Our Experience in Buying an Apartment in Stockholm
I shared the story behind our decision of buying an apartment sooner than we thought in my previous life update! In this post, I’ll share our full experience of buying an apartment in Stockholm.
I know the struggle of finding an apartment in Stockholm if you are renting, especially when you want a long-term contract. I arrived in Sweden in 2018, and I only had a contract in my apartment for two years. But, I spent over a year looking for another apartment with a long-term contract.
Apparently, some building associations only let the landlords rent out their apartments for a maximum of 2-3 years. So, most of the time, we don’t have a choice; but to either find another apartment to rent or consider buying an apartment.
I have another 6 months in my contract, but because we had a water leakage in the apartment, we had to relocate and finally decided to buy an apartment.
Do you want to start a new life abroad, but are still not sure? Check out my quotes about living abroad that will inspire your move.
I know a bit already about buying an apartment in Stockholm because my coworkers and friends shared their experiences. So, I expected that it will be easier once we decided to buy our own.
Before I start, I want you to know (and remember) that there is bidding when buying an apartment in Sweden!
If you like the apartment, other people like it too!
Luckily, we did not bid. We signed on an apartment with an “accepted” price. I’ll tell you more about it below.
In Sweden, the interest rates are low. It’s normal to get around 1.5% of interest per annum for mortgage loans. In the Philippines, you’ll get at least 10%!
When buying an apartment in Stockholm, the down payment is 15% whereas 10% should be paid within 2 weeks after signing the contract. And, the remaining 5% will be paid on the move-in date.
Here are some important Swedish translations you will often find when searching for apartments to buy.
Forms of housing in Sweden
There are different types of housing in Sweden, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
This means renting an apartment from a landlord. In Sweden, we have two types of tenancy contracts:
- The first-hand contract is an agreement between the tenant and owner of the building.
- The second-hand contract is an agreement between the tenant and the person who has a first-hand contract or the owner.
Most expats in Sweden have this type of housing. The disadvantage is if you have a second-hand contract, you will more likely be moving out after two years. It’s difficult to find an apartment for rent in Stockholm that’s long term.
I rented two apartments before buying. Take a look at my first apartment in Stockholm!
Böstadsrätt is the most common type of housing when buying an apartment in Sweden. This means you only buy a share from the housing association (BRF – bostadsrättsförening) and you pay for your right to live in the apartment.
To buy a bostadsrätt (condominium), you need to have a 15% downpayment and the bank must approve your mortgage loan.
The housing association pays for external maintenance, so it’s normal that you pay for an association fee (avgift) every month.
Having a bostadsrätt (condominium) is still cheaper than hyresrätt (tenancy) in the long run. You get the freedom to renovate your apartment & sell it in the future.
Major renovations will need approval from the housing association.
You can also sublet your apartment (with approval from the housing association). And, usually, you can rent it out for 2 years max only.
Äganderätt or owner-occupied means you are the owner of the home you bought. Previously, it only applies to a detached house or row house, but, lately, there are apartment buildings that have äganderätt.
You have greater freedom when you have äganderätt compared to bostadsrätt.
Important Swedish translations when buying an apartment
- villor = villa
- radhus = townhouse
- lägenheter = apartments
- nyproduktion = new production
- område = area
- slutpriser = final prices
- acceptpris, accepterat pris = accepted price
- amortering = amortization, the amount to pay off your loan
- ränta = interest rate at the bank
- månadsavgift or avgift = association fee
- driftkostnad = operating cost
- lånelöfte = loan promise, the estimate mortgage loan you can get
- mäklare = broker
- visning = viewing
Tips on buying an apartment in Stockholm
- Talk to different banks so they can compete on the interest rates.
- Research about the location. Don’t just rely on what you read online. Start exploring the area. You’ll immediately get the vibes.
- Research the area’s average price per sqm. Don’t get too excited when you see a cheap apartment. It is cheap for a reason.
- Expect a price increase of around 10% (sometimes more) because of the bidding.
- You can negotiate directly before the bidding starts. The broker will contact you the next day, and you can discuss your offer also.
- Research on the finances of the building’s association.
- Consider the avgift and driftkostnad on top of your amortization.
- Don’t sign on the first apartment you see. Visit at least 5 apartments first before you make a decision.
- Get a loan promise!
- Call your bank before bidding & signing the contract.
Websites to buy apartments in Sweden
There are several housing sites that you can use, but I only browsed mostly at Hemnet and Booli.
It is also good to browse different brokers’ and housing developers’ websites such as:
- Svensk Fastighetsförmedling
- Skandia Mäklarna
- UNIK Fastighetsförmedling
- Brabo Stockholm
- IKANO Bostad
Our experience in buying an apartment in Stockholm
Getting a loan promise from a bank
One of the most recommended banks when getting a mortgage loan is SBAB because they offer one of the lowest interest rates.
If you are a member of a union, one of the benefits is a lower interest rate also. This is why you need to check with different banks, so you will get an idea of your amortization.
You don’t pay for the loan promise, and you can get one online using your BankId. I got my loan promise in SBAB within a few minutes after I applied.
This loan promise is valid for three months only.
Viewing an apartment
Some apartments require pre-registration before the viewing. There are also some apartments where you can just drop in. These are public viewings, so other interested buyers will be there too.
We only went to public viewing once and it was the very first apartment we saw. In every viewing, your broker will provide a property brochure that contains all the necessary information.
It is in Swedish though! But, you can find the same information on their website anyway.
For more information and options on viewing an apartment, check out the Tips and Guide from Svenskfast.
Our experience with public viewing was okay. A lot of people came so you wouldn’t really get to explore the apartment. You also have to wait for others to finish talking to the broker if you have some inquiries.
Not a major problem, but I prefer private viewing.
Instead of pre-registering for the public viewing, I contacted the broker directly. I asked for some information about the accepted price of the seller, the apartment itself, the availability, etc. before scheduling a private viewing.
If our budget is within the seller’s accepted price, or if I think there is still room for negotiation, I book a private viewing.
I like this better because we can ask questions comfortably especially when talking about the price. The brokers also managed to show us different units in the building and their amenities.
After the viewing
It’s normal to receive calls from the broker the next day after you viewed the apartment. They will ask you about your thoughts on the apartment. Usually, the bidding starts after a few public viewings.
Some brokers will obviously like to close the deal before the bidding starts, so this is where you can start with the negotiation.
There was one apartment that we are interested in. It is in the same area as my rental apartment at that time, and it has a huge balcony which I later realized we cannot utilize during winter.
After quite a long negotiation, we gave our final price. Somebody placed a bid at the same time. But, the seller wanted an additional 5.000 SEK which is not that much, but it didn’t feel right anymore.
The thought of getting that apartment did not excite me. So, we declined.
Which was a good thing because at least I found a better apartment. ♡
Before signing the contract & getting approved on the mortgage loan
The loan promise only served as an estimate of how much the bank can loan you. If you won the bidding or agreed on the accepted price, you need to call the bank for a final assessment before signing the contract.
In our case, we viewed the apartment on Monday. The next day, I called the bank and told them that we want to sign on the apartment.
During the call, the bank will assess your finances, the condition of the home, the broker, the finances of the association, and many more! They told me I will get the decision within the day or latest next day. But in a few hours, our mortgage loan was approved! So, I called the broker and scheduled to sign the contract on the same day.
This time, I couldn’t believe that we are actually buying an apartment in Stockholm. I cannot believe also that it didn’t take long to get approved for the mortgage loan.
Signing the contract and the next steps
During the contract signing, the broker will go through all the documents and the next steps. The documents are in Swedish also, so pay attention to the following parts:
Depositionsavtal (Deposit Agreement)
- Fastighetsmäklarens klientmedelskonto – you need to deposit the 10% down payment to the broker’s account with a message indicated in referens att ange vid inbetalning.
- Handpenning – the amount you need to deposit for the 10% down payment.
- Datum för betalning av handpenning – this is the date on when you should have deposited the money.
- Tillträdesdag – move-in day. They usually call it access day.
Överlåtelseavtal (Transfer Agreement)
- Säljare – seller
- Köpare – buyer
- Köpeobjekt – the information about the apartment you are going to buy. Like the apartment number, address, and association.
- Köpeskilling – the price of the apartment
After signing the contract, you need to send the 10% down payment to the broker within 2 weeks. The remaining 5% will be on the move-in date.
My mortgage loan is with SBAB. I had to open a savings account with them and put the 5% down payment there. They will deduct it from your account on the move-in date.
The next step is to just submit the loan documents to the bank and be present on your move-in day! Yay!
Access Day / Move-in Day
This was our most-awaited day! I looked back at the time when I moved to Sweden and shared my first apartment in Stockholm, and now my husband and I bought an apartment!
On our access day, we went to the broker’s office and finalized the process which took less than 1 hour only.
During that time, we did the following:
- Signed some documents
- Paid the remaining 5% down payment
- The broker handed over the keys (including the port code)
Fees you need to pay when buying an apartment in Stockholm
- Transfer fee
- Mortgage fee
- Association membership fee
- Electricity IMD system (individual measurement and billing)
- Hot water IMD system (individual measurement and billing)
So far, our entire experience of buying an apartment in Stockholm was really good! I did not expect that it will be this smooth. It also helped that we did not need to bid and we bought the apartment directly from the building’s association.
Otherwise, our experience will be different.
A few weeks later, the bank also sent us flowers which is a nice gesture!
Obviously, our home insurance is still with Hedvig. We had a good experience with them when we made an insurance claim due to the water damage in our rental apartment.
I hope this post gave you an idea of what it’s like to buy an apartment in Stockholm (or anywhere in Sweden)!
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Can you share how much did you spent on migrating?
I love your blog. It will help me bcoz me and my husband planning to buy villa or apartment too
Great blog post.
Have a question, how long was the period between buying the apartment and moving into the apartment?
Thanks! We signed the apartment on December 15 and moved in on January 14.
Hey, lovely blog, I have a question:
Could you please elaborate on the fees and amounts you had to pay for:
-Association membership fee ?
Hi! I paid 952kr for the mortgage fee. The association membership fee is 3660kr per month. I am not sure about the exact amount of the transfer fee. I think it is at least 1000kr!
There are so many blog i read right know but any one of them satisfy me but this one is so informative blog.
Nice to know about your buying experience. This blog is really helpful for people like us looking for apartment buying.
Could you help me with approximate charges for the below: This is just to get a rough idea (since my budget is 2 million sek). So not sure about the amounts.
Association membership fee
Electricity IMD system (individual measurement and billing)
Hot water IMD system (individual measurement and billing)
Informative blog.. God bless you…
Well written content. recommend that post