You can generally feel secure when buying an apartment in a housing complex in Norway.

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I have previously written a blog about legal forms of home ownership in Norway, where I emphasized that both ownership models, cooperative housing associations (borettslag) and joint ownership (sameie), are secure housing options regulated by good laws and functioning effectively.

What I want to share with you additionally is how these housing associations work in practice.

When you purchase an apartment in Norway, you’re not just buying the property itself; you’re buying into a community that is either a cooperative housing association or a joint ownership. The law dictates how these entities should be managed, who is responsible, what decisions are made by the elected board, and what must be discussed at the general meeting or co-owner’s meeting, where all property owners can attend and cast their votes.

What’s great is that the board is composed of people who live in the housing association, and as such, they have a vested interest in running it as effectively as possible. They receive valuable assistance from professional property managers who handle accounting and budgeting, collect common fees, provide assistance with maintenance plans, and organize annual meetings.

Each housing association has its own articles of association that align with the law. In addition, there is the option to have specific rules on certain matters, such as the housing association’s responsibility for maintenance and the individual owner’s responsibilities. For example, in some places, window replacement is the responsibility of the housing association, while in others, it’s the responsibility of the individual apartment owner. Therefore, it’s always advisable to review the articles of association.

When I assist you with your property purchase, I always go through the documents provided by the property manager, including the annual report and financial statements, to check whether the housing association is being run well or if there are specific issues you should be vigilant about. For instance, excessive renting out of units and complaints about noise or significant upcoming expenses that will be passed on to you through common fees.

I find that many foreigners looking to buy an apartment are somewhat anxious about whether the buildings and housing association will be adequately maintained by the board and property manager. This is a healthy skepticism, and we always need to verify, as I’ve described above.

But overall, we are good at managing housing associations and taking collective responsibility in Norway, and the entire system is well-organized through legislation. So, you can generally feel secure when buying an apartment in a housing complex in Norway.

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What happens during a property handover in Norway

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You’ve purchased a new property, and the time for the handover is approaching. Now is the moment of truth, did you buy the right property ?

Perhaps you’re a bit unsure about what to expect and what you should be cautious about.

Here are some useful tips:

Taking over a pre-owned property doesn’t entail a thorough re-examination to find defects and deficiencies. This should have been assessed during the viewing, and all essential information about the property’s condition should have been provided in the sales materials. You should take possession of the property as agreed upon based on this information.

However, on the take over you will still go through the property with the seller to check:

  1. That the apartment, including any associated storage units and, if applicable, a garage, is emptied, cleared, and cleaned.
  2. That all accessories and movable property described in the sales brochure and included in the sale are present.
  3. Keys should be handed over. Make sure you receive all the keys belonging to the seller, including keys for storage units and the garage.

Settling accounts:

Most real estate agents prefer that common expenses and other minor costs be settled directly between the seller and the buyer. This might be the case if the handover occurs in the middle of a month, for example. Remember to agree on the specific amount and the method of transferring the money.

Withholding a portion of the payment:

If the property is not adequately cleaned or you discover items that you believe were not included in the agreement regarding fixtures and fittings or the property’s qualities, as the buyer, you have the right to withhold a proportionate amount from the payment. This must be noted on the handover form, and remember that the withheld amount should be commensurate with the cost of rectifying or replacing any defects or deficiencies.

Once the property has been examined, and the electricity meter readings have been recorded jointly, the seller sends the signed handover protocol to the real estate agent. This is often done electronically via mobile devices. The agent will take care of registration and the settlement process for the seller. If there’s a need for withholding by the buyer, this amount is temporarily subtracted from the settlement and held in the agent’s client account. The parties – the seller and the buyer, ideally in cooperation with the agent – must find a resolution to any disagreement. Only when the matter is resolved and confirmed in writing by the buyer will the remaining settlement amount be released to the seller.

Most handovers occur without the need for withholding, but it’s good to be aware of the possibility. Additionally, this arrangement allows the handover to proceed even if there’s a minor dispute.

The absence of the real estate agent:

It’s common for the agent not to be present during the handover. It might seem a bit strange, considering that it’s a day of joy where the final result of the sale materializes. However, they might be preoccupied with new sales assignments…

I have found that some of my clients become a bit uncertain about meeting the seller alone, likely with concerns about potential disagreements. Therefore, I have sometimes accompanied my clients during the handover.

I hope the tips above can be useful and helpful, and if you have any more questions about the handover process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Best wishes
Boligdama – Trude Larsen



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Anne and Don’s Rapid Journey to Owning a Norwegian Holiday Home

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Anne and Don, hailing from New Mexico, USA, embarked on an exciting journey to purchase a holiday home in rural Norway, guided by the invaluable assistance of Boligdama, Trude. Facing initial hurdles with unresponsive Norwegian realtors, their remarkable journey unfolded in just one weekend, culminating in the successful acquisition of their dream property.

Anne and Don, residents of New Mexico, USA, had long nurtured a deep affection for Norway, drawn to its natural beauty and Anne’s ancestral ties. Their dream was to secure a holiday home in a rural Norwegian district, a place to escape to, and a canvas to showcase their treasured furniture from Anne’s grandparents’ house.

With a budget in mind, the couple meticulously scoured listings and shortlisted three potential properties. However, their enthusiasm waned as they encountered an unexpected roadblock—Norwegian realtors remained frustratingly unresponsive. Stuck in a sea of uncertainty, they desperately sought guidance and support.

One fateful day, Anne turned to the internet in her quest for assistance. A simple Google search led her to Boligdama, Trude, a name that would soon change the course of their journey. Boligdama quickly proved to be a godsend, offering the expertise and reassurance they so desperately needed.

Boligdama’s Touch: Transforming Desperation into Homeownership Bliss

Armed with Trude’s guidance, Anne and Don had found a charming property in Telemark, discovered through the online platform Despite the property needing some renovation, Trude made sure they were fully aware of the renovation challenges. Luckily, the couple, experienced DIY enthusiasts, were undeterred.

As the weekend dawned, Anne, Don, and Trude decided on a strategic approach—they opted for a secret bid, aiming to negotiate without competition from other potential buyers. Trude efficiently handled the paperwork, and the bid, which was NOK 50,000 below the asking price, was submitted to the realtor.

The trio had to wait until Monday for a response, as the realtor needed to verify the buyers’ financing with the bank. The clock ticked, and anticipation grew. Finally, at noon on Monday, the long-awaited answer arrived—a positive response, albeit with some details to iron out.
With hearts pounding and excitement, Anne and Don eagerly reached out to Trude to finalize the details. Remarkably, they were awake at 05:30 AM in New Mexico, unable to sleep due to their overwhelming excitement.

In a whirlwind of negotiations and confirmations, Anne and Don’s dream of owning a holiday home in Norway came to life in a mere weekend.

Anne and Don’s Testimonial: Boligdama’s Invaluable Support

Anne and Don reflect on their incredible journey with Boligdama, expressing their deep appreciation for the guidance and confidence she brought to their home-buying experience.

We had been looking for a house to buy in Norway for years. We wanted an older home and some land. Finally, we decided to make the leap and find a place to enjoy and bring our treasured furniture from my grandparents’ house out of storage. Our budget constrained us, and we found ourselves stuck, unable to get in touch with realtors and clueless about how to proceed.  Feeling desperate, I turned to Google with a simple plea: ‘I need help buying a house in Norway.’ That’s when Boligdama appeared, and it was truly a godsend! The rest, as they say, is history. We couldn’t have done it without her, and with her help, we felt confident in our choice. Thank you, Boligdama!


Please download my booklet to get a short brief on the home buying process in Norway.


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How does home buyer’s insurance work in Norway?

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Most people who buy a home in Norway, are offered home buyer’s insurance, through the Real Estate company. And it is usually a good idea to buy this insurance.

But what does it cover?

From the name, it may appear as if you as a home buyer are insured for all kind of problems that may arise after the home purchase. For example, if something about the home is not as you assumed it would be. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

A lawyer’s insurance

The insurance is simply a lawyer’s insurance that gives you legal help if you discover something you think is wrong after the purchase But, if this is something you should have seen at the viewing or read about in the sales material, it is not covered by the insurance.

In other words, it must be a hidden error or deficiency or lack of essential information from the seller. This is due to the buyer’s duty to investigate, which you can read more about here.

If you submit a complaint to the buyer’s insurance company, they will first investigate whether the complaining issue is something the seller has disclosed by or if it is something you should have discovered before you bid. If the latter is the case, or probably neither a hidden error, they will tell you that there is no basis for taking the matter further with the seller. If they believe you have a case, they will take the case further against the seller. Or usually the seller’s insurance company. Most sellers have taken out home sales insurance.

And now we are at the centre of the matter:

When the seller has home seller insurance and gets legal help if there is a complaint afterwards, it will be difficult for you to be without buyer’s insurance. Then you must pursue the case, alone as a consumer, against a professional party. You must write all complaints yourself and follow up the case. It will be both time-consuming and exceedingly difficult.

That is why I advise all my clients to take out home buyer’s insurance. It is a one-off payment that is not very high – from approx. NOK 7,000 to NOK 10,000 which ensures you if problems should arise.

Many disputes in connection with the sale and purchase of property are resolved through these insurance schemes and lawyers associated with the insurance companies that offer this. It also happens that they hire other property lawyers to help them with the cases.

The process of complaining through the home buyer’s incurance company

If you make use of the home buyer’s insurance, you must contact the insurance company itself and register the complaint. You will then contact a specific lawyer at the proper time – if the case is taken further.  This is long an expensive process.

The estate agents you bought the property from will have an overview of which company you should adress the complaint.  First check in your purchase contract that you have taken out buyer’s insurance. It will state which company it was subscribed to, and you can contact them, or fill in a claim report online.

Having to use a lawyer in property matters, whether via the home buyer’s insurance or otherwise, is never pleasant. The best thing is to check the property so carefully before buying that you avoid problems afterwards. As you know, the best thing about insurance is avoiding the use of them.

Checking the sales material and help you to avoid complaints after the purchase is one of my main tasks as home buying consultant.


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