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4 November, 2018

A complete guide to buying an apartment in Stockholm (Part 3)

In this series, we have talked about the reasons why you should consider buying an apartment and how to calculate mortgage and downpayment to get the apartment you want. This time, we will talk about how to take advantage of the available tools to find the right place for you.  

Reality Check #3: Find the right budget and price

Now, compare your max property price calculated in Part 2 with the market price.

There are two main sites you will be using to find the right price:

  • Booli  – Check the fair market price of apartments that match with your criteria
  • Hemnet – Plan your apartment savings and look out for bargains (‘visning’)

Tip: Don’t rush into buying an apartment! The purchase process is super fast, it takes only a few hours to close a deal. There will always be new apartments out for sale. The most important thing is to make sure you did your homework!

This article is not going to show you all the functions of the 2 websites, but rather we are going to focus on the specific functions of how to find the best bargains, even if you have a small budget.

Booli: ‘Love is blind, but don’t be fooled’

Before you go full on hunting for an apartment, check the final price of the apartments sold (‘Slutpriser’ in Swedish) to readjust your goal. In the filter, click ‘Lägenhet’ which means apartment in Swedish and enter the range of your apartment size (‘Boarea’ in Swedish) e.g. 19-26sqm.

  • Compare the apartment price calculated in Part 2 with the apartment price of your results. Find out the apartment sizes you can actually afford. e.g. if your budget of downpayment is 375,000 KR, then your apartment price will be 2.5m (15%). Search for what sqm you can get for 2.5m.
  • Do a quick scan. Check roughly the average price per sqm for a particular area e.g. Norrmalm, Östermalm, Södermalm, Gärdet. Make sure you are not buying much more than this average as you might risk selling at a loss in the future. E.g. if the average is 100,000-115,000KRr/sqm, you don’t want to pay for 130,000 KR/sqm (assuming the 21 sqm apartment you want to buy costs 2.7m.)
  • Use this figure to negotiate with the agent. Most agents will first offer you the highest price they want to achieve or a ‘minimum’ as they stated. Don’t be afraid to counter-offer with a slightly lower-than-the-average market price. You would probably end up in the middle price range between you and the seller.
Booli slutpriser

Sample of a quick search on Booli in Stockholm city center.

Hemnet: Shop apartments online

Unlike other countries, you don’t need to approach a property agent in Sweden to visit a place for sale. The apartments for sale in Sweden are all listed on an official website called Hemnet.

  • Choose ‘Till Salu'(For sale), ‘Bostadsrätt’ (Apartment), select all the areas you are interested in
  • Choose the range of apartment size you can accept e.g. 19-30 sqm

Be Aware that all prices on the listings are NOT final price, but are initial price in the pre-bidding process. Final price can end up 20-50% higher than the initial price depending on the bid.

Some facts you might not know:

Balcony in Stockholm

Sitting on the balcony enjoying a summer sunset in a Stockholm apartment. Summer can be hot and sunny in Sweden!

  • The total sqm stated on Hemnet does not include the balcony space in Sweden. Hence, if the apartment with a balcony is 23 sqm stated in the brochure, you basically gain extra sqm/space!

Plan your visits ‘Smart and Furious’:

  • Spend at least 1 month visiting as many apartments as possible. Take photos and videos! You will not remember all 20 listings you visited.
  • Don’t limit your search in cheaper areas. You might find bargains in more expensive areas too!
  • Ask the agent as many questions as you have.
  • Heating is free in Sweden according to law. If you are lucky, the housing association might include free water and wifi too!
  • Check the credit/debt position of the housing association in the annual report brochure: heavy debt? Will your ‘avgift’ (housing association fee discussed in Part 2) increase over time because of mismanagement?

Learn the Secret of how I bought my apartment for half a million less! Read ‘A complete guide to buying an apartment in Stockholm (Part 4)’ next week.

 

The posts on this Blog are distributed for informational and entertainment purposes ONLY.  Forecasts, estimates and certain information contained here should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  The Author in no way guarantees any specific outcome or profit.  Investments can lose money over short or even long periods of time.  You should consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.

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Teenie Fung
Teenie is a Stockholm-based investment advisor and tech enthusiast. Inspired by the gigantic potential of Stockholm aka 'Unicorn Factory', Teenie left her job from a top-tier bank in Hong Kong and moved to Sweden in 2017.
Prior to that, she worked in different countries across Europe and Asia, challenging herself on cross-border investments and business development. Since the beginning of her new life in Stockholm, she has been actively engaged with high-tech transactions from startups to multi-billion dollar companies in the Nordics.
She's also the creator of an online activewear brand (yogafriday.com) and the founder of a fashion community that is still active today in England. At present, Teenie continues to seek for emerging technologies in pursuit of improving everyday living and a better future.

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