Two Ways to Sell a Flat

We have engaged ourselves in the time and energy consuming project: selling our flat. Who has been through this once? Raise up your hand ๐Ÿ™‚ We just have started and already Carles, my man, is sighing with exhaustion: “Cannot we just sell it just the way it is? Like in Spain?”

In Spain they seem to make little fuss out of selling a property. Wherever we go, we always stop by the property agencies and study the announcements that hang in their windows. So it seems that in Spain they just walk into a flat, just as it is, take some photos (with the bad mobile camera) – often dark, full of messy details, clothes hanging to dry, dishes in the sink and all – and paste them into their announcement.

After Norwegian experience of buying/selling a flat, this attitude makes us laugh. Lousy photos, the process of selling can take up a year, series of of visitors over time coming to see the flat. Those visits quite unfussy too, the owners show the place just as it is, without fixing it or hiding the clutter. The method, almost opposite to the Norwegian way. So how do they do it in Norway?


Here it can take a month to sell a flat – from the date you sign contact with the agency to signing the selling papers. But you need to find a good broker first. So you take your time, talking to your friends (“Do you know a good one?”), inviting several of them to your place. They sell themselves, you listen and choose. They draw a timeline for you, and your heart starts racing. “Here comes the stylist, here the photographer, here we run the visits – and bang, we sell!” All in 3-4 weeks.

The stylist visits you for an hour to give your advice and ideas of how to present your place in the best way. Then you’ve got a week or two, and you start running around, buying interior stuff, plants and pots. Getting rid of clutter, boxes, books, tv-station and even some furniture. You start washing, scrubbing, fixing and painting.

You see, for selling a flat well here it must look like in those interior magazines. No kidding. If you are a fan of Scandinavian living (like me), you can follow a blog My Scandinavian home – or you can check out the site where the sales announcements are placed. For example, here you can see some flats on sale in Oslo now.

A flat must be clean and full of air. That means: getting rid of that bookcase (we did), no personal items like photos and similar, sorting out the shelves, garderobe (if it’s open). A flat must look appealing but not personal. It can have some pictures, but should be color-coordinated. I.e. the same color accents in all of the rooms, with the quiet white, gray, or light blue backdrop. It should look stylish and up-to-date, i.e. trendy. So… it must look like in the cool interior magazine!

Why do they do it here? Why don’t they do it in Spain? I am not sure about how the price is composed in Spain, but there it depends mostly on the market. While in Norway there is also market – but you can also sell it above the set price. Another authority (not agency) comes and sets the actual price “takst“, but if you are lucky you can sell your place well over the takst. And here you have a factor of luck: how many people come to the visit, and how many are willing to buy the flat.

Because what happens in Norway, after two visits, is a kind of an auction. The broker calls those who have put themselves on the list and asks if that want to bid. And if there are two or more willing, they can bid more. And in the end you can walk away with a bigger sum than the takst was. If the market is ready for it. And if there were enough people.

This doesn’t happen in Spain. There is no competition. There are private visits, and if you wish to pay the set price you can get the flat. If no, you walk away. And so it takes more time. But then there is less fuss. And the owners don’t run around hiding away all their stuff for the pictures. And they don’t fix the flat to look at its best for the visit, painting, fixing and scrubbing.

But we do. If we want to sell it well. If not, you can too just leave it. But… we want (who doesn’t?) :)) So we work. I work as a washing personnel, carrier of things to the basement, and the stylist. I have checked other flats on sale in Oslo to see what is modern now, browsed all the webpages of the interior and furniture stores and been on an inspiration tour to them on foot. I got my list, went shopping several times and, of course, took the bus to IKEA.

We were talking about the interior design market in Norway, and why there are not so many shops in the middle segment – and my friend noticed: “Norwegians don’t care much about wearing fashion and design, but they love to use money on the interior. That’s why they go to Bolia (an expensive design store)”.

That’s true, Norwegians don’t care so much about presenting their facades (Italians are a total opposite and are peacocks in comparison :)). But, like all Scandinavians, they put a lot of thought into their ย homes (where they, naturally, spend a lot of time). They renovate often, buy new furniture or vintage second hand items (because it is cool), invest into design items. While looking at the sales photos, I was noticing the brand products all the way. And I don’t think they bought them just for pictures. So if you want to make a nice sales impression, you don’t buy all your stuff at IKEA. Puff, such a labor! :))

Now tell me, what do you think of the different ways to sell a place? Which one appeals to your heart? What kind of flat would you like to visit on sale, Spanish or Norwegian style? Any experience selling? Share with me!

P.S. Because of all these creative endeavors I reduced my activity on the blog – I hope now you understand why :)) I will keep you updated of the (creative) process ๐Ÿ™‚

Before

After (still in progress)

 

18 thoughts on “Two Ways to Sell a Flat

  1. Wonderful ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots! Ah, yes, selling…an arduous task. You’re doing great. Keep breathing. And rub down the chrome fixtures in kitchen and bathroom after every use in case someone will come by that day to have a look-through your flat. The Spain method sounds carefree, but I’d much rather walk through a place with hardly anything in it. I’d be suspicious of any structural flaws hiding out. Good luck!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thank you, Pierr! Ah, I had to say goodbye to all my creative chaos, hehe. But I am content with the results))
      Yeah, I totally get you, it is better to visit a totally empty flat, where nothing is hidden. I must admit, I love Norwegian style, but I get so distracted by all the stylish things, I easily forget where I should be looking :)) I would say, I would sell it Spanish way, and buy in Norwegian, hehe.

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    • Then you will be in the right place! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hmm, good question. I would say, it is no problem both renting and buying. But for buying you must have enough money, hehe, and the market can get crazy at times. Much depends on the place too, Oslo is a city, and full of opportunities, but I don’t know anything about the rest of the country.
      But it is controlled here, and you get fast an overview. Norwegians are good at clarity, you know ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • Thanks for the advice….my first step will be to find a job anyway and get a sponsored work visa. The larger cities will definitely be the most realistic options, but I have connected with a few people in Northern Norway as well. They’d be able to help me, if I found work there.

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  2. Wow, these are the things where you notice the real culture in a country. I guess in Spain people don’t care that much because everyone assumes that when you buy an apartment you are going to reform it completely… I think the most important things in Spain are the location, the common equipment of the apartment (like swimming pool, garage, care taker,…), or things that you can’t change, like the size of the windows and stuff like that.
    I think the Irish rental market is pretty similar than the Spanish… or even worse!! You wouldn’t believe the photos people post in rental websites… and the apartments look even worse in person!!! But the problem is that landlords know that however the condition of the apartment, they are going to find a tenant in minutes…. for any crazy super expensive price… (I think one of the most stressful periods of my life was when I had to find a new apartment in Dublin for the last 4 months I lived there… stressful and depressing period!! Everything was disgusting, tiny and super overpriced…..)… And for one of my Irish landlords, I know it takes a long time before you sell a property in Ireland… People want to rent, not buy… And agencies don’t care that much about how the selling apartment looks anyway…
    In Switzerland the standard is very high. Even if some people post daily life photos of their homes when they want to rent them, you know that the day you enter the apartment, it is going to be spotless!!!! It was such a nice surprise to experience it after the crazy Dublin rental market!! I’m pretty sure it is the same way when you want to buy or sell a house/apartment too.
    Good luck selling the apartment!! I’m looking forward to continuing reading about it ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yes, it is a cultural study in a nutshell :)) I think, it also tells a lot about values and offer and demand in a country. Like in Norway it is really popular to own a place, even from your 20s. In Germany, where I lived, people were happy to rent all their life. Not in Norway.
      And the rental situation in Dublin is maybe colored by the crazy demand, so no one really cares about fixing – it will fly anyway. Sad to hear your Irish story – but glad you are content with the Swiss way of things ๐Ÿ™‚
      I guess, rental photos don’t look as glamorous in Norway as the sales one, but they use to be tidy too.
      And I understand the Spanish style. You are looking for a flat, not an interior set. I often get distracted by the stylish decor of the flat that I forget what we are buying here :)) I guess, they doing this on purpose: the women take often decisions here, so they impress the ladies :))

      Thank you for your wishes, Mercedes! I hope to keep the record of this thing :))

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  3. Exciting times ahead! But a lot of work. I’m looking forward to hearing about your new home once all the selling is done!

    Personally I much prefer a house to be empty or sparsely furnished if I’m looking to rent or buy it. I find it really distracting if there’s clutter and it can put me off a house if I hate the residents’ furniture, wallpaper or decor! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  4. Hm… I don’t think people in Slovenia buy places just like that. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s more once-in-a-lifetime thing. We tend to prefer to build our own house, in any case, if there is no space left in parents’ house. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you’re selling your place, that means something must have gone horribly wrong, or that’s how it is perceived. Not that I think so now about you, of course. I think it’s splendid that you’ve had a place on your own at all. Don’t tell me you’re changing countries. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Slovenians sound much like Ukrainians :)) In my country people donโ€™t usually buy and sell and move around. Except my mom :)) She loves to sell and buy property, and as a kid in a military family I also changed some locations.
      In Norway people try to buy once they get stable income, in their 20s even. Then they would sell and move into a bigger space when planning a bigger family. I had a friend, she sold and bought 3 times in 3 years – with small kids at hand! Well, then is no so usual, but very far from Slovenian attitude, no?))

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  5. The little I was able to see of your place is very beautiful. I love the light in the bedroom. Iโ€™ve never had the experience of trying to sell a place as Iโ€™ve never owned one before but I can imagine itโ€™s a tedious process. Why are you selling it if I may ask?

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  6. Interesting! I have no idea how it’s done here as I’ve never had enough money to get a mortgage! Now you at least have the perfect opportunity to put into practice all that you’ve been reading about on Scandinavian design and minimalism! ๐Ÿ˜€ Good luck!

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