Most foreigners who relocate to Norway typically rent before purchasing a property. This allows you to better understand the region you’re moving to before having to dive into the very competitive real estate market. Therein lies the problem: Norway is a “buyer’s market” with the majority of native Norwegians owning property. In fact, many Norwegians own several properties, and it’s not uncommon for even young Norwegian adults to own an apartment or several homes.
That can actually be helpful for renters because it makes the rental market much less competition for them. That being said, there is not a huge amount of inventory available, and in markets such as Oslo the best places do go quickly.
To get you started here are three good options for finding housing:
- Finn.no is Norway’s largest classified website has perhaps the largest amounts of rental available. Setup alerts to get notified when new rentals come on the market.
- Hybel.no is another housing website that focuses primarily on the renter market with all content available in English. This is mainly for student housing.
- Friends and coworkers: Another great option for finding a place is to simply ask your Norwegian friends and colleagues. Often, they know of rentals that are yet to be posted. As a bonus you might be a familiar neighbor, although thanks to Norwegians’ general shyness you’ll probably never actually have to talk to them.
There are many other considerations when renting in Norway, but it’s worth noting the biggest shock to new arrivals is often the large deposit required to rent a place. Typically, this amounts to three months’ rent and must be paid before you move in. The deposit is held in an escrow account and returned to you after you vacate the apartment. This is in addition to paying the first month’s rent as well.
If you’re on a smaller budget, a college student, or just want to be more social, then you might want to consider moving into a collective (known as kollektiv or bokollektiv). This is where a few residents come together to rent one large place. Typically, everyone gets their own bedroom but areas like the kitchen are shared spaces.
More tips for finding housing in Norway
1. Start Your Search Early
One of the most crucial aspects of finding housing in Norway is starting your search early. The competition for housing is fierce, so begin looking for a place well in advance of your intended move-in date. This will give you more options and time to explore different neighborhoods.
2. Know Your Budget
Norwegian housing can be expensive, particularly in larger cities. Determine your budget before you begin your search. Be realistic about what you can afford and consider costs such as rent, utilities, and maintenance. The cost of living in Norway may be higher than what you’re used to, so financial planning is essential.
3. Understand the Types of Housing
In Norway, you can find various types of housing, including apartments, houses, and shared accommodations. Understanding the options available and your preferences will help you narrow down your search. Apartments are the most common type of housing, especially in urban areas.
4. Online and Offline Resources
Use online resources like property websites, social media groups, and local newspapers to search for available housing. Websites like Finn.no and Hybel.no are popular for finding rental properties. Additionally, check bulletin boards and community centers for offline listings.
5. Real Estate Agents
In Norway, real estate agents often handle rental properties, especially for more high-end rentals. Consider working with a reputable agent to help you find the right place, but be aware of the associated fees.
6. Network and Ask Around
In Norway, word of mouth can be a powerful tool for finding housing. Let your network know that you’re looking for a place to live. Friends, colleagues, and acquaintances may have tips or even leads on available housing.
7. Be Prepared for Bureaucracy
The process of renting a property in Norway can be bureaucratic. You may need to provide references, proof of income, and a deposit. Additionally, there are strict regulations governing rental contracts, so make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
8. Temporary Accommodation
While you’re searching for a permanent home, consider temporary accommodations such as hotels or Airbnb. This can provide a safe and convenient place to stay while you search for a long-term rental.
9. Explore Different Neighborhoods
Norway offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own character and amenities. Consider your lifestyle and commute when choosing a location. Proximity to public transportation, schools, and workplaces can greatly impact your daily life.
10. Familiarize Yourself with Tenant Rights
Understanding your rights as a tenant is essential. Norwegian law protects tenants from discrimination and ensures proper maintenance of rental properties. Familiarize yourself with tenant rights to safeguard your interests.
11. Be Patient and Flexible
The housing market in Norway is competitive, and you may face challenges in finding your ideal home. Be patient and flexible, as your dream home may not be available immediately. Consider short-term solutions while continuing your search.
12. Learn the Language
While many Norwegians speak English, learning the Norwegian language can be advantageous, especially when dealing with landlords and navigating the local rental market.
Finding housing in Norway can be a demanding process, but with careful planning and persistence, you can secure the perfect place to live in this beautiful Scandinavian country. Start your search early, understand your budget, and be prepared for the unique features of the Norwegian housing market. By following these tips and using available resources, you’ll be well on your way to finding the ideal home in Norway, whether you prefer the bustling city life or the serene beauty of the Norwegian countryside.
Get ready for your move to Norway by preparing and better understanding these things.
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