Deciding to shift your life from one country to another can be a monumental decision, often entailing numerous considerations – one of which is securing a place to live. In our case, it was all about making a home in the beautiful expanses of Norway. Before making the move, it’s crucial to evaluate whether you want to dive right into buying a property or take it slow by renting one first.
Rent First, Buy Later
Our advice to anyone considering this life change is always to rent first, then buy later. Even if you have excess value on your current home in the Netherlands, it’s beneficial to understand the community where you’re going to live before making a permanent commitment. After all, you don’t truly know what it’s like to live somewhere until you’ve experienced it firsthand.
Finding a Home
Whether you’re interested in renting or buying right off the bat, an excellent place to start searching for your dream Norwegian home is finn.no. Almost all available houses are listed on this site, making it one of the most popular destinations for house hunters in Norway.
Factors to Consider Before Buying
Before signing any paperwork, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
Community: Are you a good fit for the local community?
Location: If you crave the peace and isolation of countryside living, remember that Scandinavian winters can be very dark, cold, snowy, and icy.
Road Maintenance: Driveways, if not owned by the municipality (kommune), are often private. If the road owner doesn’t regularly plow it, that responsibility falls to you.
Heating: Most houses in Norway are heated with firewood, considered a clean form of energy here. For every tree that’s taken down, law dictates that another be replanted.
Income: Consider your earning prospects. Norway may not be cheap, but there are plenty of job opportunities.
House Age and Maintenance: Particularly in the countryside, many homes are older and may require upkeep. A ’tilstandsrapport’ (condition report) is mandatory for all homes, so ensure to read it thoroughly. It might be helpful to ask a local to review it with you.
Proximity to City: How far are you from the nearest city? While the main roads are well maintained in the winter, some roads do close due to heavy snowfall.
My personal tips
Navigating the Norwegian housing market, particularly when seeking a more isolated property, can be a thrilling, yet challenging, experience. As someone who’s been through this journey, I would like to share some personal tips to help you secure the perfect remote home:
Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to hire a professional to assist you in your house hunting journey. Despite our familiarity with the process, we did this as well. Searching for a home can stir a whirlpool of emotions, and a neutral professional perspective can help keep you grounded. No place is perfect, but if there are red flags, it’s worth taking a pause to reconsider.
Proximity to City: Ensure that you’re not more than a 30-45 minute drive from a city with all the necessary amenities. Accessibility matters, especially during the long winter months.
Children’s Education: If you have children, rest assured that preschools and elementary schools are usually available even in smaller villages.
Essential Services: Consider the proximity of essential services like postal offices, supermarkets, and hardware stores. Having these facilities closer than the next city is a considerable advantage.
Climate Considerations: Norway’s geography greatly influences its climate. The further north you go, the darker and longer the winters. Going inland brings colder winters and relatively hotter summers (by Norwegian standards), while coastal areas experience milder, wetter summers due to higher rainfall.
Safety: Last, but most certainly not least, be cautious of the location you choose. Avoid buying a house on a steep, high mountain due to the risk of avalanches.
Remember, the joy of finding your dream home should not overshadow the practicalities and safety concerns that come with it. House hunting, especially in a different country, can be an exciting, yet overwhelming task. But with the right research, considerations, and professional help, you can find a place that you’ll be proud to call home. Happy hunting!