House Hunting in Sweden – Looking to Rent in Linköping
Relocation Company Is Not Always The Best Option
Kids and I arrived to Sweden last week, and we are slowly getting a hang of the every day life here, while still living in the temporary housing, our family of five, cramped in a one bedroom apartment in a temporary housing hotel. The house hunting has been difficult, even though we have a relocation company, they have done very poor job so far and sending us very few options to even look at. We have been in contact with the relocation company for five weeks, but we have received less than a handful of houses to even look at from them. Unfortunately we can’t even change the relocation company, but I am thankful for so many friends who have recommended better relocation companies to us, and for everyone who has been trying to help us with the house hunting.
House Hunting in Sweden
We have done the majority of the house hunting on our own. We have been looking for houses in Linköping from all of the Swedish websites (for example Blocket and Booli), we posted an ad on a local Craig’s List, and my husband and his team here have done great job networking here locally to find places to live – but it still is very difficult to find anything to rent in Sweden, and especially here in Linköping. Luckily a few of my husband’s team have found housing already.
We have found several nice houses in the country side, but for various reasons every time lost the house for someone else, or there has been other reasons why we haven’t been able to rent them. It’s been very frustrating to put it mildly. Our budget is around $4,000 per month, and what makes this more frustrating is that with that budget we could afford a very nice house in the area – if there was any available. With my husband’s contract, we are even able to pay one year’s rent ahead of the time, which would make us ideal renters to anyone. My husband has been even contacting people and real estate companies who are trying to sell their homes to try to convince them to rent instead of sell – with no luck. The housing market in the area is good, and people are able to sell their homes for good price, not many are interested in renting.
In Sweden the cities have a list of renters and every rental apartment is distributed equally by the order people sign up to “the list”, and as foreigners we haven’t even been able to sign up for the list yet. Waiting in the rental list can take anywhere between a few months to several years, so even “the list” wouldn’t be a ticket to renter’s heaven.
Settling to Settle Down
The relocation company sent us ONE house to look at that is within 20 minutes from my husband’s work and children’s international school, and is big enough for our family to fit in. As of now looks like we are “forced” to sign up a rental lease for this only one option we have unless a miracle happens in the next 24 hours or so. My dreams of Stockholm city living were shut down, and now even my hopes of either getting an apartment in the Linköping city or a large country estate in the close by Swedish country side were shut down by lack of possibilities close enough to the international school. I can’t even imagine that we left the United States to live a different lifestyle, and to avoid the s-word (suburbs, a curse word in my vocabulary), and now we are settling to live at the suburbs of a small Swedish city.
The past three months have been very tough to plan this move, and to get rid of practically 75% of everything we owned to make this move possible. I am so happy that we are finally here, and I am already in love with Linköping, it’s a beautiful city, and we already saw our friends in Stockholm this weekend, and hopefully will cross the sea to visit my family in Finland this weekend. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live here, but at the same time, I am already ready to get a “normal life” or at least know when we are able to get to the normal everyday routines. Kids quit school in New York already on January 27th, and until we know where we are going to live, and we have our Swedish social security numbers, we can’t/don’t want to enter them into school. It’s great to adventure, but it’s also stressful when you are “homeless” living in a hotel in a country you’ve never lived in before. Thankfully I at least speak some Swedish, and we have all visited here before, and we already feel like home here.
If it was just my husband and I, we’d probably wait “homeless” for the perfect house to come along, but as weeks have gone by, and we look at our kids who have been the most amazing troopers during this process, we feel like we owe them the easy solution to take the only house available, and just get settled as soon as possible. Our children are now 9, 10 and 11, and these moves are getting much more difficult as children get older. It was much easier to live in small temporary apartments when they were younger, and especially when they were not in school yet.
We feel like we are settling to settle down, but at the same time I am afraid to get greedy and try to look for the perfect place – what if our dream house will never come along and we are truly forced to settle down for something much less than the house we found now? The house itself is great, and by a beautiful river, but not at all in the type of neighborhood we were hoping for. At the same time – the unexpected type of a neighborhood might be the best thing that happens us. And that’s how life goes.
Photos: Bovision and from the neighborhood we are moving, but the house we are looking right now is not listed online.
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