You may find yourself eager to get on the property ladder in Sweden sooner than you anticipated because of the housing market and how difficult it is to find an apartment to rent. After days; weeks; even months of trawling through sites like Blocket and asking your friends, colleagues and friends of friends if they know of any apartments that are being rented out, you’ll quickly learn - apartment hunting (to rent) is not easy in the big cities.
But if you have enough money saved for a deposit (typically 15% of the total price) then buying might be a viable option for you.
Where to find apartments
The most popular site to use is Hemnet - it collects listings from all of the real estate agencies. When you first arrive on the home page, you can view more filter options as per this video.. You can use Google translate on this page to see the filter options and listings in English. One useful tip is to make sure you tick the “Dölj borttagen före visning”(Hide the listings that have been sold before viewings), so you don’t waste your time wanting an apartment that has already been sold. Also, be sure to set the filters for maximum price and maximum fee (“avgift”), when you get a lånlöfte (promise of a loan) it will stipulate the maximum price you can buy an apartment for (and how much you can borrow from the bank) as well as the maximum avgift that you can pay.
Note: An avgift is a fee you pay towards the apartment association (“bostadsrättsförening”/“BRF”) each month and typically covers heating, water, taking care of the building and renovations
Getting a lånlöfte
To place a bid on an apartment, you’ll need a lånlöfte from a bank (The real estate agents will prefer you to have this so they know you are a serious buyer.) However, this does not mean you need to end up having the same bank as the one that gave you the initial lånlöfte- once you actually purchase the apartment/house you can choose to shop around for better interest rates once you have won the bidding and signed a contract. A lånlöfte is a promise from the bank that, if you win the bidding, they will loan you the money for the apartment purchase. Feel free to do a Google search on the banks in Sweden and compare their interest rates etc.
Some of the main banks in Sweden include:
You can often apply for a lånlöfte online. They will be asking for information along the following:
- If you are a permanent employee or have fixed contract
- Debt you have
- Current savings
- Your partner’s details
Based on the information you give them, you will later be contacted by one of the loan advisors who will give you a letter saying how much money you can borrow from the bank (or maximum price of apartment/house) and maximum avgift.