Since the beginning of 2019 my boyfriend and I had been thinking about the idea of buying our first apartment together in Oslo. We both have full-time jobs and like the city so, why not?
My boyfriend’s family was the first to talk to us about this idea because buying an apartment in Norway is not the same as buying it in my home country, Spain. At first, I was very shocked, as any 23-year old Spanish would be about the idea of buying an apartment at this young age.
Not only his family was enthusiastic about this, but everyone I talked to at work seemed very positive about it and told me that it was a great idea.
At that time we were living in a 45m2 apartment in the middle of Grünnerløkka, one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Oslo. The apartment was fine, but I was starting to think about how much I wanted to change things in the apartment such as the kitchen, the colour of the walls, etc. And when you rent you can’t do many things because you don’t own the place.
So we started to search for apartments!
Norwegian Real Estate Market
I’m not gonna say that it was easy, at all! The Real Estate Market in Norway is crazy! I was used to how things work in Spain, and in many other countries where: you find a place you like, you call to visit, you go visit, if you’re interested you say so and negotiate the price with the seller via agent. If the seller accepts, the place is yours.
This process may take weeks or sometimes even months, while in Norway it normally takes around one week! From my experience in Oslo, when you are going to buy an apartment/house: you find it in finn.no/any agency, there’s one or two days when you can go to the “open house”, (sometimes you can just call and get a “private viewing”), the next day after the last “open house” day, a bidding process starts between everyone interested. At 9:00am the bidding begins and the highest bid wins.
Now I’m going to tell you how our bidding process went. But first, I would like to write about the before-the-bidding process.
How we decided: this is the one!
We had been looking for apartments for months and after all, we were ready to find the one and go for it, BUT. Here are some things we had to keep in mind before acting crazy and overbidding.
What we were looking for:
- Minimum of 40m2
- Area close to river/city (Grünnerløkka, Torshov, Sagene, St. Hanshaugen)
- South facing balcony/terrace
- High ceilings
- Close to amenities and public transport
- Lots of storage (wardrobe and kitchen)
- A place we could make our own, with/without mayor renovation
What we could afford:
- Between 29-36m2, all renovated, beautiful. In wanted areas. Too small, or no balcony.
- Between 45-65m2, not so modern, but big and nice terrace. Not in wanted areas. Not ideal as a first apartment.
It almost seemed impossible to find everything we wanted in the city, for a price where we could comfortable win a bidding process. What I had learned by following biddings was that normally, the winning bid would end up around 20% over asking price.
I found it!
One day, I found this apartment in Finn.no. The price was good, and it had many possibilities in terms of renovation/adding value. So we went to see it.
The apartment is in Torshov, one of the places we wanted to live in. It had a very “interesting” layout, where there was no “bedroom”, but instead, an “alcove”. What I wanted to see was the possibility of turning the kitchen into a bedroom, and moving the kitchen where the alcove was. Now we needed to know how much would that cost, so we could decide what would be the max. amount we should buy the apartment for.
It actually filled most of our wanted list, it just needed to be renovated:
- Minimum of 40m2 ✓
- Area close to river/city (Grünnerløkka, Torshov, Sagene, St. Hanshaugen) ✓
- South facing balcony/terrace ✓
- High ceilings ✓
- Character/uniqueness ✓
- Close to amenities and public transport ✓
- Cross-ventilation ✓
- Lots of storage (wardrobe and kitchen) —> to be made
- A place we could make our own, with/without mayor renovation ✓
The idea of doing a renovation right away grew on us, since I made a plan and 3D, and we were very excited to start a project like this together.
The day we bought out first apartment.
It was my birthday! For real. I just turned 24 on the day that I purchased my first apartment with my boyfriend.
It was a pretty normal day at the beginning: went to the office, started to work… and I sent our first bid.
I remember getting pretty nervous around 11am, where there was two more people interested in the apartment, and every time we would make an offer, another would overbid it right away. We knew where our max. was, and I was nervous about getting too close and losing it.
I was so nervous I couldn’t concentrate, so I left it all to my boyfriend. He would continue the bidding via agent on the phone, until one of us would win. Not to mention – we had one week to decide whether we would buy this apartment or not. Isn’t it crazy?
Suddenly, I received a call from my boyfriend: Lau, it’s ours.
I instantly started crying, but like quiet crying, like OH MY GOD, but I’m still at work, chill out…. everyone at the office knew so they congratulated me, there was a happy birthday Lau song, and I just couldn’t believe it!
This happened in November. We took over the apartment in February. Now, after the renovation, we are finally living in our new home!
Want to know how the renovation went? I will share it soon!