owning property in Norway. Non-residents are required to have a residence permit to buy property. However, EU/EEA citizens can buy property without a residence permit if they are working in Norway. It's also worth noting that some areas in Norway have restrictions on second home ownership to prevent local property price inflation. To navigate these restrictions, it's advisable to consult with a local real estate attorney or agent.

Does Norway have an MLS type system?

Norway does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system like in the United States. Instead, each real estate agent or agency has its own listings. However, most of these listings are aggregated on major property websites, making it easier for potential buyers to find properties.

Do brokers have licenses and how do I know if they are licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Norway are required to have a license. The Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority (Finanstilsynet) is responsible for licensing and regulating real estate agents. You can verify an agent's license by checking with Finanstilsynet or asking the agent to provide proof of their license.

What documents are required when buying a home in Norway?

When buying a home in Norway, you will need several documents. These include a valid ID, proof of income, tax returns for the last two years, and a credit report. If you're taking out a mortgage, you'll also need a mortgage approval letter from your bank. Additionally, you'll need the property's deed and a sales contract signed by both the buyer and seller.

Do I need a lawyer when buying a home in Norway?

While it's not mandatory to have a lawyer when buying a home in Norway, it's highly recommended. A lawyer can help you understand the legal aspects of the transaction, review contracts, and ensure that all necessary documents are in order. The cost of a lawyer can vary, but you should expect to pay around 1-1.5% of the property's purchase price.

Do people typically buy a property with all cash or take out a mortgage?

Both options are common in Norway. However, most people opt for a mortgage due to the high property prices. In Norway, you can borrow up to 85% of the property's purchase price, and the mortgage term can be up to 30 years.

Are there inspections that take place, and if so what is that process like?

Yes, property inspections are common in Norway. The seller is usually responsible for arranging a professional inspection before listing the property for sale. The inspection report is then made available to potential buyers. It's important to review this report carefully as it provides detailed information about the property's condition.

What are some of the pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Norway?

One of the main pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Norway is not fully understanding the local property laws and regulations. This can lead to legal issues and financial losses. It's also important to avoid rushing the process. Take your time to research, view different properties, and negotiate the best deal. Lastly, ensure you fully understand the terms of your mortgage agreement to avoid any surprises in the future.

Expats Talk about Real Estate in Norway

"Extremely pretty, very little work, basic infrastructure, no crime, in my case, the best neighbour in the world, probably. Move here if independently wealthy but it's impossible to predict how you will be "digested" by the Norwegian state until you get here and it's too late. There is a woman who works at the local tax office who is a demon! She has achieved things on her own for me that have defeated the rest of the Norwegian system," said one expat living in Skei i Jolster.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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