This week I’ll be covering one of the BIG challenges of living in Stockholm: finding somewhere to live!
Finding accommodation is an arduous task in any city, but many people in Stockholm find it to be especially difficult. The main reason for this is that there are more people living in the city than there are houses. Urban planning projects to increase housing within the city are continuous (see http://international.stockholm.se/city-development/), but a mismatch between the population and available accommodation is likely to be a problem for many years to come.
I have now been living in Stockholm for almost a year, and at the end of June will move into new accommodation for the third time since arriving here. Looking for housing is definitely stressful at times, but there are some ways to help make the search easier. In this week’s blog post I will discuss some of the useful housing tips I’ve learnt since living here.
Where to apply for accommodation:
The majority of available accommodation in Stockholm can be found online at web pages such as http://www.renthia.com/. This is a really useful website, presenting a large range of available accommodation in one convenient (and free) online location.
Renthia offers an extremely user-friendly interface through which to browse vacant properties, with filters that allow the search to be customised to suit the buyer. An interactive map showing the locations of the advertised properties is another great feature of the website, and may be especially beneficial for those new to Stockholm and still learning its layout.
Note: Renthia can also be used to find accommodation in other major Swedish cities (Malmo and Goteborg) and Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Tips for your application:
Renthia is easy to sign up to and allows you to quickly create an account through Facebook, Google or using an email address. Applications for housing are quick and simple and require only your contact details and an application.
When applying to a listed property you will often have to compete with many other applicants. At Renthia, the company itself reviews applications and decides who is eligible to view the accommodation. It is therefore important to make a good first impression to increase the chance that you are seen as a desirable applicant and receive a reply. Here are some ways to make your application stand out:
- Short and Direct: The trick is to create a memorable application that leaves a lasting impression without being excessive. You should briefly tell them about yourself (where you’re from, how old you are etc.) and any past experience you have with renting. It is also important to talk about some of your personal traits, such as how neat you are, especially if you are applying to shared accommodation.
Additionally, if you have any non-urgent questions, it may be better to ask these after receiving a positive reply from your application. This will avoid giving off the impression that you are unsure about applying for that accommodation.
- References: If possible, talk about the past success you’ve had with renting and, if relevant, past experiences of living with other people. Previous experience with renting is definitely a bonus as it shows you are familiar with the system and will be respectful of the property you rent. However, as your references may be contacted later on in the application process it is important to be truthful and not provide false details!
- Writing Style: An informal, intimate style will make your application easy to read and might convey more of your personality to whoever is reading it. This is especially important for online applications where it can be otherwise difficult to give the reader an impression of who you are.
- Regular Applications: New properties will come online very frequently and, just as frequently, will be snatched up by other renters. Regularly signing into your account at Renthia is important to make sure you don’t miss out on new housing advertisements. In addition, using the filter on Renthia’s site that allows older advertisements to be viewed first may be a good way to ensure that you don’t miss any application deadlines.
What to look for in accommodation:
Prices of accommodation can vary depending on where you are in the city, the number of rooms you rent and whether you live alone or in shared accommodation. Typically, one can expect to pay between 4,000 and 5,500 kr per month for a room in a shared apartment and anywhere between 4,500 and 40,000 kr per month for a whole apartment or villa.
With regards to location, accommodation closer to the city centre (in areas such as Östermalm and Södermalm) is usually more expensive and in higher demand. Fortunately, Stockholm’s amazing public transport system means there is no disadvantage of living in a less central district, as it is still very easy to travel around. The actual area of the city of Stockholm is quite small and what may look like the far reaches of the Stockholm municipality (e.g. areas Västerort) is usually still within 25 minutes of the city centre. Housing further from the city centre also tends to be less expensive, benefitting those who wantr to live in Stockholm on a lower budget.
When browsing specific addresses it is important to pay attention to certain things. Firstly, although the public transport is very efficient, it may be worthwhile applying to accommodation closer to your place of work or study (travel options and timings can be found at https://sl.se/en/). This is more important than proximity to the city centre, as commuting to work or school will be done every weekday during peak travel times. Additionally, Renthia provides information on included utilities for types of accommodation advertised. This is another important factor to consider when choosing housing as, for example, students or short-term renters in Stockholm may want to search for properties already containing furniture.
So there we have a few tips on house hunting that will hopefully help you out. The main thing to remember is that although finding housing is difficult, it’s not impossible, and websites like Renthia will definitely help to make the search easier.
Good luck everyone!