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Checklist: Everything you need to do when you move house in Sweden

Whether you're moving to a new rented apartment or have bought your home, there are lots of things to keep track of to help the move go smoothly.

Checklist: Everything you need to do when you move house in Sweden
Take adorable photos of pet in moving boxes? Check! Book movers and transfer electricity contract? Er... Photo: Erda Estremera/Unsplash

Report your change of address

Notify the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) of your new address – this can be done online, and means it should be updated automatically everywhere you're registered.

Still, you should double check that the update has gone through for all important things, such as your bank, your doctor, your company's payroll department, and any post subscriptions you don't want to miss out on.

There are also mail forwarding services you can pay for which will ensure no post ends up at your old address. 

Change or cancel your bills

For things like your internet, insurance, and electricity bills, you may be able to transfer existing contracts (if you already have these and are happy with the terms) or set up completely new ones (including if you want to change contracts, or need to change the type of insurance or electricity provider). 

You need to make sure your insurance is valid from the date you will first be registered at your new address, even if you won't actually move until later, and you'll probably need electricity and internet from the date you plan to move in. Don't forget to cancel your existing contracts – and check your terms well in advance in case there's a notice period.

Think about other contracts and subscriptions too. Will you be visiting the same gym or yoga studio after you move?

Start cleaning and packing in advance

It's easy to underestimate how long this will take. Even if you moved to Sweden with just a suitcase, you may well find you have accumulated a lot of belongings since then. Make sure you have enough suitcases or boxes, as well as bubble wrap or other materials to protect fragile items, and decide whether you want to do the cleaning yourself or book a professional. Sell, donate or give away anything that isn't coming to your new home.

Start in advance and try to be organised, sorting things by room and in rough order of how quickly you're likely to need them. Remember to label them (with labels your future self will actually understand). Make sure to pack soap, lightbulbs if your new place won't have them, your toothbrush and bedding, and perhaps a snack in an easily accessible spot! 

It doesn't have to be stressful. Photo: cottonbro/Pexels

Plan and prep

As well as planning the packing, think about what else you can do to make your life easier in the busy days and weeks around your move. Try to catch up on errands like renewing prescriptions (which can often be done online or via pharmacy apps) or returning library books and borrowed items before the last minute, and use up the food in the fridge and freezer.

Think about what could go wrong. Make sure you have important numbers for plumbers, electricians, and your insurance company to hand, as well as backing up important files from your computer.

Don't forget to research something nice to do if you're moving to a new neighbourhood so that you can relax with a meal out or a walk in the park.

Save your receipts

You can deduct a lot of expenses from moving house, so make sure you save the receipts for the next year's tax return. A lot of services like cleaning, moving, and repairs are covered by what are called ROT & RUT deductions. Sometimes the deduction is made at the time of payment, but in some circumstances you need to apply yourself when you fill in your tax return.

You should also keep cleaning receipts in case your landlord or buyer claims you left the property in a dirty condition.

Plan the move itself

If you're moving between furnished apartments, you might be able to manage the move in your own car or a hired one, but otherwise you are likely to need a moving company. Do some research, ask friends for recommendations and compare quotes, and book this in advance.

If you need to take time off work or sort out child- or pet care, book this ahead of time too. Some companies actually offer moving day as a day of paid leave, but this is not common, so you should bank on using a day of annual leave or unpaid leave. And if you're moving into an apartment, consider letting the housing association know your plans as a courtesy to your new neighbours. 

Take photos and an inventory

Once your old home is clean, get evidence in the form of photos and videos. If you rent and your landlord tries to withhold your deposit, it's up to them to prove that you caused any damage, but you will strengthen your case if you can show you left the property in a good state.

If you've sold your property, this evidence will be useful if the buyer later tries to claim damages for 'hidden faults'. 

Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Hand over documents and keys

Whether you're moving out of a rented or owned property, leave everything you need to behind, such as instructions and warranties for appliances, and of course every copy of the keys you had. If you're sub-letting or have sold your property, it might be kind to leave the new tenant or owner some helpful information about the property or the local area.

Check your new property

As soon as you get access to your new home, do a thorough check to make sure it matches up to what you've agreed. Whether you're renting or have bought it, it should be in a clean condition. Check the appliances all work and there are no flaws you weren't told about before.

Think about safety too. Check the doors and windows, test the smoke alarm (or install one), and make sure you have the right number of keys. You may even want to consider changing the locks if you've bought the property.

At this point, congratulations – you've made it! Time to explore your new neighbourhood, or relax in your very own Swedish home.

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These are our readers’ top tips for buying a property in Sweden

Buying an apartment or house in Sweden can be a daunting process, but with rentals so hard to get, many foreigners end up taking the plunge. Here are the top tips from readers who have done it.

These are our readers' top tips for buying a property in Sweden

Get prepared! 

Most of the respondents to our survey stressed the importance of preparation. 

“Spend time on defining your requirements properly, including visits to different locations to narrow down your search,” advised Julian, a Brit living in Malmö. 

As well as working out your requirements, other participants argued, you should also get to grips with the way the bidding system works in Sweden, with one British woman recommending buyers “speak to professionals about the buying procedure”. One respondent went so far as to recommend hiring a buyers’ agent, something international employers sometimes provide for senior executives moving to Sweden. 

Elizabeth, a 26-year-old charity worker from South America, recommended that all buyers “learn to read a bostadsrättsförening årsredovisning”, the finance report for a cooperative housing block. (You can find The Local’s guide here.) 

Get to know the market 

Maja, an anthropologist from Hungary, said it was important to take time to get a feel for the market, suggesting buyers visit different areas to find the one that they like. 

“It will take 6-12 months easily,” she predicts. “Don’t rush. Visit the neighborhoods where you are thinking of buying.”
Others recommended spending time surfing Sweden’s two main housing websites, Hemnet and Booli, to get a better feel for how much different types of housing in different areas typically sell for, before starting to look seriously yourself, with one even recommending going to viewings before you have any intention of buying.  
“Start visiting houses and monitoring bids. That will give you a sense of the process,” recommends Shubham, 31, a software engineer from India.

Think about your expectations
While house prices have soared in Sweden’s cities over the past decade, the same is not the case in all rural areas, something some respondents thought buyers should take advantage of. “To buy a house at a lesser price, look at areas as far from urban areas as is possible for you and your family,” wrote Simon, a 61-year-old living in rural Sweden. 
Julian warned bidders against areas and types of homes that “will attract tens of ‘barnfamiljer’ (families with children), meaning “bidding wars will result”, pushing up the price. 
On the other hand, one respondent warned people to “avoid buying apartments in vulnerable areas, even though prices will be lower there”. 
An Italian buyer recommended looking at newly built apartments coming up for sale. 
Get a mortgage offer before your first serious viewing 
Getting a lånelöfte, literally “loan promise”, can be tricky for foreigners in Sweden, as our recent survey of banks’ policies showed. 
Shubham warned against applying for a loan promise from multiple banks, arguing that this can affect your credit rating if your finances are not otherwise good. He suggested using an umbrella site like Ordna Bolån and Lånekoll, although he warned that the payment they take from the ultimate mortgage provider might ultimately be taken from borrowers.  
Get to know the estate agents, but don’t necessarily trust them 
Gaurav, a sales manager based in Stockholm, recommended getting to know local estate agents in the area where you are planning to buy, as they might be able to direct you towards owners who are in a hurry to sell. “Those can be the best deals as you have greater chances to avoid bidding on such properties,” he argued. 
Maja, from Hungary, warned, however, against believing that the estate agent is on the buyer’s side. 
“You cannot really make friends with them, they work for commission and they will also try to raise the selling price,” she said. “It’s how they present you to the seller that matters. Seem like a serious buyer.” 

Should you try to make an offer before bidding starts? 
Morgan, a 33-year-old marketing manager from France, said it was worth studying the kommande (coming soon) section on Hemnet and Booli to spot houses and flats before they are formally put on the market. “Be alert. Book an appointment asap and get a private visit to reduce competition. If the apartment is what you’re looking for, make a reasonable offer with a condition to sign the contract in the next 24 hours,” he recommends. “You will cut the bidding frenzy and save money.”
Gaurav also recommended getting a private viewing and making an offer while the property was still off the market, as did Julian. 
“If you are lucky, you might find owners who are in a hurry to sell,” Julian said. “Those can be the best deals as you have greater chances to avoid bidding on such properties.” 
But other foreigners warned against bidding before a property is publicly put up for sale on housing websites, arguing that estate agents used this as a way of getting higher prices than they would expect to get at auction.  
“You are essentially negotiating directly with the owner, without finding out the actual market price via bidding,” argued a 31-year-old Indian business analyst. “Usually this will work only for an apartment not in top condition.” 
What to watch out for in the bidding process 
Morgan advised buyers to take what estate agents say about rival bidders with a pinch of salt. 
“Estate agents will play the competition card. Don’t fall for their trick and keep a cool head. Ask yourself if it really worth it before increasing a bid,” he wrote. 
In Sweden, it is possible to make a hidden bid, which is not disclosed to other bidders. One Indian software developer warned that estate agents would often claim that there was such a bid to pressure you. 
“The hidden bids are really confusing as you don’t know the bid placed,” he said. “It’s a trap to get higher bids. “
A 21-year-old Romanian agreed it was important to watch out for estate agents who try to rush or panic you. 
“[Look out for] those that try to rush you into it by saying stuff like ‘this will be gone by Monday, the owner wants to sell fast’, or if they don’t want to include a two-week period to have the property inspected as a clause in the contract,” she said. 
Maja recommended choosing an estate agency that required all bidders to supply their personal number, with all bids made public, “because other agencies might cheat that price rise”. 
“Don’t be the first bidder,” she added. “Keep your cool, and if the agent calls or messages, just hold on. There is no official end to the bidding. Only when you sign the contract. So the best game is to seem very serious but not stupid. You have a budget, and try to sign the contract the same day or the next if you are the highest bidder.” 
Is now a good time to buy? 
The respondents were, predictably, divided. 
“It’s risky for both sellers and buyers,” said Carl, a Swede who recently returned home from China. “The market seems to correlate pretty well with central banks raising interest rates. If that’s the case, then it’s still a sellers’ market since central bank [Riksbank] will continue to increase interest rates until 2024.” 
“It’s difficult to predict anything at the moment,” agreed Gaurav. “Prices should fall a bit but that’s not happening in all the areas. Avoid buying or selling if you can for a few months.” 
“I see there is no difference in buying in total cost. You can get a property at a lower price but end up paying more in interest and the price is the same in five to ten years,” said one Indian software engineer. “Buying is still better than renting.”