So, you’ve been here for a while and you’re thinking, this is a nice place to settle down or maybe you want to make an investment while you’re living here instead of spending it on rent. The information here might help.
Here in Norway, real estate agents generally work for the sellers. Do note that it is legal for sellers to sell their properties themselves. Most do this in order to save on the realtor’s commission. Some house owners opt to do all the marketing themselves but engage a lawyer to complete the paperwork at the end of the process.
FINN.no is the go-to site to search for property. So in FINN, click on Eiendom>Bolig til Salgs>city you currently reside in. There you’ll get to see all the houses that are for sale in your area.
There is a description of the properties when you click on them, complete with pictures and other information. Google Translate is really helpful here.
Boliga.no is another site which gives you information about the properties like how many days they’ve been on the market and if the price of the property has increased or decreased over time.
So you’ve seen a couple of houses that you like on FINN, what next?
Go for the visning (viewing/open house). This information will be listed on the FINN site, for e.g.:
Visning 23.11.2009, 18:00 – 19:00
If not, it will say:
Etter avtale med megler/selger (m) xx xx xx xx (after appointment with the agent/seller)
Viewings usually last 1 hour and will be held in the evenings or weekends. If you are interested in the property, you can write your name and contact information down on the agent’s list.
If you have done so, the agent will usually call you the day after the viewing and ask if you’re interested in making any bids. Also, if anyone else has made any bids, you will be informed. This increases transparency in the whole process and more often than not, increases the selling price of the property.
If you are interested in making a bid, you need to fill out the bidding form at the back of the prospectus (which you should have received at the viewing, if not you can just go down to the agent’s office to get one) and submit it (in person or by email or fax) to the agent. Subsequent bids can be done through the phone/SMS. Your bids are legally binding so do not bid for more than 1 property at a time (unless of course, you can afford it)
You need to ensure that you have a written document from the bank stating that you will be able to have the finances(savings and/or loan) to get said property. This mortgage approval document can take up to a week or 2 to receive as the bank needs to do a credit check on you. So don’t wait till the last minute to get this!
The seller must wait 24 hours after the viewing to accept a bid. If there is more than 1 bid, the ‘war’ starts. The potential buyers will pit themselves against one another, outbidding the highest amount. Of course, this stops when interested parties drop out of the war, until the last bidder is left. The seller has the discretion on who to sell to – it is usually, but not always, sold to the highest bidder.
Most banks offer mortgages if you want to buy a property. The repayment period for a mortgage is long, usually between 20 and 30 years. As a general rule, one can borrow up to 85% of the property price or 3 times one’s annual income. However, should one not have sufficient capital for the 15%, one can request to borrow 100% of the property price from the bank. Approval of a 100% loan will be dependent on one’s income, credit history and possibility of having some sort of guarantee. Contact your bank to find out how much you can borrow and what interest rate the bank offers. Bring your tax return and pay slip to the bank to document your income level.
START-UP LOAN FROM YOUR MUNICIPALITY
If you have difficulties getting a loan from your bank to buy your own home, or you need help to stay in your current home, you can apply for a start-up loan. The start-up loan is a favourable loan scheme offered by most municipalities, primarily intended for first-home buyers and households with special needs. Different municipalities have different policies and practices when it comes to granting start loans.
A start-up loan may help you buy your own home if you lack capital or sufficient financing from the private market. It can also be used for improvement of your current home or refinance your mortgage. A start-up loan can finance all or parts of the total costs. The size of the loan available to you depends, however, on how much you and your household can manage to pay in interest and instalments alongside your everyday living expences.
Start-up loans are offered by most municipalities in Norway. It is your municipality that decides whether you are eligible for a start-up loan, and how much you can borrow.
When can I apply for a start-up loan?
- if you are getting settled
- if you lack your own funds
- if you lack financing
- if you have a disability
- if you are a sole breadwinner
- if you can’t get started in the housing market
What can a start-up loan be used for?
- top financing or full financing when you are purchasing a home
- top financing when you are building a new dwelling
- refinancing, to help you to be able to remain resident in in your own dwelling
- improvement of your dwelling
How do I apply for a start-up loan?
- You apply for a start-up loan with the municipality where you live or want to buy a home.
- Municiplities recommend that you apply for advance approval befor you start searching for a home to buy, so that you know in advance how much money you can spend on it.
- Before applying for a start-up loan, you have to examine whether all or parts of the costs can be financed by a private bank.
- When you have found a home you wish to buy, the application needs to include a recent valuation of the property.
A housing grant is available for those who are most disadvantaged in the housing market. The household must be experiencing long-term or permanent financial difficulties, or the home must be in need of special adaptation. Grants can be given to buy a home, to renovate/adapt one’s own home and to re-finance a mortgage to be able to stay in one’s current home. Applications for housing grants should be submitted to the municipality that administers the scheme. Contact your local municipality for further information.
Congrats! You’ve now got the property!
Once the seller has accepted your bid, it is legally-binding. There will be consequences if you or the seller go back on your/their word regarding the property. Within 1-2 weeks, you will receive a confirmation letter from the agent stating that you have successfully obtained the property. It will also give you information about the meeting you will have with the sellers.
At the first meeting, the buyer and seller will receive identical folders which will contain all information about the property. You will then check that all information is correct and all contracts will be signed. You can also start to discuss details for e.g. if you want to buy over any of the seller’s furnishings, etc etc.
You will need to pay the omkostninger (fees) and 10% of the selling price within 14 days of the first meeting. The rest of the money needs to be paid before you take over the property. (You need to inform your bank so they know when to transfer the money). This might differ slightly among real estate agencies.
Here are some terms that might help you in looking for a property.
- leilighet= apartment
- enebolig= one entire house
- rekkehus= house in a series
- tomannsbolig= one house divided for 2 different families
- blokk= apartment block
- Bolig= dwelling
- tomt= empty plot
- Bad = toilet/bathroom/washroom
- Rom = bedroom
- Gang= hallway
- Primærrom= usable space
- Bruksareal= actual space
- Bruttoareal= gross space
- U. etg. = under etasje, or basement/cellar
- 1etg.= first floor
- loft= attic
- stue= living room
- dusj= shower
- vaskerom= laundry/washing room
- hytte= cabin
- oppvarming = heating
- beliggenhet = location
- tre = wood
- betong = concrete
- overtagelse = taking over
- byggeår = year of construction
- renovert = renovated
Note than when you buy an apartment in an apartment block or rekkehus, there may be extra monthly costs.
The information here comes from myself, friends and Ny i Norge.