Eddy van Tolie, Saturday, 11 November 2017
Buying a house in Sweden is an adventure in itself. Many things go slightly different from what we are used to in the UK. On this page some general
tips that may be useful in your search for a property in beautiful Sweden.
Where to live in Sweden?
Sweden is a vast country, almost 2.5 times larger than the UK. It will come as no surprise that the landscape and climatic differences are
significant. It is therefore essential that you, first of all, decide in which part of Sweden you would like to buy a house. It is a good idea to
first explore the country before choosing a region. On average, the southern part of Sweden is slightly flatter, and towards the north, it becomes
more hilly and mountainous. The south is significantly denser populated than the north. This is reflected in the property prices.
The more northern, the colder and snow-richer. The most significant winter sports areas are located approximately in central Sweden, mostly on the
western borders of the country, close to the Norwegian mountains. The most significant and most famous areas are Sälen and Åre. A house near these
ski resorts gets a price level that we also know in the UK.
In short, it is essential to determine in which area you would like to have a house, before visiting homes.
In addition to the area, you should also decide whether you want to live in a village or utterly free in the countryside, in a forest, on a forest
edge, near a lake, near a ski area, etc. Each location has its advantages and disadvantages - and its price tag. A site near a ski resort or by water
or a favorite place leads to a higher price than a house in a less popular location.
Perhaps an unnecessary question, but it is important to calculate in advance what amount you can spend on a house in Sweden. The financing
possibilities offered by Swedish banks are limited to zero, certainly in the present time. To avoid disappointments, it is good that you should know
in advance whether you have sufficient resources to buy a house.
Of course, the prices of real estate in Sweden are significantly lower than in the UK, but if you have to finance the entire purchase amount
yourself, this will affect your opportunities.
Outside the big cities, house prices are much lower than in the UK. You can already buy a cheap house in the countryside for amounts of around €
30,000, - You should take into account that the location or the state of maintenance leaves a lot to be desired. For that price you do not buy a
perfect house. For an amount of € 50.000, - to € 70.000, - you buy a very decent house in a beautiful place. If you want to live very close to water,
you must take into account considerably higher prices.
Negotiating is often more difficult in Sweden than in the UK. Most houses are only for sale for a short period, so there is not much room for
negotiation. Many homes are even sold for more than the asking price.
Old house or new home
Sweden has many wooden houses and a smaller number of masonry houses. The wooden houses, in particular, are sometimes ancient. Not bad in itself,
because wood can withstand the test of time well, provided that regular maintenance is carried out. Nevertheless, a thorough inspection of a wooden
house is necessary. The window frames are particularly sensitive to weather conditions and therefore require constant maintenance.
The newer houses in Sweden are also often made of wood, but mostly better maintained and sometimes fitted with plastic profiles, which is less
sensitive to maintenance. An older house is usually more affordable than a newer home. So you have to determine what is more important to you: low
maintenance or a lower purchase price.
In Sweden, there is a wide variety of heating methods. The natural gas that we know so well and cheaply is not available in Sweden. Generally
speaking, you will, therefore, have to take account of much higher heating costs in Sweden than we are used to in the UK.
Hot air installations and geo-heat systems are popular. Many of these geo-systems have been installed in recent years. These are pipe systems that
are laid or drilled in the garden. The system makes use of the temperature differences in the soil. These temperature differences are transformed
into energy and heat in a central heating system. Proportionally, this heating system is cheap because it uses the natural temperature differences.
Many houses are heated on a central heating system with an oil, wood or electricity fired boiler. Oil and electricity are both costly fuels. Wood is
cheaper but impractical.
Also, many boilers use pellets (pressed wood pellets). These pellets are pumped from a large reservoir into the boiler. A relatively cheaper solution
and more practical than filling blocks of wood each time.
And then there are the simple electric radiators. Convenient to use, easy to adjust, but relatively expensive because of the electricity required by
Water and sewage
Part of Sweden is connected to the municipal water supply and sewerage systems. In these houses, water and drainage work in the same way as we are
used to here.
Besides, especially in the countryside, there are many houses that have their own water and sewage supply. In that case, water comes from a dug or
drilled well (source) or directly from a lake or river, sometimes only with a hose and pump.
There are many types and sizes of sewage systems. Usually there is a sewer tank somewhere in the ground near the house. This can be a septic tank, or
a 2- or 3-room tank. Today's environmental requirements are such that municipalities require a 3-room tank with infiltration system. It is important
to check whether the house you are looking for meets the local requirements.
Also, there are all kinds of simple systems for drainage and sewerage, particularly in the outskirts. There is a mini-cleaning system or a dry
toilet. And sometimes the huts in the woods have a separate toilet with a barrel......
Around the purchase of a house in Sweden, there are some initial costs that you have to take into account.
This starts with a technical inspection (if any). Often this is recommended for older houses. You must then take into account an amount of approx. €
900, -. And if you are unlucky, there is also a rural property, and you must apply for permission to buy it as a non-resident of the municipality in
question. This förvärvstillstånd currently costs approximately € 400, -.
Then there is the transfer tax, which amounts to 1.5% of the purchase price. After the transfer, the house at the Myndigheten should be put in your
name. This is associated with costs of approx. € 150, -, regardless of the purchase price.
From the moment you own a house in Sweden, you will also have to take various costs into account every year. In an average home, you must then take
into account the annual amounts for:
Real estate tax 0,75 % of the appraised value SEK 3000, -
Water, electricity, heating costs (roughly estimated) SEK 20,000, -
Insurance premium (nearly 1% of the value) SEK 3000, -
Contribution to waste collection, road maintenance SEK 2000, -
Converted per month, therefore, quickly € 200, - to € 250, -. Please take this into account when you are considering buying a house in Sweden.
In Sweden, there are a few things that differ somewhat from ours.
First of all, there is the principle that several interested parties can bid for a house at the same time. You can see that a real estate agent tries
to get several candidates interested in a house at the same time. These interested parties then bid against each other and a purchase price above the
asking price is eventually negotiated.
Even if you already have an agreement about a price and a possible transfer date, another buyer may get around the corner that suddenly offers more.
You can only be sure of the purchase once you have signed the contract and paid the 10% deposit ("hand fee").
On the day of transfer, the buyer and seller sign the deed of purchase, the "Köpebrev". The broker is the third party that signs. A notary does not
take part in this in Sweden. But rest assured, the real estate agent has excellent legal skills and can complete all formal matters correctly.
Sometimes the real estate agent is also the one who can help you arrange utilities and municipal matters. If the broker does not do this or asks for
a lot of money, you have to arrange this yourself. Sometimes support is necessary.
Eddy van Tolie
- Insito Real Estate