Buying property in Sweden

Buying property in Sweden
Published 2018-10-29 12:33

With most of Sweden's major cities facing a housing shortage, it will very often prove easier to find a property to buy than find a rental. In fact, with quite affordable real estate prices in rural areas, the number of expats who opt to buy property in Sweden keeps increasing. Heres what you need to know if you are also considering it.

Can you buy property in Sweden?

First and foremost: you are allowed, as an expat, to buy property in Sweden. However, the process and the time it will take will vary based on your nationality. If you are an EU or Nordic citizen, you have the right of residence in Sweden (provided that you work, study, or are self-sufficient) so you can peruse properties and begin the process right away. If you are a third-country citizen, you will need a visa and a resident's permit to enter and stay in Sweden which means that you will have to wait longer until your stay in Sweden is secured (aka you have found work, started your own business etc) and you have sufficient proven income in order to buy property.

As an expat, you have the right to ask for a bank loan in order to buy property. You need to be aware though that Swedish banks can only offer 75-85% of the purchase price, so you will have to cover the remaining amount by yourself. One other very important thing to consider is that any bank considering you for a loan will run a credit check to see your sources of income and if you are paying your taxes properly. Which means you need to be registered to the Swedish Tax Agency, have a Swedish Civic Number and have taxable income in Sweden for some time before you can qualify for a loan.

Good to know: If you are qualified, the bank will give you a 'guarantee': basically a promise that they will rent you a certain amount of money at a certain rate for a certain time. You will need that guarantee in order to bid for the property you're interested in.

What do you need to know

The first thing to consider is location: the difference in prices can be dramatic between, for example, an apartment in Stockholm and a house in a rural area. For example, an average price for a medium size apartment in Stockholm can be around 3 million SEK (300,000 euros) whereas you can find properties to buy in more rural areas for around 1 million SEK (100,000 euros). In the second case, however, you will have to account for any renovations needed in order for the house to be comfortable in the winter, as many such properties do not have modern heating.

Once you have decided on your location, you should contact a real estate agent. It is actually possible to buy directly from the owner, but you should know the market prices and practices very well to do so. Even if you opt not to have a real estate agent, the seller will most definitely have one, so all transactions will be facilitated by them. After contacting the agent who is representing the seller of the property you are interested in, you can arrange a viewing and, if it is a good fit for your needs, place a bid.

Good to know: If you opt for an apartment in one of Sweden's major cities, you should be aware that there is a high demand and prices are rising, and many of the properties are now being sold without public viewings ' so hiring a real estate agent, in this case, is essential.

All properties in Sweden follow a 'bidding' process. Namely, the seller provides a starting price and each interested party bids the amount they want to offer. Very often, the bidding takes place via an SMS to the real estate agent. The owner then has to choose between the bids. After your bid is approved, you should hire an independent building surveyor to inspect the property and make sure everything is in order. You will then sign the contract and pay a deposit (that cannot be larger than 10% of the total amount) and your bank will send in an application to register the property in your name. The whole process takes a couple of weeks.

Useful links:

Buying property in Scandinavia
Realigro Real Estate

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