Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Finding a more permanent nest to feather in Stockholm

We were so incredibly lucky when our "landing pad" here in Stockholm fell into our lap. Finding a place to rent in Stockholm is extremely hard—it's not the price, like it is in NYC, but rather the lack of inventory. Most leases here are andrahand (second hand), meaning, a sublet from the person who "owns" the förstahand (first hand) contract. Unlike in the US, where you mostly rent from a company, here, once you're lucky enough to get that first right to an apartment (from the building owner), you hold on to it for life and pass the rental rights down to your children. Meaning, unless your parents bequeathed you a first-hand contract, you've got some finagling to do.

For those people, and those that move here from elsewhere, there are three options:

1. Get a first-hand contract, which is next to impossible. Native residents wait on the list—yes there's a list! And, people put their children on it at birth!—for 15+ years to be given one by the city. Or, you can buy one, but it can be as expensive as a downpayment!

2. Get a second-hand contract, which is problematic because the rent can be illegally inflated and they are rarely for "normal" terms, like 1 year or 18 months. They're often for 3 months or 6 weeks, which leads to lots of bouncing around.

3. Buy an apartment, which of course, costs more than the other two.

So our luck came in when we found out we could move right into a gorgeous, furnished apartment in a snazzy part of town (which I liken to Battery Park City in New York: Hammarby Sjöstad is newly built, right on the waterfront, and a dazzling mix of glass and steel so it's shiny and light-filled). Because of a family connection and the owner's personal circumstances, we moved in as soon as we returned from Italy and didn't have to pay any security deposit or show bank account statements and paychecks. Plus: we were given the place for 6 months, with an option to extend for another 6 months.

Here's where our good luck ended: the owner may need the apartment back, meaning we can't extend, meaning we may be sans home this fall.

After casually browsing a few listings online we went to see some apartments and a house (pictured above). It was incredibly adorable and on a very sweet little lane, but a bit too isolated to make sense for us right now. As for the apartments, none were quite right and we're not 100% sure what the situation actually is yet, so moseying on over to the bank to see about a loan seems premature.

We've had a bit of experience with this in the past, so, maybe it's time to buy something to avoid the musical chairs nonsense? Although I suppose it's fair to say home ownership comes with its own stack of nonsense, too.

One year ago: Coffee mornings at Gasoline Alley


  1. The house is adorable. Not knowing where it is, hard to comment on its is isolation. Still darling little place. FM

    1. Definitely adorable and isolated in that it's literally isolated. It's on a sweet little lane in the middle of the woods. You can't walk to anything except a bus stop.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a note!