Finding a place to live in Sweden

I finally found us a place to live here in Sweden, which isn't as easy as you might believe.  One of the things that has made it harder is that Uppsala is a University town, and school just began again, so everything got snatched up the returning students.

Then unlike the States, there are no massive corporate owned housing complexes.  Everything is privately owned, so you can't just cruise down to the local apartment complex and choose whichever plan you think suits you the best.  You have to browse the (Sweden's craigslist, they do have craigslist here, but everyone uses the blocket) and find places to live.  Then for every listing, they get a ton of inquiries, so you just have to hope to get in there first most of the time.  I did get lucky in that some people were definitely trying to get professionals as opposed to students.  But on the other hand, I also found people who were not interested in having kids live in their rentals, so those were out.

Luckily, I had a ton of help from our office manager, Eva.  She is like everyone's mother over here.  She also is married to an American and lived in the States for 24 years, so she kind of knew where I was coming from.

I was about to chose a townhome that was easiest for the family, compared to a smaller top floor apartment that I also looked at.  I didn't love either location, they were close to the city, but not really convenient to work or the international schools.  But since there was literally nothing else available, I was going to chose the townhome.  But the owner was not getting back to me with a few last questions, so I took one last look on the blocket just to check.  I happened to come across a new home in a little town just south of Uppsala where two people that I work with live, and they just rave about it.

I cruised down the day after and checked it out, and it was by far the best place.  Plus there is easy train access to the center of Uppsala in only 10 minutes.  There were a ton of young families and kids everywhere, so I am pretty excited about the place.  I'll be moving in on October 1st or 2nd, just need to get some bare essentials to live with until we move the house over.

Now, there are also a lot of stuff to deal with because of all of the laws in place to protect renters.  Being a landlord here is tough business, you can't really be in it to make money.  You find that a lot of people rent their places when they take positions abroad (which is the case with the house that we are renting).  For one, they cannot ask more rent than the average value of the surrounding homes.  If they do, as a renter you have up to 12 months to file a complaint and get any extra rent paid back to you above that average value.  Then the other law is that the renter has the right to stay as long as they want, and the owner can do nothing about it.  That one has kind of become non existent because most people (I did as well) sign a form waiving the right to stay forever.  I did sign an agreement with my new landlord that I have to give him 6 months notice before I move out, and in exchange he cannot change the rent for at least 24 months, and he would have to give me 6 months notice if he were to come back.

Here are a couple of photos of the place, we'll get some more up once the family gets moved over and we are all settled.  It is a 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath place with a 2 car garage and a really nice deck in the back.

My next priorities are to close out my work visa, residency permit, and personnummer (social security number).  I need the personnummer to do anything here (get a bank account, buy a car, etc.), so that one is pretty important.  They are all in processing and hopefully will be all set pretty soon here.  I have to shoot down to Copenhagen in Denmark to pick them up at the Swedish Embassy once the are ready.


Anonymous said...

Great job Chris!!! The house looks awesome. Love the stone fireplace area ( I think that is what I am seeing in the picture). Sounds like an ideal location...close to everything, other families, etc.
Hope the other things come through in good time. Good to hear how things are going. Kathi

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a nice place, I love the deck and the firepit; I can't wait to come & visit. Aunt Gin

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