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What extra costs should you budget for when you buy a house in Sweden?

What extra costs should you budget for when you buy a house in Sweden?
Ready to take the leap and buy a home in Sweden? Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Before buying the Swedish house of your dreams, make sure unexpected extra fees don't become a nightmare.

When you buy the property, it's not just your mortgage and deposit you'll need to think about, and even if you've previously bought an apartment in Sweden or a property elsewhere, the fees for a house are quite different.

The first cost is something you need to pay for before signing contracts.

If buying a freehold, you have a legal responsibility to carry out a thorough inspection of the property, and that often means paying for a survey.

You cannot claim for compensation from the seller for errors that should have been discovered through an inspection, and that applies whether or not you get a professional survey, but the advantages are that a professional should know what to look for and if they miss something that later causes you a problem, you should be able to apply for compensation directly from them.

PROPERTY IN SWEDEN:

The main type of survey is a transfer survey (överlåtelsebesiktning) – prices vary, but you can generally expect to pay at least 7,000-16,000 kronor. This will depend on the size of the property, and may increase if you need extra surveys, for example if the property has its own water supply.

Two of the other big costs are title deeds and mortgage deeds.

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A title deed (lagfart) is proof of ownership; it's compulsory to register your ownership of the property with the Swedish Land Registry. You don't have to pay this straight away, but the deadline is three months after completion of the purchase. This also includes stamp duty, at 1.5 percent of the purchase price, plus a fee of around 825 kronor for the deeds (correct as of 2020).

A mortgage deed (pantbrev) is the cost of transferring the mortgage deeds for the property; these are the bank's proof of security. If you're taking out a mortgage, you either need to transfer the existing deeds or get new ones issued (if you need to borrow more money than is in the current deeds). The cost of this is 2 percent of the mortgage deed plus a fee of 375 kronor, as of 2020.

Both lagfart and pantbrev are costs you can apply for a tax deduction for, which means that when you eventually come to sell the house, you can reduce the amount of tax you pay on the profit because you've already paid these costs.

As well as these fees at the point of purchase, you will of course need to budget for future monthly costs.

As a property owner, you're responsible for paying fees like electricity, heating, water, sewage/waste collection and internet bills, as well as any repairs or maintenance costs, and it's a good idea to research them as the prices may be different from what you're used to. You'll be given an estimated 'operating cost' by the seller or estate agent, but it's worth doing your own research because your usage might be different and there's no legal obligation on the seller for this figure to be accurate.

And you'll pay an annual property tax (fastighetsavgift) which is based on the property's market value up to a maximum ceiling – although some new properties are exempt.

A final cost to look out for is ground rent (tomträttsavgäld), which is an annual rent you have to pay if the municipality or state owns the ground the property is built on. 

Note: these tips are for people buying a freehold, not a house or apartment that is part of a bostadsrättsförening. This applies most often to detached or semi-detached homes. If you're looking to buy a property that's part of a bostadsrättsförening (tenant-owner cooperative), you'll find information on the relevant fees here:

Properties in Sweden

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