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The first step to buying a property is, of course, finding out how much your bank can lend you. In Sweden, this means asking for a bolånelöfte or just lånelöfte, one of those compound words that makes sense once you break it down. Working backwards: a löfte is a promise or pledge, so this is the provisional amount that they can lend you. A lån sounds just like its English translation: a loan. Adding bo at the front specifies that this a loan for living, or in other words, a mortgage!
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The headquarters of Swedbank, one of the mortgage lenders in Sweden. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
Confusingly pronounced just like 'rent', ränta is actually the Swedish term for interest, so you should ask your bank about aktuella räntor (their current interest rates).
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Interest rates remain low in Sweden. Photo: Richard Drew/TT
According to current Swedish law, you can borrow up to 85 percent of the total cost of a property. So at least 15 percent will be a handpenning (it might also be called kontantinsats), which is simply the name for the buyer's down payment on the property.
You need at least a 15 percent down payment on property in Sweden. Photo: Muhammed Muheisen/TT
To visa in Swedish means to show or display something, and the noun visning is also the name for the public viewing of a property. Viewings are typically open here, although sometimes you have to sign up to them online beforehand. Often, you can also contact the broker (mäklare) directly to get a private viewing.
Open viewings normally happen on Sunday afternoons. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
At a visning you can register your interest in the property with the mäklare and they will then contact you when the budgivning begins. Budgivning refers to the open bidding process – which can be unpredictable, depending on how many bidders are involved. The budgivning is usually done by SMS nowadays and can be over within a matter of hours, if not a day or two.
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Bid on your new property by SMS. Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT
Property search engines in Sweden will ask if you are looking for a villa (house), fritidshus (vacation home) – or bostadsrätt. A bostadsrätt (normally an apartment) is a form of housing co-operative, where members own a building together and have the right to live in their respective apartments indefinitely. This is one of the main forms of home ownership in Sweden and it is less complicated in practice than it sounds. It is essentially the equivalent of owning as opposed to renting an apartment.
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A typical Stockholm facade. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT
If you own a bostadsrätt, you are part of the bostadsrättsförening, the association that owns the building. The styrelse (board) will make sure that both the building and gardens are maintained. They also provide things like communal laundry rooms and barbecues (in some cases even a sauna or a gym). Every year you will be called to the annual meeting, where you get to vote on things such as whether or not balconies should be installed, if the old washing machines in the laundry room need to be replaced, and so on.
The bostadsrättsförening also takes care of the area around your home. Photo: Marc Femenia/TT
In addition to your mortgage, when you buy a bostadsrätt property you will pay a monthly fee, or avgift, to the bostadsrättsförening. The cost of the avgift depends not only on the size of your apartment, but also on what debts the building association has. For example, older buildings often need more expensive renovations, so period properties may come with a higher avgift per square meter. Remember to ask at the visning about the finances of the building association (referred to as their ekonomi).
The cost of the monthly fee depends on things like the age of the building and size of flat. Photo: Wilfredo Lee, file
Looking to rent a home instead? Check out The Local's property section