Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chasing down the bank

Some friends of ours went to a couple of open houses in Trondheim. We're investigating splitting a house with them, which is fun and exciting. They're having fun learning the system and looking at possibilities for us and for them or us together, so that makes us feel good that someone is looking with us. There are many things that could happen, and I remain optimistic that we'll find something good. Maybe we'll end up having to rent for a year, which is expensive, a minimum of $2000/month for an apartment in the area we want to live.

The real estate market works differently in Norway than in the US, where we are used to spending a day with a real estate agent visiting 6 or 7 houses at one time. Rather, in Norway a seller holds an open house for only a few hours, and bids are taken during that period, sometimes only for a few hours. The house may sells for more or less, but the deal happens very quickly. If the house doesn't sell there will be another open house a couple of weeks later. So, you have to watch for openhouses, go early, and if it's THE ONE, then you should make an offer immediately. This means having the paperwork ready to go, and setting up the paperwork for a loan will take about two weeks. Our friends have started the process, and I've been trying to get and audience with a financial advisor at my bank for the last week.

Three times in this last week I had been promised a call back from someone at the bank, calls which were never returned. I was starting to feel rather frustrated. Furthermore, because of the 9 hour time difference, the bank is open from midnight to 7 am Pacific Time, so I have to call very early or very late, and it's never an easy call to make, shouting over a Skype connection when I'm tired.

But finally today I talked with a nice fellow this morning at 1 a.m. A genuine financial advisor, and he asked a lot of questions and started some paperwork. He needed to run figures and he'd call back right at the end of his working day, 6 am my time. Hopes were high that the process had begun -- but, no call back. Maybe I need to find a new bank. I will stay up past midnight again tonight so I can call him.

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