In the continuing (and always riveting) series about Moving to Sweden comes: Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live.
Make sure to check out the other exciting how-to's:
Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden - The Weather
Moving to Sweden - Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden - Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden - Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden - Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden - Making Friends
Moving to Sweden - Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden - The Laundry Room
Because if you have decided to move to Sweden. You might need some help. So here it goes: Finding a Place to Live.
Start looking now. Seriously. It’s going to take you a while. If you even have the slightest inkling that you would like to move to Sweden start looking for housing now. Note that if you are looking to buy a house or apartment you are definitely talking to the wrong person. I’m a renter for right now. Because I am a free soul. I don’t want to be tied down. I want to explore. (I just tapped into my inner hippie… mostly I just don’t know where I want to live and don’t have enough money anyway.) And living in Sweden doesn’t come cheap. Stockholm is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The rental market in Sweden is a bit different. There are various contracts you might find available. There is the first hand contract, which is like seeing a unicorn, that is to say, rare. At least in Stockholm. And then there is the ubiquitous second hand contract. This is where someone who is lucky enough to have a first hand contract decides to rent out their apartment. This is where you have the chance to swoop in. And finally, student housing. Which is also hard to come by but generally cheap with decent living conditions. Of course you have to be a student.
Housing in Stockholm especially is rough. Renting is hard to come by. Waiting in line for a first hand contract can take about 15 years. I am not kidding. Honestly, your best bet is to know someone. If you don’t know someone start scouring the internet.
When DCP and I started looking we set a few parameters then went to town. Unfortunately town was full. (See what I did there?) We ended up checking out numerous websites, asking family and friends, and basically exhausting whatever the internet could offer. Some of the websites require you to pay to respond to their ads. We did not. But it did help us to get an idea as to what was out there. And if you find something you really like… paying might not be that bad of an idea.
Here’s a quick list of some of the websites we tried out, and it’s going to help to speak Swedish here… although some have English options. Here are a couple that I used. One to get an idea as to what there was. And one to try to get a place to live.
http://www.bopunkten.se/ - decent site which covers a little bit of Sweden. Have to pay to be able to respond to an ad; unfortunately this is a common theme. Despite the socialist leanings of Sweden they have a way of embracing capitalist motives. Like making money on this sort of thing.
http://www.andrahandsguiden.com/ - nice. And even gives you contact information so you can get in touch with people. Granted, the couple times I did this I got no response. Or got a response telling me the apartment was already gone. They go quick. Act fast.
Eniro and Blocket also have apartment announcements. In fact, most places that you can think of that would have online marketplaces will have apartments. Find them. But beware of the black market that often occurs in the Swedish housing market. Sometimes you will be expected to pay a “fee” which basically ends up being under the table money to secure your place. Don’t do it. It might be a pain in the ass but you should be able to find something the legal way.
And of course The Local’s Noticeboard. This will give you ads in English which is always nice.
If you’re a student in Stockholm get in line. You need to sign up for an account at http://www.sssb.se/. Do it immediately. Lines are long. And you need days to get a place to live. Apartments are assigned by how many days you have been waiting in line. So if you try to snag an apartment with only 3 days you will probably be beaten out by the person with 1300 days. Seriously.
That being said, this is how DCP and I got a place to live. Because DCP is a student. And I am piggybacking. They have last minute housing where the days are thrown out the window and it is the first person to sign up who gets it. You then have a fixed amount of time to pay the first month’s rent. We got lucky and got one this way.
And in the end maybe that is what it comes down to. Getting lucky.
Here are a few more to choose from. Some good, some less good. Some pay, some free. But if you need a roof over your head it doesn’t hurt to check out everything.
And for the student:
Of course check out similar sites for your university.
And if you really want to get that first hand contract get in line:
And of course:
http://www.jagvillhabostad.nu/ which translates to Iwanthousing.now. Good times.
Good luck. And Welcome to Sweden.