Written by Suzy Greaves
To buy a nice home is to buy a better way of life.
To choose a better way of life is to work toward well-being and isn’t well-being what is paramount?
If you are reading this blog, the chances are you have an interest in finding out more about how Sweden’s property market works or you are thinking about buying a house in Sweden as a foreigner. House hunting is often fraught with anxiety and apprehension, especially when buying abroad. Anticipating dealings with agents and all the ensuing legalities that come with buying a home is daunting enough. Navigating all of this in another language can feel like an absolute deal breaker. Hopefully; I can alleviate some of your fears and you can profit from my experiences of buying a home in rural Sweden.
Let the adventure begin…..
Is this your gateway to a new Scandi life?
Living and working in the UK in my early 20’s, I was encouraged to jump on the property ladder as a matter of urgency. Probably the best piece of advice that I actually listened to, at that time! Thanks Dad! So actually; I talk to you, as someone who has been well accustomed to the lengthy, arduous and costly process of buying and selling in the UK over the years. The refreshing news is, in Sweden, things are done differently.
If buying here is something you are considering right now, I imagine you will be feeling both apprehensive and uncertain about some aspects of investing abroad whilst excited and optimistic about embarking upon a new way of life. Firstly, you must overcome those irritating, limiting beliefs that attempt to hold us all back from actualising our dreams
- realistic and affordable?
- the right time and place?
- too risky?
- achievable? need I continue?
When and if you start to feel brave and committed, I promise you, it will be easy enough to purchase your new home. Just a warning though, here in Sweden it can happen fast!
Home is where your story begins. A place to fulfil your love, hopes and dreams.
Location Location Location.
Let’s think logistics, personality, preference and price.
Lakeside; coastal; city; forest; village or island setting? Renovation project or key ready? North, South, East or West? All of which offer stark contrasts in both climate, lifestyle and cost.
You decide: Hop onto Hemnet and I guarantee you’ll be hooked! Hemnet is Sweden’s go-to place for property buyers and sellers. English translation is also an option that makes it super easy to navigate. Both modern and traditional homes spanning the length and breadth of this beautiful country are showcased here. There is most definitely something for everyone and every budget. Although Sweden is often regarded as a country with high living costs, you will find that the properties here, especially in the rural areas are exceptionally cheap.
What do our Swedish kronor buy us?
I can only speak from my own experience of buying a house in Sweden as a foreigner and my comparisons to buying in the UK. For the price of a small terrace house in Northern England you can easily get your hands on a detached Swedish countryside dwelling. Alternatively, if you are looking for city life or indeed a luxury life out in Göteborg or Stockholm’s archipelagos for example, then be warned, you will need an astronomical bank balance or a lottery win!!
Let’s talk about the countryside option. At the time of writing my opinion is, that although prices here are creeping up it is still possible to bag a bargain! Head away from the cities or even up North. I know of a number of Brits who have made Lapland their home, primarily due to unbelievably cheap property prices there. I live in Västra Götaland, where a 50 minute drive will take you to Sweden’s second city, Göteborg or the coastal resorts of Falkenberg or Varberg. It’s great to feel that these towns are easily accessible whilst living a simpler life in the hinterlands.
Wherever you buy in this country, it’s probably close to a lake. In rural Sweden you are never far from a lake! Along with your purchase you can often expect to acquire a decent sized plot of land. Maybe even some outbuildings or forest will also be included in the price! A substantial number of these homes come complete with a basement. I now wonder how I ever lived without one! Our house was an exception but it’s a tradition here to have a sauna in most homes, considered as somewhat of a luxury back home. All the kitchen and utility basics, fridge, cooker, dishwasher, washing machine/dryer are normally part of the package too! We were lucky enough to inherit a garage full of gardening equipment and tools. Given the renovation work that was to ensue these were an absolute godsend. Country living- Oh what’s not to love!!!!
It’s the one!!!
That moment when nothing else in the world matters apart from getting your hands on those keys.
Here are a few interesting tips about what happens next once you’ve set your heart on that perfect property.
- The agent holds ‘open house’ style viewings not the home owner. So, when you go to view the house you will be doing so at the same time as your competition. It’s also worth noting, agents can also arrange online viewings.
- The agents are university educated and are responsible for arranging all your legal paperwork. The seller pays the agent and you do not need a conveyancing lawyer.
- An inspector can be appointed by either party to investigate the property but ultimately you, the buyer must be satisfied prior to purchase. There is no come back afterwards!
- This is the nail-biting part whereby interested buyers enter a ‘bidding process’ this usually takes place via your mobile phone and can take anything from a few hours to several days until the seller agrees to accept an offer (Ohhhhh so stressful)
- At this stage you will need a deposit of fifteen percent only then will the agent draw up a contract which details exactly what’s included in the property.
- You will find there is usually no time wasted between signing and taking possession. The agent, buyer, seller and the bank set a meeting on the completion date to check the final paperwork and hand over the keys.
- They say it takes an average of 14 days from start to finish! I told you it was fast!
You can find more detailed information about buying a house in Sweden as a foreigner on Fastighetsbyrån and also on Hemnet as I mentioned earlier. Information on both sites is available in English. The majority of agents speak excellent English. Interpreters can be arranged for you in other languages.
Braving the bidding process.
Be prepared! Ensure you have written mortgage commitment from the bank and then you are good to go. Just so you know, your bids, unlike our Nordic neighbours Denmark and Norway are not legally binding. There’s nothing to hold you back or in fact stop you bidding on a number of properties at any one time. Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it!
Let’s suppose you make the first offer. The agent will talk you through how to follow the bids and watch for counter offers on your mobile phone. This really does take place via sms!! Will you be cool, calm and collected when you see a counter offer? Is it advisable to sit it out for a few hours or days before upping your bid or offer more immediately to show you mean business? In the words of poet Rudyard Kipling “Can you keep your head when all around are losing theirs?”
The Swedes, are renowned the world over for their lagom (somewhat laid back approach) to most aspects of living. Let me tell you, there is nothing lagom about this process. It is understood that so called ‘ghost bidders’ pushing up prices, do exist and as far as I know, there are no regulations in place to stop this. The only way to avoid a bidding war is to request a private, early viewing and you may be able to make an offer direct to the seller before the bidding begins. This is perfectly legal. In such cases you may see this written next to a listed property “Borrtagen förre visning” Removed before viewing. The seller can decide at any time to close the bidding and accept an offer. Usually but not always, the highest bidder wins.
Why buy in Sweden?
Owning a house in Sweden and creating a SwEnglish home has been one of the most exciting periods of my life. I mentioned earlier in this blog that to create a nice home was a step towards a healthier lifestyle. It certainly was for me. In recent years, we have all become a little more mindful of the importance of self care, reducing stress and replenishing our energy levels by doing more of what we love. Well-being, actually is paramount and to choose to live a simpler life, close to nature is a liberating step in a direction that we all know we need. I like to think we’ve not only renovated a home but created a sanctuary and with it a compatible lifestyle.
Sweden is regarded world over as having that perfect work/life balance. A country consistently ranking in the top ten of various ‘happiness’ polls. This country has, without doubt one of the world’s most wonderful and varied landscapes but is Sweden for you? You will of course, have so many questions about cost of living, education, healthcare, rights as a foreigner to live and work here etc etc. There are so many factors that contribute massively when making a decision to buy a house in Sweden as a foreigner but you are not alone. If you can navigate our website, then you can find all the help you need.
If you are looking for some more specific information about buying an apartment in Stockholm, we have a full series about it. You can read Part 1 here.
I hope you’ve found this an enjoyable and informative read, a starting point that will enable you to move forward with pursuing your Scandi dream. You can read more about my Swedish journey in this post: A one way ticket to Sverige!! Daring to live a life I’d only dreamed of…
I look forward to reading your comments and hearing about your experiences below. All photographs in this post are my own, if you would like a sneak peek into my Swedish life you can follow me on instagram @suzygreaves1
The information presented on this Blog is shared for entertainment purposes ONLY. Information contained here should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation to invest. The Author in no way guarantees any specific outcome or profit. You should consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.
About the Author
Hej!! Jag heter Suzy! I’m a Brit who moved to Sweden in 2017 for love!
Travelled, cultured and passionate about health, food, photography and lifestyle. I’m living the Scandi dream!
I’m a freelance writer with a zest for life and new adventures. Follow my Swedish journey on Instagram @suzygreaves1