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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How to buy a house in rural parts of Norway

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Norway is a beautiful country, no doubt about that.   Many foreigners have a dream about buying a house in a rural area in Norway.  On the countryside, by the fjord or ocean and maybe also north of the polar circle.

I have had several inquiries about this and been able to help some of them to fulfil their dream.

However, there are some obstacles, that makes this a little bit more difficult than buying a home or cottage in  densely populated areas.

First of all, the market are a little bit limited.

Many rural homes, especially the less expensive one, are not put on the market very often.  Relatives, that inherit these properties, tend to keep them for themselves.  To use them for holiday purpose or Airbnb for tourists.  This is especially common in the North of Norway.  Some places it is difficult even for young people who want to stay in their home community or move to a small village to buy a house for their family.

The same problem applies for small farms.  It is seldom for sale.  The family keeps them, or they are merged with other bigger farms nearby.

Also many Norwegian are dreaming of buying a small farm, but they tend to wish for objects that are near a city or bigger village.  This increase the demand and the sales prices are quite high.

Even if the market is a bit limited, there are still homes for sale.

But it is important to be aware of some Laws and Regulation that can be connected to these properties.

  • Obligation to live rule. Boplikt
    Municipalities can implement rules these rules. You cannot leave the house empty. You must either live there yourself the whole or part of the year and rent it out for the rest of the year. This is a policy to prevent the creation of ghost towns.
  • Duty to get official permission for owning the house – Konsesjon
    This is very common for agricultural properties. There may be a duty to run agricultural activities.  It is the buyer’s responsibilities to get these permissions after the purchase. It is also a possibility to subcontract the land. But you will never know if this is possible before you are applying for permission to own the property.

The realtor will inform about conditions for the sale in the sales material. It is very important to check out these things very carefully.   I will strongly advise you to seek help from an consultant like me before you give a bi on  a rural property.

Remember – the bid is binding in Norway!

Download my booklet about home buying in Norway

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Be aware of new regulations for home buying in Norway from 1.1.2022

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From 1.1.22 a new regulation is being introduced in Norway.  The seller, and the realtor, will be obliged to give more detailed information about the technical standard of the home in the sales material.

The seller may be responsible for incorrect and missing information to the buyers.  He or she has this responsibility also today, but so far court decisions have only made the seller liable for damages if the damage or misinformation amounted to at least 5 percent of the value of the home.  This is a lot of money, and therefore the seller has been imposed to give compensation to the buyer only in a few cases.

In the new law the limit for compensation is decreased down to NOK 10.000.

For this reason, the seller must be much more careful to give ALL the information about the property. He must , through the realtor, order a condition report from a technical expert or surveyor.  The government has made a regulation of how this inspection must be implemented and the contents of the condition report.

The purpose is better protection of the buyer.  This is a good thing in my opinion.

Be aware of the new rule about buyers’ duty to inspect !

As a home buyer  you must be aware that the new law has a rule on the buyers’ duty to inspect before giving a bid.  If you miss some information in the sales material or the technical report, or miss other information given on the viewing,  you cannot complain after the bid has been accepted by the seller.

So, the duties goes both ways in the new law!

My concern as a home buying concultant is to protect the buyer.  I am therefore prepared to help my customers to examine the new technical reports carefully and warn them about risk elements.

If you do not master Norwegian, I will warn you to buy a property without help to translate and interpret all the written material.  This is and will still be,very complicated, even for Norwegians.

Because as I have told you before the bid is binding in Norway.

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Successful purchase after corona break

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Erik from The Netherlands contacted me already in December 2020. He is half Norwegian, and he and his family wanted a connection to Norway by purchasing a holiday home.  After mapping their preferences, we found out that Sjusjøen area was the best location for them to enjoy Norwegian nature all year round.

So far, so good, we were ready to cooperate and start the search.  But it turned out to be quite difficult for two reasons:

  • Corona restrictions, they were not allowed to travel to Norway to look at the properties
  • The market for cottages turned crazy. Everyone wanted to buy cottages in the pandemic, and the bidding rounds were extremely “hot”.

Therefore, we decided to take it slowly and wait for better times.

After the summer break, in late august, some cottages were put on the market.  Mainly simple
cabins that were accessible by car only in the summer, but also a few solid all year cabins. The Dutch family had been made aware of the website where all Norwegian properties are advertised (link to eiendommer til salgs) and send a link to Boligdama.Where a modern cabin of 96 square meters was announced. I had a nice location and plot in the end of a cabin field.

The buying process went fast 

Due to our experience from last year, we presumed that the cottage easily could be sold after the first viewing a short week later, so we knew that we had to act quickly.Boligdama checked all the sales material and formalities about the property and if the asking price was realistic.  The family got a digital viewing and Erik decided to travel to Norway and look at it the same weekend.  Luckily it was OK to travel with the vaccine certificate. At the viewing he got a very good impression of both the cottage and the Sjusjøen.

The bidding strategy 

When arriving at home we had a digital meeting and discussed the bidding strategy.It turned out that our family were the only bidders even if some other people had viewed the property.   It seems that Norway maybe is back to normal, that means that sale of cottages is a bit slower that ordinary house sales.

The negotiations with the realtor ended below asking price, which by the way was quite in line with current market prices.

Happy ending, happy people:

Congratulation with a successful purchase

What does the family think about the buying process


We are grateful that we found Boligdama to help us with our purchase. She helped us nail down the ideal area that fits our needs, but more importantly she walked us through the entire process and gave us the confidence to act quickly when we finally found our dream cabin.

The process in Norway is quite different from what we are used to, so having local help with tons of experience was a must for us.

We can’t wait to get the keys and enjoy the cabin with our friends and family!

Thank you Boligdama for your help!



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